Atmospheric Sciences/Meteorology

Atmospheric Sciences

Atmospheric Science includes the physics, chemistry, and dynamics of the atmosphere; and many of the interactions between the atmosphere, solid earth, and oceans.
The undergraduate Atmospheric Science curriculum includes not only core courses in atmospheric science, but also complementary exposure to mathematics, physics, chemistry, and computer science. Thus, graduates are prepared to enter the work force in specialties such as weather forecasting, climate modeling, and air pollution as well as to further their education by pursuing graduate degrees.

Degree Requirements (PDF) Fall 2016 
Degree Requirements (PDF) Fall 2015
Degree Requirements (PDF) Fall 2013 and 2014
Degree Requirements (PDF) 2012 and Prior 

Plans of Study - Possibilities in Atmospheric Science/Meteorology: Weather Forecasting

These recommended plans of study are intended to prepare the student for a career in weather forecasting or for graduate work in appropriate atmospheric science specialties:

  • National Weather Service: If a student is planning to work for the National Weather Service or wants the option to work for the federal government upon graduation, it is recommended that students select courses on this plan of study to meet both Federal Civil Service and  AMS Guidelines.  Recommended plan of study (PDF)
  • Broadcasting Media: If a student is planning to work in Broadcasting (media) or wants that option, this plan of study is recommended to meet AMS guidelines.    Recommended plan of study (PDF)
  • Business-Related Career: If a student is planning to work in a Business-Related career (e.g. a meteorologist for a private company), it is recommended that students select courses on the following plan of study to meet the  AMS Guidelines.    Recommended plan of study (PDF) 


If a student is planning to work in Environmental Monitoring or wants that option upon graduation, the following plan of study is recommended to meet AMS guidelines.

  • One Example:
    If a student wants to combine an interest in basic atmospheric science with a desire to explore the chemical processes associated with such contemporary problems as ozone depletion, air pollution, or climate change, there will be a number of career paths open to them, including employment opportunities with government and private sector organizations interested in these issues, or continued study of atmospheric science as a graduate student.  Recommended Environmental plan of study (PDF)

Graduate School/Research

Areas of research include but are not limited to the theoretical foundations for the dynamics of atmospheric motion systems and the mathematical constructs required to expose those theories, as well as their applications to weather phenomena on different spatial and temporal scales and the physical processes in the atmosphere that attend the formation of clouds and precipitation, the transfer of solar and terrestrial radiation, and in situ and remote measurements of atmospheric parameters, or the design of such instruments.

If a student is planning to attend Graduate School, work in Research, or wants one of these options, the following plan of study is recommended and will meet AMS guidelines.    Recommended plan of study (PDF)

Atmospheric Science Undergraduate Resources:

  • Purdue University Meteorological Association (PUMA)
    A recreational and educational environment for students interested in meteorology. Their activities include presentations by invited speakers (alumni, faculty, departmental visitors) visits to TV and radio stations and watching weather videos.
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Atmospheric Science Related Groups:

  • Climate & Extreme Weather (CLEW)
    Focuses on Climate and Extreme Weather, which seeks to: Understand and predict the physical and statistical behavior of extreme weather and climate events.
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  • Cloud Microphysics Group
    Travel to different regions of the world in order to take detailed observations of the cloud properties; we also simulate these clouds using a variety of models on workstations and high-speed computers.
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  • Purdue Climate Change Research Center (PCCRC)
    Chartered in 2004, the PCCRC is a world-class multidisciplinary research center focused on interrelated aspects of climate change, its impacts, and mitigation.
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  • Mesoscale Convection & Tornado Group
    The group is dedicated to understanding the dynamical and physical structure of marine convective boundary layers that form in cold air outbreaks over relatively warmer water, as well as deep convective systems over land that develop into supercell tornadic thunderstorms.
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  • Purdue Mesoscale Modeling Lab (PMML)
    The Purdue Mesoscale Modeling Laboratory (PMML) is developing the Purdue Regional Climate Model (PRCM).
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  • Severe Weather Research Group
    This group conducts basic and applied research on thunderstorms and associated weather hazards.
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