Undergraduate Bulletin

Fall 2022 Bulletin

Requirements for the Major in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATM)

The major in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences leads to the Bachelor of Science degree. Two tracks of study are available in the major. One is intended for students wishing to learn about the physical behavior of the atmosphere and its application to weather forecasting and the other track is for students who wish to learn about issues and processes related to climate.

Completion of the major requires approximately 65 credits. Of these, no more than one course (4 credits) with a grade lower than C can be credited to the major.

The core courses for both tracks are as follows:

A. Required Courses in Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, and Computer Science

  1. AMS 102 Elements of Statistics or AMS 210 Applied Linear Algebra
  2. MAT 131 and MAT 132 Calculus I and II (See note below). If students do not place into MAT 125 or MAT 131 on the basis of the math placement examination, MAT 123 (or MAT 119/MAT 123) is a required course for the major.
  3. MAT 203 Calculus III with Applications or AMS 261 Applied Calculus III
  4. CHE 131 General Chemistry I (Note: CHE 129/CHE 130 or CHE 152 may be substituted for CHE 131)
  5. PHY 125, PHY 126/PHY 133, PHY 127/PHY 134 Classical Physics A, B, and C with labs or PHY 131/PHY 133, PHY 132/ PHY 134 Classical Physics I and II with labs or PHY 141/ PHY 133, PHY 142/PHY 134 Classical Physics I and II: Honors with labs
  6. PHY 277 Computation for Physics and Astronomy or ESG 111 C Programming for Engineers or CSE 130 Introduction to Programming in C

B. Required Departmental Courses:

  1. ATM 205 Introduction to Atmospheric Sciences
  2. ATM 247 Atmospheric Structure and Analysis
  3. ATM 345 Atmospheric Thermodynamics and Dynamics
  4. ATM 348 Atmospheric Physics
  5. ATM 397 Air Pollution and Its Control
  6. MAR 334 Remote Sensing
  7. MAR 350 Ocean Physics

Additional Requirements for the Meteorology Track:

In this track, students learn both the mathematics and physics governing atmospheric behavior and apply this knowledge to forecasting the weather using real-time data received at our weather laboratory. Opportunities are available for students to gain additional practical experience by working under cooperative agreements at two nearby NOAA weather forecasting installations as well as local TV stations. Students graduating in this track will have satisfied all of the coursework recommended by the American Meteorological Society for undergraduate training in meteorology and also the course work required by NOAA for certification as an entry-level government meteorologist. Students graduating in this track will have taken the coursework necessary for graduate study leading to degrees that prepare them for research and teaching positions in the atmospheric sciences. Students are also prepared for positions in other technically related fields.

Additional Requirements for the Climate Track:

  • ATM 201 Introduction to Climate and Climate Change
  • ATM 305 Global Climate Change
  • ATM 320 Spatial Data Analysis Using Matlab
  • GEO 313 Understanding Water Resources for the 21st Century
  • MAR 340 Environmental Problems and Solutions or ENS 301 Contemporary Environmental Issues

This track is not intended for students who are interested in the NOAA/National Weather Service or graduate school in atmospheric science. Rather, students graduating in this track receive a solid background in statistics, atmospheric science, and oceanography and are therefore well qualified for jobs in the private sector (instrument companies, weather and climatology consultants, weather support for major industry such as airlines and utilities, as well as forecast and climate modeling companies). The ocean-related courses also help those students who are interested in the M.S. graduate program in physical ocean­ography. Students are also prepared for positions in other technically related fields.

Note: The following alternate beginning calculus sequences may be substituted for major requirements or prerequisites: MAT 125 (or MAT 125/MAT 130), MAT 126, MAT 127 or MAT 141, MAT 142 or MAT 171 or AMS 151, AMS 161 or MAT 131, MAT 132. Equivalency for MAT courses achieved by earning the appropriate score on a placement test is accepted as fulfillment of the requirement without the necessity of substituting other credits. For more detailed information about the various calculus sequences, see "Beginning Mathe­matics Courses" under the Mathe­matics Department in this Bulletin.

C. Experiential Learning Courses (optional, 1-3 credits):

D. Upper-Division Writing Requirement:

The advanced writing component of the major in ​ATM requires registration in, and satisfactory completion of the 0-credit MAR 459 or SUS 459 (S/U grading) along with enrollment in an approved advanced course that entails writing of either a term paper or a laboratory report. Completion of MAR 459 with a grade of S will also result in fulfillment of the WRTD requirement. A list of preapproved courses can be found at http://www.somas.stonybrook.edu/education/undergraduate/.  

Bachelor of Science Degree in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences/Master of Science Degree in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Students interested in this program, intended to prepare students for professional employment or graduate school in the field of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, may apply for admission at the end of the junior year. Students in this combined B.S./M.S. program may complete both degrees in 10 semesters plus two summers (although the exact timing will depend on the student’s progress on the research thesis). Entry in the combined B.S./M.S. program is contingent upon a student identifying a thesis advisor, so students should seek out research experience in the laboratories of prospective advisor prior to the end of their junior year. During the fourth year, students take a mixture of undergraduate and graduate courses (6-12 credits). After the 8 th semester (during the summer), students begin M.S. level research. During the fifth year, students complete the remaining graduate requirements for the M.S., likely needing the following summer to complete the research project. The two to four 500-level MAR courses taken during the senior year may be counted toward required or elective requirements of the undergraduate Marine Science major. Please visit the SoMAS website  http://somas.stonybrook.edu/  for further information on the Marine Sciences programs.

Honors Program in Atmospheric Sciences

Graduation with departmental honors in Atmospheric Sciences requires the following:

1. Students are eligible to participate in the Honors Program if they have a 3.50 GPA in all courses for the major by the end of the junior year. Students should apply to the SoMAS undergraduate director for permission to participate.

2. Students must prepare an honors thesis based on a research project written in the form of a paper for a scientific journal. A student interested in becoming a candidate for honors should submit an outline of the proposed thesis research project to the SoMAS undergraduate director as early as possible, but no later than the second week of classes in the last semester. The student will be given an oral examination in May on his or her research by his or her research supervisor and the undergraduate research committee. The awarding of honors requires the recommendation of this committee and recognizes superior performance in research and scholarly endeavors. The written thesis must be submitted before the end of the semester in which the student is graduating.

3. If the student maintains a GPA of 3.5 in all courses in their major through senior year and receives a recommendation by the undergraduate research committee, he or she will receive departmental honors.