Atmospheric Science

Atmospheric science is the study of the layer of air that surrounds the planet. It includes all weather phenomena, such as frontal systems and clouds, as well as severe weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Concerns regarding the effects of human activity on the quality of the air we breathe, and on possible global warming are also central to this field of study.

The Program. Modern meteorology is a quantitative science that is becoming increasingly computer oriented. In addition to the study of daily weather events, the program deals with fundamental physical processes that involve the general circulation of the atmosphere; mass and energy transfers at the planetary surface and within the atmosphere; solar and terrestrial radiation; atmospheric interaction with the biosphere; climate variations; air pollution meteorology; and developments in modern meteorological instrumentation. 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.

UCD Atmospheric Science offers excellent opportunities for students. Small class sizes foster student-instructor interaction. Students can pursue topics in observations, instrumentation, theory, modeling and computation.

Our Bachelor of Science program conforms to the national accreditation standards set by the National Weather Service and the American Meteorological Society.

Requirements for a major program
Requirements for a minor program

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. Numerous career opportunities exist in the federal and state governments, research and development in the private sector, and education. Examples of career areas are weather forecasting, agricultural meteorology, air-pollution forecasting and control, weather modification, hurricane and severe weather forecasting and research, weather satellite meteorology, environmental consulting, and weather research. About half of our graduates continue their education by seeking the M.S. or Ph.D. degree in atmospheric science.

For information about our undergraduate program email Lacole Brooks or or visit our Student Resources Page.