The Atmospheric Science department at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York is a premier research and teaching institution in the science of weather and climate. Cornell is the only Ivy League university offering an undergraduate program in Atmospheric Science. Because Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is affiliated with the State University of New York (SUNY) system, we offer an Ivy League degree at a tuition that is comparable to other SUNY meteorology programs. The program features small classes and a high ratio of faculty to students, yet its location within Cornell allows students to choose among a rich variety of elective courses and extracurricular activities. In addition, the gorgeous landscape of Upstate New York provides an incredible real-life atmospheric laboratory, as weather from severe thunderstorms to lake-effect snow provides a regular variety of forecasting challenges.
The undergraduate Atmospheric Science curriculum is designed with two goals in mind. The basic curriculum meets the guidelines of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), and the requirements for employment in meteorology with the National Weather Service (NWS) and a variety of consulting and professional meteorological services. Students who are considering an advanced degree will also be well-prepared for graduate school, and typically add additional mathematics, physics, and atmospheric science courses to the basic curriculum. Students who wish to broaden their studies of the environment may also choose from courses in the Science of Earth Systems Program, which may be completed in conjunction with Atmospheric Sciences major.
The curriculum in Atmospheric Science emphasizes the scientific study of the behavior of weather and climate, and applications to the important practical problems of weather forecasting and climate prediction. Students develop a fundamental understanding of atmospheric processes, and acquire skill and experience in the analysis, interpretation and forecasting of meteorological events. The curriculum includes a strong foundation in basic mathematics and science courses; core courses in atmospheric thermodynamics, atmospheric dynamics, and synoptic meteorology; and choices among a variety of Atmospheric Science electives. Two curricular options are offered, both of which include opportunities for each student to pursue individual interests and goals. In addition, students often take advantage of internships after the sophomore and junior years, which provide opportunities for work experience in operational and research activities in Atmospheric Science.
In addition to a great education, Cornell offers great experiences as well. Membership in our meteorology club, the Cornell Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (CCAMS), is open to all Atmospheric Science majors and other interested students. CCAMS sponsors numerous scholastic, service, and social activities for its members – including forecast competitions, intramural sports, internship/externship opportunities, dinners with faculty, bowling parties, and more. We almost always send a large contingent of students to the AMS Annual Meeting, and students often attend smaller regional weather conferences throughout the year as well. Every April, we welcome back alumni of the Cornell Atmospheric Science program, to network with students and participate in presentations and panel discussions.