Department of Geography & Geosciences

 

Holloway Hall

BS in Geography: Atmospheric Science Track

Download the checklist.

Why specialize in Atmospheric Science?

Atmospheric scientists study the atmosphere, its processes, the effects other systems have on the atmosphere, and the effects of the atmosphere on these other systems. The two primary sub-disciplines in atmospheric science are meteorology and climatology. Meteorology includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics with a major focus on weather forecasting. Climatology is the study of atmospheric changes (both long and short-term) that define average climates and their change over time, due to both natural climate variability and anthropogenic climate variability or global warming. Examples of questions that atmospheric scientists try to answer are:

  • Why do some thunderstorms produce tornadoes?
  • What keeps mesoscale convective systems going?
  • Why are some summers/winters hotter/colder and drier/wetter than others?
  • How can numerical weather prediction models be improved?
  • How can we improve forecasting flash floods?
  • What constitutes a drought?
  • Is global warming real?
  • Is there a relationship between global warming and hurricane intensities?

Our Alumni

Our graduates can be found working for the United States Geologic Survey, Maryland Department of Environment, engineering firms throughout the Mid-Atlantic, and in private industry as environmental consultants. Graduates have been slowing the erosion of coastal beaches along the US Gulf, and cleaning up the environment of Aberdeen Proving Ground. Our graduates have attended and received degrees from some of the finest graduate schools in North America, including Johns Hopkins School of Engineering, McGill's Geography Department and many major State Universities, including the University of Delaware, University of Maryland, College Park, and Mississippi State University

In recent years, many majors within this track have gone on to pursue professional careers in meteorology and climatology. Some of our alumni enjoy careers as successful broadcast meteorologists across the country. For example:

Former majors also enjoy employment as research scientists and university faculty. For example:

  • Jeff Dorman - NASA, Wallops Island, Virginia
  • Dr. Chad Kauffman - Associate professor, California University of Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Karen Patterson - Staff Scientist, Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANA), Stennis Space Center, Mississippi
  • Dr. Brent Skeeter - Professor and Chair, Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland
  • Dr. Peter Soule - Professor, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina
  • Dr. Kay Williams - Associate Professor, Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania

Currently, approximately one-half of the department's majors focus primarily on earth and atmospheric sciences. Each semester faculty, students, alumni, and local television meteorologists participate in the department's popular weather forecasting contest.

What is the Program of Study?

Our program stresses Atmospheric Science and their applications to solving environmental problems. Thus, students complete courses in both meteorology and climatology, as well as a common geography major core.  The coursework required for this track provides a solid undergraduate knowledge of geography with an atmospheric science focus which serves as a strong foundation for students continuing on to graduate studies or onto a career in atmospheric science.

One key feature of our coursework in atmospheric science track is our commitment to field work and experiential studies. Our department has the largest selection of undergraduate atmospheric science (meteorology, climatology) courses in the state of Maryland.

Coursework Required:

General Education Requirements

Geography Core Requirements

Track Requirements:

Required courses:

Atmospheric Science Courses

Complete 2 of the following courses

Recommended electives: