WCSU Undergraduate Catalog 2021-2022 : Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences

Physics, Astronomy & Meteorology

Robert N. Eisenson, Chair
eisensonr@wcsu.edu
Science Building 277, Midtown Campus
(203) 837-8989
(203) 837-8320 (fax)

Dennis Dawson, Associate Chair
dawsond@wcsu.edu
Science Building 278, Midtown Campus
(203) 837-8671
(203) 837-8320 (fax)

Merisa Williams, Department Secretary
williamsm@wcsu.edu
Science Building 324, Midtown Campus
(203) 837-8669
(203) 837-8320 (fax)

 

Full-Time Faculty/Staff
R. Eisenson, Chair
J. Boyle
D. Dawson, Associate Chair
A. Owino

 

Part-Time Faculty
M. Coleman            P. Garbarino
A. Eidelson             Z. Silver

 

Overview
The goal of the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Meteorology is to provide students the opportunity to understand the physical laws governing the universe. The fundamental relationships between energy and matter are studied, from the age of the ancient scientists through the eras of Newton and Einstein and up to the present day. Applications are made to the fields of meteorology, astronomy, earth and planetary sciences, electronics, engineering and to many branches of physics, from classical mechanics to quantum nuclear physics. In addition to experiencing practical applications of the laws of nature, students develop an understanding of the role of science and technology in contemporary society.

 

Mission
Consistent with the university’s mission to serve as an accessible, responsive, and creative intellectual resource for the people and institutions of Connecticut, the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Meteorology endeavors to provide a complete and current education in the principles and applications of meteorology, earth and planetary sciences and astronomy, in ways that accommodate the students’ backgrounds and career objectives.

 

Objectives
To accomplish this mission, the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Meteorology:

  • Stresses an understanding of the fundamental relationships between matter and energy and the various transformations between them.
  • Provides an understanding of the relationship between classical and modern physics and their application to the more applied disciplines of astronomy, earth and planetary sciences, and meteorology.
  • Provides students with the experimental and theoretical background necessary to pursue careers as teachers in earth and planetary sciences.
  • Provides undergraduates with the theoretical and operational background necessary to pursue careers in broadcast meteorology and weather forecasting.
  • Maintains an active and publicly responsive program of outreach and extension through the WCSU Observatory and Planetarium and the Meteorological Studies and Weather Center.
  • Provides students with the opportunity to gain real-world, hands-on experience while developing professional skills in forecasting, now-casting, and consulting meteorology through academic internships offered through the Meteorological Studies and Weather Center.
  • Develops the professional skills required by broadcast meteorologists by supervising students who produce and present weathercasts as part of on-campus radio and TV programming.
  • Provides students with a breadth of working knowledge about aspects of the earth and planetary sciences (such as climate change and remote sensing) as well as the opportunity to develop marketable skills (such as familiarity with instrumentation, data analysis methods and software) through coursework, research projects with faculty and departmental internships.
  • Provides students with pre-engineering training and the necessary skills to enter various technical fields.
  • Provides laboratory and research experiences using modern instrumentation and data reduction techniques.
  • Fosters critical thinking, creativity, computational and analytical skills through laboratory exercises, course assignments and personalized research experiences.
  • Provides a personalized learning environment for our students through faculty-supervised research opportunities, student-faculty research collaborations, student internships, and individualized instruction.
  • Supports science education efforts in regional schools and for the public, through open houses, lecture series, activities sponsored by student clubs and other special events, and by collaborations between department faculty and other science educators.
  • Fosters the growth and development of its faculty through research, attendance at professional meetings, publication and presentation of scholarly work, and support of research initiatives.
  • Expresses a strong commitment to public service by collaborating with regional elementary, junior and senior high school educators to promote science education.

 

Learning Outcomes – Earth and Planetary Sciences Major

At the completion of their studies in Earth and Planetary Sciences:

  1. Students will have a knowledge of fundamental physics, especially as it is applied to disciplines of the earth and planetary sciences.
  2. Students will be able to work with scientific theories, including scientific method and theories used in the disciplines of the earth and planetary sciences.
  3. Through the EPS major core courses and their selection of major elective courses, students will have developed a marketable set of skills tailored to employers’ needs as well as the students’ current interests and their personal goals.
  4. Students will be able to use computer software for graphical analysis of data, manipulation of databases, numerical modeling and internet researches in areas of the earth and planetary sciences.
  5. Students will gain knowledge from workplace experiences, through internships or research under the supervision of department faculty.
  6. Graduating seniors will demonstrate competence in the development, execution, completion and reporting of scientific research projects in the earth and planetary sciences.

