Atmospheric Science Research Proposal Preparation

Syllabus – Spring 2021

METEO 592: Atmospheric Science Research Proposal Preparation

This syllabus is divided into several sections. It is essential that you read the entire document as well as material covered in the Course Orientation. Together these serve as our course "contract."

William Brune (Links to an external site.) 
Distinguished Professor of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science
Office: 617 Walker Building (often at the Pine Hall Laboratory; 1943 Pine Hall Road, 2 miles from Walker Building)

  • Office Hours: Let me know when you want to meet.
  • E-mail: Please use the course e-mail system (in Canvas).

Class Support Services

Penn State Online (Links to an external site.) [2] offers online tutoring to World Campus students in math, writing, and some business classes. Tutoring and guided study groups for residential students are available through Penn State Learning (Links to an external site.) [3].

Course Overview

Description: This course is designed to familiarize graduate students with conducting research. It covers the entire process: developing a unique research problem, determining its place in the context of existing work, preparing a proposal to address this research problem, the review process for this proposal, and responsibilities once the proposal is funded.

Objectives: When you have completed Meteo 592, you will be prepared to:

  • develop and articulate unique, testable research hypotheses;
  • assess the merits of theoretical, observational, and modeling approaches to their problem;
  • write a proposal that conforms with NSF guidelines;
  • promote the research idea to NSF program managers;
  • understand the proposal review process;
  • know the responsibilities of having a research grant

Approach: A one-credit discussion and practice course in which students will participate in discussions of the skills needed for research and then use those skills to develop a short research proposal that has all of the elements of a typical proposal. Students will review each other’s short proposal. Guests will participate in some of the discussions.

Meteo 300 Course Schedule (may be modified as the course progresses)

Week / Topic

  • 1 Conducting science research in the United States
  • 2 & 3 Choosing a research topic
  • 4 & 5 Proposal – Motivation / Methods / Expected Results
  • 6 Budgets
  • 7 Proposal – Broader Impacts / technical details
  • 8 Proposal writing discussion
  • 9 Proposal reviewing and reviews
  • 10 Panel review
  • 11 Panel review
  • 12 Proposal revisions
  • 13 Promoting research ideas
  • 14 Oral presentations
  • 15 Grant management

Penn State E-mail Accounts

All official communications from the Penn State World Campus are sent to students' Penn State e-mail accounts. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly, or forward your Penn State e-mail  (Links to an external site.)[7]to your preferred e-mail account, so you don't miss any important information.

Academic Integrity

This course follows Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Academic Integrity Guidelines for undergraduate students (Links to an external site.) [8] and Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Academic Integrity Guidelines for graduate students (Links to an external site.) [9]. Penn State defines academic integrity as "the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner." Academic integrity includes "a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception." In particular, the University defines plagiarism as "the fabrication of information and citations; submitting others' work from professional journals, books, articles, and papers; submission of other students' papers, lab results or project reports and representing the work as one's own." Penalties for violations of academic integrity may include course failure. To learn more, see Penn State's Academic Integrity Training (Links to an external site.) [10]. 

Course Copyright

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

For example, uploading completed labs, homework, or other assignments to any study site constitutes a violation of this policy.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Office for Student Disability Resources (Links to an external site.) [11] website provides contact information for Campus Disability Coordinators  (Links to an external site.)[12]at every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Office for Student Disability Resources (Links to an external site.) [11] website

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled. You will participate in an intake interview and provide documentation. See documentation guidelines at Applying for Services from Student Disability Resources (Links to an external site.) [13]. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Inclement Weather

In case of weather-related delays at the University, this online course will proceed as planned. Your instructor will inform you if there are any extenuating circumstances regarding content or activity due dates in the course due to weather delays. If you are affected by a weather-related emergency, please contact your instructor at the earliest possible time to make special arrangements.

Reporting Educational Equity Concerns

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated (Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance (Links to an external site.) [14]) and can be reported through Educational Equity via Report Bias (Links to an external site.) [15].

