Student Resources at EAS

The EAS department is a highly interdisciplinary and graduate students have the ability to take a wide variety of courses both within and outside the EAS department for credit towards their degree. The selection of courses taken is often guided by an interest in one of several general topics, or “tracks,” offered by the department.

Requirements for the MS Degree

Graduate studies can be pursued in EAS as part of the thesis option (30 credits) or credit option (36 credits).

Thesis Option: Candidates for the master’s degree complete 24 credits in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and submit a thesis for a maximum of six credits. The thesis consists of an independent theoretical, laboratory or field investigation supervised by a faculty advisor. The thesis option totals 30 credits. A GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation.

Credit Option: Students selecting the credit option complete 36 credits of approved course work. Students selecting the credit option must pass a written comprehensive examination during the final semester of study. A GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation.

Masters students can take a maximum of 9 graduate credits outside of the EAS department, including E-Permits and classes at other CUNY schools. No more than 6 credits of independent study and 2 credits of the EAS seminar class count towards the degree.

Graduation Checklist

Comprehensive Exam Option 

  1. Student verifies with Department Advisor (Kidder) that requirements for credits, coursework, and GPA 
will be met by the end of the semester.
  2. Apply for graduation on CUNYfirst (early during final semester).
  3. Schedule and take exit exam. The exam must be taken a week before finals or earlier (or August 15 for September graduation). The exit exam is based on three specific courses taken. Students should coordinates test times (generally 1-4 hours for each of the three parts of the test) with Sadie Barnes and the instructors of the three classes. Sadie Barnes administers the tests. The graduate advisor (Kidder) should be informed as to the schedule of the exam. The format of the tests (specific, general, open book, etc.) is determined by each professor.
  4. Student completes online exit survey
  5. Department sends certification to Dean’s office (form, signed by the evaluation committee, indicating student has passed the exam)

Thesis-Option Students

  1. Student verifies with Department Advisor (Kidder) that requirements for credits, coursework, and GPA 
will be met by the end of the semester.
  2. Apply for graduation on CUNYfirst (early during final semester)
  3. Schedule a defense date, time, and location. The defense must be a week before finals or earlier and three faculty members must attend the defense
  4. Provide copies of the thesis draft to committee members at least one week in advance of the defense
  5. Student completes online exit survey
  6. Submit thesis to Sadie Barnes by the date of the defense. One paper copy (for the department), and two copies on a CD are required along with a signed digital contract (available from Department Advisor) that includes the student’s email address (for the library). The thesis must look professional, have an abstract, and be free of typos. The title page must list the names of the advisor and second reader along with their signatures. A cover/certification sheet signed by the members of the committee also accompanies the thesis
  7. Submit NOAA CREST exit form (if part of NOAA CREST program)

Campus Resources

Recreation center & intramural program: The recently-renovated fitness center at Wingate Hall has a track, exercise equipment and a variety of other fitness activities (click here for hours)
Click here for information on intramural sports at CCNY.

Student health services: Student health services (Marshak Building, Room J15) provides basic services such as common immunizations and consultation with a registered nurse free of charge. Phone: 212-650-8222

Counselling center: The counseling center (Marshak Building, Room J15) provides short-term counseling and liaison to community resources such as long-term therapy and social services. Phone: 212-650-8222

Emergency grants and loans: Student Support Resources facilitates several emergency loan and grant programs for currently enrolled students who are not in debt to the College. These programs can assist students who have been impacted by an emergency resulting in difficulty covering rent, medical bills, utility bills, and food and transportation expenses. There are also short term loans available to cover tuition for those who qualify. Visit the Counseling Center for more information (Marshak Building, Room J15; phone: 212-650-8222).

Writing center: Contact the writing center for help with writing assignments (in person and by email). In addition to course papers, students may receive help with job applications, and personal statements. Writing consultants help students develop a thesis, organize ideas and provide advice on grammar and style. Walk-in and long-term appointments available to any CCNY student. Location: NAC 3rd Floor Plaza (enter from outside the building), phone: 212-650-8104


How long will it take to complete the Master’s degree?
Most full-time students take two years to complete their degrees, although one and a half years is possible. Part-time students will take longer.

