University of Innsbruck

Master in Atmospheric Sciences


The intermediate academic degree taught in English for students, who want to acquire more in-depth skills and knowledge after the Bachelor's degree in an international cohort. Over the course of two years the students will come more closely in touch with the current research topics at our department, in the fields of atmospheric dynamics, atmospheric physics/chemistry, and climatology/glaciology – most of them with a focus on complex terrain – our field of excellence. 

Who can apply?

Our students have bachelor degrees from a variety of fields. However, only applications with at least 20 ECTS in mathematics, 12 in physics/chemistry and 2 in programming will be considered further.


Curriculum, Recommended Course Schedule, Examination Regulations 

Course Catalogue

Dates of enrollment periods for courses

Information for International Students.


Practical information from the study advisor

The form to substitute courses from other degree programs for one from the Atmospheric Science curriculum is here  ; you will also fill in the   appendix curriculum 2015 / appendix curriculum 2007The following courses will be automatically (i.e. without the form) accepted: for Module 15 Numerische Methoden B
707805 Ausgewählte Aspekte der Atmosphärendynamik: Numerische Methoden für Atmosphärenwissenschaften VO2; 707806 Ausgewählte Aspekte der Atmosphärendynamik: Numerische Methoden für Atmosphärenwissenschaften UE2
and courses from the elective modules 10, 11 may be combined with courses from modules 12, 13

To be able to apply for our Master's programme, you will need a Bachelor's degree in Atmospheric Science, Physics, Mathematics, Earth Sciences or related fields. You will then have to start the admission process through the Admission Department of our University. Detailed information is available in Deutsch and English, respectively. Note that procedures vary for EU and non-EU citizens, and whether you have a Bachelor's degree from the University of Innsbruck, another Austrian University, or from abroad. Your application can and will only be processed after your Bachelor's degree documents are available! Application deadlines are given here. The regular deadline is usually 3-4 weeks before the start of the semester. Under special conditions, an application is still possible afterwards. We encourage you to apply even if your Bachelor's degree is not in Atmospheric Science (or Meteorology). In this case, the admission procedure takes longer. You should submit your application at least two months prior to the start of the Semester.
After having examined your application the Associate Dean of Studies will make the final decision whether you have the prerequisites for the programme or whether you will have to take additional courses parallel to your regular classes. Admission is not possible if you do not have at least 20 ECTS points in the core subjects of mathematics (linear algebra, calculus, partial differential equations), at least 12 ECTS points in physics and/or chemistry, and at least 2 ECTS from a programming course (python preferred but other languages also accepted).
If you have not taken dynamical meteorology and/or weather forecasting courses you may still be admitted but will have to take a supplementary course in your first semester/year of the program. Please submit your application paperwork at least two months prior to the beginning of the semester, especially when your bachelor degree is not in Atmospheric Science. Note, however, that you may only apply with the complete set of required documents. The Master's programme takes at least two years. The first 3 semesters are largely dedicated to coursework. During the fourth semester you will be mostly doing the research for the thesis.The courses consist of auxiliary subjects teaching you the mathematical, numerical modeling and observational methods needed for the core subjects in atmospheric dynamics, atmospheric physics and chemistry, climatology and glaciology.

The sequence of courses is geared towards starting the program in a fall semester. However, starting in the spring semester is also possible.

Preparatory phase for non-Atmospheric Science majors

If your Bachelor program has not introduced you to the atmosphere, Dave Randall's Atmosphere, Clouds and Climate is a great and immensely readable yet thorough primer and fairly inexpensive for an atmospheric science book. An alternative are the first five chapters of the book Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate Dynamics by Marshall and Plumb. You might find accompanying videos of laboratory experiments illuminating. If you are particularly interested in the glaciological  part of our program you will get an overview from the book The Physics of Glaciers by Cuffey and Paterson, which is also a good reference for your glaciological courses. If you have little experience in programming we recommend taking an online course in python, e.g. one with

Phase 1: Course work

You will take courses on "tools", core and elective subjects.

