San Francisco State University

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

College of Science and Engineering Undergraduate Programs


 | Degrees & Programs  | Requirements  | Career Options  | More Information

About the program The undergraduate program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at San Francisco State University is administered by the Department of Geosciences. The BS in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences is unique among atmospheric and oceanic science degrees across the country in that students in both concentrations take a common 25-unit core of coursework designed to investigate the interactions between the atmosphere and oceans. The degree has six emphases within the two concentrations with specific course groupings for students interested in either meteorology or oceanography.

The emphases include several developing areas of employment (applied meteorology, applied oceanography and physical oceanography) as well as the traditional areas of preparation for careers in the National Weather Service and for admission to graduate school. The Climate Change emphasis is common to both the meteorology and oceanography concentrations. It provides sufficient training to allow students to study in depth certain natural hazards (e.g., El Niño-related changes in the atmosphere and ocean) and to evaluate environmental hazards and their repercussions on ecosystems.

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) has drafted a list of criteria to which major programs in atmospheric sciences must adhere in order to meet academic requirements. The curriculum for the meteorology concentration was developed on the bases of these criteria.

Students should consult with an adviser before enrolling in the major and before planning a course of study. The adviser helps the student select the emphasis which best meets the employment and career goals of the student.

Facilities

The campus of SFSU lies within the city of San Francisco, on the San Francisco Peninsula in a spectacular setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean. SFSU's Department of Geosciences, part of the College of Science and Engineering and an affiliate of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, is housed on the fifth and sixth floors of Thornton Hall.

The core facility serving the meteorology program, used in every course in the curriculum, is the Weather Graphics Acquisition and Simulation Laboratory (WGSL). This lab, which consists of six networked UNIX workstations and five microcomputers, receives a continuous stream of current weather data through the Internet, including weather and radar observations, satellite imagery, and numerical model forecasts. Students use the WGSL to analyze weather data and display it as single images or loops as part of course assignments, and in some courses use of the lab is organized to mimic operations at National Weather Service Forecast Offices. Faculty members also use the lab to model atmospheric behavior for teaching and research purposes.

The Romberg Tiburon Center (RTC) for Environmental Studies, an off-campus facility yet within easy driving distance of campus, is central to the Oceanography Curriculum. The RTC is the only academic research facility situated on San Francisco Bay, the largest estuary on the west coast of the United States. The Center's mission is to perform basic scientific research and educate and train the next generation of scientists. RTC scientists/faculty pursue their research related to physical, geological and biological marine sciences in their RTC laboratories, at field sites around the world, and through collaborations with colleagues at other universities and institutions. Not only are undergraduate and graduate courses offered at RTC, but students have the opportunity to participate on research programs through the individual scientist's research laboratories.


Degrees & Programs

Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences:

The undergraduate program in meteorology and oceanography at San Francisco State University (SFSU) is administered by the Department of Geosciences. The BS in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences is unique among atmospheric and oceanic science degrees across the country in that students in both concentrations take a common 25-unit core of coursework designed to investigate the interactions between the atmosphere and oceans. The degree has six emphases within the two concentrations with specific course groupings for students interested in either meteorology or oceanography.

The emphases include several developing areas of employment (applied meteorology, applied oceanography and physical oceanography) as well as the traditional areas of preparation for careers in the National Weather Service and for admission to graduate school. The Climate Change emphasis is common to both the meteorology and oceanography concentrations. It provides sufficient training to allow students to study in depth certain natural hazards (e.g., El Niño-related changes in the atmosphere and ocean) and to evaluate environmental hazards and their repercussions on ecosystems.

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) has drafted a list of criteria to which major programs in atmospheric sciences must adhere in order to meet academic requirements. The curriculum for the meteorology concentration was developed on the bases of these criteria.

Students should consult with an adviser before enrolling in the major and before planning a course of study. The adviser helps the student select the emphasis which best meets the employment and career goals of the student.

