The study of atmospheric and oceanic sciences includes all aspects of the atmosphere and physical oceanography, their mutual interaction, and their interaction with space and the rest of the earth system. Although a primary goal is to understand the atmosphere and ocean for the purpose of predicting the weather, atmospheric and oceanic sciences embraces much more: motions at large, medium, and small scales; past, present, and future climates; air chemistry and quality; clouds and precipitation; and solar and terrestrial radiation. In many areas, new remote-sensing technology including satellites is used to provide circulation patterns at both global and local scales.
Many undergraduates take an elementary atmospheric and oceanic sciences course to meet part of their natural or physical science breadth requirements. Other students, who have had sufficient mathematics and physics preparation, take higher-level atmospheric and oceanic sciences courses to complement their major work in other fields of natural science. An atmospheric and oceanic sciences major receives a thorough introduction to the basic concepts and tools in the core courses, which cover the physics and dynamics of the atmosphere and ocean. An array of elective courses are offered in the senior year, with tracks in the areas of weather systems, earth/environmental science, and general and applied atmospheric and oceanic sciences. Elective groups are tailored individually. Some students will want preparation for careers in areas such as operational forecasting, environmental consulting, and broadcasting. Others will seek preparation for graduate work leading to a broader range of careers.
How to Get in
There are no admissions requirements for the major. Students wishing to declare the Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences major should meet with the Undergraduate Academic Advising Manager listed in the Contact Box on the right sidebar of this page.
University General Education Requirements
All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.
General Education |
* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements. |
College of Letters & Science Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Science (BS)
Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degree requirements.
Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements
Mathematics | Complete two courses of 3+ credits at the Intermediate or Advanced level in MATH, COMP SCI, or STAT subjects. A maximum of one course in each of COMP SCI and STAT subjects counts toward this requirement. |
Language | Complete the third unit of a language other than English. |
LS Breadth | Complete: • 12 credits of Humanities, which must include at least 6 credits of Literature; and • 12 credits of Social Science; and • 12 credits of Natural Science, which must include 6 credits of Biological Science and 6 credits of Physical Science. |
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework | Complete at least 108 credits. |
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced Coursework | Complete at least 60 credits at the Intermediate or Advanced level. |
Major | Declare and complete at least one major. |
Total Credits | Complete at least 120 credits. |
UW-Madison Experience | Complete both: • 30 credits in residence, overall, and • 30 credits in residence after the 86th credit. |
Quality of Work | • 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison • 2.000 in Intermediate/Advanced level coursework at UW–Madison |
Non–L&S students pursuing an L&S major
Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements. They do not need to complete the L&S Degree Requirements above.
Requirements for the Major
Code | Title | Credits |
---|---|---|
Calculus (complete all): | ||
MATH 221 | Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1 | 5 |
MATH 222 | Calculus and Analytic Geometry 2 | 4 |
MATH 234 | Calculus--Functions of Several Variables | 4 |
Physics (complete one course from each group): | ||
PHYSICS 207 | General Physics | 5 |
or PHYSICS 201 | General Physics | |
or PHYSICS 247 | A Modern Introduction to Physics | |
PHYSICS 208 | General Physics | 5 |
or PHYSICS 202 | General Physics | |
or PHYSICS 248 | A Modern Introduction to Physics | |
Computer Sciences (complete one): | 3 | |
Data Science Programming I | ||
Problem Solving Using Computers | ||
Data Science Programming II | ||
Machine Organization and Programming | ||
Introduction to Numerical Methods | ||
Introduction to Combinatorial Optimization | ||
Total Credits | 26 |
Code | Title | Credits |
---|---|---|
Core Sequence (complete all): | ||
ATM OCN 310 | Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean I | 3 |
ATM OCN 311 | Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean II | 3 |
ATM OCN 330 | Physics of the Atmosphere and Ocean I | 3 |
ATM OCN 340 | Physics of the Atmosphere and Ocean II | 3 |
Quantitative Analysis (complete one): | 3 | |
Introduction to Numerical Methods | ||
Introduction to Combinatorics | ||
Numerical Analysis | ||
Linear Optimization | ||
Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics I | ||
Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics II | ||
Techniques in Ordinary Differential Equations | ||
Linear Algebra and Differential Equations | ||
Applied Mathematical Analysis | ||
