Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Adds Undergraduate Major

The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at the University of Maryland recently announced the addition of a new undergraduate major to its curriculum.

The focus of this major is on studies in meteorology, oceanography, climate and air pollution.  Prospective students must take several required classes from these disciplines, including those pertaining to the atmosphere and the ocean, as well as several labs, seminars and research classes.

For a while before the creation of this new undergraduate major, the department had only a strong graduate program.

“Now with the undergraduate program, it’s a plus in several different directions. One is that it provides a natural progression of undergraduates to graduate students,” said Tony Busalacchi, a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science and Director of ESSIC.

AOSC, which previously offered only an undergraduate minor in Meteorology, announced the creation of the new major on August 9. The four-year program will attempt to recruit students from similar departments as well as prospective students out of high school.

The undergraduate major is good for those students who aren’t going to get a Masters or Ph.D. in the department, said Busalacchi.

“It’s a step forward in increasing stem education at the undergraduate level in terms of having a more scientifically literate population,” said Busalacchi, who added that there is a clear need for trained personnel in these areas in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

The major program is meant to closely resemble the American Meteorological Society’s statement on bachelor’s degrees in Atmospheric Science. What this statement does is to set up basic requirements for specific universities to follow in their major programs in atmospheric sciences. It states requirements for faculty as well as classes and topics that students should be covering when pursuing a degree in this field.

To learn more about the undergraduate major or about the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science in general, visit

(See ESSIC News Highlight on AOSC Undergraduate Major.)