Welcome to the Department of Atmospheric Sciences

Small class sizes, virtually unlimited access to faculty, and a challenging yet rewarding curriculum make UNC Asheville an ideal place to earn your degree in atmospheric sciences. You’ll have the chance to learn about the atmosphere and conduct research alongside faculty specializing in severe weather, atmospheric modeling, air pollution, climatology, observations, tropical meteorology, and weather unique to Western North Carolina.

Asheville is home to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)—one of the nation’s largest weather data centers—and UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC). These organizations and nearby National Weather Service forecast offices and television studios offer atmospheric sciences majors unique internship opportunities and career connections.

Our Curriculum

The Department of Atmospheric Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science degree in three concentrations: weather forecasting, climatology, and broadcast meteorology. Each concentration prepares students for employment upon graduation or for further studies at the graduate level. All concentrations fulfill federal civil service requirements for employment as a meteorologist. Unlike larger institutions, our department and university focus completely on undergraduate success. Our small classes are taught by faculty members, not teaching assistants. The knowledgeable and dedicated faculty members emphasize a quality undergraduate education with close student–faculty interaction.

Learning Outcomes

Our graduates will discover:

  • accurate scientifically-based conceptual models of atmospheric structure and evolution on multiple spatial and temporal scales,
  • an understanding of mathematical devices applied to governing laws that determine the evolution of atmospheric structures,
  • an ability to communicate these conceptual models orally and through writing to a variety of audiences ranging from the layperson to experts in the atmospheric sciences,
  • an ability to make a significant contribution to a team-based research effort,
  • the necessary problem-solving skills to address new and interesting challenges presented by atmospheric structures to a smoothly-functioning society,
  • a curiosity about the natural world that motivates the student to continue their learning in graduate school and beyond the years immersed in formal education, and
  • an ability to recognize disagreements among scientists—being able to identify points of contention, analyze evidence, and respectfully address differences between competing scientific theories.