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Atmospheric Science

University of Wyoming
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Program description

Atmospheric Science

Atmospheric Science is a rapidly developing discipline in which meteorology, physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, mathematics and computer science are all being applied in an effort to better understand the earth's atmosphere. The entire development of atmospheric science demonstrates how progress can result from the application of knowledge developed in the basic sciences to a complex environmental system. Concurrently, atmospheric scientists develop many observational and analytical techniques unique to the study of the atmosphere. Over the past decades, atmospheric science developed vigorously, stimulated by the availability of the latest satellite, ground-based and aircraft observations, as well as the availability of large computers for numerical simulations of atmospheric processes. At the same time, the importance of the atmosphere as a crucial resource in the welfare and survival of humankind is being recognized, as knowledge about how the atmosphere behaves is obtained.

In these graduate programs, great emphasis is placed on the active research involvement of students both during the academic year and during the summer months. The low student to faculty ratio in the department ensures an atmosphere of vital cooperation among students, faculty and staff. Student theses form integral parts of the department's research productivity and almost always lead to publishable results.

Research interests in the department center around cloud and precipitation physics, cloud and mesoscale atmospheric dynamics, boundary layer processes, tropospheric and stratospheric aerosols and chemistry, ozone depletion, wind energy, global change, instrumentation and air quality. These interests are also reflected in the department's academic program, which has the breadth and depth necessary to give students a background for entering into many different types of employment upon graduation.

A number of unique research tools are available in the department. Prominent among these is the King Air research aircraft which carries extensive instrumentation and computer-directed data acquisition systems. The tropospheric and stratospheric balloon launch facility is used to sample aerosols, volcanic plumes, clouds and ozone in Laramie, and in both the north and south polar regions. Excellent laboratory facilities are available in the department’s spacious quarters. These laboratories focus on aerosol and ice nucleation research, on atmospheric optics, remote sensing, and atmospheric chemistry. Well-equipped electronic and mechanical construction and design facilities are conducive for work in instrumentation development. A wide range of computer facilities are available, providing excellent support both in hardware and software for research activities and for learning. The Department of Atmospheric Science is the lead user of the Wyoming allocation of the NCAR Wyoming Supercomputer Center.

Admission requirements

A prerequisite for admission to the graduate program is a bachelor's degree in meteorology, engineering, physics, chemistry, mathematics or a similar relevant discipline. For general regulations concerning admission and degree requirements, the Graduate Bulletin of the University of Wyoming should be consulted. Graduate assistantships are available by application to the department and are awarded on the basis of past record and promise for achievement.

Program Specific Degree Requirements

Master’s Program Plan A

  • Approval of research plan by the graduate committee
  • Colloquium and oral defense of M.S. thesis
  • Approval of M.S. thesis by the graduate committee
  • Requires a minimum of 26 hours of acceptable graduate coursework and four hours of thesis research and a thesis (final written project).
  • 21 in-residence coursework hours

Master’s Program Plan B (non-thesis)

  • 30 hours of acceptable graduate coursework and a Plan B Paper that summarizes internship/research experience

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Program content

  • Introduction to Meteorology
  • Global Warming: The Science of Humankinds’ Energy Consumption Impacting Climate
  • Severe and Unusual Weather
  • Engineering Honors Program Research Methods
  • Atmospheric Processes I
  • The Ocean Environment
  • Honors Undergraduate Research
  • Undergraduate Research in Atmospheric Science
  • Problems in Atmospheric Science
  • Mesoscale Meteorology
  • Physical Meteorology I
  • Physical Meteorology II
  • Dynamic Meteorology
  • Synoptic and Mesoscale Meteorology
  • Ethics and Research Methods
  • Climate Science and Climate Change
  • Cloud and Precipitation Systems
  • Atmospheric Dynamics II
  • The Ocean Environment
  • Boundary Layer Meteorology
  • Radar Meteorology
  • Atmospheric Chemistry
  • Meteorological Instrumentation
  • Advanced Cloud Microphysics
  • Numerical Modeling of Atmosphere
  • Atmospheric Science Problems
  • Atmospheric Science Seminar
  • Practicum in College Teaching
  • Continuing Registration: On Campus
  • Continuing Registration: Off Campus
  • Enrichment Studies
  • Thesis Research
  • Dissertation Research
  • Internship

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About this institute

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming is located in the safe and inviting college town of Laramie, Wyoming. Laramie is a community located about two hours north of the large, metropolitan city of Denver, Colorado. Laramie is nestled in a valley at...

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Contact info

University of Wyoming

1000E University Avenue
82071 Laramie

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