Why a Mason Climate PhD?
While some students may not be familiar with George Mason University, it has a thriving climate science program built on our collaboration with COLA, a national leader in climate modeling and pioneer in studies of the predictability of climate. In creating a Climate Dynamics degree, Mason and COLA have created an innovative degree that focuses on some of the most exciting questions in atmospheric, oceanic, and earth sciences. Stipends and tuition are awarded to qualifying students on a competitive basis, usually when they enter the program.
Faculty members include leaders in the field who have made (and are making) important contributions to such research areas as El Nino/Southern Oscillation, air-sea-land interactions, monsoon dynamics, general circulation theory, and predictability theory. Research in other Mason departments also includes remote sensing, computational fluid dynamics, and planetary atmospheres. Collaboration with COLA gives students in the program access to modeling expertise, computational resources, and use of several state-of-the-art climate models. Current work includes groundbreaking experiments which model the entire global atmosphere at resolutions of a few kilometers (see Shukla et al, 2009, Bull Amer Meteo Soc; and Nature Reports Climate Change, 11 Feb, 2010).
Education and Career Placement
Students do a program of comprehensive and rigorous coursework giving them an overview of the physics, mathematics, and computational techniques they need to understand climate dynamics in general and the subjects within climate dynamics that are most relevant to their thesis work. Recent graduates of the program have gone on to positions in top laboratories and universities, including National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), University of Washington, and University of Miami.
Academic Climate of the Climate Dynamics Program
Faculty members devote much time and effort to interacting with students. As a relatively small program, we strive for the flexibility and personal attention to students that may be absent in some larger programs. Students collaborate with each other and have an active student organization which runs a student journal club and other activities. We have a diverse student body of women and men from the US and around the world.
George Mason University and COLA are both in the suburbs of Washington DC, a city of renowned cultural attractions and a vibrant climate research community. The DC area includes a large number of universities and national laboratories such as NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and NOAA National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). Washington is an especially cosmopolitan city, with large communities of residents from all parts of the United States and all parts of the world.