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The Faculty of Science > Bachelor of Science > Atmospheric Science

Undergraduate major and honours specializations in Atmospheric Science and the Diploma in Meteorology are offered cooperatively by the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and the Department of Geography. Students should direct enquiries to the Atmospheric Sciences Specialization (www.eoas.ubc.ca/academics/ugrad/specializations-programs/atmospheric-science). For information concerning the diploma program see Diploma in Meteorology.

The Major in Atmospheric Science is available for students with a broad interest in the Earth’s atmosphere. Students who wish to pursue a professional career as an atmospheric scientist or environmental consultant should consider graduate study leading to advanced degrees; see graduate Atmospheric Science. For more information, visit Atmospheric Science (www.geog.ubc.ca/atmos).

For details of other undergraduate Science specializations available in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, see Earth and Ocean Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Geological Sciences, Geophysics, and Oceanography. The Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences also offers Geological Engineering as part of the B.A.Sc. degree program.

Co-operative Education Option

This option integrates academic study with relevant supervised work experience. The work placements are arranged by mutual agreement between the students and the employing organizations. Enrolment is limited. Admission is by application to the Science Co-op Office in February prior to third year. Selection will be based on previous academic performance and general suitability to the work environment as assessed by resumé and interview. Graduation from the Co-op program requires completion of four work terms, in addition to the normal courses required for the specialization. Detailed information is available from Atmospheric Sciences (www.eoas.ubc.ca/academics/ugrad/specializations-programs/atmospheric-science) or the Co-operative Education Office (www.sciencecoop.ubc.ca).

Specializations

Major (0167): Atmospheric Science (ATSC)

First Year
Communication Requirement1 6
CHEM 121 (or 111), 1232 8
MATH 100 or 102 or 1043 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 1054 3
PHYS 117 (or 101 or 107)5 3
PHYS 118 (or 102 or 108) 3
PHYS 119 (or 109) 1
Elective6,7,8 3
Total Credits 30
Second Year
One of ATSC 201, GEOB 200 3
CPSC 103 (or CPSC 110)9 3
EOSC 211 3
MATH 200 3
STAT 200 3
Electives6,7,8 15
Total Credits 30
Third and Fourth Years
ATSC 30110, GEOB 300 6
ENVR 300 3
Three of ATSC 30310, ATSC 40610, ATSC 40910, GEOB 309, 370, 373, EOSC 354 9
One of EOSC 340, ENVR 410, GEOG 312 3
Four of CHEM 302, GEOB 400, 401, 402, EOSC 471 12
One of ATSC 448, GEOB 448 3
Electives6,7,8 24
Total Credits 60
Total Credits for Degree 120
1 For a full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement. ENGL 112 is recommended.
2 Students who do not have B.C. High School Chemistry 12 (or its equivalent) must write the UBC Chemistry Basic Skills Test and may be required to take CHEM 100.
3 MATH 180 or 184 or 120 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits.
4 MATH 121 may substitute for any of the specified integral calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit.
5 Students without Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 prior to other physics courses. Qualified students are encouraged to take PHYS 107/108/109. Students are advised to take PHYS 117 in second year if they did not take it or PHYS 107 in first year.
6 Students are permitted to move elective credits between years.
7 Elective credits together with required courses must fulfill the Faculty of Science’s:
a) Foundational Requirement;
b) Laboratory Science Requirement;
c) Science Breadth Requirement;
d) Science and Arts Requirements;
e) Upper-level Requirement;
f) General Degree Requirements.
8 Students wishing to pursue a career in weather forecasting or meteorology to prepare for graduate study in Atmospheric Science should consult with an ATSC advisor regarding choices of electives, including additional courses in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Statistics or Computer Science.
9 If choosing CPSC 110, reduce electives by 1 credit.
10 Usually only offered every other year. Check timing with the advisor and plan accordingly.

Specialization Objectives

Mastery of the curriculum will provide a thorough background in atmospheric sciences, which will:

  1. qualify the student for work as an atmospheric technician or environmental consultant;
  2. qualify the student for graduate study in meteorology and atmospheric sciences (with appropriate course background).

Learning Goals

Students completing this specialization will be able to:

  1. demonstrate basic knowledge of atmospheric physics, dynamics, and chemistry on a wide range of scales;
  2. utilize information from weather radar, satellites, numerical weather prediction, weather maps, and soundings to form a 3-D understanding of atmospheric state and evolution;
  3. use numerical problem solving, computer programming, mathematical knowledge and statistical approaches for data analysis and atmospheric modelling;
  4. communicate (written, oral, electronic) weather information to a broad audience;
  5. deploy and utilize meteorological field and lab instruments and data loggers;
  6. integrate meteorological knowledge with broader issues including air quality, environment, sustainability, renewable energy, and climate variability.

