Atmospheric Sciences, BS

Program Description

The Bachelor of Science program in Atmospheric Sciences addresses the needs of students interested in studying meteorology or climate science. The program provides students with an in-depth knowledge of the physical characteristics, motions and processes of air; as well as the interactions of this protective layer with the underlying oceans and continents. The undergraduate program emphasizes a systems approach, combining traditional atmospheric sciences with emerging fields. In particular, the program focuses on the fields of tropical meteorology and oceanography that are directly linked to the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding coastal regions where the university is strategically located.

Student Learning Outcomes

 Students will:

  • Possess a broad understanding of the field of atmospheric sciences in preparation for successful careers in related disciplines;
  • Gain experience and professional competence in the use of scientific method to develop and conduct atmospheric sciences related work;
  • Acquire the necessary skills to effectively communicate the meteorology and climate sciences information to a range of audiences and participate in community and/or professional service through various organizations.

General Requirements

The Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric Sciences degree requires a minimum of 120 semester credit hours: 42 are from designated University Core Curriculum Program courses, 60 are from atmospheric sciences core courses and 18 are from career track courses. The atmospheric sciences core provides students with a broad background in meteorology and climate sciences, and satisfy the requirements for federal employment as a National Weather Service meteorologist (also referred to as NOAA GS1340 positions). The students can choose a career track in either general atmospheric sciences or the broadcast meteorology. Students should select a career track as soon as possible after they complete their freshman year and well before they begin their junior year.

Requirements Credit Hours
First-Year Seminars (when applicable)1 0-2
Core Curriculum Program 42
Atmospheric Sciences Core Courses 60
Atmospheric Sciences Career Track Courses - Electives 18
Total Credit Hours 120-122

Program Requirements

Full-time, First-year Students
UNIV 1101First-Year Seminar I *1
UNIV 1102First-Year Seminar II *1
Core Curriculum Program
University Core Curriculum 142
ATSC majors are required to take: 2
Calculus I
University Physics I
University Physics II
Atmospheric Sciences Core Courses
ATSC 2403Introduction to Meteorology4
ATSC 2301Weather Observations3
ATSC 2302Introduction of Data Analysis in Atmospheric Sciences3
ATSC 3305Physical Meteorology3
ATSC 3306Atmospheric Thermodynamics3
ATSC 3401Synoptic Meteorology4
ATSC 3402Mesoscale Meteorology4
ATSC 4301Dynamic Meteorology I3
ATSC 4305Remote Sensing3
CHEM 1411General Chemistry I *4
ATSC 4335Climate and Climate Variability3
MATH 2414Calculus II4
MATH 3311Linear Algebra3
MATH 3315Differential Equations3
MATH 2415Calculus III4
ESCI 4360Physical Oceanography3
MATH 3345Statistical Modeling and Data Analysis3
Career Tracks in Atmospheric Sciences
Select one of the following Tracks:21
Total Hours122

Career Tracks in Atmospheric Sciences

The atmospheric sciences program offers the general Atmospheric Sciences Track and the Broadcast Meteorologist Track. The students from both tracks will satisfy the requirements for federal employment as a National Weather Service meteorologist (also referred to as NOAA GS1340 positions). A total of 21 semester hours of electives courses are required for both career tracks.

Atmospheric Sciences Track

The students in the general atmospheric sciences track are required to take 21 Sem. Hrs. from the following electives.

Select 21 hours of the following electives:21
Environmental Science I: Intro to Environmental Science
Oceanography
Geospatial Systems I
Directed Independent Study
Selected Topics
Introduction to Astronomy: Solar System
General Chemistry II
Organic Chemistry I
Hydrogeology
Partial Differential Equations
Physical Geology
Discrete Mathematics I
Internship in Atmospheric Science
Dynamic Meteorology II
Physical Geography
Total Hours21

Broadcast Meteorology Track

Those students interested in becoming broadcast meteorologists should follow the Broadcast Meteorology Track. Students in this track take COMM 1311 Foundation of Communication (3 sch)ATSC 2101 Weathercasting (1 sch) and an additional 9 hours from the other electives listed below plus another 8 hours from the Atmospheric Sciences Track electives.

