Atmospheric Sciences

What Is It?:

Atmospheric Sciences prepares students for careers in a wide range of disciplines within the atmospheric sciences including meteorology, environmental science, climate, remote sensing, atmospheric chemistry, computational science and other areas. The curriculum is tailored to achieve the student's long term educational goals, their career aspirations in atmospheric sciences and their general interests in the field.

All students receive a firm foundation in mathematics, physics and chemistry and develop data analysis and computational skills that can be used in a wide range of applications within and beyond the atmospheric sciences, including the opportunity to emphasize specific areas of interest in their elective choices. Students majoring in Atmospheric Sciences will have opportunities for employment within agencies of government (e.g. the National Weather Service/NOAA, NASA, EPA, DOD, DOE), many private firms and in colleges and universities for those who continue with graduate education. 

For more information, please visit the Department of Atmospheric Sciences

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • ATMS 201: General Physical Meteorology

Students should consult with academic advisorEric Snodgrass (snodgrss@illinois.edu) regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period. 

Possible Career Opportunities:

  • Atmospheric chemistry
  • Climate and remote sensing
  • Computational science
  • Environmental science
  • Meteorology

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Broadcast Meteorologist
  • Engineering Meteorologist
  • Forecaster
  • Instrumentation Specialist
  • Meteorologist
  • Researcher

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society at UIUC: provide a forum for students interested in the atmospheric sciences to voice their opinions/concerns, to serve as a conduit between students and the Department of Atmospheric Sciences faculty and staff, to serve as a conduit between the students and the surrounding community, to promote and support social, professional, and academic activities related to the atmospheric sciences, and to promote the welfare of all members within the organization.                                      

Related Skills:

  • Conducting research
  • Forecasting
  • Communication skills
  • Math Aptitude
  • Computer literacy
  • Work well under pressure
  • Forecasting
  • Leadership skills
  • Organization skills
  • Management skills, etc.

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Atmospheric Sciences, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major.

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Atmospheric Sciences.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Atmospheric Sciences.  These organizations include World Meterological Society and International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Atmospheric Sciences, visit Undergraduate Programs.