The undergraduate program in atmospheric sciences gives students a strong Green Leafquantitative 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, numerical weather prediction, data analytics, 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

This is a Green Leaf program.

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

Fulfills the writing intensive requirement.


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)
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
or CLIM 440 Climate Dynamics
CLIM 314Severe and Extreme Weather3
or GGS 314 Severe and Extreme Weather
CLIM 319Air Pollution3
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 470Numerical Weather Prediction3
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
Introduction to Scientific Programming
Scientific Information and Data Visualization
Physical Climatology
Physical Climatology
Severe and Extreme Weather
Severe and Extreme Weather
Air Pollution
Midlatitude Synoptic Meteorology
Research Internship
Physical Oceanography
Atmospheric Chemistry
Climate Dynamics
Introduction to Atmospheric Radiation
Numerical Weather Prediction
Earth Science and Policy (Mason Core)
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.

Students who have completed the following credentials are eligible for a waiver of the Foundation and Exploration (lower level) requirement categories. The Integration category (upper level) is not waived under this policy. See Admissions for more information. 

  • VCCS Uniform Certificate of General Studies
  • VCCS or Richard Bland Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Arts and Sciences (A.A.&S.), or Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.)
Foundation Requirements
Written Communication (ENGH 101)3
Oral Communication3
Quantitative Reasoning3
Information Technology and Computing3
Exploration Requirements
Global History3
Global Understanding3
Natural Science7
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Integration Requirements
Written Communications (ENGH 302)3
Writing-Intensive 13
Synthesis/Capstone 23
Total Credits40

Most programs include the writing-intensive course designated for the major as part of the major requirements; this course is therefore not counted towards the total required for Mason Core.


Minimum 3 credits required.

Program Outcomes

  • Students will apply mathematical tools to study atmospheric processes.
  • Students will construct and interpret weather charts, maps, and diagrams.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of the physical laws governing the structure and evolution of atmospheric phenomena spanning a broad range of spatial and temporal scales.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to plan, execute, and communicate research in the atmospheric sciences.
  • Students will demonstrate ability to integrate atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics into an understanding of how the climate has changed and may change in the future.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to apply advanced mathematical and computational methods to simulation and analysis of atmospheric phenomena.

Atmospheric Sciences, BS/Climate Science, Accelerated MS


This bachelor's/accelerated master's degree program allows academically strong undergraduates with a commitment to advance their education to obtain both the Atmospheric Sciences, BS and the Climate Science, MS degrees within an accelerated timeframe. Upon completion of this 141 credit accelerated program, students will be exceptionally well prepared for entry into their careers or into a doctoral program in the field or in a related discipline.

Students are eligible to apply for this accelerated program once they have earned at least 60 undergraduate credits and can enroll in up to 18 credits of graduate coursework after successfully completing 75 undergraduate credits. This flexibility makes it possible for students to complete a bachelor's and a master's in five years.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies. For more information on undergraduates enrolling in graduate courses, see AP.1.4.4 Graduate Course Enrollment by Undergraduates.

Application Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in the Graduate Admission Policies section of this catalog.

Important application information and processes for this accelerated master's program can be found here.

Students should seek out the graduate program's advisor who will aid in choosing the appropriate graduate courses and help prepare the student for graduate studies.

Three letters of recommendation, including one from a prospective thesis or project advisor, are required.

GRE scores are not required for students in this accelerated program.

Successful applicants will have an overall undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00. 

Accelerated Option Requirements

After the completion of 75 undergraduate credits, students may complete 3 to 12 credits of graduate coursework that can apply to both the undergraduate and graduate degrees.

In addition to applying to graduate from the undergraduate program, students in the accelerated program must submit a bachelor's/accelerated master's transition form (available from the Office of the University Registrar) to the College of Science's Office of Academic and Student Affairs by the last day to add classes of their final undergraduate semester. Students should enroll for courses in the master's program in the fall or spring semester immediately following conferral of the bachelor's degree, but should contact an advisor if they would like to defer up to one semester.

Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.00 or higher in all graduate coursework and should consult with their faculty advisor to coordinate their academic goals.

Reserve Graduate Credit

Accelerated master's students may also take up to 6 graduate credits as reserve graduate credits. These credits do not apply to the undergraduate degree, but will reduce the master's degree by up to 6 credits. With 12 graduate credits counted toward the undergraduate and graduate degrees plus the maximum 6 reserve graduate credits, the credits necessary for the graduate degree can be reduced by up to 18.

Graduate Course Suggestions

The following list of suggested courses is provided for general reference. To ensure an efficient route to graduation and post-graduation readiness, students are strongly encouraged to meet with an advisor before registering for graduate-level courses.

CLIM 511Atmospheric Dynamics 13
CLIM 512Physical Oceanography 13
CLIM 601Midlatitude Synoptic Meteorology 13
CLIM 610Introduction to the Physical Climate System3
CLIM 614Land-Climate Interactions3
CLIM 631Urban Climate3
CLIM 670Earth System Modeling3
CLIM 680Climate Data3
CLIM 690Scientific Basis of Climate Change3