Applied Mathematical Analysis | ||
Introductory Probability | ||
Elementary Matrix and Linear Algebra | ||
Linear Algebra | ||
Topics in Multi-Variable Calculus and Linear Algebra | ||
Topics in Multi-Variable Calculus and Differential Equations | ||
Topics in Mathematics Study Abroad | ||
Applied Dynamical Systems, Chaos and Modeling | ||
The Theory of Single Variable Calculus | ||
Introduction to Combinatorial Optimization | ||
Introduction to the Theory of Probability | ||
Introduction to Cryptography | ||
Introduction to Modern Algebra | ||
Applied Linear Algebra | ||
College Geometry I | ||
Introduction to Number Theory | ||
Mathematics for Secondary School Teachers | ||
History of Mathematics | ||
Introduction to Combinatorics | ||
Undergraduate Seminar | ||
Topics in Undergraduate Mathematics | ||
Numerical Linear Algebra | ||
Numerical Analysis | ||
Ordinary Differential Equations | ||
Analysis I | ||
Analysis II | ||
Linear Optimization | ||
Probability Theory | ||
Mathematical Methods in Data Science | ||
Linear Algebra II | ||
Modern Algebra | ||
Modern Algebra | ||
Elementary Topology | ||
Elementary Geometric and Algebraic Topology | ||
Differential Geometry | ||
Modern Number Theory | ||
Fundamentals of Set Theory | ||
Mathematical Logic | ||
Stochastic Methods for Biology | ||
Topics in Mathematics Study Abroad | ||
Mathematical Methods for Systems Biology | ||
Analysis of Partial Differential Equations | ||
Introduction to Manifolds | ||
Complex Analysis | ||
Introduction to Fourier Analysis | ||
Introduction to Measure and Integration | ||
Introduction to Stochastic Processes | ||
Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics I | ||
Introduction to Probability and Mathematical Statistics II | ||
Introduction to Theory and Methods of Mathematical Statistics I | ||
Introduction to Theory and Methods of Mathematical Statistics II | ||
Introductory Applied Statistics for Engineers | ||
Applied Regression Analysis | ||
Data Science Modeling II | ||
Introduction to Time Series | ||
Introductory Nonparametric Statistics | ||
Topics in Statistics Study Abroad | ||
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences | ||
An Introduction to Sample Survey Theory and Methods | ||
Applied Categorical Data Analysis | ||
Statistical Experimental Design | ||
Introduction to the Theory of Probability | ||
Applied Multivariate Analysis | ||
Financial Statistics | ||
Introduction to Computational Statistics | ||
Introduction to Combinatorics | ||
Special Topics in Statistics | ||
Linear Optimization | ||
Introduction to Biostatistics | ||
Introduction to Clinical Trials I | ||
Statistical Methods for Bioscience I | ||
Statistical Methods for Bioscience II | ||
Statistical Methods for Spatial Data | ||
Statistical Methods I | ||
Statistical Methods II | ||
Data Science Computing Project | ||
Mathematical Statistics I | ||
Introduction to Statistical Inference | ||
Statistical Learning | ||
Professional Skills in Data Science | ||
Data Science Practicum | ||
Introduction to Stochastic Processes | ||
Statistical Methods for Clinical Trials | ||
Statistical Methods for Epidemiology | ||
Special Topics in Statistics | ||
Senior Honors Thesis | ||
Senior Honors Thesis | ||
Capstone | ||
ATM OCN 405 | AOS Senior Capstone Seminar | 1 |
Electives | 11 | |
Topics in Meteorology | ||
Meteorological Measurements | ||
Global Climate Processes | ||
Radar and Satellite Meteorology | ||
Synoptic Laboratory I: The Frontal Cyclone | ||
Synoptic Laboratory II: Mesoscale Meteorology | ||
Bioclimatology | ||
Tropical Meteorology | ||
Environmental Biophysics | ||
Atmospheric Dispersion and Air Pollution | ||
Computational Methods in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences | ||
Climatological Analysis | ||
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics I | ||
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics II | ||
Laboratory in Rotating Fluid Dynamics | ||
Introduction to Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics | ||
Cloud Physics | ||
Atmospheric Chemistry | ||
Radiation in the Atmosphere and Ocean | ||
Synoptic-Dynamic Laboratory | ||
Introduction to Physical Oceanography | ||
Senior Honors Thesis | ||
Senior Honors Thesis | ||
Senior Thesis | ||
Senior Thesis | ||
Directed Study ^{2} | ||
Directed Study ^{2} | ||
Total Credits | 27 |
Residence and Quality of Work
- 2.000 GPA in all ATM OCN and major courses
- 2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level credits in the major, taken in Residence. ^{3}
- 15 credits in ATM OCN, taken on campus
Honors in the Major
Students may declare Honors in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Major in consultation with the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences undergraduate advisor.
Requirements
To earn Honors in the Major in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:
- Earn a 3.300 University GPA
- Earn a 3.400 GPA for all ATM OCN courses, and all courses accepted in the major
- Complete the following additional coursework:
- ATM OCN 610 or ATM OCN 611 and
- ATM OCN 681 and ATM OCN 682 for a total of 6 credits
Footnotes
- ^{ 1 }
Note that core sequence begins in the fall semester only.
- ^{ 2 }
A maximum 2 credits of Electives may come from Internship or Directed Study courses.
- ^{ 3 }
ATM OCN 300 through ATM OCN 699 are upper-level in the major.
