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Atmospheric Sciences Program

Atmospheric Sciences Program

UGA Atmospheric Sciences students in a Delta Air Lines flight simulator.
UGA Atmospheric Sciences students in a Delta Air Lines flight simulator.

The University of Georgia's new Atmospheric Sciences major addresses the needs of students interested in studying meteorology or climate science.

The UGA Atmospheric Sciences Program offers a new undergraduate major (B.S.) in Atmospheric Sciences effective Spring 2017.

The undergraduate major can easily be completed with a double major in Geography. The major will replace the Undergraduate Certificate in Atmospheric Sciences, which has been in place since 2000. If you have questions about transitioning from the certificate to a major, please contact the Atmospheric Sciences major undergraduate coordinator, Dr. John Knox ( 

With the appropriate selection of electives, the major meets the federal civil service requirements for employment as a meteorologist and the American Meteorological Society recommended curriculum. Former students now work in several fields, including operational meteorology, broadcast meteorology, environmental consulting, emergency management, and the energy industry. 

Why did we want to change the existing certificate program?

From its inception, our Certificate program was a certificate program on "steroids" at 21 hours. Its founders recognized that UGA needed to offer strong curriculum to meet employer needs. Due to expansion of our Faculty and the needs of the students, our program now requires 30+ hours and is on par with any atmospheric sciences major/BS program in the country. At the same time, an array of “certificate” programs is sprouting. Most of these certificate programs are NOT as robust and do NOT meet American Meteorological Society or Federal Civil service requirements for employment or certification. UGA's does. Yet, the perception is that all certificate programs are the same. Recently, one of our better students encountered this with a potential employer. He was told that he didn't qualify for a training program because he only had a "certificate". Evolving our program into a major makes sense given that the "credit hours are in Degree-level numbers" and to help our students get the respect they deserve for the work they have put in during college in our program.

Lightning over Atlanta (photo by John Harvey).
Lightning over Atlanta (photo by John Harvey).

Is it possible to major in both Atmospheric Sciences and Geography?

A resounding YES. In fact, we recommend this approach. Students who are currently pursuing the Geography major with the Atmospheric Sciences certificate should in nearly every case be on track to do both majors. On pages 2 and 3, you will see 2 course plans to attain the Atmospheric Sciences Major (Appendix A) and/or a Double Major in Atmospheric Sciences and Geography (Appendix B). If you have questions, Dr. Knox is happy to sit down and go through it carefully with you during advising this fall.

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