Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric Sciences Program Details

The Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric Science (Meteorology) is a combined major-minor. It. has a "built in" minor due to the required foundation coursework that, in total, requires a minimum of 66 credits. This major requires strong to superior math ability. On average, student attempting this major have at least a score of 600 in the math (quantitative) component of the SATs.

There is no need to "apply to" this major. It need only be declared formally by the student. Formal declaration of a major must presently be done in person via submission of a paper form at the Registrar or the Advisement Services Center (ASC).


If you are seeking this degree you do not need to declare a separate minor. Nonetheless, many students in this major do so, seeking an "edge" in employment opportunities after graduation.

Typical additional declared minors include:

  • math (requiring just two additional courses)
  • physics
  • computer science

You may declare more than one additional minor or add areas of peripheral relevance, such as business (if you want to work in the private sector, for example).

The minor in broadcast meteorology is available only to ATM B.S. majors, and is appropriate if you are intending to work in a media position related to weather forecasting. More detail on the possible minors available can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Academic Pathway

The MAP (Major Academic Pathway) for this degree:

Please examine these matrixes for the recommended sequence of courses in this major.

This is most relevant to a student starting as a freshman in the fall semester. The same major requirements apply to transfer students. Information regarding academic pathways for transfer students can be found below under the section Transfer Students. Information in the Undergraduate Bulletin pertaining to this major can be found at

Core Courses

The core atmospheric science sequence starts with AATM 209 and AATM 210. This sequence requires foundation coursework such as Calculus (AMAT 111 or 112 and 113) and calculus-based Physics (APHY 140/145 and 150) in the first year, as well as additional foundation coursework in the second year and lower-level AATM courses required as prerequisites for later (upper level) AATM courses.

The ability to take AATM courses out of sequence or to compress the sequence is VERY limited. AATM courses above the 100-level are offered only once per year and not at all in the summer. Certain elective courses are offered only every other year. There are significant implications in this respect to attempting study abroad or other instances in which the normal course sequence is interrupted. Careful planning and consultation with your advisor is necessary if an interruption of the sequence is being considered.

Only calculus-based introductory physics courses are accepted; general or algebra-based physics such as APHY 105 and APHY 108 or equivalent, for example, are not accepted. Only one physics lab course is required: APHY 145. In this singular instance, APHY 106 may be substituted for APHY145.

Only one semester of introductory chemistry is required, ACHM 120. No chemistry lab is required. If truly necessary, ACHM 120 can be delayed a semester or two. One specific caution: ACHM 120 is a pre-requisite for AATM 307.

Honors Degree

An Honors degree option is available. This is independent of the University's Honors College, and should be considered by advisement for only the most qualified students. You must apply to the Chair to be accepted to do the Honors degree by the first semester of the junior year. See the Undergraduate Bulletin for details:

Dual Majors

Dual majors are also encouraged for superior students, and in the past have included mathematics, physics or computer science.

General Education Requirements

General Education requirements apply to all majors and must be met in addition to the major requirements. All other University level requirements also must be met.


There is an ongoing internship program available to qualified students. Students can intern in the National Weather Service Forecast Office located on campus, typically during their junior or senior year or over the summer. This can be done for credit through AATM 490. Mr. Ross Lazear ( oversees the program within the department and should be contacted for more detailed information.

Student Advisement

Excellent advisement of students is a priority in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences. We encourage all majors to consult with their advisors regularly, to seek help or advice early on to avoid problems from becoming acute. Many resources are available to keep students on track toward completing the degree, provided that faculty advisors are adequately informed of relevant issues and difficulties as they arise. To be able to register, you will need an AVN (advisement verification number), which after your initial admission to the major, will be available ONLY from your officially designated department advisor.

Freshman and Potential Freshman

Due to the importance of mathematics in this major, familiarity and competence with calculus is a high priority. A pre-calculus or calculus course in high school is recommended. While taking calculus here at UAlbany, it is critical to remain in sequence and to get the maximum out of these courses.

The calculus-based introductory physics coursework also is critical, and should never be delayed. If you are still in high school, it is strongly recommended that you take standard physics, or preferably, AP physics.

In the first year, it is recommended that intended majors take AATM courses at the 100-level, even though these will not apply credit toward the major. Success in such courses will be a strong indicator of the appropriateness of the intended major.

There are no department scholarships available. Scholarship opportunities can be had via the University's Presidential Scholars program (, state and federal programs, and the American Meteorological Society (

Transfer Students

Transfer students arriving with credit for Calculus I and II, as well as Physics I and II will still need six semesters (three years) to complete the AATM course sequence.

Transfer students admitted for the fall semester lacking Calculus II and/or Physics I should attempt to complete either or both of these courses over the summer prior to the fall semester. If necessary to choose between these two courses, Calculus II has the higher priority to complete before starting the AATM sequence.

Transfer students arriving devoid of all foundation coursework and intending this major will need eight semesters (four years) to complete the degree.

We accept credit for Atmospheric Science or Meteorology courses from very few other institutions. A detailed syllabus will be required to argue for course equivalency in specific instances.

Transfer students entering in the spring semester usually will not be able to start the AATM core sequence due to AATM 209/210 being offered only in the fall semester. In certain cases, it may make more sense to delay transfer admission to UAlbany until the fall. Some students lacking physics and/or calculus may want to address this deficit at their current institution over the spring semester, and then have the prerequisites completed for AATM 209/210 in the fall semester. Each student’s situation must be assessed according to the specifics involved and in consultation with a department advisor.

Transfer credit equivalency can be determined via the Transfer Equivalency Data Bank: