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Study information

Weather and Climate Science (2024)

1. Programme Title:

Weather and Climate Science

NQF Level:


2. Description of the Programme (as in the Business Approval Form)

The MSc Weather and Climate Science programme at the University of Exeter draws on the University’s expertise in quantitative modelling of the atmosphere and climate, offering you the opportunity to study with experts who directly contribute to global understanding of weather and climate systems (for example on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). With a firm focus on career-oriented postgraduate training, you will acquire the skills needed to secure relevant roles in many private and public bodies, businesses or government agencies, and the programme also provides an excellent basis for progression to research at PhD level.

The degree is built on Exeter’s leading research across a whole range of areas and scientific groups: first there is the creating and testing of models of the weather and climate, based on fundamental processes in physics, chemistry and biology. Then, there is the mathematical analysis of such models, for example the study of the waves, instabilities and oscillations that are the building blocks of the weather we experience and of the evolving climate. Actual predictions and simulation of models that couple such phenomena together has to be done numerically, and the degree includes opportunities to study modern numerical methods. Finally, vast amounts of data are generated by observations of the atmosphere and biosphere and by numerical models, and methods of data science are crucial, in particular statistical analysis and data assimilation.

The Weather and Climate Science degree programme includes core modules in all of the above areas, with a wide range of options available to tailor the programme to your interests and career ambitions, for example more towards data science and statistics, or more towards mathematical analysis, dynamical systems and numerical simulation. The programme also offers a range of optional modules where you can engage with the broader societal and policy challenges of addressing climate change, many offered by the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter. 

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

The programme draws on the broad expertise of the University of Exeter in the quantitative modelling of Weather and Climate, via the research of the Centre for Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics (CGAFD), Exeter Climate Systems (XCS) and the Global Systems Institute (GSI). The modules which make up the core of this degree are led by experts who directly contribute to global understanding of climate change and weather systems, including members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and staff jointly funded by the UK Met Office. The programme will enable you to study weather and climate science whilst equipping you with a wide range of valuable quantitative and analytical skills, as applied to this area but are also transferable to other contexts. In particular the degree programme is designed:

- To provide you with a core knowledge of the key processes and cycles that drive weather and climate on the Earth. 

- To introduce you to the mathematical methods used to analyse such models, for example to study waves and instabilities in fluid flows.

- To introduce you to key data science and statistical methods used to exploit data from observations and modelling.

- Via optional modules, to allow you to develop their interests in specific areas, for example on the applied mathematics or data science side.

- Via optional modules, to allow you to study related areas such as magnetohydrodynamics, dynamical systems and high performance computing.

- Via optional modules, to allow you to engage in study of the societal and policy challenges of addressing climate change and related sustainability issues.

- To allow you the opportunity to study a topic in weather and climate in depth with one-to-one expert supervision, through the compulsory 60 credit dissertation module.

- To enable you to develop skills in engaging with current research in their area of interest, through a module based on reading papers and attending seminars, assessed through written reports and presentations.

You will engage with these areas of science through a combination of lectures, hands-on practical sessions, individual self-study, and group work on Exeter’s Streatham campus.

4. Programme Structure

The MSc Weather and Climate Science is a one-year full-time programme of study at Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) Level 7 (as confirmed against the FHEQ). You will be located at the Streatham campus for the duration of your studies.

Your programme is also divided into units of study called ‘modules’ which are assigned a number of ‘credits’. The credit rating of a module is proportional to the total workload, with 1 credit being nominally equivalent to 10 hours of work.

Interim Awards

You may exit this award with a Postgraduate Certificate in Weather and Climate Science where you have achieved 60 credits (with a minimum of 45 credits at RQF Level 7) or a Postgraduate Diploma in Weather and Climate Science where you have achieved 120 credits (with a minimum of 90 credits at RQF Level 7).

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual review of this programme. Details of the modules currently offered may be obtained from the College website:

The programme comprises 180 credits in total.