 

Learning Outcomes – Meteorology Major

At the completion of their studies in meteorology:

  1. Students will have a basic knowledge of fundamental physics, especially those topics in thermodynamics and hydrodynamics which are relevant to the understanding of the structure and evolution of important atmospheric processes.
  2. Students will have a basic background in quantitative, mathematical and computational analysis, especially as it applies to understanding the atmospheric and earth sciences.
  3. Students will be able to use meteorological skills to analyze real-time weather data available via the internet and other data sources to make an operational weather forecast.
  4. Students will have a basic knowledge of earth and planetary sciences, especially oceanography, astronomy and/or geology.
  5. Students will gain knowledge from workplace experiences via internships or research experience under the supervision of department faculty.
  6. Students who avail themselves of certain elective courses will have knowledge of/experience with communication of scientific information through video weathercast production, graphics and performance.

 

Degree Programs in Physics, Astronomy and Meteorology

Major Programs
Bachelor of Arts Earth and Planetary Sciences
Bachelor of Science Meteorology

Minor Programs
Astronomy
Earth and Planetary Sciences
Meteorology
Physics

 


Bachelor of Arts in Earth and Planetary Sciences (B.A.)

The earth and planetary sciences degree gives the student both a broad and detailed working knowledge in the major areas (astronomy, geology, meteorology, oceanography) of the earth and planetary sciences.  This is accomplished through experiential and inquiry-driven learning, exposure to current research topics, the use of modern equipment and guidance in experimental techniques by experienced faculty. Emphasis is on well-defined and frequently assessed performance goals such as critical thinking and mastery of concepts, and on the development of marketable skills including: project design and reporting, and the use of modern programming languages and software, instrumentation and methods of data analysis.  Research experiences are available through student-faculty collaborations and internships in astronomy, meteorology, oceanography and planetary sciences.

Requirements

Students must complete all university general education requirements, the courses and credits listed below and additional free electives to total a minimum of 120 semester hours, including exercise science and foreign language.  To fulfill the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science requirements for the B.A. Earth and Planetary Sciences degree, students must take General Chemistry 110/111 (8 SH) and MAT 171 or 181 (Calculus I) in addition to the major requirements listed below.

Major Core Courses (46-47 SH))

ES 110 Physical Geology
AST 150 General Astronomy
MTR 150 Meteorology
PHY 110, 111 General Physics I & II
MAT 182 Calculus II
CS 140 Introduction to Programming or CS 143 Visual Basic
ES 210 Introduction to Physical Oceanography
AST 231 Introduction to Planetary Sciences
EPS 331 Practicum in Earth and Planetary Sciences Research
AST 405 Planetary Physics
EPS 450 Senior Research in Earth and Planetary Sciences
Major Elective Courses (12 SH minimum)
PHY/ENV 136 Energy
CS 170 Computer Science: Language I
CS 205 or higher course (CS 166 or CS 200 with approval)
EPS 220/221 Seminar in Earth and Planetary Sciences (may be taken twice in different semesters)
MTR 440 Atmospheric Physics and Remote Sensing
EPS 490 Advanced Topics in Earth and Planetary Sciences

Sample Four-Year Sequence Earth and Planetary Sciences  Major

Freshman Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
CHE 110 General Chemistry I CHE 111 General Chemistry II
MAT 181 Calculus I MAT 182 Calculus II
AST 150 General Astronomy MTR 150 Meteorology
CS 140 Intro to Programming EPS 220 Seminar in EPS I
General education course


Sophomore Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
PHY 110 General Physics I PHY 111 General Physics II
ES 110 Physical Geology AST 231 Intro to Planetary Sciences
General education course General education course
Free elective course General education course
HPX 177 Fitness for Life


Junior Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
ES 210 Intro to Physical Oceanography EPS 221 Seminar in EPS II
CS 200 Applied Topics EPS 331 Practicum in EPS Research
General education course General education course
General education course General education course


Senior Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
AST 405 Planetary Physics EPS 450 Senior Research in EPS
EPS 490 Advanced Topics in EPS MTR 440 Atmospheric Physics & Remote Sensing
General education course General education course
General education course General education course

 
Course Restrictions

For a complete list of prerequisites, co-requisites and other restrictions for all courses, please consult the Course Description section of this catalog.