Counseling and Psychological Services

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional wellbeing.  The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings.  These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation.  Services include the following:

Counseling and Psychological Services at University Park  (CAPS) (Links to an external site.) [16]: 814-863-0395
Counseling Services at Commonwealth Campuses (Links to an external site.) [17]
Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741

Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Connect Online with Caution

Penn State is committed to educational access for all. Our students come from all walks of life and have diverse life experiences. As with any other online community, the lack of physical interaction in an online classroom can create a false sense of anonymity and security. While one can make new friends online, digital relationships can also be misleading. Good judgment and decision making are critical when choosing to disclose personal information to others whom you do not know.

Technical Requirements

For this course, we recommend the minimum technical requirements outlined on the World Campus Technical Requirements (Links to an external site.) [18] page, including the requirements listed for same-time, synchronous communications. If you need technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the HelpDesk (Links to an external site.) [19] (for World Campus students) or the IT Service Desk (Links to an external site.) [20] (for students at all other campus locations).

Internet Connection

Access to a reliable Internet connection is required for this course. A problem with your Internet access may not be used as an excuse for late, missing, or incomplete coursework. If you experience problems with your Internet connection while working on this course, it is your responsibility to find an alternative Internet access point, such as a public library or Wi-Fi ® hotspot.

Mixed Content

This site is considered a secure web site which means that your connection is encrypted.  We do however link to content that isn't necessarily encrypted.  This is called mixed content.  By default, mixed content is blocked in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome.  This may result in a blank page or a message saying that only secure content is displayed.  Follow the directions on our Technical Requirements (Links to an external site.) [18] page to view the mixed content.


This course must be viewed using one of the following browsers: Firefox (any version), Safari (versions 5.1 or 6.0), Chrome (0.3 or later), or Internet Explorer with the MathPlayer PlugIn (Links to an external site.) [21]. If you use any other browser, there will be pages containing equations that do not render properly. If you need technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the HelpDesk (Links to an external site.) [19] (for World Campus students) or the IT Service Desk (Links to an external site.) [22] (for students at all other campus locations).

Deferred Grades

If you are prevented from completing this course within the prescribed amount of time for reasons that are beyond your control, it is possible to have the grade deferred with the concurrence of the instructor, following Penn State Deferred Grade Policy 48-40 (Links to an external site.) [23]. To seek a deferred grade, you must submit a written request (by e-mail or U.S. post) to the instructor describing the reason(s) for the request. Non-emergency permission for filing a deferred grade must be requested before the beginning of the final examination period.  It is up to the instructor to determine whether or not you will be permitted to receive a deferred grade. If permission is granted, you will work with the instructor to establish a communication plan and a clear schedule for completion within policy.  If for any reason, the coursework for the deferred grade is not complete by the assigned time, a grade of "F" will be automatically entered on your transcript.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect

Penn State is “committed to creating an educational environment which is free from intolerance directed toward individuals or groups and strives to create and maintain an environment that fosters respect for others” as stated in Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance. All members of this class are expected to contribute to a respectful, welcoming and inclusive environment and to interact with civility.

For additional information, see:


This course will be conducted entirely online. There will be no set class meeting times, but you will be required to complete weekly assignments with specific due dates. Many of the assignments are open for multiple days, so it is your responsibility to complete the work early if you plan to travel or participate in national holidays, religious observances or University approved activities.

If you need to request an exception due to a personal or medical emergency, contact the instructor directly as soon as you are able. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Mandated Reporting Statement

Penn State’s policies require me, as a faculty member, to share information about incidents of sex-based discrimination and harassment (discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and retaliation) with Penn State’s Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinators, regardless of whether the incidents are stated to me in person or shared by students as part of their coursework. For more information regarding the University's policies and procedures for responding to reports of sexual or gender-based harassment or misconduct, please visit Penn State's Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response (Links to an external site.) [31] website.

Additionally, I am required to make a report on any reasonable suspicion of child abuse in accordance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (Links to an external site.) [32].


Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus can be changed at any time, and you will be responsible for abiding by any such changes. All changes will be communicated with you via e-mail, course announcement and/or course discussion forum.