90 credits are compulsory modules, of which 60 credits is the Advanced Mathematics Project.

Stage 1

Code Title Credits Compulsory NonCondonable
Compulsory Modules
MTHM051Fundamentals of Weather and Climate Science15YesNo
MTHM007Engaging with Research15YesNo
MTHM021Advanced Mathematics Project60YesYes
The remaining 90 credits can be made up from the following groups of options: Take 15-30 credits
MTHM019Fluid Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans15NoNo
MTH3030Mathematics of Climate Change15NoNo
Take 0-30 credits
MTHM501Working with Data15NoNo
MTHM502Introduction to Data Science and Statistical Modelling15NoNo
MTHM506Statistical Data Modelling15NoNo
Take 15-30 credits
MTHM023Modelling the Weather and Climate15NoNo
MTHM052Mid-Latitude Weather Systems15NoNo
Take 15-30 credits
MTHM033Statistical Modelling in Space and Time15NoNo
MTH3044Bayesian Data Modelling15NoNo
MTHM503Applications of Data Science and Statistics15NoNo
MTHM017Advanced Topics in Statistics15NoNo
MTHM505Data Science and Statistical Modelling in Space and Time15NoNo
Take up to 30 credits of options (NB: Not all GEOM/BIOM modules will be available each year)
NSC3009Aerosols, Clouds and Climate15NoNo
MTHM008Computational Modelling15NoNo
MTHM018Dynamical Systems and Chaos15NoNo
MTHM031Magnetic Fields and Fluid Flows15NoNo
BIOM568Blue Planet15NoNo
GEOM141Global Challenges15NoNo
GEOM143Global Systems Thinking15NoNo
MTHM030Waves, Instabilities and Turbulence15NoNo
MTHM045Space Weather and Plasmas15NoNo
MTHM062Data-driven Analysis and Modelling of Dynamical Systems15NoNo
MTHM063Uncertainty Quantification15NoNo
Take up to 30 credits of options (NB: Not all GEOM/BIOM modules will be available each year)
MTHM054Climate Change Science and Solutions15NoNo
GEOM144Innovation and the Science-Policy Interface15NoNo
GEOM145Theory for Sustainable Transitions15NoNo
GEOM148Green Consultants15NoNo
ECMM461High Performance Computing 15NoNo
PHLM011Data Governance and Ethics15NoNo
Any related university level 3 or level M module subject to Director approval'
Free choice 15NoNo

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning & Assessment Methods

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to: Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be accommodated & facilitated by the following learning & teaching and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

A Specialised Subject Skills & Knowledge

  1. Demonstrate with proficiency the essential Mathematics, Statistical and numerical background required for developing and solving mathematical models.
  2. Use with proficiency relevant computing packages to solve problems and analyse data, and an ability to use them effectively to solve problems and present results arising from modelling.
  3. Effectively analyse mathematical models that have been developed by other authors and to understand how these models relate to the real world problems.
  4. Develop original and useful physical and statistical models of naturally occurring systems to understand their limitations and to be able to extract helpful information from them.
  5. Construct a substantial dissertation on a mathematical topic using the skills developed in the programme.

Learning & Teaching Activities

Lectures, seminars, examples classes, tutorials, practical computer workshops, literature discussion.

Assessment Methods

Written coursework, class tests, written examinations.

B Academic Discipline Core Skills & Knowledge

  1. Formulate, analyse and solve problems.
  2. Organise tasks into a structured form.
  3. Summarise and analyse data.
  4. Integrate theory and applications.
  5. Transfer knowledge and methods from one subject area to a different area.
  6. Formulate useful models from oral and written descriptions by non-mathematicians.
  7. Effectively use a range of computer packages for solving mathematical problems and analysing data, and for producing publications and presentation quality graphical output.

Learning & Teaching Activities

Lectures, seminars, examples classes, tutorials, practical computer workshops, literature discussion sessions, formative exercises, individual supervision.

Assessment Methods

Written coursework, class tests, written examinations.

