The Atmospheric Science option focuses on meteorology, but also includes components dealing with atmospheric physics and chemistry, solar-terrestrial and ocean-atmosphere interactions, air pollution and air pollution control, and global climate change due to man-made emissions. The goal of the program is to provide students with the knowledge of the fundamental principles and techniques of physics and mathematics which are necessary for understanding atmospheric behavior and for solving practical problems concerning weather, climate and air pollution. Because atmospheric science is primarily the application of the principles and techniques of physical sciences to the study of the atmosphere, the curriculum specifies a substantial core of supporting science and mathematics courses.
Historically, meteorology has been the primary employment field for graduates of this option. The meteorologist studies the physical causes of weather and climate and applies this knowledge to the solution of practical problems, ranging from the forecasting of weather to the analysis of the influence of weather and climate on public health, agriculture, engineering, industry and commerce, and national defense. The more broadly trained atmospheric scientist will also find opportunities in the fields of air pollution research and control. Meteorologists and Atmospheric Scientists are employed by agencies of the federal government, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Weather Service, and the Department of Defense, as well as by agencies of state and local governments, and by commercial aviation companies and private consulting firms.
A significant number of students who graduate from this option continue their education by attending graduate school. Atmospheric Science majors who wish to continue their studies at the graduate level are advised to develop competencies in science and mathematics, especially in computer science, beyond the required science and mathematics core.
View the complete Degree Pathway.