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Applied Climate MEng

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Contact Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering Admissions

Lindsay Coleman
Lindsay Coleman

Graduate Coordinator

Ricky Rood, Applied Climate Graduate Chair
Ricky Rood

Program Director

Why get your master's degree in Applied Climate at Michigan?

Climate scientists talk about the usefulness of their data and knowledge. Practitioners, those who apply that knowledge, talk about usability. The Applied Climate MEng is the bridge between the two, with training focused on developing skills as a climate interpreter. 

The University of Michigan’s College of Engineering strives to be innovative, daring, and forward-thinking in our service to society. Across the University, many departments have interests in climate change and sustainability. At Michigan, you will be part of a vital collection of organizations with global span and interests, as well as being a center of research and education on the Great Lakes.

Applied Climate students, often, work closely with students in the School of Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) and, especially, the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center.  We also work with numerous local organizations, for example, the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR), the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), and the Great Lakes Science Center.

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Nilton Reno photo

What can you do with an MEng in Applied Climate? 

Students with an MEng in Applied Climate have graduated to work in a variety of sectors, including the federal government, non-profit organizations, the private sector, and the energy institute.

The ability to translate information into usable knowledge is the goal of this degree and is built upon developing skills and knowledge in the following areas:

  • Scientific foundation in climate science (climate expertise)
  • Where to get data and information (data retrieval)
  • Statistics and visualization of information (data analysis)
  • How to place data and information into the context of practitioner’s applications  (knowledge interpretation)
  • Uncertainty management through scenario planning (problem-solving)
photo of Chris Ruff
NASA talk with students

Courses Offered

Courses Offered Core courses (18 or 19 credits) for the MEng Applied Climate include climate data analysis (statistics), regional climate, and geographical information systems (GIS). For students with previous training in these subject areas, the program advisor can approve other courses. The elective courses (12 credits) expose students to the multi-disciplinary knowledge that is necessary to address the challenges of climate change. These courses are available, not only in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering but across the University as a whole. A goal of the Applied Climate program is for each student to have the expertise that will enable you to be the expert at the interface between climate science and practitioners. The program involves a two-semester practicum that consists of a client-defined “hands-on” project. See the Bulletin for course descriptions.

two people working on a project
students working out in a field

Sequential Undergraduate/ Graduate Studies Program (SUGS)

Current University of Michigan engineering students can complete both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in only five years with SUGS by taking some graduate-level classes during your undergraduate years, so you can save yourself one semester and complete a master’s with only two additional semesters.

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Practice your purpose

There is a rich variety of experiential learning opportunities to help you find your niche, connect with people who share your passion, and gain hands-on experience that’ll set your resumé apart from the stack.

Student Organizations

American Meteorology Society logo
American Meteorological Society

American Meteorological Society

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Michigan Geophysical Union Meeting

Michigan Geophysical Union Meeting

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GUStO logo for CLaSP graduate student group
Graduate & Undergraduate Student Organization (GUSto)

Graduate & Undergraduate Student Organization (GUSto)

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Professional Development

Engineering Career Resource Center (ECRC)

Engineering Career Resource Center (ECRC)

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Tau Beta Pi

Tau Beta Pi

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Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

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Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering Research

Applied Climate researcher and student.
Climate: Change and Modeling

Climate: Change and Modeling

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Paleoclimate

Paleoclimate

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Atmosphere-Biosphere Interactions

Atmosphere-Biosphere Interactions

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Research Videos

Alumni Bios

Each of these alumni were once in your shoes, deciding on a master’s degree.

