If you are curious, want to learn how the atmosphere works, have good math skills, and are excited about weather, the atmospheric sciences major is for you.
Through this major you will develop a strong background in the basic physical sciences including physics, chemistry and applied mathematics. You'll also gain the communication and computing skills needed in the job market. Additionally, you will learn to think critically, solve problems and make informed choices, and conduct research. A few of the course topics you will cover include:
- Meteorology I and II
- Atmospheric Science Orientation
- Meteorological Instrumentation
- Atmospheric Thermodynamics
- Physical Meteorology
The degree program also meets the recommendations of the American Meteorological Society for a B.S. in Atmospheric Sciences and the coursework required for employment with the National Weather Service.
Teaching and research is supported by a number of UND facilities, including the NorthPol Doppler weather radar, the Citation research jet, a broadcasting studio, instrumented surface sites, and high performance computing clusters.
The Department of Atmospheric Sciences takes pride in promoting experiential (or “hands-on”) learning opportunities. As a student, your experiences may include computer methods as well as both traditional and new technologies for atmospheric measurements, data processing and analysis.
In addition, the Department has been very successful at promoting internship opportunities for students. The proximity of a National Weather Service Forecast Office, a commercial forecasting firm and a wind energy engineering firm allows students to gain experience in operational meteorology. Students of the Atmospheric Science have had interning opportunities everywhere from UND to NASA.
As a student in atmospheric sciences, you may wish to become involved in the North Dakota Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society which is active on campus.
There are many different career paths that you can follow in atmospheric science including applied meteorology, non-university research, science education, and research and media weathercasting. It also provides a solid foundation for advanced studies at the graduate level.
Weather forecasting is certainly the most recognizable applied meteorology endeavor. Career opportunities in forecasting exist in five major areas: public, military, private sector (industrial/commercial/broadcasting), aviation and transportation.
Other applied careers include consulting, marketing and sales, and atmospheric measurements and instrumentation.
Employment in this field is expected to grow 11% from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Most individuals in the atmospheric sciences are earning a respectable income. The median annual wage of atmospheric scientists was $87,780 in May 2010.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Regional Weather Information Center
The RWIC provides you opportunities to participate in atmospheric research and applications in a real-world environment. These research projects deal with topics ranging from agriculture to transportation.
Taking Weather to the World
A state of the art weather graphics system allows you to gain experience through the UND Television Center to produce and broadcast weather segments for cable television and the Internet.