Financial Aid

No student is accepted to our programs unless funding is available to support them. Research assistantships (RA's) are offered to the best students who apply each year.  The initial assignment of student to faculty advisor can be changed once the student has settled on a particular area of research interest. Most students in the doctoral program take the General Exam (see Graduate student handbook here) after two years, and subsequently devote full time to their doctoral theses.

Some teaching assistantships (TA's) are also available, but these are normally awarded to advanced graduate students, who then devote one-quarter of their time to teaching activities.

All students entering our programs are fully funded, whether through fellowships from endowed funds [e.g. Charney, Shrock, Kerr, Klein, Presidential, Ida Green, Energy, etc.], or research grants.

The 2009-2010 stipend is approximately $2,350 per month.

No holder of a fellowship or assistantship can accept other employment.

Appointments are normally made for the nine-month academic year (Sept 1-May 31). Three-month summer appointments may also be made. These are normally available to first-year graduate students, but may not always be so.

During the January Independent Activities Period (IAP), research and teaching assistants are expected to be in residence and to be employed in activities relevant to their degree program, e.g., IAP activities, independent study, research projects, etc.

Prospective students are also encouraged to apply for NSF, DOD, Hertz, or other fellowships on forms available through their undergraduate institutions or directly from the funding agency. These fellowships may be awarded only to citizens of the United States. Should students bring fellowships with them, if required, they will be subsidized to meet MIT's stipend level.

The Henry G. Houghton Fund

The Henry G. Houghton Fund was established by the late Henry G. Houghton to enhance graduate research in meteorology and physical oceanography. It supports the acquisition of research equipment, student travel to conferences and workshops, journal subscriptions, and many other graduate research activities. It also supports lectures by distinguished scientists from outside MIT. All PAOC students are eligible to apply for funding from this account. Profs.John Marshall (chair), Glenn Flierl and Kerry Emanuel comprise The Houghton Committee.

The Jule Charney Fellowships

Prof. Jule G. Charney, who was a faculty member from 1956 until his death in 1981, was one of the great founders of modern meteorology, and a major contributor to theoretical physical oceanography. He is best known for his seminal discussion of baroclinic instability and his founding, as a member of von Neumann's group at the Institute of Advanced Study in 1948, of the field of numerical weather prediction. In honor of these and others of Charney's great contributions, PAOC awards an annual Jule G. Charney fellowship to an outstanding incoming graduate student.

See here for more information on Jule Charney.

The Warren G. Klein Fund

This fund, made possible by the estate of Warren Klein, was established in 1998 to provide fellowship assistance to graduate students in PAOC with a preference for a student in meteorology. Graduate student Robert Korty, now a Professor at Texas A&M, was the first beneficiary.


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