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Alexia Prosperi

MEng Applied Climate, 2018

U.S. Forest Service

Fire Training Specialist

Image of Xiaolong Ji

Xiaolong Ji

MEng Applied Climate, 2017

Software Engineer

Image of Emily Gargulinski

Emily Gargulinski

MEng Applied Climate, 2018

National Institute of Aerospace

Research Scientist

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Rachel Kelly

MEng Applied Climate, 2018

Ohio EPA

Environmental Specialist

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Emily Upton

MEng Applied Climate Engineering, 2018

Modern Mill Solar

Solar Electrician

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Samantha Basile

MEng Applied Climate, 2014; MS Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, 2016

ICF

Senior Staff Scientist, NCA

Image of Alexia Prosperi

Alexia Prosperi

Valparaiso University, BS Meteorology, 2017

University of Michigan, MEng Applied Climate, 2018

U.S. Forest Service

Fire Training Specialist

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Career Summary

Towards the end of my time at Michigan, I applied to the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) program and was accepted. It is a competitive leadership development program with the federal government that sets you up for a career in public service. I actually heard about the program while working on a project at Michigan. Having the opportunity to network with people in a variety of fields related to climate allowed me to learn a lot about potential careers. The experience I gained working on projects during my time as an Applied Climate student undoubtedly helped as well. Applying the knowledge I was learning in the classroom to real-world projects while working with GLISA really gave me the chance to learn how to operate in the professional world. A lot of positions these days want some experience, even at the entry-level, and the hands-on experience I got at GLISA helped me check this box and prepared me for starting my career off strong.

How does your Master’s degree differentiate you from others?

My Master’s degree didn’t involve a thesis, but that didn’t make it any less valuable. My degree was more hands-on, where we applied what we learned to real-world projects, oftentimes working with GLISA. When I worked with GLISA, I didn’t feel like a student. I felt like it was my job, and was treated as such. I contributed to projects on teams and occasionally on my own. I gained a lot of experience communicating climate change information, and helping with vulnerability assessments, both of which are helping me in my current position. Employers liked seeing that I had working experience. I was more than just a Master’s degree, I had shown that I was capable of working and applying what I learned, and that opened a lot of doors for me. 

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

During my time at Michigan, I worked for Athletics, so that was a huge like. I truly loved that job. When I worked with GLISA, I also helped during the Great Lakes Adaptation Forum (GLAF), which I would highly recommend attending if it occurs during your time. It’s great for networking, and you learn a lot about climate adaptation in the region. Some advice would be to enjoy your time at Michigan. Ann Arbor is an awesome city. Of course, you’re there to study and learn, and that’s a priority, but it’s important to take time to have fun outside of your education. It helps alleviate stress, and you’ll create lasting memories. I would also recommend trying to get to a football game. The voice of James Earl Jones still gives me chills in the best possible way.

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Xiaolong Ji

Nanjing University, BS Meteorology, 2015

University of Michigan, MEng Applied Climate, 2017

Software Engineer

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Career Summary

Though my job is in a different field, what I learned in this program still provides me some support. No matter what kind of project you are involved in, collecting information as much as you can, using your professional skills to understand it and explaining your work to ordinary people in understandable words would always lead to a good job.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

My favorite classes are 480 and 530. These two courses provide me the ability to use my professional skills solving real world problems. Besides, these courses also give me a chance using speech and posts to help people understand complicated climate terms.

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Emily Gargulinski

University of Michigan, BSE Climate and Meteorology, 2017

University of Michigan, MSE Applied Climate, 2018

Certificate of Graduate Studies in Spatial Analysis

National Institute of Aerospace

Research Scientist

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Career Summary

I currently work as a Research Scientist at the National Institute of Aerospace.  I analyze CALIPSO satellite-derived smoke plume injection height data for wildfires in North America. I also work with both diurnal smoke plume behavior, as well as climatological wildfire patterns in the United States. Previously, I have worked as an intern at NASA Langley, doing archiving of plane fuel emissions and preparing and launching Ozone Sondes for the OWLETS 2017 campaign. In the 6 months leading up to my permanent job position, I analyzed US wildfire smoke behavior and historical burn patterns in the US.

What excites you about your career?

As a research scientist, I am always excited to tackle new challenges in data. Part of my job involves analyzing and graphically representing discrepancies between data products, which allows me to apply both my creative and logical skills. The data products I work on have real-life applications for people’s health and safety, so I feel motivated to analyze as much as I can to make a positive impact.

