Atmospheric Science Major

Join top, passion-driven minds in weather and climate

Cornell is the only Ivy League university offering an undergraduate program in Atmospheric Science.

Major in Atmospheric Science

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Students in Atmospheric Science study the behavior of weather and climate while gaining experience in the analysis, interpretation and forecasting of meteorological events.

In addition to a great education, Cornell offers great experiences as well. Membership in our meteorology club, the Cornell Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (CCAMS), is open to all atmospheric science majors and other interested students.

Many students in this program have won the American Meteorological Society’s prestigious Father James B. Macelwane award for outstanding undergraduate research in Atmospheric Science.

The curriculum is designed with two goals in mind. The basic curriculum meets the guidelines of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), and the requirements for employment in meteorology with the National Weather Service (NWS) and a variety of consulting and professional meteorological services. Students who are considering an advanced degree will also be well-prepared for graduate school, and typically add additional mathematics, physics and atmospheric science courses to the basic curriculum. Students who wish to broaden their studies of the environment may also choose from courses in the separate earth and atmospheric sciences major, which may be completed in conjunction with the atmospheric sciences major.

CALS seeks students who maintain a rigorous high school curriculum and demonstrate an outstanding record of academic achievement. Admissions requirements include:

  • 4 Units of English

  • 4 Units of Mathematics, including calculus (prefer BC Calculus)

  • 3 Units of Science (biology, chemistry and physics with emphasis on physics)

  • Also recommended: an additional unit of science

For a list of requirements for this major, please visit the B.S. Atmospheric Sciences program page.

EAS 1340 – Weather Analysis and Forecasting

Serves as an extension of the EAS 1330 first-year majors lab. The course provides an opportunity for formal weather briefings and explores specific atmospheric storms (synoptic and mesoscale, including the climatology of each storm type) through assigned readings, map analysis and weather discussions.

EAS 2500 – Meteorological Observations and Instruments

Demonstrates methods and principles of meteorological measurements and observations including surface, free-air and remote systems. Also presents information regarding instrument siting, mounting and protection; instrument response characteristics, calibration and standardization; and recorders and data logging systems. Laboratory exercises are in observation and data analysis.

EAS 2680 – Climate and Global Warming

Familiarizes students from a range of disciplines with such contemporary issues in climatology as global warming and El Niño. Introduces the natural greenhouse effect, past climates, and observed and projected climate changes and impacts. Also covers natural climate variations (e.g., El Niño) and their consequences and predictability.

Minor in Atmospheric Science

A student may minor in Atmospheric Science by completing:

Two of the following core courses:

  • EAS 3410: Atmospheric Thermodynamics and Hydrostatics
  • EAS 3420: Atmospheric Dynamics
  • EAS 4470: Physical Meteorology

And two of the following Earth and Atmospheric Science courses:

  • EAS 1310: Basic Principles of Meteorology
  • EAS 2500: Meteorological Observations and Instruments
  • EAS 2680: Climate and Global Warming
  • EAS 3050: Climate Dynamics
  • EAS 3340: Microclimatology
  • EAS 4350: Statistics in Meteorology and Climatology
  • EAS 4510: Synoptic Meteorology II
  • EAS 4560: Mesoscale Meteorology
  • EAS 4570: Atmospheric Air Pollution
  • EAS 4700: Advanced Weather Forecasting and Analysis
  • EAS 6520: Advanced Atmospheric Dynamics

Note: All courses must be taken at Cornell.

Learn more about requirements for the Atmospheric Science minor

Transfer Student Admissions

Examine the behavior of weather and climate, and gain experience in the analysis, interpretation and forecasting of meteorological events.

Academic Record Required:

  • Strong academic record at the college level. Competitive applicants have at least a 3.0 (B) average.
  • CALS Required Coursework should be completed or in-progress with a “B” or better before applying.
  • The most competitive applicants are full-time students who have met the GPA and course requirements.

(Or transfers with two full-time college semesters of study (post-high school) completed or in progress at time of application):

Required:

(Or transfers with four full-time college semesters of study (post-high school) completed or in progress at time of application).

Required:

  • Two College Writing/English Composition courses or one writing/composition and Public Speaking
  • Calculus I & II
  • Differential Equations, equivalent to MATH 2930
  • Statistics or Linear Algebra, equivalent to MATH 2940
  • Computer Programming at the level of CS 1110 (Python)
  • Introductory Biology I with lab
  • Physics I & II (calculus-based) with labs, at the content level of PHYS 1112 (Mechanics) and PHYS 2213 (Electromagnetism)

Strongly Encouraged (Not Required):

  • One semester of General (Inorganic) Chemistry at content level of CHEM 2070.
  • Courses that meet the CALS social science and humanities requirements in Cultural Analysis, Historical Analysis, Knowledge, Cognition and Moral Reasoning, Literature and the Arts, Social and Behavioral Analysis and Foreign Language.

Careers in Atmospheric Science

Meteorologist looking at data on the computer.

Atmospheric Sciences

  • Broadcast meteorologist
  • Flight risk management
  • Risk management consultant
  • Weekend broadcast meteorologist

Meteorology

  • Broadcast meteorologist and reporter
  • Climate forecast meteorologist
  • Meteorology consultant
  • Risk communications analyst

More

  • City Year teacher
  • Data analyst
  • Registered nurse

Explore your opportunities

A CALS education goes beyond the classroom and gives students frequent opportunities to apply what they learn in real-world settings.