C Personal / Transferable / Employment Skills & Knowledge

  1. Use IT software for mathematical word-processing to Tex or Latex standard.
  2. Write up a sustained piece of research work in a coherent and logical dissertation.
  3. Give interesting and informative oral presentations on high-level scientific research topics.
  4. Practical knowledge of software and coding for data analysis, problem solving and simulation.
  5. Use libraries, databases and the web effectively for research. Practical computer workshops, literature discussion sessions, individual supervision.
  6. Work as part of a team.
  7. Manage time effectively.
  8. Plan career and personal development.

Learning & Teaching Activities

Practical computer workshops, literature discussion sessions, individual supervision.

Assessment Methods

Written coursework, dissertation.

7. Programme Regulations

Full details of assessment regulations for all taught programmes can be found in the TQA Manual, specifically in the Credit and Qualifications Framework, and the Assessment, Progression and Awarding: Taught Programmes Handbook.

Additional information, including Generic Marking Criteria, can be found in the Learning and Teaching Support Handbook


8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

In accordance with University policy, a system of Personal Tutors is in place for all students on this programme. A University-wide statement on such provision is included in the University's TQA Manual. As a student enrolled on this programme, you will receive the personal and academic support of the Programme Coordinator and will have regular scheduled meetings with your Personal Tutor; you may request additional meetings as and when required. The role of personal tutors is to provide you with advice and support for the duration of the programme and extends to providing you with details of how to obtain support and guidance on personal difficulties, such as accommodation, financial difficulties and sickness. You can also make an appointment to see individual teaching staff.

Information Technology (IT) Services provide a wide range of services throughout the Exeter campuses including open access computer rooms, some of which are available 24 hours, 7 days a week. Help may be obtained through the Helpdesk, and most study bedrooms in halls and flats are linked to the University's campus network.

Additionally, the College has its own dedicated IT support staff, helpdesk and computer facilities which are linked to the wider network, but which also provide access to some specialised software packages. Email is an important channel of communication between staff and students in the College and an extensive range of web-based information (see is maintained for the use of students, including a comprehensive and annually revised student handbook.

The Harrison Learning Resource Centre is generally open during building open hours. The Centre is available for quiet study, with four separate rooms that can be booked for meetings and group work. Amongst its facilities, the Learning Resource Centre has a number of desks, four meeting rooms with large LCD screens, and free use of a photocopier. Also available are core set texts from your module reading lists, and undergraduate and MSc projects from the past two years.

Online Module study resources provide materials for modules that you are registered for, in addition to some useful subject and IT resources. Generic study support resources, library and research skills, past exam papers, and the 'Academic Honesty and Plagiarism' module are also available through the student portal (

Student/Staff Liaison Committee enables students & staff to jointly participate in the management and review of the teaching and learning provision.

10. Admission Criteria

Postgraduate applicants must satisfy the Postgraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Specific requirements required to enrol on this programme are available at the respective Postgraduate Study Site webpages.

Candidates will normally have a 2:1 honours degree in a quantitative subject, for example: statistics, mathematics, engineering or physics.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic): Overall score 6.5. No less than 6.0 in any section.

TOEFL IBT*: Overall score 90 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking


11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Certain programmes are subject to accreditation and/or review by professional and statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs).


12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

Certain programmes are subject to accreditation and/or review by professional and statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs).  This programme is not subject to any such requirements. 

14 Awarding Institution University of Exeter
15 Lead College / Teaching Institution College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences
16 Partner College / Institution N/A
17 Programme accredited/validated by Joint Board of Moderators
18 Final Award(s) MSc
19 UCAS Code (UG programmes) WeatherCliSci
20 NQF Level of Final Awards(s): 7
21 Credit (CATS and ECTS) 180 credits (90 ECTS)
22 QAA Subject Benchmarking Group (UG and PGT programmes) Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research
23 Origin Date February 26th 2024 Last Date of Revision: March 28th 2024