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AE Undergraduate Requirements Academic Year 20-21


Atmosphere and energy are strongly linked: fossil-fuel energy use contributes to air pollution, global warming, and weather modification; and changes in the atmosphere feedback to renewable energy resources, including wind, solar, hydroelectric, and wave resources. Because atmospheric problems can be mitigated by increasing energy efficiency, developing new energy technologies, and shifting to less-polluting energy sources, and because it is important to study the climate, air pollution, and weather impacts of new energy technologies, the two areas, atmosphere and energy, are naturally coupled together.

The Atmosphere/Energy (A/E) undergraduate curriculum prepares undergraduates for an A/E master’s degree program, as well as careers in industry, research, consulting, government, non-governmental organizations, and academia. The A/E degree is NOT an ABET-accredited degree, as ABET accreditation is advantageous only for obtaining specific jobs that do not overlap with those that students obtaining the A/E degree would generally consider. The degree is accredited as part of Stanford’s accreditation through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

A/E students take classes in both Atmosphere and Energy, as well as classes that integrate the two. The curriculum is flexible in that students more interested in one field can take most of their Engineering Depth in the area of their choice. Similarly, students desiring to focus more on technology or on science can take the appropriate Depth classes to suit their interest.

Qualified students may also apply to engage in the A/E Honors program (see Chapter 7).

Exploring the Atmosphere/Energy Major

Try one of these recommended Introductory Seminars:
APPPHYS 79N Energy Options for the 21st Century, A, 3 units
EARTHSYS 41N The Global Warming Paradox, A, Sum; 3 units
ECON 17N Energy, the Environment, and the Economy, Sum, 3 units
MS&E 92Q International Environmental Policy, W, 3 units

Or one of these A/E courses that can also be used for some other School of Engineering majors:
CEE 63 Weather and Storms, A, 3 units
CEE 64 Air Pollution & Global Warming: History, Science & Solutions (req’d), (not offered AY20-21), 3 units
CEE 70 Environmental Science and Technology (same as ENGR 90), A,Sum 2021, 3 units
ENGR 50E Introduction to Materials Science, Energy Emphasis, Sum,, 4 units

In addition, the Math, Science, Technology in Society, and Engineering Fundamentals courses required by the A/E major will also count toward most of the other School of Engineering majors (see course lists below; other major programs and their specific requirements are listed elsewhere in this chapter).


A TOTAL OF 97-101 UNITS ARE REQUIRED, DISTRIBUTED AS SHOWN in the following PDF: AE Major Requirements (PDF)

Suggested course concentrations and sequences

Subject to the requirements outlined above, students have flexibility in selecting their depth electives and other courses to best suit their interests. On the following pages, two suggested programs are outlined, one with an emphasis on energy studies and the other on atmospheric studies. Either approach provides the necessary preparation for the master’s degree program in Atmosphere/Energy.

Instructions for declaring major in engineering: Atmosphere/Energy

  1. Enter your major declaration for Atmosphere/Energy in Axess. Select ENGR-BS as your major and Atmosphere/Energy as your subplan.
  2. Print out your unofficial Stanford transcript from Axess.
  3. Download and complete your major Program Sheet, which you can obtain from the UGHB website at  Alternatively, you may use the online program worksheet (ePS), also found on the Program Sheet page of the same website. Be sure to fill in all courses that you have taken and those that you plan to take.  You will have the opportunity to revise this later, so please fill in as many courses as you can. Print out.
  4. Bring your unofficial transcript and completed program sheet to the CEE Student Services office to Room 316 of the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment & Energy (Y2E2) Building and request to have a CEE advisor assigned to you. You may request a specific advisor if you wish. Office hours are10-12 and 2- 4, Mon -Fri.
  5. Meet with the advisor and have him or her review and sign your program sheet.
  6. Return your signed program sheet to the CEE Student Services Specialist, who will then approve your major declaration in Axess.
  7. You are encouraged to meet with your advisor at least once a quarter to review your academic progress. Changes to your program sheet can be made by printing out a revised sheet, obtaining your A/E undergraduate adviser’s signature, and returning the approved sheet to the CEE Student Services Office.  NOTE – It is very important to hand in to student services your printed and signed up-to-date program sheet immediately after the add/drop deadline of the quarter you plan to graduate. 
Other information

Procedures for requesting transfer credits and program deviations are described in detail in at the beginning of Chapter 5: “Policies and Procedures.” The relevant forms may be downloaded from under the “Transfers-AP-Exceptions” link. If you are requesting program deviations, you should bring your completed petition form with your transcript to the CEE Student Services office. Attach your program sheet on file in CEE.
Check with the CEE Student Services Office to make sure that you are on the CEE undergraduate student email list for important announcements about department events and activities.

Atmosphere and Energy

The A/E honors program offers eligible students the opportunity to engage in guided original research, or project design, over the course of an academic year. For interested students, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Write up and submit a 1-2 page letter applying to the Honors Program in A/E. In the letter, describe the problem that you will investigate. Sign the letter and obtain signatures from your current primary advisor and your proposed Honors advisor, if different, and submit the letter to the student services office in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). The application must include an unofficial Stanford transcript. Applications must be received in the fourth quarter prior to graduation. It is strongly suggested you meet with your proposed Honors advisor well in advance of submitting an application.
  2. You must maintain a GPA of at least 3.5. 
  3. You must complete an honors thesis or project over a period of three quarters. The typical length of the written report is 15-20 pages. The deadline for submission of the report is to be decided by the Honors advisor, but should be no later than the end of the third week in May.
  4. Your report must be read and evaluated by your Honors advisor and one other reader. It is your responsibility to find and obtain both the advisor and reader. At least one of the two must be a member of the Academic Council in the School of Engineering.
  5. You must present your completed work in an appropriate forum, e.g., in the same session as honors theses are presented in the department of the advisor. All honors programs require some public presentation of the thesis or project.
  6. You may take up to 10 units of CEE 199H toward your thesis (optional). However, you must take ENGR 202S or its equivalent (School of Engineering Writing Course) sometime during your time at Stanford (required). Units for the writing class are beyond those required for the A/E major.
  7. Two printed copies and an electronic copy of the thesis, including a cover page and signature page signed by the Honors advisor, must be provided to the CEE Student Services office no later than two weeks before the end of your graduation quarter.