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

Course of Study – Bachelor of Science Degree

Complete 120 credits including 90 credits in the College of Letters & Science and with 36 of the 90 credits in L&S upper-level (numbered above 300) courses and 30 of those 36 credits in designated Advanced Natural Science courses. The College requires that students must complete in residence at UWM at least 15 credits in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses in their major. Students are also required to complete University-wide General Education Requirements and the specific L&S requirements listed below.

To complete a major, students must satisfy all the requirements of the major as stated in this catalog. Students who declare their majors within five years of entering the UW System as a degree candidate may satisfy the requirements outlined in any catalog issued since the time they entered. Credits used to satisfy the major also may be used to satisfy other degree requirements.

University General Education Requirements (GER)

Oral and Written Communication
Part A
Achieve a grade of C or better in the following course:
ENGLISH 102College Writing and Research (or equivalent)
Part B
Course designated as OWC-B; may be completed through a major-specific course requirement
Quantitative Literacy
Part A
Earn at least 3 credits with a grade of C or higher in one of the following courses or an equivalent course, or achieve a placement code of at least 30 on the mathematics placement test (or other appropriate test, as determined by the Mathematical Sciences Department)
Mathematical Literacy for College Students II
Contemporary Applications of Mathematics
Introduction to College Algebra
Algebraic Literacy II
Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning 1
Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning
College Algebra
Or equivalent course
Part B
Course designated as QL-B; may be completed through a major-specific course requirement
Arts
Select 3 credits3
Humanities
Select 6 credits6
Social Sciences
Select 6 credits6
Natural Sciences
Select 6 credits (At least two courses including one lab)6
UWM Foreign Language Requirement
Complete Foreign Language Requirement through:
Two years (high school) of a single foreign language
Two semesters (college) of a single foreign language
Or equivalent
UWM Cultural Diversity Requirement
One course from the Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences must also satisfy UWM's Cultural Diversity requirement

College of Letters & Science Requirements

I. English Composition Requirement

Students must satisfy the English Composition Requirement with one of the following options:

1) Completing ENGLISH 102 with a grade of C or higher; or

2) placing beyond English 102 on the English Placement Test (EPT) (or other assessment as determined by the English Department); or

3) transferring a course of at least 2.5 equivalent credits from another institution that is equivalent to English 102, or a UWM higher-level expository writing course, with a grade of C or higher.

Note: This requirement is the same as the University General Education Requirement for Oral and Written Communication Part A. The College of Letters & Science does not have a specific requirement for a writing course beyond English 102, but students must complete the university-wide requirement for Oral and Written Communication Part B listed above.

II. Mathematics and Formal Reasoning

To satisfy the Mathematics and Formal Reasoning Requirement, Bachelors of Sciences degree students must satisfy the following two requirements:

1. Complete one of the following courses or an equivalent course:

MATH 211Survey in Calculus and Analytic Geometry I4
MATH 213Calculus with Life Sciences Applications4
MATH 221Honors Calculus I5
MATH 231Calculus and Analytic Geometry I4

2. Complete one course (at least 3 credits) at the 200 level or above chosen from courses in Mathematics, PHILOS 211, or Letters and Science statistics courses:

Complete one of the following:
3 or more credits in any 200-level or above Math course
Introduction to Statistics in African and African Diaspora Studies
Introduction to Anthropological Statistics
Statistical Methods in Atmospheric Sciences
Biostatistics
Economic Statistics
Quantitative Analysis in Geography
The Quantitative Analysis of Historical Data
Elementary Statistical Analysis
Elementary Logic
Political Data Analysis
Survey Research
Psychological Statistics
Introduction to Statistical Thinking in Sociology

Note: This requirement is NOT the same as the University General Education Requirement for Quantitative Literacy Part B. To complete the BS, students must take one of the L&S approved courses. Not all of the courses listed here will satisfy the QL-B requirement.

III. Foreign Language Requirement 

Two courses (minimum of 6 credits) in a language (including American Sign Language) other than English at the 100 level or above are required.

Placement testing may be used to satisfy all or part of this requirement. Language courses (including American Sign Language) other than English taken in high school may be used to satisfy all or part of this requirement. One year of high school language equates to one semester of college work.

Completion of the L&S Language Requirement also satisfies the university-wide Foreign Language GER, but not vice versa.

IV. International Requirement 

See Approved Courses for the L&S International Requirement for course options.  

Completed in one of the following ways:9
Complete 3 courses (min. 9 cr) in a single foreign language (not including literature-in-translation or American Sign Language) at the 3rd semester level and above
Complete 3 non-language courses (min. 9 credits) with an international content chosen from at least 2 curricular areas.
Complete 9 credits in combination of the two options above.

V. Breadth Requirement

Along with completing the University General Education Requirements of 3 credits in the Arts (A); 6 credits in the Humanities (HU), Social Sciences (SS), and Natural Sciences (NS/NS+); and a course with the Cultural Diversity (CD/+) designation, L&S students must complete the Breadth requirement.

