Career Help

According to the American Meteorological Society, a curriculum leading to a bachelor of science degree (or a bachelor of arts degree) in atmospheric science should contain the following:


  1. at least 24 semester hours (or 36 quarter hours) of credit in atmospheric science that includes 12 semester hours of lecture and laboratory courses, with calculus as a prerequisite or corequisite, in atmospheric thermodynamics and dynamics and synoptic meteorology that provide a broad treatment of atmospheric processes at all scales, 3 semester hours of atmospheric physics with emphasis on cloud/precipitation physics and solar and terrestrial radiation, 3 semester hours of atmospheric measurements, instrumentation, and remote sensing, including both lecture and laboratory components, and an additional 6 semesters hours in atmospheric science electives;
  2. calculus through ordinary differential equations in courses designed for majors in either mathematics, physical science, or engineering;
  3. a one-year sequence in physics, with laboratory, with calculus as a prerequisite or corequisite;
  4. a course in chemistry appropriate for physical science majors;
  5. a course in computer science appropriate for physical science majors; and
  6. a course in statistics appropriate for physical science majors.


As in any science curriculum, students should have the opportunity and be encouraged to supplement minimum requirements with additional course work in the major or any supporting areas, including not only courses in the basic sciences, mathematics, and engineering but also courses designed to broaden the student's perspective on the environmental sciences (e.g., hydrology, oceanography, and solid earth sciences) and science administration and policy making. Also, students should be strongly urged to give considerable attention to course work or other activity designed to develop effective communications skills, both written and oral.


According to federal civil service requirements, a degree in meteorology, atmospheric science, or other natural science should include the following:

  1. * 6 semester hours in atmospheric dynamics,
    1. *6 semester hours in analysis and prediction of weather systems (synoptic/mesoscale),
    2. 3 semester hours of physical meteorology,
    3. and 2 semester hours of remote sensing of the atmosphere and/or instrumentation;
  2. * 6 semester hours of physics with at least one course that includes laboratory sessions;
  3. 3 semester hours of ordinary differential equations; and
  4. at least 9 semester hours of course work for a physical science major in any combination of three or more of the following: physical hydrology, chemistry, physical climatology, aeronomy, computer science, advanced electricity and magnetism, statistics, physical oceanography, radiative transfer, advanced thermodynamics, and light and optics.  

Federal civil service employees work for federal governmental agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which is the parent agency of the National Weather Service.


* Prerequisite or corequisite of calculus for course work in atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics, physics, and differential equations. Calculus courses must be appropriate for a physical science major. Reference: Information from this page was obtained from the home page of the American Meteorological Society.

Career Resources

  • A Career Guide for Atmospheric Sciences, American Meteorological Society (AMS
  • Student Scholarships and Fellowships (AMS)
  • Student Opportunities for Internships, Fellowships, and Scholarships, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • High School and Undergraduate Summer Opportunities (UCAR)
  • Discovering the Atmospheric Sciences, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)

Schools offering meteorology or atmospheric degrees

(not intended to be a complete list or an endorsement for any program)

University at Albany (Site, Degree)
University of California - Davis (Site, Degree)
University of Oklahoma (Site, Degree)
Pennsylvania State University (Site, Degree)
University of Utah (Site, Degree)
University of Washington (Site, Degree)
University of Wisconsin - Madison (Site, Degree)

General degree requirements

An overview of degree requirements for a Bachelor of Science in atmospheric sciences or meteorology is provided here (courtesy of the American Meteorological Society).



Specific degree requirements

Requirements of specific degree-granting institutions are listed to provide a sample of the similarities and differences in the Bachelor of Science in atmospheric sciences or meteorology.


This list is not intended to be complete and the inclusion (or exclusion) of a given institution should not be considered as an endorsement by the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.