AOS Major

Major: Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences B.S.

The AOS major is exciting, timely, and relevant. Contact an advisor for more information!

Courses taken to fulfill requirements must be taken for letter grades[i].

Preparation for the Major

  • * 1 of two Chemistry Sequences:
    • – Chemistry and Biochemistry sequence for physical scientists: CHEM 20A and 20B*
    • – Chemistry and Biochemistry sequence for life scientists: CHEM14A and 14B

  • * 1 of three Mathematics Sequences:
    • – Calculus sequence for physical scientists and engineers*: MATH 31A, 31B, 32A, 32B, 33A, and 33B
    • – Calculus sequence for life scientists: MATH 3A, 3B, 3C
    • – Life Sciences 30 series: LIFESCI 30A and 30B

  • * 1 of three Physics Sequences:
    • – Engineering Physics sequence lectures*: PHYSICS 1A, 1B, 1C
    • – Honors Physics sequence lectures: PHYSICS 1AH, 1BH, 1CH
    • – Life Science Physics sequence lectures: PHYSICS 5A, 5B, 5C

  • *AOS M71(strongly preferred) or Program in Computing 10A
  • *AOS 51
  • *AOS 90

* Students interested in pursuing graduate studies in atmospheric and oceanic sciences or obtaining employment with the National Weather Service or other governmental agencies are strongly urged to select the Mathematics 31, 32, AND 33 sequence and the Physics 1 sequence. 

For petition requests relating to prerequisite and/or major requirements, such as substituting AOS 51 and 90 for similar upper division classes, please consult your departmental advisor.

AOS Program Plan These are recommendations on how to plan out your study list as either a freshman or transfer student. The sample plan only includes major requirements. Each student’s actual study list may differ, and we strongly advise students to work with academic counselors from CAAC and their home department to determine a personal program plan.

Tracks within the major  

These are unofficial recommendations for courses to select based on your interests. AOS majors are not required to choose or follow a track. These documents are purely designed to provide guidance on selection of (mostly UD) courses.

We recommend that students that are primarily interested in climate and climate change pursue the climate science major.

Transfer Students

Transfer applicants to the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences major with 90 or more units must complete as many of the following introductory courses as possible prior to admission to UCLA: one year of calculus, one year of calculus-based physics, one semester of general chemistry.

Recommended before transfer for timely degree completion: one additional semester of general chemistry and one course in computer programming (preferably in Python).

Refer to the UCLA Transfer Admission Guide for up-to-date information regarding transfer selection for admission.

The Major

  • Four courses from Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) 101, 103, 104, M105, 107, and 112
  • Three additional upper division AOS courses selected in consultation with the undergraduate advisor. Serving as a Learning Assistant in an AOS class (one credit hour AOS M192A plus at least three credit hours AOS 192B) and participation in undergraduate research (four credits of AOS 199 with a thesis / talk / poster that has been approved by the supervising faculty member) can also be used as upper division electives.
  • Two upper division courses from a list of Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics courses selected in consultation with the undergraduate advisor.

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Examples of upper division Chemistry courses that may be particularly useful are listed below; other upper division Chemistry courses are eligible by petition.

  • Chem 103. Environmental Chemistry
  • Chem 110A. Physical Chemistry: Chemical Thermodynamics
  • Chem 110B. Topics in Physical Chemistry
  • Chem 113A. Physical Chemistry: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
  • Chem C113B. Quantum Chemistry Methods
  • Chem 114: Physical Chemistry Lab
  • Chem 114H: Physical Chemistry Laboratory (Honors)
  • Chem 125. Introduction to Python Programming and Machine Learning
  • Chem 184. Chemical Instrumentation 


Examples of upper division Physics courses that may be particularly useful are listed below; other upper division Physics courses are eligible by petition.

  • PHYSICS 110A. Electricity and Magnetism
  • PHYSICS 110B. Electricity and Magnetism
  • PHYSICS 112. Thermal Physics
  • PHYSICS 114. Mechanics of Wave Motion and Sound
  • PHYSICS 118. Electronics for Physical Measurements
  • PHYSICS 131. Mathematical Methods of Physics
  • PHYSICS 132. Mathematical Methods of Physics
  • PHYSICS 170N. Computational Physics and Astronomy Laboratory


Examples of upper division Mathematics courses that may be particularly useful are listed below; other upper division Math courses are eligible by petition except Math 105A- 105C.

