Interpretive Memorandum for Election to Member in AMS
(Effective February 1994)

Historical document -- no longer in use for AMS membership requirements


In the interest of clarifying and explaining the criteria for membership in the Society, the Council adopts the following interpretation of the words and phrases contained in Article III section 4 of the recently adopted Society's Constitution (see August 1989 Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society). It is the Council's intention that this memorandum be used as a guideline by the Admissions Committee in evaluating applications for membership in the Society. A copy of this memorandum, or summery thereof, should be made widely available to prospective applicants so that they may better understand the criteria for membership and prepare their application properly.

The Society is open to all people interested in meteorology, climatology, or a related discipline through Associate Member status. The following interpretations apply only to election to the category of Member.

The Constitution identifies four categories of criteria for election to Member, and an applicant must satisfy one or more of these categories.

  • Article III section 4 (A) requires little or no interpretation. For meteorology, description of the minimum requirements for a Bachelor's Degree is provided in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (December 1987).

  • Article III section 4 (B) is intended to provide eligibility for a broad range of individuals. The council believes that advances in the atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrologic sciences and the solution of complex environmental problems of great importance to the Nation are highly dependent upon the cooperation and collaboration of individuals in other disciplines and therefore feels that a broad interpretation should be given to the meaning of "other sciences or engineering." The Council also believes that a liberal interpretation should be made in considering activities of an applicant related to the advancement or application of the atmospheric or related sciences. Individuals who are retired from or no longer employed in such activities should be considered for Member status as long as they intend to participate in the activities of the Society.

    "Other sciences or engineering" should be interpreted to include such fields as geology, geodynamics, geophysics, volcanology, earth science, planetary science, astronomy, biology, ecology, statistics, physics, mathematics, computer science, chemistry, medical sciences, and geography. Consideration may be given to fields such as economics, psychology, and social and political science if the candidate is working in an area that furthers the goals of the Society. All engineering including industrial, civil, mechanical, electrical, chemical, engineering physics, and systems should be considered. In general, a Bachelor of Science degree from a university that awards both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees would, in most cases, qualify a candidate for election to Member status in AMS.

    Arts and humanities are not included; therefore, degrees in English, literature, philosophy, languages, journalism, communications, and business administration would not lead to eligibility for the grade of Member. Individuals who do not qualify under section 4 (A) and 4 (B) but who have made outstanding contributions should be considered under section 4 (D).

  • Article III Section 4 (C) is intended to recognize individuals without a degree in meteorology or a related science but who have at least a minimal educational background in the underlying science and substantial experience in the field. The individual is required to demonstrate that he or she has undertaken a study program from accredited institutions that has provided a minimum fundamental knowledge in the atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences.

    The following criteria will be used to determine the types of courses that count toward the required 20 semester hours:

    • Courses in meteorology or atmospheric sciences, climatology, oceanography, or hydrology that are part of a curriculum leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences at an accredited institution.
    • Courses in atmospheric or related sciences designed to fulfill a science elective requirement for a nonscience major that are offered by a department of atmospheric or related oceanic and hydrologic sciences and the entire course concerns atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences.
    • Courses offered through a geography or earth sciences department when it is clear that they are science based and the entire course deals with the atmospheric or related oceanic and hydrologic sciences.
    • Correspondence courses that are accepted by accredited institutions toward a Bachelor of Science in the atmospheric or related oceanic and hydrologic sciences.

    At least 12 of the 20 credits must be in areas of

    1. atmospheric or oceanographic dynamics,
    2. atmospheric or oceanographic thermodynamics,
    3. physical meteorology or oceanography,
    4. synoptic meteorology (or weather systems) or synoptic oceanography,
    5. hydrology.

    A minimum of two credits in each of four of the five areas is required.

    These core courses must include basic processes relevant to atmospheric or oceanic systems. Thus, for instance, in the area of dynamics the fundamentals (the balance of forces for motions of the atmosphere or ocean) must be covered. Representation using calculus is desirable but not required, but such coverage must not be purely descriptive. Dynamics at the level covered in textbooks for survey courses (such as Atmospheric Science, An Introductory Survey by Wallace and Hobbs) is sufficient provided a significant portion (generally, more than half) of the course covers topics in dynamics. Similar comments apply to other such specific areas mentioned in the core requirements.

    The requirements for three years of professional experience in the last five years can be fulfilled by experience that requires independent analysis, interpretation, and scientific judgement. It may not be fulfilled by experience that involves nothing more than routine observations or passing on information created by someone else.
  • Article III section 4 (D) was designed to recognize that the fields of atmospheric and related sciences are becoming more complex and interdisciplinary; therefore, it is anticipated that individuals with unique backgrounds and research experiences will be applicants for Member status in AMS.

[ About the AMS | Atmospheric Policy Program | Conferences, Meetings, and Symposia ]
[ Education Programs and Resources ]
[ History of Earth Sciences | Journals and Publications | Local Chapter Information | Member Services ]
[ News and Information | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) ]
[ Disclaimer | Contacts at AMS | Email AMS Web Administrator ]

Return to AMS Home Page Click on Logo to Return to AMS Home Page
© 2003 American Meteorological Society
Headquarters: 45 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108-3693
Phone: 617-227-2425; Fax: 617-742-8718