Certificate in Meteorology for Broadcasters

Important Note on new Certfied Broadcast Meteorologist Program

The AMS Broadcast Seal for Radio and Television will be discontinued after 31 December 2008. A new program, the Certfied Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) program, will be an option for media meteorologists as of January 2005, and will completely replace the Broadcast Seal in 2009. Since the CBM will require a BS in Atmospheric Science or Meteorology, the Department of Geosciences will discontinue the Certificate Program described below after 2008. The requirements for the CBM and AMS's method of evaluation are summarized on this pdf file (N.B., you will need a pdf reader to open this---for Mac Preview or Adobe Acrobat Reader, for PC Adobe Acrobat Reader).

Background

The purpose of the program is to provide certification that students interested in making weathercasting a career have completed the academic coursework mandated by the American Meteorological Society's (AMS) Board of Broadcast Meteorology. Successful completion of these courses is a partial requirement for applicants seeking the coveted AMS Broadcast Seal for Radio and Television. Note that persons seeking the Broadcast Seal for Radio and Television must also be members of the AMS (note: by taking the courses listed below, seekers of the Certificate will automatically be qualified for AMS membership).The Broadcast Seal is widely-sought by those in the profession of broadcast meteorology, both in the radio and television venues.

The Seal represents an external certification of the on-air meteorologist's qualifications and competence and is often required of applicants for on-air media positions. Please note that students striving to meet the academic requirements for the Broadcast Seal are not required to have the Certificate, but are REQUIRED to have courses comparable to those in the list. The Department of Geosciences has created the Certificate Program to package these courses in a convenient listing and to provide students with certification of completion of the academic requirements.

Students entering SFSU from other programs may substitute courses they have taken elsewhere if they can show that such courses have (nearly) identical titles, philosophy, format and content. Requests for such "articulation" will be evaluated by the three members of the meteorology staff at SFSU. The reason for this is that several of the courses in the program were specifically tailored to meet the criteria set by the AMS for the academic needs of the Broadcast Seal. General, non-majors meteorology courses do NOT meet these needs. For example, Metr 200, 201 comprise a two-course 8 unit sequence in introductory physical, dynamic and synoptic meteorology and oceanography for majors. Lower division survey courses in non-majors meteorology (such as our own Metr 100 and 102) cannot be used to substitute for these courses.

Other Requirements for Broadcast Seal Independent of Course Requirement

Students should be aware that the AMS will evaluate the degree to which the academic requirements (as outlined below) are completed. If the academic requirements are met, the AMS will then require submission of three video- or audiotape examples of the student's broadcast work. Students are strongly encouraged to contact the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Department regarding career preparation for this additional requirement for the Broadcast Seal.

Course Requirements for Certificate as they Relate to AMS Curriculum Titles

The academic requirements for the Seal include at least 20 units (semester hours) of college coursework in the atmospheric and other earth sciences including a requirement of 12 units in the atmospheric, oceanic and/or hydrologic sciences.

At least 12 of the 20 semester units must be in four of the following five areas*, with at least 2 units in each of those four:

  • Atmospheric or oceanographic dynamics;
  • Atmospheric or oceanographic thermodynamics;
  • Physical meteorology or physical oceanography;
  • Synoptic meteorology (or weather systems) or synoptic oceanography;
  • Hydrology

*Courses must be specifically designed to cover these areas. Generally speaking, such courses should have the subject areas included in the title of the course. The purpose of this is to make sure that non-major survey courses in which tacit coverage of these topics is given are NOT used to meet these requirements.

The course requirements for SFSU's Certificate Program were designed not only to meet the basic requirements of the AMS, but also to provide students in the program with more general interdisciplinary information on earth systems. Several courses explore the current understanding of the answers to some key questions on the interactions of the atmosphere, oceans, solid earth, and living organisms. Those interactions are crucial to shaping Earth's climate and hold the key to predicting future climate, a matter of great topical interest to weathercasters.There are two ways for students to receive the Certificate if they complete the required list of courses. Regularly enrolled students should indicate that they are seeking the Certificate by listing it in the "Minor" section on the Graduation Petition. Click here to see course requirements.