I have a liberal arts background and I am concerned about not having (all) the prerequisites needed. Could I still be admitted to the program?
Ideally students entering our program have a year each of college level physics, chemistry, and calculus. Some students admitted without having these prerequisites still manage to be successful. They may, however, be required to make up some undergraduate classes upon entering the program.  Many EAS classes assume some background knowledge in chemistry, physics and calculus, and students having familiarity with these subjects are more likely to succeed. Feel free to send an inquiry and transcript to the grad advisor (Kidder) for feedback on your specific circumstances. In some cases we recommend taking a couple classes before applying–where these are taken (online, community college, etc.) is not particularly important. In other cases students are advised to start out with a low number of credits so that they can catch up or refresh on some background math/science work as needed for their classes.

How are grades assigned in graduate courses?
Your instructor will describe his or her method for computing grades in the syllabus for each class. Note that you need a “B” (that is, 3.0) average in your graduate courses to be in good standing and to be awarded the Master’s degree. Students whose GPA falls below 3.0 are generally given an additional semester to show improvement or raise their GPA above 3.0.

When is registration?
See the registrar’s website for dates.

I’m having difficulty with the online registration – the system says that I don’t have a prerequisite course but I really do. What should I do?
Contact the EAS Graduate Advisor (Kidder), as the system does not always recognize prerequisite courses that you have taken at CCNY, or equivalent ones at another institution.

I’m a graduate student having a hard time in a course. Should I drop the course or tough it out?
There are many concerns here, and this can be a difficult decision. You will want to talk to your instructor and/or the Graduate Advisor. But there are several important pieces of information to know and to factor into your decision:
If you retake a course, both grades (the grade you got the first time and the grade you got the second time) are counted in your GPA. This is different from the way that undergraduate GPAs are computed, where (subject to some limitations) the new grade may replace the old grade.
Given that a 3.0 GPA is needed to remain in good standing and to graduate, getting a low grade can make things difficult for quite some time or result in immediate dismissal from the program. For example, a 4 credit F will require getting A’s in 3 other 4 credit courses to balance out and bring the average GPA to 3.0, or it will require 5 A- grades or 11 B+ grades to return to a 3.0 average. Note that a typical student takes 8 courses to finish.

What about a foreign language requirement?
There is no foreign language requirement for the degree. Students may take courses unrelated to their major, but the credits will not count towards graduation.

I’ve already taken some related graduate courses in a related discipline, can those count towards my EAS MS degree?
Potentially as many as nine graduate credits in other departments (at CCNY or elsewhere) may be taken toward the degree in EAS. Note that if these courses were applied towards a previous undergraduate or graduate degree at CCNY, they can not be used again towards your EAS MS degree.

I’m very interested in a course that isn’t offered at CCNY. What can I do?
One possibility may be to take such a course through using an E-Permit. The first step is to discuss your plans with your thesis and/or graduate advisor. To count toward the CCNY degree, such a course needs to be at an appropriate level and there needs to be compelling justification. Each course needs to be approved in advance by the EAS graduate advisor.

The E-permit form asks for an “equivalent” CCNY course, but there isn’t one. What should I do? 
Select “Blanket Credit – Grad” (EAS 99901)

I’m interested in doing an independent study. How does that work?
Up to six independent study credits can be counted towards an MS degree in EAS. The first step in an independent study is finding a faculty member who is willing to supervise it. Once an instructor is arranged, Sadie Barnes (MR-416) will enroll you in the course.

I’d like more information about obtaining a VISA for my studies.
Students have found the website Education USA helpful. Other useful information for prospective international students can be found at Study in the States

For my master degree, I already have 30 credits, but I still need to come next semester to finish my thesis. Do I need to enroll the thesis with zero credits in order to maintain my status as an active student?
You will need to pay a maintenance of matriculation fee.

I was advised to take a few classes as a Non-Degree student. What will my tuition costs be?
Non-degree students at the masters level pay Non Resident Masters rate.

CCNY Career & Professional Development Institute
Provides a variety of services including workshops, appointments with career counselors, help with resumes and job search strategies, interview preparation and much more
CCNY Career Connections
Website has over 600 active job and internship opportunities of employers looking to hire CCNY students of all majors. Website has over 600 active job and internship opportunities of employers looking to hire CCNY students of all majors.
Big Apple Job & Internship Fair
Happens each spring and provides a chance to find out about career opportunities and internships.