BS in Geography: Atmospheric Science Track
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
- Why are some
summers/winters hotter/colder and drier/wetter than
- How can numerical weather
prediction models be improved?
can we improve forecasting flash floods?
What constitutes a drought?
- Is global
- Is there a relationship
between global warming and hurricane intensities?
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.
Former majors also enjoy employment as research
scientists and university faculty. For example:
- Jeff Dorman - NASA, Wallops Island,
- Dr. Chad Kauffman - Associate
professor, California University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Karen Patterson - Staff Scientist, Naval
Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANA), Stennis Space
- 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,
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
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
Geography Core Requirements
Atmospheric Science Courses
Complete 2 of the following