About this Degree
The UGA Atmospheric Sciences Program offers a new undergraduate major (B.S.) in Atmospheric Sciences effective Spring 2017. The undergraduate major can easily be completed with a double major in Geography.
Transfer students intending to enter the Atmospheric Sciences major should complete Areas I-VI of the core curriculum. Preferred courses in Areas II, III, and V are listed under Program Requirements (B.S.), as are Area VI requirements.
Internships are a critical part of the Atmospheric Sciences major and are vital for development of skills required within the meteorological or atmospheric sciences enterprise.
There are currently no online course options for the new Atmospheric Sciences major, but the program is continually evaluating the new opportunities in distance learning.
What you will learn
The University of Georgia's Atmospheric Sciences major addresses the needs of students interested in studying meteorology or climate science.
Other Academic Information
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS): “Employment of atmospheric scientists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. The best job prospects for atmospheric scientists will be in private industry.”-- http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/atmospheric-scientists-including-meteorologists.htm. The average salary for meteorologists in Georgia outpaces the nationwide average by 9% (http://salarybystate.org/tag/demand-for-meteorologist-2013). Local and regional employers like Delta Airlines, Southern Company, Panasonic, and Coca Cola employ meteorologists and atmospheric scientists. The private sector represents an area of significant growth in this field and the state of Georgia will need to keep pace. From 2002-2012, the annual number of new B.S. degree recipients in atmospheric sciences grew 40% according to the U.S. Department of Education, in line with a 44% growth in jobs in the field over the same period according to the BLS. As BLS notes, there is significant growth opportunity in the private sector
(airlines, consulting, reinsurance, air quality, agriculture, media, digital media, etc.). Additionally, because it is recommended that our students also attain the Geography degree, our students are trained with broad skills in
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and social sciences. The Association of American Geographers (AAG) recently reported that median salaries and job growth for geography continue to outpace the average in other disciplines.
Though a small (but visible) part of the job market in meteorology, the broadcast sector is changing rapidly. The UGA Atmospheric Sciences Program faculty met with the CEO and senior executives at The Weather Channel. They overwhelmingly stated that the emerging market in broadcast is digital meteorology and that future meteorologists will require atmospheric sciences to have such skillsets. Similar needs have been expressed by CNN and local television stations. Recent partnerships with The Weather Channel, the Atmospheric Sciences Program, and the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication are addressing the looming challenges.
In the federal sector, the National Weather Service’s (NWS)’s Weather Ready Nation is “building community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events.”
(http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/#.VoqjhUsXF_c). NWS managers are increasingly asking for a new generation of atmospheric scientists versed in meteorology, GIS, social sciences, and communication. Our program has also experienced increased interest from the U.S. Forest Service (Athens), Department of Energy (Augusta), and FEMA (Atlanta). Such agencies have emerging needs for broadly trained atmospheric scientists or meteorologists with cross-disciplinary perspectives.
Other Relevant Information
With the appropriate selection of electives, the major meets the federal civil service requirements for employment as a meteorologist and the American Meteorological Society recommended curriculum.