Atmospheric Science is the study of short-term weather and long-term climate, involving activities such as weather forecasting, climate projections, air quality modeling, data analysis, and basic and applied research.

Some universities may call this major "Meteorology." We call it Atmospheric Science because our program is much broader than just weather forecasting. Students in our program will obtain a solid foundation in the mathematical modeling that forms the basis of analysis not just of tomorrow's expected weather but also long-term climate change, storm impact and predictability, pollution patterns and impact, and the consequences of weather to people and organizations.

While TV weather forecasters may be the most visible job outcome for an Atmospheric Science major, the fact is that there are a very limited number of these jobs nationally. Most majors work in other areas of the field such as research, government agencies such as NASA and NOAA, consulting firms, and schools. As more and more companies realize the impact weather can have on business operations, more job opportunities are opening in the private sector, and this is the sector with the greatest projected job growth.

Atmospheric Science students at UWM have unique opportunities not found at any other university in the state or region. Our Innovative Weather program is hired by numerous businesses such as the Milwaukee Brewers and We Energies that need to make decisions based on the weather, and students work to provide these clients with customized forecasts and risk analyses. Our program also offers students research internships in areas such as cloud modeling, weather analysis, and data science. Our program is also home to the first-of-its-kind faculty-led Mexico "Air Pollution and Ancient Cultures" Study Abroad program and an active student-led club. Finally, the Atmospheric Science major provides distinct tracks that help prepare students for careers in weather forecasting, natural hazard risk assessment, and data analytics, or for graduate study.

Requirements

Students must earn a minimum of 120 credits to complete the BS in Atmospheric Science degree. 

General Education Requirements (GERs)

UW-Milwaukee has General Education Requirements that must be met in order to earn a bachelor’s degree. Some of the requirements of your program fulfill the campus GERs. Please review the requirements and consult with your academic advisor.  

Atmospheric Science (BS) Major Requirements

Preparatory Curriculum

Students in this major must complete MATH 231, MATH 232, and MATH 233 (or equivalents). MATH 221 and MATH 222 are equivalent to the sequence of MATH 231, MATH 232, and MATH 233. All majors must take either MATH 234 or MATH 240. Students in this major must complete preparatory work in mathematics, chemistry, physics, and computer science, as listed in the table below.

Requirements

Students must complete at least 15 upper-division (numbered 300 and above) credits in the major in residence at UWM. The following courses are required for the atmospheric science major:

Additional Preparatory Curriculum 1
CHEM 102General Chemistry5
PHYSICS 209
PHYSICS 214
Physics I (Calculus Treatment)
and Lab Physics I (Calculus Treatment)
5
PHYSICS 210Physics II (Calculus Treatment)4
COMPSCI 202Introductory Programming Using Python3
Core
ATM SCI 101Introductory Atmospheric Science Seminar1
ATM SCI 240Introduction to Meteorology4
ATM SCI 250Introduction to Climate Science4
ATM SCI 330Air-Pollution Meteorology3
ATM SCI 350Atmospheric Thermodynamics3
ATM SCI 351Dynamic Meteorology I3
ATM SCI 352Dynamic Meteorology II3
ATM SCI 360Synoptic Meteorology I4
ATM SCI 361Synoptic Meteorology II4
ATM SCI 464Physical Meteorology: Cloud Physics3
ATM SCI 511Seminar in Atmospheric Radiation and Remote Sensing3
MATH 320Introduction to Differential Equations3
Electives
Select at least 15 credits of the following:15
Mesoscale Circulations
Tropical Meteorology
The General Circulation and Climate Dynamics
Study Abroad:
Statistical Methods in Atmospheric Sciences
Micrometeorology
Data Analytics
Seminar in Atmospheric Sciences:
Internship in Atmospheric Sciences, Upper Division
Introduction to Conservation and Environmental Science
Environmental Law for Natural Resource Managers
Introduction to Energy, Environment and Sustainability
Applied Hydrology
Environmental Economics
The Economics of Water
Water and Natural Resource Economics
Water, Energy, Food, and Climate
Water Law, Policy, and the Environment
Politics and Policy of Sustainability
Economics, Policy and Management of Water
Cost-Benefit Analysis for Environmental Resource Decisions
Introduction to Geographic Information Science
Natural Hazards
General Climatology
Introduction to Data Science with R, Python, and GIS
Conservation of Natural Resources
Remote Sensing: Environmental and Land Use Analysis
Hydrogeography
Climates of the Past and Climate Change
Environmental Problems
Watershed Analysis and Modeling
Geographic Information Science
Intermediate Geographic Information Science
Water Quality
Physical Hydrogeology
Environmental Surface Hydrology
Field Methods in Hydrogeology
Introduction to Mass Media
Media Writing
News Writing
Introduction To Video Storytelling
Audio Storytelling
Television News Reporting
Introduction to Partial Differential Equations
Vector Analysis
Basic Engineering Thermodynamics
Introduction to Mathematical Statistics I
Introduction to Mathematical Statistics II
Environmental Politics
Total Credits70

Honors in the Major

Students in Atmospheric Sciences who meet all of the following criteria can be awarded honors in the major upon graduation:

  1. A 3.000 cumulative GPA in all UWM graded credits;
  2. A 3.500 GPA over all UWM courses counting toward the Atmospheric Sciences major;
  3. A 3.500 GPA over all upper-division UWM courses counting toward the Atmospheric Sciences major; and
  4. Successful completion of at least two semesters of research and/or internship experiences. The research and internship experiences can include one or more of a directed independent study for credit (ATM SCI 699), an internship for credit (ATM SCI 695), the Atmospheric Sciences Study Abroad course (ATM SCI 497), undergraduate research for compensation, and participation in the Innovative Weather program as a paid staff member. 

Students who believe they may qualify for honors in Atmospheric Sciences should apply to the School of Freshwater Sciences during their last semester of study.

Honors in the School of Freshwater Sciences

Dean's Honor List

GPA of 3.500 or above, earned on a full-time student's GPA on 12 or more graded credits in a given semester.

Honors College Degree and Honors College Degree with Distinction

Granted to graduating seniors who complete Honors College requirements, as listed in the Honors College section of this site.

Commencement Honors

Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or above, based on a minimum of 40 graded UWM credits earned prior to the final semester, will receive all-university commencement honors and be awarded the traditional gold cord at the December or May Honors Convocation. Please note that for honors calculation, the GPA is not rounded and is truncated at the third decimal (e.g., 3.499).

Final Honors

Earned on a minimum of 60 graded UWM credits: Cum Laude - 3.500 or above; Magna Cum Laude - 3.650 or above; Summa Cum Laude - 3.800 or above.