Climate Science Concentration

Concentration in Climate Science

The curriculum in Climate Science emphasizes the scientific study of the behavior of climate and applications to the important practical problems of understanding how humans are modifying the climate system, the changing hazards caused by climate change, and the impacts of proposed mitigation efforts on the climate system. Students develop a fundamental understanding of the climate system, focused on the atmosphere and ocean, and develop skills to allow the analysis of changes in climate and their impacts on hazards such as extreme precipitation, drought, air quality, and the interactions with renewable energies. The curriculum includes a strong foundation in basic mathematics and science courses; core courses in atmospheric thermodynamics, atmospheric dynamics, and climate dynamics among a variety of Climate Science electives, including electives that teach students about how science and policy interact, as well as understanding the controversies and conclusions from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Course Requirements

Research and Discovery Opportunities

In addition to an excellent 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 Climate 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, and more. Students are encouraged to complete research projects with our expert faculty in the areas of weather, climate, air pollution, biogeochemistry, and wind and solar energy forecasting. We generally send a large contingent of students to the AMS Annual Meeting, and students often attend smaller regional weather conferences throughout the year. Every April, we welcome back alumni of the Cornell Atmospheric Science program to network with students and participate in presentations and panel discussions.

Graduate School Opportunities

Students have gone on to complete Masters and PhDs in climate science-related fields, as well as more broadly in environmental science or environmental engineering. 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.

Job Market

Climate science majors are widely sought after for their expertise in climate science and impacts, renewable energy and environmental consulting as well as in climate research positions. The Bureau of Labor statistics suggests that jobs for environmental scientists in general will increase 8% between 2019 and 2029.