Atmospheric science is a wide ranging discipline that uses physics, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science to better understand the atmosphere and improve the prediction of its future state, both over several days (weather) and over much longer periods (climate). We study phenomena as diverse as hurricanes, global warming, air quality, mountain weather, clouds, El Nino, and the ozone hole. Our research is scientifically challenging and critical for the welfare of modern society. The Department offers B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Atmospheric Sciences.
Undergraduates in the Atmospheric Sciences major are prepared for a range of career options including weather forecasting, environmental meteorology, TV weather casting, further study at a graduate institution, or a variety of alternative career paths. Students who choose the Meteorology option of the program are eligible for the rating of professional meteorologist given by the United States Civil Service Commission.
Graduate students in the atmospheric sciences come from a variety of disciplines: Physics, chemistry, engineering, atmospheric, or geophysical sciences, and applied mathematics. Opportunities are broad enough that each of these backgrounds is valuable for specific subfields within the atmospheric sciences. However, students of atmospheric sciences should have in common a sound background in the fundamentals of physics and applied mathematics and an interest in complex natural phenomena. Research projects and graduate courses in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences are closely related, and the well-prepared graduate student may expect to begin research work rather quickly.