New dual-title doctoral degree in climate science launched

Patricia Craig
August 31, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Climate science is a field devoted to the study of Earth’s climate in the past, present and future. Understanding the Earth’s future climate is vital, and in response Penn State has established a new dual-title doctoral program in climate science.

“In the past, climate science was often viewed as this niche field, but it’s starting to become integrated with everything else because climate impacts are pervasive,” said Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science and program coordinator. “Climate change is affecting our food and water supplies, coastal management and national security, and every other facet of our built and natural environment.”

Expertise in climate science is relevant across many disciplines, and Mann said this program was developed to meet the increasing demand for climate information.

“Having a degree in climate science is germane to so many fields now; it’s important in private industry or in fields focused on risk management like insurance and reinsurance,” said Mann. “Having a background in climate science is a real plus, and it will make our graduates more attractive for jobs in industry, as well as positions in academia, government and nongovernmental organizations.”

Administered by the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, a particular focus of the program is on understanding the impact of human activities on climate and understanding and predicting natural climate variation.

The program will provide a rich curriculum in climate dynamics and observations, numerical and statistical methods, the physical climate system, biogeochemistry, and human dimensions of climate change to ensure that all students have a broad and deep understanding of the science and its application to society. 

“Not only will graduates have expanded employment opportunities, they will be the new generation of leaders trained to help society prepare for and adapt to the Earth’s changing climate,” said David Stensrud, head and professor of meteorology and atmospheric science.

There are more than 40 faculty from five colleges associated with the climate science program.

“We’ve had an increasingly strong presence in the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science and elsewhere around Penn State in climate science. We literally have hundreds of researchers across the University working on various aspects of climate science,” said Mann.

Students electing this degree program will earn a doctorate with a dual-title in the participating program and in climate science. The graduate program in meteorology and atmospheric sciences currently offers the program but additional graduate programs are expected to offer the dual-title program in the future.

“This new program addresses what is arguably the greatest challenge we face today — the challenge of mitigating and adapting to climate change,” said Mann.

For more information about the program visit and

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 31, 2018