Students interested in English-only broadcasting need to take all 9 hours from the communication (COMM or MEDA) courses. Students interested in bilingual English-Spanish broadcasting must choose 3 hours from the communication (COMM or MEDA) courses, and 6 hours from the Spanish (SPAN) courses. An internship experience through ATSC 4498 Internship in Atmospheric Science (1-4 sch) is highly recommended for all broadcast meteorology students, preferably during their junior or senior years.

COMM 1311Foundation of Communication3
ATSC 2101Weathercasting1
Select 9 hours of electives of the following:9
Media Writing
Media Performance
Continuing Spanish
Spanish for Heritage Speakers
Spanish Composition
Spanish Conversation
Internship in Atmospheric Science
Select 8 hours of additional electives of the general Atmospheric Sciences Track 18
Total Hours21

Courses

ATSC 2101  Weathercasting  
1 Semester Credit Hour (1 Lecture Hour)  

THIS COURSE IS TO PRACTICE IN PREPARING AND PRESENTING WEATHERCASTS FOR RADIO AND TELEVISION.  THE INSTRUCTORS OF THIS COURSE WILL PROVIDE THE STUDENTS WITH: (1) INFORMATION IN THE FORM OF LECTURES AND SUPPLEMENTAL READINGS; (2) OPPORTUNITIES TO PRACTICE WEATHERCASTING ON VIDEO, AND (3) ADVICE, SUPERVISION, AND GUIDANCE. IN LECTURE, STUDENTS WILL SPEND MOST OF THE COURSE LEARNING ABOUT GEOGRAPHY AND WEATHERCASTING RULES. A LARGE PORTION OF THE COURSE IS TO PRACTICE THE WEATHERCASTING AND REPORT.

Prerequisite: ATSC 3403.

ATSC 2301  Weather Observations  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THIS COURSE IS AN INTRODUCTION OF THE BASIC CONCEPT OF METEOROLOGY. THE FOCUS IS ON THE MEASUREMENTS OF THE ATMOSPHERE AND WEATHER RELATED PHENOMENON. THE PRINCIPLE OF THE INSTRUMENTS USED TO MEASURE TEMPERATURE, PRESSURE, MOISTURE, RADIATION, PRECIPITATION AND OTHER WEATHER RELATED PROPERTIES OF THE ATMOSPHERE WILL BE INTRODUCED. THE DIFFERENCES AMONG THE OBSERVATIONS FROM IN-SITU, BALLOON BORNE, AIRBORNE, AND SATELLITE BORNE INSTRUMENTS WILL BE EXAMINED AND DISCUSSED.

Prerequisite: ATSC 2403.

ATSC 2302  Introduction of Data Analysis in Atmospheric Sciences  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THIS COURSE WILL ENHANCE STUDENT SKILLS FOR ANALYZING ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE-RELATED DATASETS UNDER VARIOUS SCIENTIFIC PROGRAMMING ENVIRONMENTS. THE FOCUS IS ON DEVELOPING A DATA ANALYSIS AND PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLSETS USING MOSTLY PYTHON. THE COURSE INCLUDES: BASIC CONCEPTS OF OPERATING SYSTEMS AND HIGH-LEVEL PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES; BASICS OF PROGRAMMING IN PYTHON; GENERAL DATA ANALYSIS METHODS AND TOOLS; SCIENTIFIC DATA FORMATS USED IN REMOTE SENSING DATA AND NUMERICAL MODEL OUTPUT; PUBLICATION-QUALITY SCIENTIFIC GRAPHICS; AND CRITICAL STEPS OF BUILDING A LARGE PROGRAMMING PROJECT. EXAMPLES WITH IDL AND FORTRAN ARE ALSO INCLUDED.

ATSC 2403  Introduction to Meteorology  
4 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours, 2 Lab Hours)  

THIS COURSE IS AN INTRODUCTION TO METEOROLOGY AND THE DYNAMICS OF PLANETARY ATMOSPHERES. EMPHASIS ON ATMOSPHERIC ACCRETION, COMPOSITION, EVOLUTION, STRUCTURE, AND DYNAMICS. LAB EXERCISES COVER BASIC MEASUREMENT TECHNIQUES, WEATHER MAPS, AND FORECASTING.

Co-requisite: SMTE 0096.  
ATSC 3305  Physical Meteorology  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THIS COURSE WILL COVER THE FUNDAMENTALS OF ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICS INCLUDING THE ATMOSPHERIC COMPOSITION, KINETIC THEORY OF GASES, MOIST PROCESSES, AEROSOL, SOLAR AND TERRESTRIAL RADIATION, SCATTERING OF ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION AND RADIATIVE TRANSFER.

