Climate and Atmospheric Science MRes

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a scientifically or mathematically based field
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
UK fees
£13,500 (Total)
International fees
£31,000 (Total)

Course overview

Three Masters students working together in the School of Earth and Environment

Experts in atmospheric science and climate are highly sought after by industry, governments and not-for-profit organisations to address the climate crisis and provide predictions and solutions for the future.

Our Climate and Atmospheric Science Masters by Research degree (MRes) is for those of you who are passionate about taking on these challenges in climate. It’ll prepare you with the relevant knowledge and skills you’ll need to be one of the scientists delivering those solutions.

You’ll gain an excellent grounding in physical science, data analysis and research, along with practical and communication skills – all of which will prepare you for a career in climate, atmospheric or environmental sciences. You’ll have the opportunity to gain a broad overview of the key research areas in climate and atmospheric science such as air quality, weather and climate extremes, polar meteorology, climate and agriculture, atmospheric chemistry, aerosol science and paleoclimate. You’ll also develop highly transferable skills in these subjects, with a strong emphasis on quantitative data analysis, numerical modelling, experimental fieldwork and scientific communication.

Because this degree is an MRes, there’s a large focus on learning through research projects, which gives you the flexibility to pursue your own research interests, building the skills that’ll enhance your employability in a scientific career. It's also excellent preparation for a PhD.

You'll study in our School of Earth and Environment, which is home to several research centres and a wealth of expert academics and researchers who are leading groundbreaking research programmes and contributing to international assessments that inform policy. This means you’ll be learning the latest science alongside active changemakers, giving you the extensive skill set and in-depth understanding you’ll need to pursue a career in industry, government or academia.

Why study at Leeds:

  • Learn the latest innovations in climate and atmospheric science from our five globally-renowned research institutes that are actively working to tackle the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges and whose work feeds directly into your course.
  • This MRes focuses on learning and skills development through projects, with a research project (50%), taught courses in core research skills (25%) and optional taught modules.
  • Learn the latest innovations in climate and atmospheric science, directly informed by researchers at the forefront of their fields and based in the University’s research centres and institutes such as the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science (ICAS) and the Priestley Centre for Climate Futures (PICF).
  • Advance your research skills and be regarded as a researcher within the School of Earth and Environment, expected to work closely with the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science (ICAS) staff, attend seminars and other events, and present your research at the annual ICAS Science Conference along with academics and doctoral researchers.
  • Tailor your course to suit your career or research aspirations, choosing from our large and diverse selection of optional modules.
  • Access research-grade equipment that’ll assist your project work, including the University’s Research Computing facility, the Cohen Geochemistry labs, MetLab and electron microscopes, depending on your chosen topic.
  • Develop practical research skills through an introductory field trip to Dale Fort.

Course details

This course is designed to provide you with an optimum combination of specialist scientific knowledge and transferable skills that are required for a career as a research scientist in industry or in a university. You’ll have the opportunity to align the course to your career aspirations, through a large range of optional modules that build on the world-leading research conducted across the university.

You’ll develop skills in independent thinking, proposal development, research methods, project planning and scientific communication that are sought after by employers and also vital for onward PhD study.

Project work

From day one we will support you in becoming a researcher in this field, producing an original piece of research through your dissertation project.

Throughout the 12-month duration of the course, you'll work on your research project alongside an academic supervisor chosen from the School of Earth and Environment dependent on your choice of research topic or theme. Your project work will be supported through modules in which you'll learn valuable research skills such as practical research skills, scientific communication skills and quantitative research.

You'll also have the opportunity to learn to use Python and attend additional seminars on more advanced programming techniques, ultimately learning how to use programming to produce a tool to help with your research and to display your project.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Climate and Atmospheric Science MRes in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Observing weather and climate: advanced field skills 15
Advanced Data Analysis and Visualisation for Environmental Applications 15
Scientific Quality and Discourse 15
MRes Research Project 90

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Introduction to GIS 15
Population Dynamics 15
Energy, Molecules and Chemical Change 10
Atmospheric Chemistry 10
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics 15
Advanced Geophysical Fluid Dynamics 20
Winds, Bubbles and Explosions 15
Dynamics of Weather Systems 10
Earth Observations from Space 10
Atmosphere and Ocean Climate Change Processes 10
Atmospheric Pollution: Causes, Impact and Regulation 10
Ice in the Earth System 10
Atmospheric Physics 10
Modelling Extreme Weather Events 10
Terrestrial Biosphere in the Earth System 10
Ice in the Earth System 15
Dynamics of Weather Systems 15
Weather, Climate and Air Quality 30
Advanced Atmosphere and Ocean Dynamics 15
Physical climate change, impacts and mitigation 30
Terrestrial Biosphere in the Earth System 15

Learning and teaching

You'll be taught through classwork, research seminars, lectures, tutorials, poster presentations, fieldwork and tutorials.

The dissertation project offers the opportunity to conduct a significant piece of research with the potential to generate a peer-reviewed journal article. This aims to teach the key transferable skill of communicating results professionally and efficiently and increase the frequency of publication of students’ research.

You'll also benefit from working alongside current PhD students and research fellows.

