Degree Requirements

Atmospheric science is the study of the air that surrounds the planet. It includes all weather phenomena and climate including the chemistry of trace constituents and cloud and particle formation, as well as quantitative studies of severe weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes. It includes the study of the impacts of human and other biotic activity on the quality of the air we breathe. Changes in regional and global climate are also central to this field of study.

The Program

Modern meteorology is a quantitative science that is becoming increasingly computer dependent. In addition to the study of daily weather events, the program deals with fundamental dynamical and physical processes that involve the general circulation of the atmosphere; turbulent mass and energy transfer at the planetary surface as well as within the free atmosphere; the transfer of solar and terrestrial radiation throughout the atmosphere; atmospheric interaction with the biosphere; climate variations; and developments in remote sensing using satellites with modern meteorological instrumentation. In addition, the program has significant expertise in the areas of air quality and its related atmospheric chemistry. As well as providing a broad background in meteorology, the major includes an informal minor area to be chosen from mathematics, computer science, environmental studies, resource management or a physical or biological science.

Internships and Career Alternatives

Atmospheric science students have participated in internships with the California Air Resources Board, various county Air Pollution Control Districts, and the National Weather Service. Job opportunities include: national weather services, weather forecasting for broadcast media or private forecasting firms, environmental consulting firms (such as environmental impact reports, wind farm siting), government agencies at all levels from local (air quality districts, planning departments, etc. ) to State (Air Resources Board) to national (NOAA), and companies whose operations are impacted by weather (such as airlines, futures markets). About half of our graduates continue their education by seeking the M.S. or Ph.D. degree in atmospheric science or related areas.

B.S. Major Program Requirements

B.S. Major Requirements: UNITS
Written Expression. Also counts toward College English Composition Requirement 3-4

University Writing Program 101 or one course from 102 or 104 sequences or course selected with adviser's approval

Preparatory Subject Matter 59-60
Plant Sciences 2 4
Chemistry 2A, 2B 10
Computer Science Engineering 30 or course selected with adviser's approval 4
Mathematics 21A, 21B, 21C, 21D, 22A, 22B 22
Atmospheric Science 60 4
Physics 9A, 9B, 9C 12
Statistics 13 3
Depth Subject Matter 41
Satisfaction of General Education requirement; additional units in social sciences and humanities to total 28 units.
Depth Subject Matter 36
Atmospheric Science 110, 111, 111L, 120, 121A, 121B, 124, 128 28

Internship-Atmospheric Science 192 or 199

Two upper division Atmospheric Science courses selected with adviser's approval, not including courses 192 and 199 7
Restricted Electives 15
Coordinated group of courses (minor area) to be chosen with adviser's approval from mathematics, computer science, environmental studies, communication, resource management, or a physical or biological science (at least 10 upper division units) 15

Total Units for the Major


Major Adviser: Kyaw Tha Paw U

Student Affairs Officer: Lacole Brooks

Advising Center for the major is located in 1150 Plant and Environmental Sciences Building in the Land, Air and Water Resources Teaching Center (530) 752-1603;

B.S. Minor Program Requirements

The minor in Atmospheric Science provides a broad treatment of weather and climate, with the option to focus on such topics as climate change, meteorological instrumentation, and satellite remote sensing. Students undertaking the minor should have completed minimum preparatory course work in calculus and physics (Mathematics 16A-16B, Physics 5A or 7A). Some upper division courses in Atmospheric Science have the Mathematics 21 and 22 series and the Physics 9 series as prerequisites.

Atmospheric Science: 20‑24
Atmospheric Science 60, 110 8
Four courses selected with the approval of the minor program adviser from upper division Atmospheric Science courses (excluding 192 or 199) or Environmental and Resource Sciences 131 12‑16

Minor Adviser: Kyaw Tha Paw U

Graduate Study:
You can specialize in particular areas of atmospheric science through graduate study and research leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. For details, see under the Graduate Group in Atmospheric Science. See also the Graduate Studies section in this catalog.

Related Courses:
See Environmental Science and Policy 150A; Physics 104A, 104B; Environmental and Resource Sciences 131.