  • MATH 115A . Linear Algebra
  • MATH 115AH. Linear Algebra (Honors)
  • MATH 115B. Linear Algebra
  • MATH 133. Introduction to Fourier Analysis
  • MATH 134. Linear and Nonlinear Systems of Differential Equations
  • MATH 135. Ordinary Differential Equations
  • MATH 136. Partial Differential Equations
  • MATH 142. Mathematical Modeling
  • MATH 146. Methods of Applied Mathematics
  • MATH 151A. Applied Numerical Methods
  • MATH 151B. Applied Numerical Methods
  • MATH 156. Machine Learning
  • MATH 170A. Probability Theory I
  • MATH 170B. Probability Theory II
  • MATH 171. Stochastic Processes


Examples of upper division Statistics courses that may be particularly useful are listed below; other upper division Statistics courses are eligible by petition.

  • STATS 100A. Introduction to Probability
  • STATS 100B. Introduction to Mathematical Statistics
  • STATS 100C. Linear Models
  • STATS 101A. Introduction to Data Analysis and Regression
  • STATS 101B. Introduction to Design and Analysis of Experiment
  • STATS 101C. Introduction to Statistical Models and Data Mining
  • STATS 102A. Introduction to Computational Statistics with R
  • STATS 102C. Introduction to Monte Carlo Methods
  • STATS 170. Introduction to Time-Series Analysis
  • STATS M171. Introduction to Spatial Statistics
  • STATS C173. Applied Geostatistics
  • STATS C180. Introduction to Bayesian Statistics

Other science departments

The courses listed below by department have been approved by the undergraduate advisors for use by petition. This list may be revised.

Computer Science 

  • COM SCI 111. Operating Systems Principles
  • COM SCI 112. Modeling Uncertainty in Information Systems
  • COM SCI 118. Computer Network Fundamentals
  • COM SCI 130. Software Engineering
  • COM SCI C137A. Prototyping Programming Languages
  • COM SCI 143. Data Management Systems
  • COM SCI 170A. Mathematical Modeling and Methods for Computer Science
  • COM SCI 180. Introduction to Algorithms and Complexity

Civil and Environmental Engineering 

  • C&EE 103 Applied Numerical Computing and Modeling in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • C&EE 110 Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Engineers

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology 

  • E&EB 109 Introduction to Marine Sciences
  • E&EB 152 World Vegetation Ecology and Ecophysiology
  • E&EB CM173 Earth Process and Evolutionary History

Environmental Health Sciences 

  • ENV HLT C125. Atmospheric Transport and Transformations of Airborne Chemicals
  • ENV HLT C152D. Properties and Measurement of Airborne Particles


  • ENVIRON M103. Soil and Water Conservation (formerly ENVIRON M114)
  • ENVIRON M131. Human Impact on Biophysical Environment (formerly ENVIRON M109)
  • ENVIRON 157 Energy, Environment, and Development

Earth & Planetary Space Sciences 

  • EPS SCI 150 Remote Sensing for Earth Sciences
  • EPS SCI 152 Physics of Earth
  • EPS SCI 153 Oceans and Atmospheres


  • GEOG 116. Climatology (formerly GEOG 104)
  • GEOG 117. Tropical Climatology (formerly GEOG 102)
  • GEOG M126. Environmental Change (formerly GEOG M131)
  • GEOG 181A. Intermediate Geographic Information Systems (formerly GEOG 168)
  • GEOG 182A. Introduction to Remote Sensing (formerly GEOG 169)

Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering 

  • MECH & AE 103. Elementary Fluid Mechanics

For the official requirements, please visit the UCLA Registrar website.

General Catalog Current Course Descriptions website

[1] Any course(s) taken to fulfill major requirements for the AOS major during Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Summer 2021, and Fall 2021 could be taken for a letter grade or as Passed/Not Passed. Due to circumstances related to COVID-19, we hope this temporary change in policy allowed each of our students to choose a grade basis that was most suitable to them. This temporary change of policy only applied to to Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Summer 2021, and Fall 2021. It will not apply to any previous or future terms.