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Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences Degree

Program Offerings

• Bachelor of science degree in Atmospheric & Environmental Sciences
• Accelerated master’s degree in Atmospheric & Environmental Sciences (earn your bachelor’s and master’s in as little as five years)
• Master of science degree in Atmospheric & Environmental sciences
• Doctor of philosophy degree in Atmospheric & Environmental Sciences
• Minor: Atmospheric Sciences

What is Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences?

Atmospheric and environmental science is the study of weather. This field of science strives to predict both short-term weather patterns and long-term climate processes.

What does a atmospheric and environmental scientist do?

With climate change an ongoing threat to humanity, there’s never been a more important time to become an atmospheric and environmental scientist.

At South Dakota Mines, you will learn to study the weather and climate, and examine how the conditions impact the earth and human beings. This knowledge opens the doors to a variety of careers, including meteorologists, air quality experts, climatologists, and more. Meteorologists forecast weather, including tornadoes, blizzards, and other hazardous weather. Air quality experts monitor environmental conditions and help reduce pollution. Climatologists study long-term weather trends and climate change.

Some of the duties an atmospheric and environmental scientist might undertake include:
• Measure temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, wind speed, dew point, and other properties of the atmosphere
• Use computer models that analyze data about the atmosphere (also called meteorological data)
• Write computer programs to support their modeling efforts
• Conduct research to improve understanding of weather phenomena
• Generate weather graphics for users
• Report current weather conditions
• Prepare long- and short-term weather forecasts by using computers, mathematical models, satellites, radar, and local station data
• Plan, organize, and participate in outreach programs aimed at educating the public about weather
• Issue warnings to protect life and property when threatened by severe weather, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and flash floods

First-Year Courses

• Intro to atmospheric sciences
• Atmospheric physics
• Biogeochemistry
• Atmospheric Thermodynamics
• Air quality
• Global environmental change
• Radar meteorology

Course Curriculum

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Internships and Co-ops

On average, 77% of South Dakota Mines students have applicable work experience when they graduate, thanks to internships and co-ops. For these co-ops and internships, students receive an average salary of $20.00/hour.
Atmospheric and environmental science majors earn competitive internships at such places as:
• NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center
• National Severe Storms Laboratory
• Los Alamos National Laboratory
• Rapid City National Weather Service.

Career Outlook

The average starting salary for South Dakota Mines atmospheric and environmental science graduates is $50,000, with a placement rate of 67% for 2019-20 grads.


Careers in atmospheric and environmental science might include:
• operational meteorology (weather forecasting)
• atmospheric research
• broadcast meteorology
• environmental consulting
• industrial and commercial forecasting
• air and water quality, pollution
• transportation
• military, emergency response
• agriculture or energy industries


Potential employers for South Dakota Mines atmospheric and environmental graduates include:
• National Weather Service
• U.S. Armed Forces
• U.S. Department of Defense
• Private-sector forecasting and consulting
• Environmental Protection Agency

Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences Research

As an atmospheric and environmental sciences undergraduate at South Dakota Mines, you don’t have to wait to do research. Students will have the opportunity to participate in research with faculty actively engaged in research projects involving lightning, severe storms, incident meteorology, fire and its effects on the ecosystem, soil erosion, and other atmospheric and environmental concerns.




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