Reflection on Time Spent at UM

  • Ann Arbor will forever be my “hoMe”! I loved how U of M was so incorporated with the local communities and how normal it was to have and participate in diverse cultures and educational perspectives. 
  • I loved how U of M always had some sort of event or celebration going on, and how easy it was to participate in our community. I believe that the encouragement and openness of my professors allowed me to explore and find what I liked to do. 
  • My only regret is that I wish I had tried and participated in more school clubs and gone to more open houses in my early undergrad.
  • Favorite Student Org: The American Meteorological Society because it allowed my classmates and I to bond over our common climate and meteorology interests and created close-knit friendships that I still value to this day.
  • Favorite Class: CLIMATE 462 Instruments for Atmospheric & Space Sciences because it was hands-on building of scientific instruments and taught me the value of calibration and understanding how data is sampled. It was truly a unique class!

Advice to Students

Explore any topic you find interesting. There are so many opportunities to incorporate your interests into your class load, and by talking with other students and professors you may find a passion you never even knew was a possibility. Diversity of classes leads to better interdisciplinary solutions to future problems! 

What do you like to do outside of work?

I really enjoy exploring local parks and nature trails. I feel like I connect more with my job and get more meaning from it when I can see the ecosystems that are represented as numbers in my work. Observing nature’s beauty reminds me of why climate change study is so important!

Career Timeline

  • National Institute of Aerospace
  • NASA
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Rachel Kelly

Ohio State University, BS Atmospheric Science, 2016

University of Michigan, MEng Applied Climate, 2018

Ohio EPA

Environmental Specialist

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Career Summary

After graduating with my BS, I went on to work as a GIS Technician for Stark County, Ohio. It gave me a lot of valuable real-world problem-solving skills that I did not get while in the classroom setting. That position also led me to pursue my Master’s degree because I realized I wanted to use the technical skills I had picked up while working in GIS, but wanted to incorporate my atmospheric science background more too. The Applied Climate program seemed perfect for my background and interests. The curriculum tied together my experiences and allowed me to get an engineering background as well to add another facet to my knowledge. Working with GLISA to develop solutions throughout my graduate experience allowed me to work again on developing solutions to real-world problems while also continuing to learn in the classroom. It was the best of both worlds. That problem-solving mentality, along with a passion for public service, led me to find another government position in my home state with Ohio EPA’s Division on Air Pollution Control. While I am out of the classroom now, the fast-changing technology used in air pollution control is keeping me on my toes and satisfying my love of learning that grew from my education experiences; my engineering courses have helped me better understand the unique processes at each of the facilities we regulate, and the teamwork I learned through (sometimes difficult) group projects are forever useful in an office setting.

How does your Master’s degree differentiate you from others?

I think the biggest difference and asset between my degree and others, aside from the great school name and recognition, is the experience I got to work with a government organization like GLISA. The team is wonderful and they allowed me to dive in and tackle climate change issues that have large-scale effects on multiple facets of today’s society. I could talk about those experiences while interviewing for jobs and it gave me an edge compared to other candidates. 

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

Take advantage of all of the great resources available! There are so many valuable tools for U of M students, use them! Professional development resources, networking resources, health resources, it goes on and on. These are things I definitely miss now that I’m not a student.

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Emily Upton

University of Michigan, BSE Earth System Science & Engineering, 2017

University of Michigan, MSE Applied Climate Engineering, 2018

Modern Mill Solar

Solar Electrician

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Career Summary

For the last few months, I have been working as a solar electrician for a small startup named Modern Mill Solar in Royal Oak, MI learning how to install and maintain residential solar projects. My next career goal is to work in rural regions of developing countries to bring clean, reliable, and affordable energy to regions that have not had access to it yet, or regions that seem like might use fossil fuels if other options are not available. For this reason, I am spending the next two years learning the ropes of renewable energy design and installation, so that when I am 25, I can apply for field positions with the U.N. volunteer program.

Previously, I was an Associate Project Officer working as the first office member facilitating the growth of the Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System (IG3IS) within the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

What excites you about your career?

The opportunity to work on the global multi-faceted issue that is climate change, and knowing that because it is multi-faceted, my career can have several and varied pasts.