You'll be assigned a personal tutor, who will contact you throughout the year and offer pastoral guidance and advice on next steps after you graduate.

Active research environment

The School of Earth and Environment is home to five globally-renowned research institutes, which are at the heart of our active research environment – working to tackle the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges. Throughout your degree you'll be taught by experts who are leaders in their fields and be directly engaged with their cutting-edge research.

Academics and researchers teaching on this course are often based in or working with:

Industry links

Students on this programme will carry out research-directed work, implementing new developments and joining existing and new collaborations with agencies such as the Met Office, British Antarctic Survey, the Environment Agency, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science. Many students perform field projects in conjunction with international field campaigns.

Specialist facilities

You'll be based in the School of Earth and Environment which is home to world-class research, teaching and laboratory facilities. You’ll also have access to dedicated computer facilities many throughout your studies.

Dependent on your project topic, you may have access to facilities such as the Cohen Geochemistry labs, MetLab, electron microscopes and the ARC4 HPC cluster. Due to the course's close links with NCAS you could also have access to high-spec meeting and presentation rooms based in their building on the edge of campus.

Programme team

You'll be taught by staff from across the School, primarily from the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science. Your Programme Leader is Professor Cathryn Birch, who also teaches as well as regularly supervises research projects and provides tutorial support.

Whilst working on your project, you'll have the opportunity to work with one of over 50 supervisors specialising in your chosen topic from across the School of Earth and Environment.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Your dissertation project accounts for a significant part of your assessment.

You’re also assessed on work you do in course, for example through field notebooks, project proposals, seminars, submission of a computer project and a literature-based survey.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or above in a physical science such as (but not limited to) physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering, geophysics, atmospheric or environmental science, meteorology or oceanography.

Whilst it is preferred that you have studied at least one year of university-level mathematics, it is not essential and additional courses are available as part of this course to support your learning.

Applicants with a 2:2 will be considered on a case-by-case basis where they can demonstrate relevant work experience or aptitude in a relevant specialist field. Graduates from other disciplines and those with professional experience in the sector will also be considered.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information, please contact the Admissions Team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Application deadlines

Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

31 July 2024 – International applicants

8 September 2024 – UK applicants

Click below to access the University’s online application system and find out more about the application process.

If you're still unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Earth and Environment

Contact us

School of Earth and Environment Postgraduate Admissions Team



UK: £13,500 (Total)

International: £31,000 (Total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Additional cost information

Travel, accommodation and subsistence costs associated with compulsory field trips are covered by the university.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Career opportunities

Climate change couldn’t be more pertinent than it is in society today. Organisations and governments rely on the expertise of people who can help understand the impact of climate on a regional or global scale in order to create solutions for the future. It’s the skills and in-depth understanding you’ll gain in this field from this course which will prove invaluable to employers worldwide, in both the public and private sectors.

Highly numerate graduates with training in independent research are widely sought after. Our graduates have strong employment prospects – securing jobs with national agencies, environmental consultancies, wind-power companies and the insurance sector.

Plus, University of Leeds students are among the top 5 most targeted by top employers according to The Graduate Market 2024, High Fliers Research, meaning our graduates are highly sought after by some of the most reputable companies in the field.

Our graduates have secured positions including:

  • Wind Energy Resource Surveyor, OwnEnergy, USA
  • Catastrophe Modelling Analysts, Willis, UK
  • Beamline Associate, Argonne National Laboratory, US
  • Air Quality Scientist, Golder, UK
  • Environmental Consultant, Haskoning UK Ltd., Peterborough, UK
  • Research Meteorologist, JMA, Japan
  • Graduate Environmental Consultant, CH2M
  • Graduate Environmental Advisor, Costain Group
  • PhD Student, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading
  • PhD Student, University of Canterbury

Careers support

At Leeds, we help you to prepare for your future from day one — that’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers. The University's Careers Service is one of the largest in the country, providing a wide range of resources to ensure you are prepared to take your next steps after graduation and get you where you want to be.

  • Dedicated Employability Officer — gain quality advice, guidance and information to help you choose a career path. From CV and cover letter writing to supporting you with job applications, our School’s dedicated Employability Officer is on hand to help maximise your capabilities through a process of personal development and career planning.
  • Employability and networking events — we run a full range of events, including careers fairs and industry talks in specialist areas and across broader industries, with employers who are actively recruiting for roles, giving you the opportunity to network and engage with industry sponsors. 
  • Employability skills training – to support your transition to the workplace, we embed training in a range of key transferable skills valued by employers such as research and data analysis in all our programmes.
  • MyCareer system — on your course and after you graduate you’ll have access to a dedicated careers portal where you can book appointments with our team, get information on careers and see job vacancies and upcoming events.
  • Opportunities at Leeds — there are plenty of exciting opportunities offered by our Leeds University Union, including volunteering and over 300 clubs and societies to get involved in.

Find out more at the Careers website.

Alumni profile: Paloma Trascasa-Castro

Everyone in the School of Earth and Environment is very passionate about what they do, and that enthusiasm ultimately passes on you.
Find out more about Paloma Trascasa-Castro's time at Leeds