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Graduate Admissions Requirements and Procedures

In addition to meeting the graduate school minimum admission standards, applicants to ATOC must:

  1. Hold a baccalaureate degree from a college or university of recognized standing, or have done work equivalent to that required for such a degree.
  2. Show promise of ability to pursue advanced study and research, as judged by the student's previous scholastic record and letters of reference.
  3. Have had adequate preparation to enter graduate study in the chosen field.
  4. Have at least a 3.00 (B) undergraduate grade point average.
  5. Submit directly from ETS test scores from the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections of the General Record Examination (GRE).
  6. International applicants must also submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores.

Students with undergraduate degrees in the natural sciences (e.g. physics, chemistry, mathematics) and engineering are encouraged to apply. The general background expected of incoming graduate students includes:

  1. Undergraduate courses in calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, and computer programming.
  2. 1 year sequences of undergraduate physics (calculus based) and chemistry.

Upper-level undergraduate degrees in physics, chemistry, and mathematics are strongly recommended. Undergraduate courses in atmospheric science or oceanography are useful but not required as part of the undergraduate background. Students with undergraduate degrees in other fields, such as Biology, Environmental Science, Geography or Geology, are also invited to apply, provided they meet the standards given above.

Application Procedures

Information about the application process, instructions, and/or information about applying online can be found at:

http://www.colorado.edu/admissions/graduate/apply

You can find the online application at:

https://soaprod.cusys.edu/degreeprog/applyDEGREEPROG_CUBLD/login.action

An applicant for admission must present complete application materials that include the graduate application (online); one official copy of transcripts of ALL academic work completed to date (mailed to admissions - see address below); four letters of recommendation (submitted online or mailed to the department); test scores from the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections of the General Record Examination (GRE) (submitted directly from ETS); a personal statement of academic interests (see the last item under "Additional Information" in the online application); and a $50 non-refundable application fee for domestic applicants or $70 for international applicants.

At a minimum, the personal statement of academic interests should describe the following:
(1) Motivation for applying to graduate school;
(2) Experience or other relevant qualifications;
(3) Long-term goals

If known, please also describe your specific field of interest, including faculty members or scientists with whom you would like to work. The personal statement will be evaluated not only for content, but also to gauge writing ability.

CU Graduate School Information for Applicants

Application Process and Forms for Applicants

Additional Information for International Applicants

All international applicants are required to meet a minimum standard of English proficiency. The Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL), or an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score is required unless English is your native language. If you have completed at least one year full-time academic study at a US institution (or at an institution in a country where English is the native language) at the time you apply, you have fulfilled the English proficiency requirement for the Office of Admissions. The University requires a minimum TOEFL score of 537 (paper based), 203 (computer based), and/or 75 (new internet based). The University requires a minimum IELTS score of 6.0.

CU Graduate School Information for International Applicants

Application Process and Forms for International Applicants

For admission in the fall semester with full consideration for financial assistance from the department, complete domestic applications must be received by January 1 and complete international applications by December 1.  Late applications will be considered until all positions are filled.

Department financial support is in the form of teaching assistantships (TA), research assistantships (RA), and/or fellowship money. There is not a separate form to apply for this support. However, please do include a short note with your application asking to be included in the pool for these forms of financial support from the department or indicating that you have your own financial support. This note may be included in your personal statement or an email sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Application Deadlines:
Fall admission: YES
Domestic application deadline: January 1*
International application deadline: December 1*

Spring admission: YES**
Domestic application deadline: October 1
International application deadline: October 1

*For admission in the fall semester with full consideration for financial support from the department, complete domestic applications must be received by January 1 and international applications by December 1. Late applications will be considered until all positions are filled. Please note, while the department does accept late applications it is in the applicant's best interests to submit all application materials as soon as possible.

**While ATOC does accept a limited number of applicants in the spring semester, your chances for admission and financial support from the department in the form of a teaching or research assistant position are much greater in the fall semester. Very few, if any, students start in the spring semester.

Where to Submit Transcripts DOMESTIC Applicants:

For standard international mail or mail within the US, including USPS Priority and Express:
Graduate Admissions
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine St Suite A122
553 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0553 USA

For overnight or express mail (DHL, FEDEX, UPS)  send to:
Graduate Admissions             
University of Colorado Boulder                     
3100 Marine Street - 553 UCB
Bldg RL3 Suite A122
Boulder, CO 80303-1058 USA

If submitting transcripts electronically: Email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Where to Submit Transcripts INTERNATIONAL Applicants:

For standard international mail or mail within the US, including USPS Priority and Express:
Office of Admissions/International
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine St Suite A122
65 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0553 USA

For overnight or express mail (DHL, FEDEX, UPS)  send to:
Office of Admissions/International            
University of Colorado Boulder                     
3100 Marine Street - 65 UCB
Bldg RL3 Suite A122
Boulder, CO 80303-1058 USA
303-492-6301

Allow sufficient time for mail to be delivered to the United States. Most items typically require 10 days to two weeks from within the United States and even more time when sent from other countries.  If it is not possible to have your transcripts sent in this manner, please contact the Office of Admissions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see if there are alternatives they would accept.