 


Bachelor of Science in Meteorology (B.S.)

The meteorology degree provides its students with a broad background of fundamental skills in meteorology, mathematics, computer science, earth science, physics and chemistry and allows them to enter professional employment in both public and private sectors. A student completing the B. S. Meteorology degree will have the necessary expertise and have met requirements to seek employment with the National Weather Service or other government agencies, apply for graduate school in the physical and environmental sciences, and get jobs with a wide range of private sector employers who value students with a solid, quantitative science degree. The B.S. Meteorology degree can also be an excellent background for students choosing to further their education in business or other professional graduate schools.  Students who choose the Broadcast Meteorology option will also get media experience producing and performing on-camera television weathercasts in our department TV studio as a member of The WestConn Weather Team, our student broadcast meteorologists.  We have an impressive record of placing graduating students in on-camera meteorologist positions.  Paid undergraduate research assistantships are available for qualified students with our faculty.  Practical experience is available to students through paid employment or volunteering in the Meteorological Studies and Weather Center.

Description: A student completing the B. S. Meteorology degree will have the necessary expertise and have met requirements to seek employment with the National Weather Service or other government agencies, apply for graduate school in the physical and environmental sciences, and get jobs with a wide range of private sector employers.  Those students that complete the broadcast meteorology option will be well-qualified to pursue entry-level positions in operational broadcast meteorology.  Students with a B.S. Meteorology degree are also attractive candidates for professional graduate programs in business and law. 

Degree Requirements
All degrees at WCSU require 120 semester hours (SH). This includes major requirements, general education requirements, cognates (where applicable), and free electives. This structure provides room for minors, internships, and study abroad.   

Required Courses in the Major: 69-70 (SH), 78-79 with Broadcast Option.  

CS 140 Intro to Programming OR CS 143 Visual Basic   3-4 SH 
MAT 120 Elementary Statistics (QR) or MAT 222 Introductory Statistics 1  3 SH 
MAT 182 Calculus II  4 SH 
MAT 281 Calculus III  4 SH 
MAT 282 Ordinary Differential Equations  3 SH 
PHY 110 General Physics I   4 SH 
PHY 111 General Physics II   4 SH 
ES 210 Intro to Physical Oceanography  4 SH 
AST 150 General Astronomy (SI) OR ES 110 Physical Geology (SI)  4 SH 
MTR 150 Meteorology (SI)  4 SH 
MTR 230 Weather Analysis and Forecasting I  4 SH 
MTR 231 Weather Analysis and Forecasting II   4 SH 
MTR 240 Climatology  3 SH 
MTR 310 Atmospheric Thermodynamics  3 SH 
MTR 311 Atmospheric Dynamics  3 SH 
MTR 340 Mesoscale Meteorology and Numerical Forecasting  3 SH 
MTR 430 Meteorological Instrumentation   4 SH 
MTR 440 Atmospheric Physics & Remote Sensing  4 SH 
MTR 370 Internship OR MTR 450 Senior Research (CE, W3)  4 SH 
Cognates (Counted in General Education) 
MAT 181 Calculus I (QR) or MAT 170/171 Calculus I  4-7 SH 
CHE 110 General Chemistry I  4 SH 
CHE 111 General Chemistry II  4 SH 
Broadcast Meteorology (Optional) 
MTR 330 Operational Forecasting and Weathercasting I  3 SH 
MTR 331 Operational Forecasting and Weathercasting II  3 SH 
One of these: COM 268 Public Communication or THR 260 Voice and Diction  3 SH 
Minimum GPA for the BS in Chemistry = 2.0. 

*MAT 222 is recommended for those wishing to complete a mathematics minor. 

General Education: All students must complete the General Education curriculum. General Education Requirements include both competency and breadth requirements. In some cases, major courses will satisfy competencies. These are indicated in the parentheses after the course title. For a complete description of the General Education program, follow this link. https://catalogs.wcsu.edu/ugrad/academic-programs-degrees/ 

Cognates: In some programs there are courses outside of the major that are required as pre-requisites or enhancements to the major course work. These courses may satisfy competencies and they will count toward the breadth requirement. Where applicable, cognates are indicated in the list of courses required in the major.  

