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Climate Variability and Impacts, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 60 months
University rank #1 (QS) Cambridge, MA, United States
Oceans and Climate Variability: The ocean covers 70% of the Earth’s surface and, through its exchange of heat, water and compounds with the atmosphere, the lithosphere, and the cryosphere, it plays a key role in our climate system. The ocean also hosts a significant fraction of the Earth’s biosphere, which both responds to, and plays a role in, climate variability.
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The scientists study both the role of the ocean in the climate system and the impact of climate change on the ocean. Depending on the area of interest, climate research can be undertaken within existing JP focal areas or as interdisciplinary studies across multiple areas, including the atmosphere and the cryosphere.

Climate Impacts: Climate research within the JP also spans the whole globe, from Greenland’s glaciers to tropical Pacific coral atolls, from Bhutan’s old-growth forests to the central Atlantic subtropical gyre, from salt marshes on Cape Cod to the deserts surrounding the Red Sea, from the Kuroshio western boundary current in the North Pacific to the monsoon rains in the Gangetic plain in India, from water resources in the US breadbasket to fragile ecosystems on the Antarctic Peninsula. 

Research topics within the Joint Program (JP) range from the reconstruction of past climate variability over the Earth’s history to understanding climate variability and change in the instrumental/historic period and in the future, from studies of the dynamics of the physical/chemical climate system to its impacts on the marine and terrestrial environment, such as the sustainability of marine ecosystems, water resources on land, melting of land and sea-ice, and ultimately human civilizations.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 60 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Global Change Science
  • Past and Present Climate
  • Atmospheric Physics & Chemistry
  • Special Topics in Paleoclimatology
  • Paleoceanography
  • Geodynamics
  • Climate Variability & Diagnostics
  • Climate Change Science: Current Topics, Controversies and Communication; The Arctic System: An Interdisciplinary Approach
  • Atmospheric Chemistry
  • Climate Physics and Chemistry
  • Global Environmental Science and Politics

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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General Requirements

Admission requirements:
  • Field of interest
  • Personal information/addresses
  • International student data
  • Three or more names and email addresses of letter writers
  • Scanned copies of your Official College Transcripts
  • Educational and work history
  • Statement of objectives
  • Outside financial support and potential outside support
  • Credit card payment of $75

Tuition Fee

  • International

    44720 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 44720 USD per year and a duration of 60 months.
  • National

    44720 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 44720 USD per year and a duration of 60 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Cambridge

  • 1814 - 3760 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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