Students external to SFSUor students already having completed a baccalaureate degree must enroll as "Post-Baccalaureate Students" and indicate the Certificate Program in the "Minor" section on the Graduation Petition.


Requirements

Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Semester
Schedule through Graduation Spring 2009 for Selected Important Core or Elective Courses
Year of Offering
Fall Metr 206/301/310/401/ 2005, 2007, 2009
Spring Metr 402/406/485*/490/515*

*485 alternates with 515 in 2006

2006, 2008, 2010
Fall Metr 200/403/502/506 2006, 2008, 2010
Spring Metr 201/404/420/503/515 2005, 2007, 2009

Foundation Science Courses
UNITS
Chemistry
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I: Essential Concepts of Chemistry 5
Computer Science
METR 206 Use of Computers in Meteorology and Oceanography 2
Mathematics
MATH 226 Calculus and Analytic Geometry I 4
MATH 227 Calculus and Analytic Geometry II 4
MATH 228 Calculus and Analytic Geometry III 4
MATH 245 Elementary Differential Equations and Linear Algebra 3
Physics
PHYS 220/222 General Physics with Calculus I/Lab (3/1) 4
PHYS 230/232 General Physics with Calculus II/Lab (3/1) 4
PHYS 240/242 General Physics with Calculus III/Lab (3/1) 4
Total for foundation 34
Core Requirements
METR 200 Introduction to Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics and Thermodynamics 3
METR 201 Introduction to Dynamic and Synoptic Meteorology and Oceanography 3
METR 401 Introductory Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics 4
METR 402 Atmospheric and Oceanic Dynamics I 4
METR 404 Meteorological and Oceanographic Observing Techniques and Systems 2
METR 406 Computer Programming with Applications in Meteorology and Oceanography 3
METR 420 Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions 4
Total for Core 23


B.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences: Concentration in Meteorology


Foundation Science Courses (see above)

34

Core Requirements (see above)

23

Emphasis
Students choose 1 emphasis (listed below) 18
Total for major 75
Graduate School Emphasis
METR 301 Weather Chart Analysis and Discussion 1
METR 403 Weather Analysis and Forecasting I 4
METR 502 Atmospheric Dynamics II 2
METR 503 Weather Analysis and Forecasting II 2
METR 697 Senior Project 1
At least 6 units from the following upon advisement:
MATH 324, MATH 374, METR 490, METR 510, METR 485, METR 515, METR 694 (1-3), METR 698 (1-3), METR 699 (1-3)
Total for Emphasis 18
Forecasting Emphasis
METR 301 Weather Chart Analysis and Discussion 1
METR 403 Weather Analysis and Forecasting I 4
METR 502 Atmospheric Dynamics II 2
METR 503 Weather Analysis and Forecasting II 2
METR 698 Public Weather Forecasting 1
At least 6 units from the following upon advisement:
MATH 324, MATH 374, METR 490, METR 510, METR 485, METR 515, METR 694 (1-3), METR 698 (1-3), METR 699 (1-3)
Total for Emphasis 18
Applied Meteorology Emphasis
METR 301 Weather Chart Analysis and Discussion 1
METR 324 Probability and Statistics with Computing 3
METR 403 Weather Analysis and Forecasting I 4
METR 485 Consulting Meteorology 3
METR 490 Physical Principles of Remote Sensing for Geoscientists 3
METR 698 Public Weather Forecasting 1
At least 3 units from the following upon advisement:
CHEM 215/216 (3/2), GEOG 603, MATH 374, METR 502, METR 503, METR 506, METR 510, METR 515, METR 694 (1-3), METR 698 (1-3), METR 699 (1-3)
Total for Emphasis 18
Climate Change Emphasis
METR 301 Weather Chart Analysis and Discussion 1
METR 310 Planetary Climate Change/Lab (3/1) 4
METR 403 Weather Analysis and Forecasting I 4
At least 6 units from the following upon advisement:
CHEM 215/216 (3/2), CHEM 280, GEOG 600, MATH 324, METR 694 (1-3), METR 699 (1-3)
Total for Emphasis 18


