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Atmospheric Science

HUPAS faculty are recognized experts in mesoscale meteorology, climate modeling, air quality modeling and filed observations, atmospheric physics, atmosphere chemistry and mechanical engineering.  

The Howard University Graduate Program in Atmospheric Science (HUPAS) is an advanced degree-granting interdisciplinary program offering the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in atmospheric science. Established by the Howard University Board of Trustees in 1997, the Program is affiliated with the Departments of Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering and Physics and Astronomy.  HUPAS is dedicated to preparing students from traditionally underrepresented groups for leadership careers in atmospheric science and related fields.  HUPAS is aiding federal agencies such as NOAA and NASA, as well as industry and academia diversify this niche area of the workforce while engaging in leading research directly relevant to national security, commerce and environmental security.  In a relatively short period of existence HUPAS has emerged as an exemplar in realizing Howard’s mission by: delivering experiences of exceptional quality to students; helping to attract a cadre of strong, socially responsible scholars and educators; impacting diversity statistics on the national production of atmospheric scientists, and contributing to critical societal needs through research.

HUPAS faculty are recognized experts in mesoscale meteorology, climate modeling, air quality modeling and filed observations, atmospheric physics, atmosphere chemistry and mechanical engineering.   Examples of their research include:

  • Field observation and numerical studies of tropical cyclogenesis in the eastern Atlantic
  • Chemical modeling and data assimilation focused on the ability of air quality models to make forecasts of ozone and PM2.5 and the impact of atmospheric chemistry on multiple scales (local, regional and global scales). 
  • Characterization of water vapor, wind, aerosol variability on the sub-pixel scale using ground-based Raman lidars and other passive and active profiling systems for satellite cal/val and climate reference studies
  • Characterization of the impacts and microphysical evolution of aerosols from Saharan dust outbreaks and African biomass burning from ship-based field observations

The NOAA Center for Atmospheric Science and the Beltsville Center for Climate System Observation (a NASA University Research Center) are two major research centers at Howard that are affiliated with HUPAS that provide much of the research support for students and faculty.  HUPAS faculty research is also supported by individual faculty research grants.  More information on NCAS and BCCSO can be found at: http://ncas.howard.edu/ and http://www.bccso.org/

Overview

Students enrolled in the HUPAS M.S. program should take a minimum of 24 credit hours including at least nine from Atmospheric Chemistry I & II, Atmospheric Physics I & II, and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics I & II. The remainder of the course credit hours must be taken from recommended electives.

Departmental master's degree students with a specialty in atmospheric sciences should take at least six credit hours from the core HUPAS electives and one additional course from the HUPAS curriculum. 

Students enrolled in the HUPAS Ph.D. program should take a minimum of 36 credit hours including Atmospheric Chemistry I and II, Atmospheric Physics I and II, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics I and II, Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere, and Atmospheric Radiation. The remainder of the course credit hours must be taken from recommended electives. 

Departmental Ph.D. degree students with a specialty in atmospheric sciences should take at least nine credit hours from the core electives and two additional courses from the HUPAS curriculum. 

Students with no more than nine semester credit hours of approved courses having a grade of B or better can be transferred into the program from another university.

 

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Admission Requirements

Each student may be required to take a general entrance examination upon admission into the program. This examination is designed to identify deficiencies in the prerequisite areas and to allow for placement out of the introductory atmospheric sciences courses. A thorough preparation in physics and mathematics is necessary for successful graduate study in atmospheric sciences. If atmospheric chemistry is to be the area of specialty, a strong chemistry background is also required. A typical applicant will have an undergraduate degree in chemistry, physics, mathematics, meteorology, engineering or atmospheric sciences to be considered for HUPAS. Some background experience in computers or computer programming is strongly advised.
 

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of atmospheric sciences, students may be required to specify a concentration within the parent department which is most directly related to their area of study in atmospheric sciences. The particular concentration will then dictate which core and elective courses in the parent department will be necessary for the program student. 
 

Most applications are completed and submitted in the late fall or early spring of the applicant's senior or final year in college.

Degree Requirements

Master of Science Requirements

Each student wishing to qualify for candidacy for the Master's degree in Atmospheric Science must:

  1. Demonstrate general proficiency in mathematics through introductory differential equations and physics through Newtonian mechanics. Students failing to exhibit proficiency will be required to take leveling courses to be determined by the Atmospheric Sciences Committee;
  2. Pass at least one of the three written proficiency examinations in one of the three general areas;
  3. Make an oral defense of their thesis proposal; and
  4. Write and defend an original thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy Requirements

Each student wishing to qualify for candidacy for the Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science degree must:

  1. Demonstrate general proficiency in mathematics through introductory differential equations and physics through Newtonian mechanics. Students failing to exhibit proficiency will be required to take leveling courses to be determined by the Atmospheric Sciences Committee;
  2. Make an oral defense of their thesis proposal;
  3. Write and defend an original thesis; and
  4. Pass written qualifiers prepared by the HUPAS faculty in the area of specialty.