Honours (0429): Atmospheric Science (ATSC)

First Year
Communication Requirement1 6
CHEM 121 (or 111)2 4
CHEM 123 (or 113) 4
CPSC 103 (or CPSC 110)3 3
MATH 100 or 102 or 1044 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 1055 3
One of PHYS 107, 117 (or 101)6 3
One of PHYS 108, 118 (or 102)6 3
One of PHYS 109, 119 6 1
Electives6,7,8 3
Total Credits 33
Second Year
ATSC 201 3
CHEM 205 (or 201) 3
EOSC 211 3
MATH 215, 217, 221 9
PHYS 203 4
PHYS 216 3
STAT 241 or 2009 3
Electives7,8 5
Total Credits 33
Third and Fourth Years
ATSC 30110, 303 6
ATSC 40410, 40510, 40610, 449 15
ATSC Electives11 6
CHEM 302 3
ENVR 300 3
GEOB 300 3
MATH 300, 301, 316, 400 12
PHYS 301 or 354 3
PHYS 314 3
Electives7,8 12
Total Credits 66
Total Credits for Degree 132
1 For full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement.
2 Students who do not have B.C. High School Chemistry 12 (or its equivalent) must write the UBC Chemistry Basic Skills Test and may be required to take CHEM 100.
3 If choosing CPSC 110, reduce electives by 1 credit.
4 MATH 180 or 184 or 120 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits.
5 MATH 121 may substitute for any of the specified integral calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit.
6 Students without Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 before any other 100-level PHYS courses. PHYS 100 will be counted as an elective. Qualified students are encouraged to take PHYS 107, 108, and 109. Students who take PHYS 108/109 or PHYS 118/119 should take 2 credits of electives. Students who take PHYS 102 should substitute an extra credit of elective instead of PHYS 109 or PHYS 119.
7 Students are permitted to move elective credits between years.
8 Elective credits together with required courses must fulfill the Faculty of Science’s:
a) Foundational Requirement;
b) Laboratory Science Requirement;
c) Science Breadth Requirement;
d) Science and Arts Requirements;
e) Upper-level Requirement;
f) General Degree Requirements.
9 Can be delayed until first term in third year to allow more elective room in second year.
10 Offered in alternate years.
11 Selected from ATSC 409, 414; EOSC 340, 354, 372; GEOB 400, 401, 402.

Specialization Objectives

Honours will provide more depth than the Major. Mastery of the curriculum will provide a thorough background in atmospheric sciences, which will:

  1. qualify the student for graduate study in meteorology and atmospheric sciences;
  2. satisfy the scientific-content requirements for weather-forecaster jobs with Environment Canada and other agencies;
  3. qualify the student as a meteorologist.

Learning Goals

Students completing this specialization will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of atmospheric physics, dynamics, and chemistry on a wide range of scales;
  2. associate atmospheric processes with terms in governing differential equations;
  3. utilize information from weather radar, satellites, numerical weather prediction, weather maps, and soundings to form a 3-D understanding of atmospheric state and evolution;
  4. use numerical problem solving, computer programming, and statistical approaches for data analysis and atmospheric modelling;
  5. communicate (written, oral, electronic) weather information to a broad audience;
  6. deploy and utilize meteorological field and lab instruments and data loggers;
  7. define, conduct, and present results of an independent research project;
  8. integrate meteorological knowledge with broader issues including air quality, environment, sustainability, renewable energy, and climate variability.

Combined Honours (1372): Atmospheric Science and Computer Science (ATSC, CPSC)

First Year
Communication Requirement1 6
CHEM 121 (or 111)2 4
CPSC 110 (or 103 and 107)3 4
CPSC 121 4
MATH 100 or 102 or 1044 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 1055 3
One of PHYS 107, 117 (or 101)6 3
One of PHYS 108, 118 (or 102)6 3
One of PHYS 109, 119 6 1
Electives7,8 2
Total Credits 33
Second Year
ATSC 201 3
CPSC 210 4
CPSC 213, 221 8
MATH 215, 217, 223 10
PHYS 203 4
Electives7,8 4
Total Credits 33
Third and Fourth Years
ATSC 3019, 303, 4049, 4059, 4069 15
ATSC 449 or CPSC 44910 6
CPSC 302, 303, 310, 320 13
CPSC course numbered 300 and above11 3
CPSC 402 or CPSC 406 3
CPSC course numbered 400 and above11 3
ENVR 300 3
GEOB 300 3
MATH 316 3
STAT 200 or 241 3
Electives8,11 11
Total Credits 66
Total Credits for Degree 132
1 For full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement.
2 Students who do not have B.C. High School Chemistry 12 (or its equivalent) must write the UBC Chemistry Basic Skills Test and may be required to take CHEM 100.
3 While CPSC 110 is the recommended route for students pursuing a program in Computer Science, CPSC 103, 107 may be taken in its place using 2 credits of electives.
4 MATH 180 or 184 or 120 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits.
5 MATH 121 may substitute for any of the specified integral calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit.
6 Students without Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 before any other 100-level PHYS courses. PHYS 100 will be counted as an elective. Qualified students are encouraged to take PHYS 107, 108, and 109. Students who take PHYS 108/109 or PHYS 118/119 should take 2 credits of electives. Students who take PHYS 102 should substitute an extra credit of elective instead of PHYS 109 or PHYS 119.
7 Students are permitted to move elective credits between years.
8 Elective credits together with required courses must fulfill the Faculty of Science’s:
a) Foundational Requirement;
b) Laboratory Science Requirement;
c) Science Breadth Requirement;
d) Science and Arts Requirements;
e) Upper-level Requirement;
f) General Degree Requirements.
9 Offered in alternate years.
10 Students who intend to take CPSC 449, must take CPSC 349 (a seminar of 0 credits) in the third year.
11 CPSC 313, 420, 421 are recommended.

Page last updated: July 3, 2019


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