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 graduate credits and submit a thesis. The thesis consists of an independent theoretical, laboratory, or field investigation supervised by a faculty advisor. Thesis work counts as six credits (taken three credits at a time during two semesters). 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 12 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 (generally by May 15, August 15, and December 15 for spring, summer, and fall graduations, respectively). The exit exam is based on three different courses chosen by the student. Students should coordinates test times (generally 1-4 hours for each of the three parts of the test) with the instructors of the three classes. 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 (generally by May 15, August 15, and December 15 for spring, summer, and fall graduations, respectively). Three thesis defense committee 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. Upload your thesis to Academic Works and deliver a final digital copy of the thesis to the grad advisor (Kidder). The thesis must look professional, have an abstract, and be free of typos. The digital copies of the thesis do not need to include the signature page. The final version of the thesis should be uploaded within 2-3 weeks of the defense.
  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’m interested in the thesis option. How do I find a thesis project?
Students interested in doing a thesis will need to reach out to professors who they are interested in working with. This can be done by email, e.g. “Dear Professor X, I am a new/prospective MS student in the EAS department and I’m interested in doing research in the area of Y. I am writing to inquire if you have any research opportunities in your lab available in the coming semesters.”  Another approach is for students to ask professors they have taken a course with or are taking a course with about potential research opportunities—oftentimes this is a better option than email since both individuals will have a better understanding from the classroom experience of their mutual interests, compatibility, and potential.

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. Lacking this, you may be required to make up some undergraduate classes before entering the program or, in some cases, after being admitted.  Many EAS classes assume some background knowledge in chemistry, physics and calculus, and students having familiarity with these subjects are better prepared to successfully complete the program. Feel free to send an inquiry and transcript to the grad advisor (Kidder) for feedback on your specific circumstances. We generally recommend partially completing the prerequisites 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.

I am an international student interested in joining the EAS MS program. What funding opportunities are available?
Unfortunately, the most common sources of funding for our MS students (e.g. NOAA CESSRT) are available only to U.S. citizens. Funding opportunities for international MS students are limited to teaching assistantships (TA) and faculty-sponsored research positions. Depending on qualifications, MS students can teach various labs and classes and receive funding roughly equal to tuition costs. TA funding will not cover living expenses, so international students will either need to have outside income, use savings, or be sponsored by a faculty member with research funding. We recommend that qualified international applicants reach out to individual faculty to inquire whether they have research funding available.

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 thinking to transfer from a different institution. Can I transfer graduate courses I took there?
Students may transfer up to 12 graduate credits from outside institutions towards their degree. These course could be taken before or during the student’s time at CCNY. The courses must be approved by the CCNY graduate advisor (Kidder), and may not have been applied previously to a different degree. Note that these credits count as “non-EAS” credits, and no more than 12 non-EAS credits can be applied towards an MS degree in EAS, i.e. if a student transferred in 12 credits, then all remaining credits used toward the degree would need to be within EAS (not from other CUNY schools via e-permit or other CCNY departments).

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 system can be accessed in Cuny First under “Academic records.”

The E-permit form asks for an “equivalent” CCNY course, but there isn’t one. What should I do? 
Select “Blanket Credit – Grad” (e.g. EAS 99901, EAS 99902, EAS T9901).

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, contact the grad advisor (Kidder) to 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.

I have some graduate credits at another institution. Will they transfer?
A certain number of credits will generally transfer as long as the credits have not been previously applied to a degree. The letter grade for the courses will not count towards the GPA at CCNY.

Because of work or other life changes, I can no longer take classes at CUNY. Can I take classes at an online or out of state institution to finish my degree?
Yes, however 24 credits must be taken at CCNY. Thus, up to 9 credits can be transferred from other institutions if pursuing the “credit option.” Up to 6 credits are allowed for thesis option students. The credits must be graduate level and broadly related to the Earth Sciences. Online courses, including GIS courses, from reputable institutions will generally qualify. Contact the graduate advisor (Kidder) with the details of the proposed classes to verify in advance of enrolling.

I would like to enroll as a non-matriculated student. How do I do that?
To register as a non-matriculated student, you need to fill out the same online graduate student application as other students. There is an option to indicate your intended non-matriculated status. Letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose are not required for non-matriculated students. Please also contact graduate advisor (Kidder) before applying so that we can help make sure this is the right option for you and also keep an eye out for your application.

What kind of job opportunities are available for students completing an MS degree with a concentration in atmospheric science?
Non-thesis MS students with a concentration in atmospheric science have prospects of getting a job doing science communication with an NGO, or working for NYC either in the Dept of Environmental Protection or Emergency Management Services. Thesis MS students with an Atmospheric Science concentration get more programming experience which may result in more opportunities. In recent years we have had student get an internship at ConEdison and then a permanent job at the EPA. Other students have gotten jobs at risk management companies, computer programming, CUNY (teaching), and other students have entered PhD programs.

I have a day job. Do you have evening classes? Would I be able to graduate the program?
We offer some evening classes, but most of our classes are day classes. If you have a strict, daytime five day a week 9-5 work schedule our program won’t be a good option. If you have some flexibility, however, it’s possible to collect enough credits to complete a degree. For example, several students in the past years have been able to complete the program by switching to four days of work a week, or finishing early in the day on some days so they can take an afternoon course. In general, the COVID-19 pandemic has made our courses more accessible (e.g. some have switched to asynchronous, or have lectures recorded that can be watched online). Students attempting to get a degree while working full time day jobs will generally end up taking several EAS courses that work with their schedule, however, rather than getting to pick all the ones they want. Generally these students will also max out their e-permits by taking 12 credits of courses at other CUNY schools.

When will I receive my degree after I finish all the requirements?
Degrees are certified four times a year at the conclusion of each term (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer), so approximately Jan. 1, Feb. 1, June 1, and Sept. 1.

Help! I got a FIN or F grade on my transcript and it’s pulling my GPA way down.
Unfortunately the replace option, which is available to undergrads, is not available for masters students—there isn’t an F repeat policy for MS students.  If you finish the original work with the original professor, we could process a request for a change of grade, but it may have to go to the MS committee on course and standing. With a strong and valid reason and justification, you might also apply to the committee on course and standing for a retroactive W, but the committee would likely rule against such a change unless the reason is extremely compelling.

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