B.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences: Concentration in Oceanography


Foundation Science Courses (see above)

34

Core Requirements (see above)

23

Emphasis
Students choose 1 emphasis (listed below) 18
Total for major 75
Physical Oceanography Emphasis
BIOL 230 Introductory Biology I 5
METR 465 Physical Oceanography 3
At least 7 units from the following upon advisement:
CHEM 215/216 (5), GEOL 467, MSCI 343 (4), BIOL 582, MATH 324, MATH 374, METR 490, METR 694 (1-3), METR 699 (1-3)
Total for Emphasis 18
Applied Oceanography Emphasis
BIOL 230 Introductory Biology I 5
METR 452 Geology of the Coastal Zone 3
METR 465 Physical Oceanography 3
At least 7 units from the following upon advisement:
BIOL 582, CHEM 215/216 (5), DAI 332, DAI 342, GEOG 603, GEOG 613 (4), GEOL 467, MATH 324, METR 485, METR 490, METR 694 (1-3), METR 698, METR 699, MSCI 343, PHYS 495
Total for Emphasis 18
Climate Change Emphasis
METR 310 Planetary Climate Change/Lab (3/1) 4
METR 465 Physical Oceanography 3
At least 11 units from the following upon advisement:
BIOL 230, BIOL 582, CHEM 215/216 (5), CHEM 280, GEOG 600 (4), GEOL 467, MATH 324, METR 490, METR 694 (1-3), METR 699 (1-3), MSCI 343 (4)
Total for Emphasis 18


Certificate Program in Meteorology for Broadcasters


Required Courses

Core Meteorology Requirement
METR 200 Introduction to Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics and Thermodynamics 3
METR 201 Introduction to Dynamic and Synoptic Meteorology and Oceanography 3
METR 301 Weather Chart Analysis and Discussion 1
METR 698 Public Weather Forecasting 3
Total for core 10
Earth System Science Requirement
METR 310 Planetary Climate Change/Lab (3/1) 4
Total for Earth System Science Requirement 4
Elective Courses
At least 8 units from the following upon advisement:
GEOL 302*, GEOG 402*, METR 206, METR 302*, METR 356, any Meteorology Course Numbered 400 or Greater
* These courses comprise the General Education Segment III cluster "Our Violent Planet"

General Education for Non-Science Students

METR 100 Introduction to Meteorology 3
METR 101 Introduction to Meteorology Lab 1
METR 102 Introduction to Oceanography 3
METR 103 Introduction to Oceanography Lab 1
METR 302 The Violent Atmosphere and Ocean 3
METR 356 California Weather Events 3


Career Options

Government

  • National Weather Service
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • State Department of Water Resources
  • United States Army Corps of Engineers
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Bay Area Air Quality Management District
  • Air Resources Board

Meteorological and climatological Consulting firms

  • Air pollution meteorology
  • Weather forecasting
  • Micrometeorological assessment
  • Weather modification
  • Ocean and aviation route
  • Forecasting
  • Biometeorology
  • Ecological and environmental

Media meteorology

  • Weather segment production
  • On-air television and radio

Teaching

  • Universities
  • Community colleges
  • High schools


More Info Department of Geosciences
415/338-2061
E-mail: geosci@sfsu.edu
Fax: 415/338-7705
Web: http://tornado.sfsu.edu/

How to apply
You may pick up an undergraduate application from any California State University campus, community college, or high school. You may have one sent to you by calling 415/338-7238.

Reaching SFSU by mail
To reach any SFSU department or program by mail, write to the specific office, followed by:
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132

By phone
University Information
415/338-1111

Admissions Office
415/338-1634 or 6486
E-mail: ugadmit@sfsu.edu

SFSU on the Internet


San Francisco State University

1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132    415/338-2061
Last modifiedTuesday, January 24, 2006 , by the John Monteverdi