Arts
Select 3 credits3
Humanities
Complete 12 credits of L&S courses with Humanities Breadth designation; no more than 6 credits from a single subject area. *12
Social Sciences
Complete 12 credits of L&S Courses with Social Science Breadth designation; no more than 6 credits from a single curricular area. *12
Natural Sciences
Complete 12 credits of L&S Courses with Natural Sciences Breadth designation, including laboratory or field courses from three different curricular areas. *12
Cultural Diversity
Complete 3 credits in a course with Cultural Diversity (CD) designation. **3

 VI. The Major

The College requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA in all credits in the major attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all major credits attempted, including any transfer work. Individual departments or programs may require higher GPAs for graduation. Some departmental majors require courses from other departments. Contact your major department for information on whether those credits will count as part of the major GPA. The College requires that students must complete in residence at UWM at least 15 credits in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses in their major.

Research Requirement

Within their majors, students must complete a research experience approved by the L&S faculty. A list of courses satisfying the research requirement in each major can be found here.

VII. The Minor

The College requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA in all credits in the minor attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all minor credits attempted, including any transfer work. Individual departments or programs may require higher GPAs for graduation. 

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. Atmospheric Science majors must complete additional preparatory curricula, as indicated below.

Capstone Experience

Students in all majors and major options in the Department of Mathematical Sciences must complete a "Capstone Experience." The aim of the department's capstone experience is to encourage independent learning. Students complete a research paper in the context of this course, which satisfies the L&S research requirement. For Atmospheric Science majors, the capstone is ATM SCI 599.  Students must obtain consent of a professor to enroll in ATM SCI 599.

Requirements

Students must complete at least 15 upper-division (numbered 300 and above) credits in the major in residence at UWM. The College of Letters & Science requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA on all credits in the major attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all major credits attempted, including any transfer work. 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 210
PHYSICS 215
Physics II (Calculus Treatment)
and Lab Physics II (Calculus Treatment)
5
COMPSCI 202Introductory Programming Using Python3
Core
ATM SCI 240Introduction to Meteorology3
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 599Capstone Experience1
MATH 320Introduction to Differential Equations3
Electives
Select at least 9 credits of the following:9
Mesoscale Circulations
Tropical Meteorology
The General Circulation and Climate Dynamics
Study Abroad:
Statistical Methods in Atmospheric Sciences
Micrometeorology
Data Analytics
Seminar in Atmospheric Sciences:
Linear Programming and Optimization
Mathematical Programming and Optimization
Vector Analysis
Introduction to Partial Differential Equations
Mathematical Models and Applications
Introduction to Numerical Analysis
Introduction to Scientific Computing
Computational Linear Algebra
Advanced Calculus I
Advanced Calculus II
Linear Algebra
Introduction to Probability Models
Introduction to the Theory of Chaotic Dynamical Systems
Advanced Engineering Mathematics I
Advanced Engineering Mathematics II
Numerical Solution of Partial Differential Equations
Optimization
Introduction to Mathematical Statistics I
Introduction to Mathematical Statistics II
Introductory Statistics for Physical Sciences and Engineering Students
Regression Analysis
Time Series Analysis
Total Credits60

Atmospheric Science Advising

Students considering a major in Atmospheric Science need to contact the Atmospheric Science Program Chair to declare their major and be assigned a faculty advisor. All courses selected for the major must be approved by the advisor, and students should check regularly (at least once per semester) with their faculty advisor to plan their courses of study in a coherent and timely fashion.

Letters & Science Advising

The College of Letters and Science provides general academic advising for all students with a major in the College, particularly as it relates to campus' general education requirements and the College's degree requirements. We also provide specialized advising for pre-professional students (pre-med, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy, etc.) regardless if their major is in Letters and Science or not. Prospective students, including high school students and students seeking to transfer to a program in Letters and Science may also receive advising from our admissions counselors. 

Upon admission, students are assigned an advisor in the College advising office. Academic advising is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by appointment. Appointments outside of these times may be available and phone appointments are available for online students. The advising office is located on the first floor of Holton Hall. Current students should call (414) 229-4654 to schedule an appointment or use the Navigate website to make an appointment with your assigned advisor; online scheduling is only available if you already have a Letters & Science advisor assigned to you. Prospective students should call (414) 229-7711 or email let-sci@uwm.edu.

When students declare a major, they will receive an additional faculty advisor located within the major department who will assist with requirements for that major. Students should read the "Declaration of Major" information on the website of the major that they are interested in. In some cases, the student will need to choose a faculty advisor as part of the declaration process.

All students are cautioned to consult their Letters & Science academic advisor AND their major advisor prior to each registration period to ensure they understand all requirements. Do not rely on pre-printed sample plans, as they are intended to be samples only and may not be right for your particular situation.

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 the Capstone Experience (ATM SCI 599), a directed independent study for credit (ATM SCI 699), an internship for credit (ATM SCI 695), the Atmospheric Sciences Study Abroad course (ATM SCI 297/ATM SCI 497), undergraduate research for compensation, and participation in the Innovative Weather program at the staff level. The staff level of Innovative Weather is the third level of participation, coming after a pre-internship (several weeks in one semester) and an internship (one semester at 5-10 hours per week). Staff positions are paid, and staff members typically work around 10 hours per week during the fall or spring semesters, more in the summer session.

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

Honors in the College of Letters and Science

Dean's Honor List

GPA of 3.750 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.