The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) provides interdisciplinary education and training to students who are interested in weather and climate science. Starting in the Fall 2016, ATOC now offers an undergraduate major leading to a bachelor's of arts (B.A.) degree.  The department also offers an undergraduate minor for students pusuing a bachelor's degree in another academic department. ATOC studnets delve into a breadth of applied science topics, from the depths of the ocean to the outer reaches of the atmosphere, acquiring the quantitative skills necessary for today's high-tech careers. 

The ATOC major is primarily designed for students who are interested in developing a knowledge base in atmospheric and oceanic science with an emphasis on the Earth's climate, but there is considerable latitude within the program for students to design a course of study that is tailored to their individual interests. Areas of study include basic introductions to weather and climate as well as more advanced courses such as atmospheric chemistry and physics, oceanography, weather and climate observations, weather forecasting, ocean and atmosphere circulation, wind energy, mountain meteorology, climate modeling and aviation meteorology.

What can you do with an ATOC minor?

An degree in ATOC is essentially an applied physics degree. ATOC majors use their skills and knowledge in fields such as environmental consulting, government agencies, and natural resources industries.  ATOC students learn the quantitative skills that are required for many high-tech jobs, even those unrelated to atmospheric and oceanic sciences. Students who choose to minor in ATOC combined with majors in engineering or in natural science fields such as Chemistry, Physics, Applied Math, or Computer Science will be well prepared to attend graduate school in atmospheric science or oceanography.

An undergraduate major in ATOC is directly relevant to jobs in renewable energy industries, the insurance industry (e.g., weather- and climate-related events), air and water quality monitoring, sustainable development, aerospace industries, weather forecasting, federal agencies or organizations that are involved in environmental research, and academic institutions.

The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) at the University of Colorado at Boulder is located in a region having the greatest concentration of geophysical researchers in the nation and perhaps the world. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have facilities located near the CU Boulder campus. CU Boulder hosts excellent research institutes on campus including the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environment (CIRES), the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).

The proximity of ATOC to this atmospheric and oceanic science “ground zero” provides students with a host of opportunities that is unique to CU Boulder. Our faculty, researchers, and students enjoy collaborations with scientists at NCAR, NOAA, and NREL as well as scientists in other CU academic departments and the research institutes CIRES, INSTAAR, and LASP.

Please speak with your advisor for specific recommendations; the following is intended to be a general outline only and there may be flexibility to this plan.
 

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences 4-Year Plan
Average 30 credits per year

 

First Year – Fall Semester
ATOC 1050 or ATOC 1060
or FYSM 1000 (ATOC)
MATH 1300
(5): Calculus 1 or APPM 1350 (4): Calculus 1 for Engineers
PHYS 1110 (4): Calculus-based Intro Physics 1
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (ex: Lower-Division Written Communication)

First Year – Spring Semester
MATH 2300
(5): Calculus 2 or APPM 1360 (4) Calculus 2 for Engineers
PHYS 1120 (4): Calculus-based Intro Physics 2      
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (see Degree Audit for options)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study


Second Year – Fall Semester
CHEM 1113
(4): General Chemistry 1
CHEM 1114 (1): General Chemistry 1 Lab
MATH 2400 (5): Calculus 3 or APPM 2350 (4):  Calculus 3 for Engineers
ATOC Core (3): ATOC 3050, ATOC 3070, ATOC 3500, or ATOC 3600 (3)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study

Second Year – Spring Semester
APPM 2360
(4):  Differential Equations and Linear Algebra
ATOC Core (3): ATOC 3050, ATOC 3070, ATOC 3500, or ATOC 3600 (3)
ATOC Core (3): ATOC 3050, ATOC 3070, ATOC 3500, or ATOC 3600 (3)         
CSCI 1200 or CSCI 1300 (4):  Computer Science 1
CORE (3): Content Area of Study


 Third Year – Fall Semester
ATOC Fundamentals
(3): (see Degree Audit for options)
ATOC Fundamentals (3): (see Degree Audit for options)
ATOC Methods Course (3): (see Degree Audit for options)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study
CORE (3): Content Area of Study

Third Year – Spring Semester
ATOC Fundamentals
(3): (see Degree Audit for options)
ATOC Methods Course (3): (see Degree Audit for options)
ATOC Upper Division Elective (3)
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (example: Upper-Division Written Communication)
Elective (3)


Fourth Year – Fall Semester
ATOC Methods Course
(3): (see Degree Audit for options)
ATOC Upper Division Elective (3)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study
Elective (3)
Elective (3)

Fourth Year – Spring Semester
ATOC Methods Course
(3): (see Degree Audit for options)
ATOC Upper Division Elective (3)
ATOC Upper Division Elective (3)
Elective (3)
Elective (3)