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Atmospheric Sciences

College of Mines and Earth Sciences


Class Size




Getting Started

  • In your first year, take ATMOS 1010 - Severe and Unusual Weather and ATMOS 1020 - Climate Change
  • Begin taking Math and Chemistry classes
  • Choose from three tracks: Environmental Sciences, Professional Meteorology, or Snow and Water Sciences

Making Progress

  • Learn about employment opportunities in ATMOS 3000 - Professional Development
  • Continue with allied science courses
  • Take technical electives in your interest area
  • Begin your experiential learning activity by participating in research with ATMOS faculty or through an internship program
  • Stay on track through core ATMOS classes

Finishing Up

  • Finish up your experiential learning activity by participating in research with ATMOS faculty or through an internship program
  • Specialize your degree program with your technical electives


Getting Started

Making Progress

Finishing Up

  • Become a student leader in AMS
  • Lead a forecast at the Weather Center
  • Intern with a local tv station, state agency, or private firm

Knowledge & Skills

Getting Started

Making Progress

  • Attend a green bag lecture at the Stegner Center
  • Check in with your advisor and plan future semesters
  • Become proficient in using environmental instrumentation and learn how to use computer programs to analyze environmental data
  • Brief your fellow students on research
  • Explore research and internships through UROP and the CPDC
  • Study air chemistry with the Nerd Mobile
  • Chase storms or monitor air quality using mobile instrumentation

Finishing Up

  • Present research at UROP and/or the AMS conference
  • Apply to graduate school
  • Compete against your professor in the Forecast Contest
  • Meet with your advisor for a graduation audit


Getting Started

  • Visit the Outreach Coordinator in FASB 205 to volunteer at a local elementary school
  • Check out the weather or air quality on campus at the Ute Weather Station
  • Take a safety class (CPR, First Aid, CERT training).
  • Attend office hours to get to know your professors

Making Progress

Finishing Up


Getting Started

Making Progress

  • Volunteer for onsite school visits with the Outreach Coordinator in FASB 205
  • Write your congressperson and vote
  • Become a weather forecast intern
  • Align your passions and professional goals with a Career Coach
  • Become a CMES student ambassador
  • Get involved with ASUU

Finishing Up

  • Serve as a mentor for incoming students; talk to your academic advisor for opportunities!
  • Create a weather video or podcast
  • Become the Social Media Coordinator for the department


Getting Started

  • Activate your Handshake account
  • Get started by creating your LinkedIn profile
  • Attend the STEM Career Fair to learn about careers in atmospheric sciences and find internship opportunities

Making Progress

  • Meet with a Career Coach to discuss your career goals and create a plan for after graduation
  • Attend a CMES Speed Networking event
  • Update your Handshake and LinkedIn accounts with your current interests and experiences
  • Find a mentor or community member who can continue to provide professional guidance

Finishing Up

  • Attend the STEM Career Fair for full-time employment opportunities
  • Begin applying for jobs or graduate schools
  • Network with industry partners

Start Your Career Journey

Find support at the Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC)

Visit cpdc


About the Major

Atmospheric Sciences seeks to understand the behavior and predictability of the Earth's atmosphere. A unique aspect of our program is its emphasis on mountain weather and climate. You'll have the option to specialize in one of three tracks:

*Professional Meteorology: gain a solid foundation in meteorology and become conversant in related fields such as hydrology, air pollution, data science, and communications.

*Environmental Sciences: learn to apply knowledge of the atmosphere to related environmental fields, e.g. air quality monitoring and modeling, remote sensing, hydrology and snow science, or public policy.

*Snow and Water Sciences: obtain a broad, interdisciplinary education involving the atmospheric sciences, hydrometeorology, hydrology, snow dynamics and avalanche studies, and mountain weather and climate issues.

You may want to satisfy the requirements for employment as a meteorologist with the National Weather Service or decide to pursue an atmospheric or environmental science career in the educational, government, or private sectors. With a degree in Atmospheric Sciences, you will gain critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills; foundations in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and computer science; and the tools needed to address the challenges posed by hazardous weather and climate change in the 21st century.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand core concepts in the atmospheric sciences and related environmental fields.
  • Investigate atmospheric processes and environmental problems using instrumentation, numerical models, and data analytics.
  • Apply computer programming languages for data applications to environmental problems.
  • Communicate in written and oral forms with scientific and lay audiences.
  • Recognize the professional and ethical responsibilities expected of scientists.

Plan & Prepare

At the U, we plan for our students to have an exceptional Educational Experience identified by four broad categories we call the Learning Framework: Community, Knowledge & Skills, Transformation, and Impact. This major map will help you envision, explore, design, and plan your personalized Exceptional Education Experience with the Learning Framework at the core. In addition to assisting you in planning your coursework and navigating the requirements of your major, this map will help you incorporate other kinds of experiences to expand your knowledge, support your development, and prepare you for the future you want.

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Last Updated: 4/12/22