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Info for Undergraduate Students

ATOC Undergraduate Minor Program

The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) does not offer an undergraduate bachelor's degree program. However, the department does offer an undergraduate minor for students pursuing a bachelor's degree in another academic department.  Students who successfully complete a major at CU Boulder in a quantitative field such as physics or chemistry, and a minor in ATOC, will be prepared for graduate work in atmospheric and oceanic science.  The ATOC Minor is offered through the College of Arts and Sciences and is noted on the official CU transcript.

Although the ATOC Minor is primarily designed for students who are interested in developing a knowledge base in atmospheric science with an emphasis on the Earth's climate, there is considerable latitude within the program for students to design a course of study that is tailored to their individual interests.

Students who wish to declare the ATOC minor need to complete and sign a change of major/minor form; obtain the signature of the ATOC minor advisor; and submit these forms to the ATOC main office.

Upon completion of the ATOC Minor requirements, students must complete a Minor Completion form and submit it along with their graduation paperwork to their respective colleges and major advisors.

These forms may be obtained in the ATOC main office located in STAD Room 255, Gate 7 or by contacting the ATOC Undergraduate & Graduate Program Assistant at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (303) 492-6633.

If you have questions regarding coursework or need advising, please contact our ATOC Minor Advisor, Dr. John Cassano ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

Students interested in the ATOC minor might also be interested in the Baker Residential Academic Program (http://bakerrap.colorado.edu/).

Minor Requirements:

A total of 18 credit hours with at least 9 credit hours at the Advanced Coursework level. NOTE: Not all courses at the 3000 level and abover are considered at the Advanced Coursework level. Please see list below.

Elementary Coursework   Advanced Coursework
ATOC 1050:  Weather and the Atmosphere*   ATOC 3500/CHEM 3151:  Air Chemistry and Pollution
ATOC 1060:  Our Changing Environment*   ATOC 3600/GEOG 3601: Principles of Climate*
ATOC/GEOL 3070:  Intro to Oceanography*   ATOC/ASTR 3720: Planets and Their Atmospheres
ATOC 3300:  Analysis of Climate and Weather Observations*   ATOC 4200: Biogeochemical Oceanography
      ATOC/ASEN 4215: Descriptive Physical Oceanography
      ATOC 4500: Wind Energy Meteorology
      ATOC 4500: Mountain Meteorology
      ATOC 4700: Weather Analysis & Forecasting
      ATOC 4720: Intro to Atmospheric Dynamics
      ATOC 4750: Desert Meteorology*
      ATOC 4800:  Policy Implications of Climate Controversies
      ATOC 4900:  Independent Study


* Note: These classes fulfill Arts & Sciences Core Curriculum: Natural Science.

All coursework applied to the minor must be completed with a grade of C- or better (no pass/fail work may be applied).  The grade point average for all minor degree work must be equal to 2.00 (C) or higher.  Coursework applied toward a minor may also be applied toward general education (core curriculum or college list) and major requirements.  Students are allowed to apply no more than 9 credit hours, including 6 advanced level credit hours, of transfer work to a minor.

Sample Tracks in ATOC Minor Program

The ATOC Minor is especially appropriate for Environmental Studies majors with a climate specialization, Physics (Plan 2) majors with a concentration in atmospheric physics, and environmental aerospace engineering majors, however students in other major programs are welcome to pursue the ATOC Minor provided they meet the course pre-requisites.

 Environmental Studies or Geography Majors:    
ATOC 1050: Weather and the Atmosphere 
ATOC 1060: Our Changing Environment  
ATOC 3300: Analysis of Climate and Weather Observations 
ATOC 3600: Principles of Climate  
ATOC 4800: Policy Implications of Climate Controversies 
Plus one additional advanced level course  
 Geology Majors:    
ATOC 1050: Weather and the Atmosphere
ATOC 1060: Our Changing Environment
ATOC 3070: Intro to Oceanography
ATOC 3500: Air Chemistry and Pollution
ATOC 4200: Biogeochemical Oceanography
Plus one additional advanced level course
 Physics (Plan 2) or Engineering Majors:    
ATOC 3500: Air Chemistry and Pollution    
ATOC 3600: Principles of Climate    
ATOC 3720: Planets and Their Atmospheres    
ATOC 4215: Descriptive Physical Oceanography    
ATOC 4720: Intro to Atmospheric Dynamics**    
ATOC 4750: Desert Meteorology    

**Physics and engineering majors are encouraged to take ATOC 4720 in their junior year, and a graduate-level ATOC course such as ATOC 5400 (Introduction to Fluid Dynamics), ATOC 5060 (Dynamics of the Atmosphere), or ATOC 5235 (Intro to Atmospheric Radiative Transfer and Remote Sensing) in their senior year.


University of Colorado Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program
National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
American Meteorological Society Scholarships and Fellowships
NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program
SMART Scholarship. Science, Mathematics & Research for Transformation.
Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program (NREIP)