Atmospheric Science, of which Meteorology is a subset, 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.

Through the Atmospheric Science major, students obtain a solid foundation in both weather and climate, the tools used to study them, and their consequences to people and organizations. Our major meets all guidelines for employment with the United States Government, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Weather Service, as a Meteorologist. 

A career in Atmospheric Science is very rewarding because of the impact weather and climate have on everyday life. You will find atmospheric scientists in many different roles: nearly 36% work in the private sector, which includes consulting firms and forecasting entities; 33% for governmental agencies such as NOAA and the NWS; 24% at educational institutions or laboratories; and 7% in the media. The strongest job prospects are currently in the private sector.

Our students have unique opportunities available to them that are not found at any other university in the state or region. Our Innovative Weather program provides students with paid internships in weather forecasting and communication, helping partners such as We Energies, Summerfest, and MMSD make decisions to protect their interests and communities against hazardous weather. Students can also become involved in undergraduate research, and several of our students have recently received national awards for their research! Our program is also home to the first-of-its-kind faculty-led study abroad program to Mexico, “Air Pollution and Ancient Cultures,” which takes place each January. Finally, we have two active student-led clubs, The Climate Consensus and the Atmospheric Science Club at UWM!


Students must earn a minimum of 120 credits to complete the BS in Atmospheric Science degree. Students must complete at least 15 upper-division (300-level and above) credits in the major in residence at UWM, and must complete at least 30 credits in residence at UWM.

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.

Required Courses

The following courses are required for the atmospheric science major:

Additional Preparatory Curriculum 1
CHEM 102General Chemistry5
Physics I (Calculus Treatment)
and Lab Physics I (Calculus Treatment)
PHYSICS 210Physics II (Calculus Treatment)4
COMPSCI 202Introductory Programming Using Python3
ATM SCI 101Preparing for a Career in Atmospheric Science1
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
ATM SCI 600Data Analytics3
MATH 320Introduction to Differential Equations3
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
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
Conservation of Natural Resources
Remote Sensing: Environmental and Land Use Analysis
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 Credits73

These courses are required, but do not count in calculating the major GPA.

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.

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.