*S. Businger, PhD (Chair)—mesoscale and synoptic meteorology, satellite meteorology, storm structure and dynamics
Degrees Offered: BS (including minor) in atmospheric sciences, MS in atmospheric sciences, PhD in atmospheric sciences
The Academic Program
Atmospheric Sciences (ATMO) is the study of phenomena in the Earth's atmosphere. These phenomena include both weather and climate. Students pursuing the BS receive preparation for professional employment in the atmospheric sciences and are qualified for employment in the federal meteorological agencies. The atmospheric sciences major must be well-grounded in the fundamentals of mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Thus BS graduates are qualified to pursue graduate studies both in atmospheric sciences and other applied sciences, such as oceanography or geography. Graduate degrees prepare students to pursue research careers both with government and in academia.
The atmospheric sciences program at UH Manoa is unique in its focus on tropical meteorology. The tropics exert critical controls on the entire global atmosphere. BS students receive comprehensive training in tropical weather analysis and forecasting. Graduate students often pursue their research in tropical meteorology; some of their study topics take advantage of Hawai‘i’s unique natural laboratory. Some students pursue graduate research with funding from the National Weather Service, whose Honolulu Weather Forecast Office is housed in the same building as the atmospheric sciences department. Atmospheric sciences faculty cooperate actively with physical oceanography faculty through the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research and the International Pacific Research Center in the study of air-sea interaction and climate variability. Students also have access to both research databases and cooperative employment opportunities at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Pearl Harbor
UH Manoa is an active member of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.
Inquire about the major by contacting the department office (808) 956-8775. Graduate students are assigned individual faculty advisors by the graduate chair after their preliminary conference.
Students must complete 120 credit hours, including:
For information on a Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, go to www.manoa.hawaii.edu/ovcaa/programsheets/.
Student Learning Outcomes (BS Atmospheric Sciences)
RequirementsStudents must complete 15 credit hours of non-introductory courses, including:
The department offers MS and PhD degrees. Through courses in dynamic, synoptic, and physical meteorology, students develop a strong foundation in tropical meteorology, the department’s special field, and are prepared to do research in the atmospheric sciences.
Candidates should have a thorough preparation in physics (with calculus), chemistry, and mathematics through differential equations. Undergraduate courses in physical, dynamic, and synoptic meteorology are expected, but they can be taken in the first year. The application for fall semester is due March 1 for both U.S. and international applicants. The application deadline for spring semester is October 1 for both international applicants and U.S. applicants. In special circumstances, late applications for either semester will be considered.
Plan A: Thesis Option Requirements
Graduation with a master’s degree requires completion of an acceptable thesis and a successful defense of the thesis in an oral examination.
A total of 30 official course credit hours must also be earned consisting of:
Our core requirements include ATMO 600, 610, 620. Students must obtain a grade of B- or higher for each of the core courses. Incoming students who have taken a synoptic meteorology course elsewhere with a grade of B- or higher will be exempt from taking ATMO 412 or 416 in the ATMO department as determined by the ATMO department graduate chair.
Incoming students without synoptic meteorology course work will need to take a synoptic meteorology class and lab equivalent, either ATMO 412 or 416, and obtain a grade B- or higher. In these cases, the synoptic meteorology credits will be counted towards the students’ MS degree.
Students must obtain a minimum of a combined GPA of 3.0 or higher for the courses ATMO 600, 610, 620, and 412 or 416 if taken at UH Manoa. Students must also maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for all courses in the MS program.
Plan B: Non-Thesis Option Requirements
Graduation requirements for a master’s degree Plan B emphasize a greater number of graduate level courses, but no thesis.
A total of 30 official ATMO course credit hours must be earned, including the following:
MS Plan B candidates must be enrolled during the term in which they complete the requirements for the degree; regular course work or ATMO 600 (Master’s Plan B Studies) may be used to meet this requirement. ATMO 600 is offered as a 1-credit course with a mandatory grading of S/NG but does not carry credit toward meeting degree requirements.
The PhD student exhibits a higher level of independence and originality of thought than that required of the MS student.
Students must satisfy several requirements in order to graduate with a PhD degree. Each student is required to pass at least 8 courses with 6 of those numbered 600 and above with a grade of B- or higher. These courses will be in dynamic, synoptic, physical, tropical meteorology, oceanography, or other closely related fields. At the discretion of the graduate chair, a student must be awarded credit for up to 3 relevant graduate courses taken elsewhere, therefore a minimum of 5 courses must be completed at UH Manoa. The courses taken either here or elsewhere need to cover ATMO 600, 610, 620, and 412 or 416 with a grade of B- or higher. Incoming students without synoptic meteorology course work will need to take a synoptic meteorology class and lab equivalent, either ATMO 412 or 416, and obtain a grade B- or higher.
No later than the 24th month in the PhD program, each student must pass a two-part comprehensive examination. The purpose of this exam is to ascertain the student’s comprehension of the broad field of atmospheric sciences and so to insure that the student is well prepared for PhD research. The first part of the comprehensive examination is a set of written exercises completed on a single day. Within 3 to 7 days after the written exam, the student sits for the oral portion with his or her committee. No later than 12 months after successful completion of the comprehensive examination, each student is required to submit a written research prospectus for approval to his or her dissertation committee.
A PhD student must also successfully complete two semesters of ATMO 765 during his or her PhD studies (ATMO 765 taken before the student was admitted to the PhD program cannot be counted towards satisfying this requirement).
Finally, the student must complete an acceptable PhD dissertation and successfully defend it in a public final oral defense.
Please note: This Catalog was prepared to provide information and does not constitute a contract. The University reserves the right to change or delete, supplement or otherwise amend at any time and without prior notice the information, requirements and policies contained in this Catalog.
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