The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) offers 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 sciences. The ATOC minor is offered through the College of Arts and Sciences and is noted on the official CU Boulder transcript.

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

Students who wish to declare the ATOC minor should contact the ATOC Undergraduate & Graduate Program Assistant by email at or by phone at 303-492-6633.  Questions regarding coursework or advising should be directed to the ATOC minor advisor, Dr. Katja Friedrich, at


A minimum of 18 credits is required for the minor, at least 9 of which must be upper-division (see list below). The other 9 may be lower-division, upper-division or a combination of both.

All coursework applied to the minor must be completed with a grade of C- or better; no pass/fail work may be applied. Students must have at least a C (2.00) average for all attempted work in atmospheric and oceanic sciences.

Courses toward a minor may also be applied toward graduation requirements, as well as the major requirements for a non-ATOC major. Students are allowed to apply no more than 9 credit hours, including 6 upper-division credit hours, of transfer work to a minor.

Available Courses

First Year Seminar (Stratospheric Explorations)
Weather and the Atmosphere
Our Changing Environment: El Nino, Ozone, and Climate
Introduction to Atmospheric Research
Special Topics in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences - Lower Division
Principles of Weather
Introduction to Oceanography
Aviation Meteorology
Analysis of Climate and Weather Observations
Air Chemistry and Pollution
Principles of Climate
Course-Based ATOC Research Experience
Planets and Their Atmospheres
Biogeochemical Oceanography
Descriptive Physical Oceanography
Special Topics in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences - Upper Division
Mountain Meteorology
Weather Analysis & Forecasting
Introduction to Atmospheric Physics
Atmospheric Dynamics
Physical Oceanography and Climate
Dynamics of Past Climate Changes: Lessons for the Future
Desert Meteorology and Climate
Physics and Chemistry of Clouds and Aerosols
Renewable Energy Meteorology
Ice Sheets and Climate
Policy Implications of Climate Controversies
Scientific Programming, Data Analysis and Visualization Laboratory
Remote Sensing Lab
Field Observations and Measurements Laboratory
Numerical Methods Laboratory
Data Science Lab
Climate Modeling Laboratory
Weather Modeling Laboratory
Mesoscale Meteorology
Synoptic Dynamic Meteorology
Independent Study
Honors Thesis