Prospective Students

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Dr. Magi in the yellow getting ready for graduate work (circa 2004). You will not be working on this aircraft since my work is mostly in the virtual world or on the ground now.

Dr. Magi in the yellow getting ready for graduate work (circa 2004). You will not be working on this aircraft since my work is mostly in the virtual world or on the ground now.


Prospective students can apply to the undergraduate, Masters in Earth Sciences program, Geography PhD program, or INES PhD program in the Geography and Earth Sciences Department at UNC Charlotte. Graduate school applications can be submitted at the UNC Charlotte Grad School website.


For both graduate students and postdocs, we would apply for external funding in the first year.  We would work closely on project design and then apply to agencies like NSF which, for example, has competitions for graduate research fellowships. Postdocs have the opportunity to apply for the NSF postdoc fellowshipsNASA ROSES, and North Carolina Space Grant are other pathway for graduate/postdoc research funding. T. Winesett was funded partly through my NC Space Grant. Undergraduate students have a couple of options. The first is to sign up for Independent Study credit which you have to organize directly with me – several students have done this. We talk and arrange a project scope and goals for the semester. The second is to find financial support or just volunteer time. The most readily accessible funding source is the Charlotte Research Scholars program at UNC Charlotte, noting that they get about 150-200 applicants each year and about 50-60 are selected. Three students have worked with me through the CRS program – D. Cunningham (2012) , W. Pettee (2014), and W. Ruble (2015). NC Space Grant also has undergraduate fellowships. The main focus in any research you do is motivation. You have to want to work on science research – funding will happen if you work hard.


Topics that I am currently working on include global and regional fire simulations, analysis of fire metrics, lightning-fire relationships, characterizing atmospheric aerosols, studies of North Carolina air quality, air quality simulations, and air quality concerns.  I have a general interest in climate and climate science, and would be willing to work with you on just about any project related to climate. If your interests are marginally related to my main research interests, we will probably work more closely together during the initial stages of research design. I emphasize “probably” because different people approach research questions differently and I respect that.

What you gain

Agent Dale Cooper is listening intently.

Agent Dale Cooper is listening intently.

In MESAS and at UNC Charlotte, you will develop a broad understanding of these topics and others relevant to Earth Sciences, Meteorology/Atmospheric Sciences, and Geography.  You will gain widely-applicable skills in data analysis, data visualization, computer programming, Earth system and climate science, running and/or analyzing model simulation output, and the science of air quality.  I also teach on topics in climate change science, so if you are interested in climate and climate policy, I would love to work with you. Mostly, I am interested in data and there is a lot of data available through models, satellites, and measurements. Often, you have to be clever and willing to wade into the world of “Big Data” to formulate projects. Many people think of Excel or Access when they think of data, but while these are great for initial exploration of data, my primary tool for research is programming in Matlab. I have enough familiarity with other programming languages/packages like Python, NCAR Command Language, C, Fortran, IDL, and R to read those languages. If you have a field-based project idea – weather or something related to weather – we might be able to work something out too. I have some instruments waiting for a motivated person to help with.


Probably should insert a picture, but the lab/research space for MESAS is a room with a lot of computers, some instruments, a couple of whiteboards, a bunch of chairs, and a sink with running water. I don’t know why I have the last thing, but seems like it’d be nice for making coffee. There are at least 4 semi-permanent computer stations; 3 of those run Linux and 1 runs Windows 7. I have older computers from surplus and we have a good track record of re-purposing those boxes. About four students can work comfortably in the research space.


Please read the content on the MESAS Research Group website, and if you have any questions about the application process, funding possibilities, or how your interests fit in with goals of MESAS, please contact Dr. Brian Magi. My email is on the right hand side bar under Contact Me