University Degree Requirements
Total Degree | To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements. |
Residency | Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs. |
Quality of Work | Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation. |
Learning Outcomes
- Recognize and describe the fundamental principles and processes associated with the dynamics and thermodynamics of geophysical fluid flows, the basic physics of clouds, aerosols, and precipitation.
- Recognize and describe the fundamental principles and processes associated with radiation and atmospheric and oceanic radiative transfer.
- Demonstrate critical thinking skills by identifying a problem, identifying the required information to solve that problem; and formulating and interpreting solutions to that problem using appropriate analytical and/or computational techniques.
- Apply diagnostic tools to to analyses and numerical model output to diagnose, describe, and interpret the fundamental dynamical and thermodynamical processes at work in synoptic-scale, mesoscale, and large-scale weather systems and climate circulations.
- Apply fundamental radiative transfer theory to interpret remotely-sensed observations of atmospheric and oceanic phenomena.
- Design and conduct experiments and/or analyze data to test hypotheses in an area of atmospheric or climate sciences.
- Demonstrate effective scientific communication skills through development and delivery of oral presentations (including poster presentations) and written reports and case studies.
Four-Year Plan
This Four-Year Plan is only one way a student may complete an L&S degree with this major. Many factors can affect student degree planning, including placement scores, credit for transferred courses, credits earned by examination, and individual scholarly interests. In addition, many students have commitments (e.g., athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, work and volunteer experiences) that necessitate they adjust their plans accordingly. Informed students engage in their own unique Wisconsin Experience by consulting their academic advisors, Guide, DARS, and Course Search & Enroll for assistance making and adjusting their plan.
First Year | |||
---|---|---|---|
Fall | Credits | Spring | Credits |
MATH 221 (QR-B) | 5 | MATH 222 | 4 |
ATM OCN 100 or 101 | 4 | ATM OCN/ENVIR ST 171 (Comm B) | 3 |
Communication A | 3 | Literature Breadth | 3 |
Foreign Language | 4 | Biological Science Breadth | 3 |
16 | 13 | ||
Second Year | |||
Fall | Credits | Spring | Credits |
MATH 234 | 4 | Humanities Breadth | 3 |
PHYSICS 207 | 5 | PHYSICS 208 | 5 |
Biological Science Breadth | 3 | COMP SCI 220 | 4 |
Ethnic Studies | 4 | Social Science Breadth | 3 |
16 | 15 | ||
Third Year | |||
Fall | Credits | Spring | Credits |
ATM OCN 310 | 3 | ATM OCN 311 | 3 |
ATM OCN 330 | 3 | ATM OCN 340 | 3 |
Literature Breadth | 3 | Biological Science Breadth | 3 |
ADV MATH/COMP SCI/STATS | 3 | Humanities Breadth | 3 |
Social Science Breadth | 4 | Elective | 3 |
16 | 15 | ||
Fourth Year | |||
Fall | Credits | Spring | Credits |
ATM OCN 400 or higher | 3 | ATM OCN numbered 400 or higher | 3 |
ATM OCN 400 or higher | 4 | ATM OCN numbered 400 level or higher | 4 |
Elective | 4 | ATM OCN 699 (or elective) | 3 |
Social Science Breadth | 4 | ATM OCN 405 | 1 |
Elective | 3 | ||
15 | 14 | ||
Total Credits 120 |
Advising and Careers
General Advising
Any student interested in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences or Environmental Sciences major should meet with the Undergraduate Academic Advising Manager listed in the Contact Box on the right sidebar of this page to discuss steps to complete the necessary prerequisite coursework for the major.
Career Advising
The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences encourages majors to begin working on their career exploration and preparation soon after arriving on campus. We partner with SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science. L&S graduates are in high demand by employers and graduate programs. It is important that students are career ready at the time of graduation, and we are committed to your success.
L&S Career Resources
Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities. SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.
In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.
Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.
- SuccessWorks
- Set up a career advising appointment
- Enroll in a Career Course - a great idea for first- and second-year students:
- INTER-LS 210 L&S Career Development: Taking Initiative (1 credit)
- INTER-LS 215 Communicating About Careers (3 credits, fulfills Comm B General Education Requirement)
- Learn about internships and internship funding
- INTER-LS 260 Internship in the Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Activate your Handshake account to apply for jobs and internships from 200,000+ employers recruiting UW-Madison students
- Learn about the impact SuccessWorks has on students' lives
People
Professors
Back, Larissa
Desai, Ankur (Chair)
Hitchman, Matt
Holloway, Tracey
L'Ecuyer, Tristan
Martin, Jonathan
Morgan, Michael (On leave)
Pierce, Brad
Vimont, Dan
Associate Professors
Adames-Corraliza, Ángel
Lang, Andrea Lopez
Assistant Professors
Henderson, David
Henderson, Stephanie
Maroon, Elizabeth
Oyola-Merced, Mayra
Rowe, Angela
Wagner, Till
Zanowski, Hannah