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Atmospheric Sciences B.S. Degree

Atmos 5000Atmospheric Sciences seeks to understand the behavior and predictability of the Earth's atmosphere and requires a good foundation in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and computer science. The undergraduate Atmospheric Sciences major combines required courses in these areas with advanced courses in meteorology, climate, and related disciplines to develop an academic background that is appropriate for a variety of employment opportunities. Our program encourages the development of technical skills (writing, speaking, computer usage) that will lead to productive careers and prepares students for the pursuit of advanced degrees in the atmospheric or related sciences.

Majors develop a solid foundation in mathematics, physics, and chemistry during the first two years and then study dynamic, physical, and synoptic meteorology, as well as climate processes, during the junior and senior years. A unique aspect of our program is its emphasis on mountain weather and climate, which is a natural extension of the geographic setting of the University of Utah. Majors also become conversant in fields such as hydrology, air pollution, computer science, and communications. 

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Students have the option to specialize in one of three Emphases that adds flexibility to their academic studies: Environmental Sciences, Professional Meteorology, and Snow and Water Sciences.

Environmental Sciences: Designed for students interested in applying knowledge of the atmosphere to related environmental fields; for example: air quality monitoring and modeling; remote sensing; hydrology and snow science; or public policy. This Emphasis will prepare a student directly for a career as an environmental scientist or for continuing their education in an Earth Science graduate program. This option is intended to provide each graduate with a strong foundation in meteorology and providing skills in environmental monitoring, analysis of environmental data, and written and oral communications.

Professional Meteorology: Satisfies the requirements of the federal government for employment as a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Other government agencies and private firms expect graduates to have completed course work similar to that required by the Professional Meteorology Emphasis. This option is intended to provide each graduate with a solid foundation in meteorology and enable the student to become conversant in related fields such as hydrology, air pollution, data science, and communications. Students who excel academically will be prepared to attend graduate school in an Atmospheric Science or Meteorology program.

Snow and Water Sciences: Emphasizes a broad, interdisciplinary education involving the atmospheric sciences, hydrometeorology, hydrology, snow dynamics and avalanche studies, and mountain weather and climate issues. This Emphasis prepares students for careers related to water resources and operational and research positions related to mountain environments.

Last Updated: 12/20/21