Electives: All degrees require 120 semester hours.  Elective credits are opportunities for minors, internships, study abroad, and just following general interests. We encourage all students to speak with their advisors about great opportunities for their elective courses.

 

Sample Four Year Plan: BS Meteorology
Four-year plans are suggestions. Plans change. Consult your advisor to adjust your plan.  

Semester 1  SH  Semester 2  SH 
First Year Navigation (FY)  1-3  Gen Ed: Information Literacy (IL)  3 
MTR 150 Meteorology (SI)  4  MTR 240 Climatology  3 
MAT 181 Calculus I OR MAT 170 Calc with Pre-Calc Part I  3-4  MAT 171 Calc with Pre-Calc Part II or MAT 182 Calc II (QR, Rpt. 1)  4 
Gen Ed: Critical Thinking    CS 140 Intro to Programming OR CS 143 Visual Basic  3-4 
WRT 101 Composition I (W1)  3  MAT 120 OR MAT 222 Statistics1  3 
Free Elective**  3     
       
Semester 3  SH  Semester 4  SH 
MAT 182 Calc II OR MAT 281 Calculus III  4  MAT 281 Calculus III OR MAT 282 Ordinary Differential Equations  3-4 
PHY 110 Gen. Physics (calc) I (SI, Rpt. 2)  4  PHY 111 Gen. Physics (calc) II  4 
MTR 230 Weather Analysis and Forecasting I  4  MTR 231 Weather Analysis and Forecasting II  4 
AST 150 General Astronomy OR ES 110 Physical Geology (SI)  4  Gen Ed: Writing Tier 2 (W2)  3 
       
Semester 5  SH  Semester 6  SH 
MAT 281 Calculus III or Gen Ed: Intercultural Competency (IC)  3-4  MAT 282 Ordinary Differential Equations  3 
MTR 310 Atmospheric Thermodynamics  3  MTR 311 Atmospheric Dynamics  3 
ES 210 Intro to Physical Oceanography  4  Gen Ed: Intercultural Competency OR Oral Communication (OC)**  3 
CHE 110 General Chemistry I   4  CHE 111 General Chemistry II (SI)  4 
MTR 330 Operational Forecasting and Weathercasting I*** OR Free Elective  3-4  MTR 331 Operational Forecasting and 

Weathercasting II*** or Free Elective 

3-4 
       
Semester 7  SH  Semester 8  SH 
MTR 430 Meteorological Instrumentation   4  MTR 440 Atmospheric Physics & Remote Sensing  4 
MTR 340 Mesoscale Meteorology & Numerical Forecasting  3  MTR 370 Internship OR MTR 450 Sr. Research (CE, W3)  4 
Gen Ed: Creative Process (CP)  3  Gen Ed Repeat Competency 3  3 
Free Electives  3-6  Gen Ed: Health & Wellness (HW)  2 
    Free Electives  0-3 
Total Credits Required for the BS in Meteorology = 120; Minimum GPA 2.0. 

*Students who need pre-calculus as strongly encouraged to complete this requirement the summer prior to admission.  

**For Broadcast Meteorology option take one of these for OC: THR 260 Voice & Diction (OC) or COM 268 Public Communication (OC)  

***Required for Broadcasting Option.   

 

Minor in Astronomy
Nineteen semester hours of astronomy or physics courses.  Advisement must be through the department Chairperson.

 

Minor in Earth and Planetary Sciences
Twenty semester hours of courses noted as earth science or earth and planetary sciences. Advisement must be through the department Chairperson.

 

Minor in Meteorology
Twenty-one or 22 semester hours of meteorology courses.  Advisement must be through the department Chairperson.

 

Minor in Physics
Twenty semester hours of physics are required, including PHY 110, 111, General Physics (Calculus) I & II and 12 semester hours by departmental advisement. In most cases these 12 credits additional credits include PHY 136 and PHY 170.

 

Program in Engineering Technology at Central Connecticut State University
Students are advised of an accredited engineering and engineering technology program leading to a bachelor’s degree at Central Connecticut State University. For further information, review the CCSU catalog.