Prerequisite: ATSC 2403 and PHYS 2426.

ATSC 3306  Atmospheric Thermodynamics  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THIS COURSE INTRODUCES A FOUNDATION IN THE THERMODYNAMICS OF THE ATMOSPHERE. AFTER A BRIEF REVIEW OF GENERAL THERMODYNAMICS, THE EMPHASIS IS GIVEN TO THE BASIC PRINCIPLES THAT ARE USEFUL FOR THE APPLICATION TO ATMOSPHERIC PROBLEMS. THE COURSE COVERS A NUMBER OF ATMOSPHERIC PROCESSES THAT ARE BASICALLY THERMODYNAMIC IN NATURE. THE SPECIFIC TOPICS INCLUDE AEROLOGICAL DIAGRAMS, ATMOSPHERIC STATICS, AND VERTICAL STABILITY.

Prerequisite: ATSC 2403 and PHYS 2425.

ATSC 3401  Synoptic Meteorology  
4 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours, 2 Lab Hours)  

THIS COURSE FOCUSES ON INTRODUCING MIDDLE-LATITUDE SYNOPTIC WEATHER PHENOMENON, INCLUDING PLANET WAVES, FRONTAL SYSTEMS ETC. WE WILL APPLY PRINCIPLES OF DYNAMIC METEOROLOGY IN REGARDS TO PROCESSES IN THE ATMOSPHERE, WEATHER ELEMENTS AND FORECASTING. WE WILL EXAMINE THE STRUCTURE AND DYNAMICS OF THESE SYSTEMS BY INTEGRATING WEATHER OBSERVATIONS WITH THE CURRENT STATE OF DYNAMIC THEORY, NUMERICAL WEATHER PREDICTION MODELS, AND THE PHYSICAL PRINCIPLES OF ATMOSPHERIC THERMODYNAMICS AND CLOUD AND PRECIPITATION PHYSICS.

Prerequisite: ATSC 3306 and MATH 2414.

Co-requisite: SMTE 0096.  
ATSC 3402  Mesoscale Meteorology  
4 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours, 2 Lab Hours)  

THIS COURSE FOCUSES ON INTRODUCING MESOSCALE WEATHER SYSTEMS INCLUDING THUNDERSTORMS, SQUALL LINES AND HURRICANES, AS WELL AS THE MECHANISMS OF TORNADO AND LIGHTING. THE METHODS OF OBSERVING, ANALYZING, AND PREDICTING THESE SEVERE WEATHER SYSTEMS WITH THE INTERPRETATION OF SATELLITE AND RADAR IMAGES WILL ALSO BE INTRODUCED IN THIS CLASS.

Prerequisite: ATSC 3306.

Co-requisite: SMTE 0096.  
ATSC 4301  Dynamic Meteorology I  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THIS COURSE FOCUSES ON INTRODUCTORY-LEVEL ATMOSPHERIC DYNAMICS. BASIC CONCEPTS OF GEOPHYSICAL FLUID DYNAMICS AND ITS APPLICATION TO A VARIETY OF ATMOSPHERIC PHENOMENA ARE INTRODUCED. SPECIFIC TOPICS INCLUDE THE EQUATIONS OF MOTION ON ROTATING EARTH, VORTICITY, POTENTIAL VORTICITY, DIVERGENCE, CIRCULATION THEOREM, AND PLANETARY WAVE.

Prerequisite: ATSC 3306 and MATH 2414.

ATSC 4302  Dynamic Meteorology II  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THIS COURSE IS A CONTINUATION OF ATSC 4301 (DYNAMIC METEOROLOGY I), WHICH COVERS THE INTRODUCTORY-LEVEL ATMOSPHERIC DYNAMICS.  THE COURSE INTRODUCES MORE ADVANCE MATERIALS INCLUDING EQUATORIAL WAVES, BAROCLINIC AND BAROTROPIC INSTABILITY, TWO-DIMENSIONAL TURBULENCE, ATMOSPHERIC TELECONNECTION, EL NINO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION, MADDEN-JULIAN OSCILLATION, GLOBAL WARMING, AND NUMERICAL MODELING OF ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATIONS.

Prerequisite: ATSC 4301.