Reflection on Time Spent at UM

  • I like the small college feel of the CLaSP department, with the big college resources of UM. I felt the CLaSP department was a dynamic, innovative, and supportive team that I learned a ton from and I hope to contribute to as I continue my career.
  • Favorite Student Orgs: UMAMS, Climate Blue, Michigan GIVErs
  • Favorite Classes: CLaSP 480, CLaSP 530, CLaSP 370, Environ 365 (International Climate Policy)

Advice to Students

Do as much as you can while you are at  U of M. There are so many incredible people, resources, and ideas constantly surrounding you on that campus. Take advantage of them by going to office hours and getting to know your professors, attending as many panels and special events as possible, joining student organizations that push your professional and social boundaries, etc. This will help you figure out who you are, what you want out of life, and how your skills can best contribute to society.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Running, mountain climbing (I climbed Kilimanjaro in Tanzania & Salkantay and Machu Picchu in Peru), studying language (I studied Spanish and French and I am looking to study Swahili and Arabic next), and volunteering.

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Samantha Basile

SUNY Albany, BS Atmospheric Science, 2013

University of Michigan, MEng Applied Climate, 2014

University of Michigan, MS Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, 2016

University of Michigan, PhD Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, 2019

ICF

Senior Staff Scientist, NCA

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Career Summary

My career motivation has focused on interfaces between science research, application, and policy. While in graduate school I had opportunities to work on a range of projects— including Great Lakes free-thaw cycles, precipitation, and harmful algal blooms, and land-atmosphere carbon exchange. Encouragement and guidance from multiple mentors as well as shared experiences with other students were pivotal for my growth as a scientist within a broader community. In addition to research work, I strove to maintain a connection to applied science and stakeholder engagement through the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Program (GLISA). I was grateful to be asked to return to GLISA after my Ph.D. in a temporary climatologist position. On and off-campus, I led interdisciplinary efforts focused on science policy communication and participation, including community events and op-ed writing. I was heavily involved with Climate Blue, the campus group that supports the University of Michigan Climate Delegation to the U.N. international climate negotiations. In 2017, I was selected as a U of M climate delegate and attended the negotiations in Bonn, Germany. Through all of these experiences, I developed skills to think critically, communicate to different audiences, and work across boundaries which have supported my growth as a professional moving from academia to consulting and government work environments.

How does your Master’s degree differentiate you from others?

The Applied Climate M.Eng program provided me with the flexibility to explore coursework and rapidly accrue experience in climate data analysis, research translation, and stakeholder engagement. I was able to work alongside other Masters students, faculty, and local practitioners on problem-solving for targeted climate issues. 

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

Graduate school is often overwhelming and can compound challenges a student may already be facing. Participating in groups and activities, both on and off-campus, allowed me to fight stretches of isolation. I also utilized depression counseling and support services throughout my graduate career and into my professional life. Friends and mentors were immensely helpful to me in maintaining motivation. I really enjoyed working with other students in Climate Blue, the Michigan Earth Science Women’s Network, and the Michigan University-wide Sustainability and Environment initiative. Living in Ann Arbor, I was able to maintain hobbies in running and salsa dance, and also met many inspiring local climate leaders.

Industries & Companies

tornado chasing

Industries & Occupations

tornado chasing
  • Policy/advocacy groups
  • State, local and federal governments
  • Urban planning
  • Public health
  • Water management
  • University professors and research scientists
  • Risk management, climate/weather derivative (finance)
  • Utilities and energy companies
  • Wind, solar and alternative energy

Companies

  • NASA
  • National Renewable Energies Laboratory (NREL)
  • DTE
  • Native Energy
  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Ohio EPA
  • National Forest Service
  • ICF
  • Great Lakes Sciences and Assessment Center (GLISA)
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measuring an instrument

Salaries

Discover the value of a master’s degree!  On average, UM graduates with a master’s degree in an engineering field can earn 15-25% more than those with a bachelor’s degree in engineering.  Use the links below to research average salaries based on a UM engineering master’s degree, experience level, and desired work location.