  • The "tools" for your work are numerical methods, numerical modelling, geostatistics, scientific programming, scientific writing and presenting.
  • Core subjects are atmospheric physics and chemistry, climate and cryosphere, dynamics, boundary layer meteorology, weather forecasting. All of them have an emphasis on mountainous
  • Elective courses are from atmospheric and cryospheric sciences for the module 8: Advanced Topics) and additionally also from related disciplines for the module 9: Interdisciplinary skills.

The recommended course schedule is available here.

As soon as you have finished all your courses (with the exception of the thesis), fill out the form with all your courses and take it to the Department of Examinations (Prüfungsreferat für Geo- und Atmosphärenwissenschaften).

Phase 2: Thesis

Writing the thesis occurs in two steps: preparation and research/writing. It takes at least six months if you are working full time on it, however, you are allowed to take longer. It is best to choose your topic and advisor in the semester prior to your last one, especially if the topic requires obtaining data. You find a list of topics in OLAT by clicking this link. After logging in with your account details, you will be redirected to the Master thesis course page, where you will have to register before you can see the list of topics and sign up for them. You may also ask the advisors in the research area(s) of your interest whether they have further topics or even suggest your own topic.

The preparatory step begins with agreeing on a topic with your advisor. It ends when you hand in a a draft containing motivation, current state of research (literature), goals, a brief statement (2 paragraphs) of the methods and data being used, and a work plan for your thesis. At that time fill out the forms - registration of the thesis and grading of the preparatory work. Have your advisor sign it digitally and send the signed copy cc: to and you.Please use a descriptive email subject, e.g. Anmeldung Masterarbeit Atmosphärenwissenschaften YOUR NAME. The preparatory step fulfills the compulsory module 10 ("Preparation of the Master's Thesis") and earns you 7.5 ECTS.

The research/writing step consists of doing the research to reach the goals stated in the preparatory step and writing the thesis. The first part of the thesis will be a finetuned version of the preparatory work you did. No specific layout is prescribed for the thesis but you may use a LaTeX-template provided here: Source: Download thesis_template_v2.0 Preview: thesis_template_v2.0-1 You must also include a sworn statement about having properly conducted your research.

Phase 3: Finishing

Once your advisor approved of the final version of your thesis, print and bind (softcover or hardcover but no spiral-binding) two copies, take them to the Prüfungsreferat, and get the forms for your final defence exam and the grading form and take that one to your advisor. The university library gets one of the hardcopies, the institute the other one.Electronically submit your thesis and a pdf of it to the university library, where it will become visible after you successfully defended your thesis.

Arrange the date of the final exam ("defensio") with three professors: your advisor, a second examiner and one chair of the examination committee. If at all possible, the second examiner or the chair should not be in the same research group as the advisor. In case you cannot have all of them sign the form for the final defence, ask them to confirm their participation in the exam in a short email to you and take that to the Prüfungsreferat instead. IMPORTANT: The defense can normally not be held any sooner than 4 weeks after handing in your thesis.  Ask the secretaries secretaries (phone) to post details of your defense presentation on the home page of the Institute and for the reservation of either our seminar or computer room for the presentation, and the Institute's conference room for the subsequent exam with your committee. Upon prior arrangement, your presentation can also be streamed so that other people can participate online, too. Should circumstances make it difficult/impossible for you to be onsite, the defense can also be held online.

The first part of the defense is a public presentation of your research results of 30 minutes. Afterwards anybody in the audience may ask questions. Finally, the defense committee will examine the candidate about the broader scientific area into which the thesis is embedded. Other people are allowed to listen in. Thatlast part may take up to an hour.

After the successful defence you will receive your graduation certificate from the Prüfungsreferat (be patient!). Also, the pdf of your thesis will be available to everyone at our university library.


Study advisor (Prof. Dr. Georg MAYR) 

  1. Student representative: Paula Spannring, 2nd semester Master
  2. Student representative: Almut Alexa, 6th semester Master
  3. Student representative: Daniel Gratzl, 6th semester Bachelor

As student representatives we are the first point of contact for students. Our aim is to make studying at our institute as comfortable as possible. If you have suggestions for courses, but do not want to address them personally, feel free to contact us. You can also tell us if you have a problem with a teacher or other students. We are also organizing some events during the semester to get together students of all semesters. These events will be announced at our OLAT course. For any questions please contact us personally or write an email to