ATSC 4305  Remote Sensing  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THIS COURSE AIMS TO INTRODUCE THE FUNDAMENTALS OF SATELLITE/AIRBORNE REMOTE SENSING TECHNIQUES AND DEMONSTRATES ITS APPLICATION TO VARIOUS ASPECTS OF EARTH SCIENCES. TOPICS INCLUDE PHYSICAL PRINCIPLES OF REMOTE SENSING FROM ULTRAVIOLET TO THE MICROWAVE, RADIOMETRY, SENSORS AND SENSOR TECHNOLOGY, CALIBRATION, AND ENVIRONMENTAL APPLICATIONS FOR LAND, OCEAN AND ATMOSPHERE RESEARCH.

Prerequisite: PHYS 2426.

ATSC 4335  Climate and Climate Variability  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

THIS COURSE INTENDED TO GUIDE ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS IN DEVELOPING A CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING OF EARTH'S GLOBAL CLIMATE AND ITS VARIABILITY. REVIEW PAST CLIMATES, PRESENT MEAN STATE OF THE CLIMATE SYSTEM, CLIMATE VARIABILITY FROM SEASONAL TO MULTI-DECADAL TIME SCALES, AND CLIMATE CHANGE.  SPECIAL ATTENTION WILL BE GIVEN TO CLIMATES OF THE GULF OF MEXICO, CARIBBEAN SEA AND SURROUNDING LAND REGIONS. PLAUSIBLE CLIMATE-CHANGE SCENARIOS, AS WELL AS MITIGATION AND ADAPTATION STRATEGIES WILL ALSO BE DISCUSSED. CROSS LISTED WITH ESCI 4335.

Prerequisite: (ATSC 2403 or ESCI 3351).

ATSC 4496  Directed Independent Study  
1-4 Semester Credit Hours (1-4 Lecture Hours, 4 Lab Hours)  

REQUIRES A FORMAL PROPOSAL OF STUDY TO BE COMPLETED IN ADVANCE OF REGISTRATION AND TO BE APPROVED BY THE SUPERVISING FACULTY, THE CHAIRPERSON, AND THE DEAN OF THE COLLEGE.

ATSC 4498  Internship in Atmospheric Science  
1-4 Semester Credit Hours  

ATSC 4498 (INTERNSHIP IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE) GIVES ATSC UNDERGRADUATES AN OPPORTUNITY TO OBTAIN VALUABLE PAID OR UNPAID WORK EXPERIENCE RELATED TO ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE, TO BETTER POSITION THEM FOR EMPLOYMENT AFTER GRADUATION. STUDENTS CONTRACT TO WORK A SPECIFIED NUMBER OF HOURS WEEKLY OVER A FULL SEMESTER WITH A STATE OR FEDERAL AGENCY OR PRIVATE INDUSTRY RELATED TO ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE, IN RETURN FOR COLLEGE CREDIT AS FOLLOWS:  3-6 HRS./WEEK=1 SEM. HR., 6-9 HRS./WEEK =2 SEM. HRS., 9-12 HRS./WEEK=3 SEM. HRS., 12-15 HRS./WEEK=4 SEM. HRS.  STUDENTS MAY CONTRACT FOR 1-2 SEM. HRS. IN A SINGLE SUMMER SESSION (5.5 WEEKS) BUT MAY CONTRACT FOR UP TO 4 SEM. HRS. IF CARRYING OUT INTERNSHIP OVER A REGULAR LONG SEMESTER OR TWO SUMMER SESSIONS (11 WEEKS). IF INTERNING FOR THE SUMMER, STUDENTS SHOULD INCREASE THE NUMBER OF HOURS INTERNED WEEKLY TO ACCOUNT FOR THE SHORTENED PERIOD WORKED, SO TOTAL HOURS INTERNED WILL BE EQUIVALENT TO THOSE IN A REGULAR LONG SEMESTER. A STUDENT MAY INTERN ONLY TWICE WITH A SINGLE OFFICE OR AGENCY.  THE INTERNSHIPS WILL NOT APPLY TOWARDS GRADUATE CREDIT.

ATSC 4590  Selected Topics  
1-5 Semester Credit Hours (1-5 Lecture Hours, 5 Lab Hours)  

THIS COURSE INCLUDES SPECIAL TOPICS WITH VARIABLE CONTENT. MAY BE REPEATED FOR CREDIT. OFFERED ON SUFFICIENT DEMAND.