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The undergraduate program in atmospheric sciences gives students a strong quantitative undergraduate education in atmospheric, climate, and related sciences to understand the basic principles behind current and emerging issues in weather, climate variability, and climate change. Students completing the atmospheric sciences degree will be prepared for a full range of career paths including forecast and analysis, operations and research support in meteorology, atmospheric sciences, and climate. The curriculum meets the American Meteorological Society's recommendations for a bachelor's degree in atmospheric sciences.


University-wide admissions policies can be found in the Undergraduate Admissions Policies section of this catalog.

To apply for this program, please complete the George Mason University Admissions Application.


Students must fulfill all Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees, including the Mason Core.

The university's writing intensive requirement for the major will be met upon successful completion of CLIM 408 Senior Research.

For policies governing all undergraduate degrees, see AP.5 Undergraduate Policies.

Banner Code: SC-BS-AOES

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should refer to the Admissions & Policies tab for specific policies related to this program.

A GPA of at least 2.00 is required for all core courses, with an overall GPA of at least 2.50.

Atmospheric Sciences Core

CLIM 102Introduction to Global Climate Change Science (Mason Core)4
CLIM 111Introduction to the Fundamentals of Atmospheric Science (Mason Core)3
CLIM 112Introduction to the Fundamentals of Atmospheric Science Lab (Mason Core)1
CLIM 301Weather Analysis and Prediction4
CLIM 408Senior Research 13
CLIM 411Atmospheric Dynamics3
CLIM 429Atmospheric Thermodynamics3
PHYS 475Atmospheric Physics3
Total Credits24


CHEM 211General Chemistry I (Mason Core)3
CHEM 213General Chemistry Laboratory I (Mason Core)1
Total Credits4

Computer Science

Select one of the following:3-4
Computing for Scientists (Mason Core)
Introduction to Computer Programming (Mason Core) 1
Total Credits3-4


MATH 113Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)4
MATH 114Analytic Geometry and Calculus II4
MATH 213Analytic Geometry and Calculus III3
Total Credits11


STAT 250Introductory Statistics I (Mason Core)3
Total Credits3


PHYS 160University Physics I (Mason Core)3
PHYS 161University Physics I Laboratory (Mason Core)1
PHYS 260University Physics II (Mason Core)3
PHYS 261University Physics II Laboratory (Mason Core)1
Total Credits8


Students in the atmospheric sciences major will select one of the following options in addition to the required courses above. These options reflect faculty expertise and provide two areas of research emphasis. The options will help in creating educated professionals who have the requisite training to support future weather and climate research, enabling the graduate's potential for providing substantial societal benefits.

Meteorology Option

This option is designed for students who are primarily interested in weather and weather forecasting. The required classes in this option emphasize atmospheric phenomena, especially those that have the greatest impact on society.

CLIM 312Physical Climatology3
or GGS 312 Physical Climatology
CLIM 314Severe and Extreme Weather3
or GGS 314 Severe and Extreme Weather
CLIM 319Air Pollution3
or GGS 319 Air Pollution
Total Credits9

Computational Atmospheric Sciences Option

The computational atmospheric sciences option gives students preparation in computational science, mathematics, and elements of numerical modeling in order to undertake quantitative research or operational work in a professional or graduate setting.

CLIM 440Climate Dynamics3
or CLIM 470 Numerical Weather Prediction
MATH 214Elementary Differential Equations3
Select one from the following:3
Introduction to Scientific Programming
Scientific Information and Data Visualization
Scientific Data and Databases
Scientific Data Mining
Total Credits9

Required Electives

The required electives must be chosen from this list and be independent of courses taken in the selected option (Meteorology or Computational Atmospheric Sciences):

Select 9 credits from the following:9
Physical Climatology
Physical Climatology
Severe and Extreme Weather
Severe and Extreme Weather
Air Pollution
Air Pollution
Research Internship
Physical Oceanography
Atmospheric Thermodynamics
Atmospheric Chemistry
Climate Dynamics
Introduction to Atmospheric Radiation
Introduction to Atmospheric Radiation
Numerical Weather Prediction
Earth Science and Policy (Mason Core)
Introduction to Scientific Programming
Scientific Information and Data Visualization
Data Analysis and Global Change Detection Techniques
Elementary Differential Equations
Total Credits9

Mason Core and Elective Credits

In order to meet a minimum of 120 credits, this degree requires an additional 48-49 credits (dependent upon the course chosen for the Computer Science requirement), which may be applied toward any remaining Mason Core requirements (outlined below), Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees, and electives. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisors to ensure that they fulfill all requirements.

Mason Core

Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Foundation Requirements
Written Communication (ENGH 101)3
Oral Communication3
Quantitative Reasoning3
Information Technology and Computing3
Exploration Requirements
Global Understanding3
Natural Science7
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Western Civilization/World History3
Integration Requirements
Written Communications (ENGH 302)3
Writing-Intensive 13
Synthesis/Capstone 23
Total Credits40