Houghton Fund

Henry Houghton served for 25 years as Head of the Department of Meteorology. During that long period, the Department established an unsurpassed standard of excellence in these fields. On his death, Prof. Houghton left the bulk of his estate to the new Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences to establish the Henry Houghton Fund. The Houghton bequest is for “support of research by students in the fields of meteorology and physical oceanography or for any other purpose that enhances and enriches the total educational experience of such students.” The Houghton Fund Committee has interpreted this language to include also most aspects of the study of climate and regards graduate students in the atmospheric science, climate physics and chemistry, physical oceanography, and chemical oceanography degree programs as being eligible for Houghton funds. For this purpose, "PAOC students" includes all those enrolled in any of the four degree programs incorporated in PAOC: atmospheric science, chemical oceanography, physical oceanography, and climate physics and chemistry. Students in these programs should direct appropriate requests for support to the Houghton Fund, and not to the Departmental Research Fund. However, note that students in the WHOI/JP who are also PAOC students are expected to request travel support from the WHOI/JP fund before seeking added support from the Houghton Fund. Requests that include support from multiple sources of funding with EAPS and the MIT/WHOI Joint Program are likely to be denied to be fair to students enrolled in different programs. If the student has previously applied or plans to apply to additional sources of funding, this information must also be included in the request. Students in other educational programs, including those who have, by request, formally joined PAOC, cannot apply to the Houghton Fund; instead, they should direct requests for support to the Departmental Research Fund.

Year 1 & 2 | Year 3 Plus

The Houghton Fund Committee supports several specific PAOC-wide activities:

The Henry G. Houghton Lecture Series

Distinguished visitors are invited from outside MIT to spend periods of time here, ranging from a week to several months. Usually, a short-course or a series of lectures is given on some topic of wide interest. Suggestions for Houghton Lecturers are welcomed from everyone.


past lecturers...

PAOC Retreat

Around the beginning of each academic year, members of PAOC attend a weekend retreat for science, recreation, and relaxation. The Houghton Fund supports this annual autumn event.


In addition, the Houghton Fund offers the following support individually to PAOC students: 

Professional Society Membership

Each year, the Houghton Fund will pay for two memberships in a professional society at the eligible student rate. Please bring a proof of payment (e.g., canceled check or receipt) to Kayla Bauer (kbauer@mit.edu), who will arrange reimbursement. (Consult your adviser if in doubt about the most appropriate society to join.)

Thesis binding

The fund will cover the cost of binding two copies of PhD theses. See Kayla Bauer (kbauer@mit.edu) to arrange it.

Thesis Processing Fees

The fund repays processing fees of $50 for a Master's Degree or $105 for a Ph.D. Degree. To be reimbursed, give receipts to Kayla Bauer (kbauer@mit.edu).

Funds for students’ educational and related expenses

Graduate students' activities evolve from being primarily educational in the early years to being increasingly research-oriented in later years. Accordingly, Houghton Fund support is structured differently for those in years 1-2, to those in year 3 and later.


2023 - 2024 Houghton Committee:

Susan Solomon (Chair)
Raffaele Ferrari
Mick Follows

Updated: August, 2023