Meteorology and Climate Science Department
Meteorology is the study of the atmosphere and its phenomena, including day-to-day weather. Climate Science is the study of Earth’s climate and its evolution over time. Both are integrated physical sciences, with ties to physics, mathematics, chemistry, computer science, and even biological science in the case of global climate change studies. In today’s world, we are working to develop a better understanding of the interconnectedness of various parts of our environment, and knowledge of the role of the atmosphere is critical in these studies. This is true in the short term (Meteorology) and over longer time scales (Climate Science). The Department of Meteorology and Climate Science is dedicated to providing this knowledge by preparing students to measure, analyze, model and predict the state of the atmosphere into the next week, and into the next century. This preparation is accomplished through curricula for both the BS and the MS degrees which feature both theoretical and applied courses.
BS in Meteorology
For the traditional BS in Meteorology, theoretical courses in atmospheric hydrodynamics and atmospheric physics are balanced by hands-on laboratory work involving: atmospheric measurements and instruments; weather analysis and forecasting; meteorological programming; remote sensing; and statistical climatology. BS students also learn techniques of verbal, written, and electronic communication which are discipline-specific. The BS Meteorology program includes a practical senior thesis project that introduces the student to scientific research and its written and oral presentation. Completion of the BS Meteorology degree presents many employment opportunities, including: Weather Forecaster; Air Pollution Specialist; Environmental Programmer; Environmental Consultant; Middle and High School Science Teacher; Media Specialist; Graduate School.
BS in Meteorology, Concentraiton in Climate Science
For the BS Meteorology, concentration in Climate Science (first offered in Fall 2010), students will study the science of climate and of climate change. These courses will be balanced by courses in other fields that cover a wide range of issues related to climate change, including: energy; water resources; food production and agriculture; policy. All BS students also learn techniques of verbal, written, and electronic communication that are discipline-specific. The BS Meteorology, concentration in Climate Science culminates with a course in which students will propose and investigate mitigation and other strategies related to climate change. Completion of this degree presents employment opportunities in all emerging fields related to climate change. This includes jobs in both government and the private section related to: climate change issues on local regional, national, and global scales; resource management including water, energy, and carbon.
MS in Meteorology
The MS degree prepares the student for higher-level professional responsibility, independent research, and continued graduate work in atmospheric science. Graduate level theoretical and applied meteorology courses, together with a substantial research project, lead to the preparation of the master's thesis, which is the culmination of the MS course of study.
In addition to the formal BS and MS curricula, there are many other opportunities to make contacts with prospective employers via professional seminars sponsored by the department and by the Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (SCAMS). Opportunities also arise for related work experience for students at both the BS and MS levels. These include assistantships in departmental research programs, and internships at local companies and in government laboratories. Most internships and research assistantships require the completion of some course work in the department, or prior experience with computers and/or in meteorology. Details are available through the department office.
The faculty has a wide range of expertise, including aerosol physics, urban meteorology and pollution, meteorological modeling and measurements, satellite meteorology, aviation meteorology, atmospheric hydrodynamics, weather analysis and prediction, atmospheres of other planets, global climatic change, and meteorological data acquisition, processing and display. Although one of the smaller departments in the university, the Meteorology Department is one of the most active departments in research, providing students at all levels with opportunities for a variety of research experiences and financial support.
Department alumni include top scientists and forecasters in the National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration, the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, NASA, various state and federal air pollution agencies, the aerospace industry, and aviation operations. Our alumni also include university faculty members, high school and community college teachers, TV forecasters, meteorologists in the wind power, electric, gas and oil industries, science writers and consultants for legal cases, air pollution problems and building design. Recent graduates are pursuing advanced degrees at institutions including UCLA, Harvard, and the University of Washington.
Each student majoring in Meteorology (including the Climate Science concentration) must meet with their academic advisor at least once a semester. More frequent contacts are encouraged, especially prior to the first semester at SJSU. Formal approval of each student's academic program must be obtained from the advisor each semester, prior to registration. Failure to plan a program carefully can result in delays to graduation.