AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved Thursday (June 18) the creation of a bachelor’s degree in Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
An implementation date is set for September 1, 2015, and the first classes could be offered as early as 2016. This will be the second atmospheric sciences bachelor’s degree program offered in the state, the other is at Texas A&M University in College Station.
“This new degree will provide numerous opportunities to our students who are interested in the growing career field of weather-related sciences,” said Dr. Flavius Killebrew, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi President and CEO. “Our position along the Texas Gulf Coast is an ideal place for students to gain hands-on experience for these exciting and lucrative careers.”
A&M-Corpus Christi currently offers a few introductory atmospheric sciences classes for environmental science students. The degree program will add new classes for students interested in studying meteorology or climate science, and provide in-depth knowledge of the physical characteristics, motions, and processes of air and the interactions of air with oceans and continents. The program also has a focus on emerging fields, such as tropical meteorology and oceanography that connects to the study of the Gulf of Mexico and coastal regions.
“We are excited to offer another area of study with an Atmospheric Sciences degree,” said Dr. Frank Pezold, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering. “This degree provides our students the opportunity for research and training in the vital area of weather and climate science. Pairing that with our other strong and in-demand physical and environmental sciences programs, we are offering students a full range of classes studying our skies, oceans, and earth.”
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved the new Atmospheric Sciences bachelor’s degree for the Island University during its April 29 meeting in College Station.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation is expecting to see a 10 percent increase in jobs that require education in atmospheric sciences, while Texas will see a nearly 21 percent increase in the coming decade.
“Texas has a real need for this kind of education, especially South Texas,” said Pezold. “With our location on the coast of the Gulf, which is a major regulator of regional weather and climate, we are a natural fit to offer this research-oriented, high-tech course of study.”Graduates of the program will be prepared for careers as broadcast meteorologists, weather forecasters, or climate researchers with federal agencies such as National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, NASA, National Weather Service, or private companies that provide those services.