Climate Science

Climate Science Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Earth Science: Climate Science Concentration

About the Climate Science Degree

Changes in Earth’s climate impact businesses and industries, agriculture and medicine, our environment and our local communities.

With a climate science degree from PennWest California, you’ll be ready to address our society’s growing concerns and mitigation efforts related to the effects of a changing climate.

The climate science concentration in PennWest California’s Earth science degree program provides an in-depth study of climatology and related fields. Through a robust array of both online and on-campus courses, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills needed to understand complex climate-based issues and how they interrelate with physical hazards in the natural world.

This 120-credit climate science program can position you for graduate-level study or prepare you for climate science jobs associated with weather, climate variability and environmental concerns arising from both natural and human influences.

As a trained climate scientist, you can impact the future of our planet.

Benefit from a unique professional partnership.

PennWest California is the only university partnered with the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the world’s most renowned professional society for atmospheric, oceanic and hydrologic (water) scientists.

Through this partnership, faculty in PennWest California’s undergraduate climate science degree program have access to special climate-focused learning materials.

They encourage students to participate in the local AMS student chapter, which provides opportunities for travel to professional meetings and to take part in weather/climate discussions, analysis and forecasting. Some weather/climate outlooks are disseminated to a wide range of stakeholders in the greater Pittsburgh region.

PennWest California also has a strong relationship with the National Weather Service office in Moon Township, Pa., which opens doors to internships and research projects with NWS staff.


IN-DEMAND CAREER: Weather and climate influence decision-making and long-term planning in fields ranging from business and finance to government and public health. And the need for climate scientists is growing as the effects of climate change become increasingly evident. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth of 12% for atmospheric scientists (including meteorologists) between 2016 and 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

EXPERT FACULTY: Faculty in PennWest California’s Earth Sciences Department are experts in climatology, meteorology and related fields, as well as committed teachers and research mentors. Their professional connections bring added value to the climate science program. For example, Dr. Chad Kauffman is curriculum development coordinator for the American Meteorological Society’s DataStreme program, and he worked with AMS professionals to author a textbook, Our Changing Climate: An Introduction to Climate Science. 

ALUMNI SUCCESSGraduates of PennWest California’s Earth sciences programs are contributing to advances in climate science.


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Credits required to complete the B.S. in Earth Science: Climate Science concentration.
Median annual salary (in 2018) for atmospheric scientists, including meteorologists, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Degree Benefits

PennWest California’s climate science degree program applies academic rigor to  an issue of real and growing concern. It channels a passion for environmental stewardship into career-focused education and hands-on training that can be applied in a wide variety of climate science jobs. Alternatively, the concentration can serve as a springboard to graduate-level study. Program requirements build a solid foundation of knowledge in climatology and related fields such as geology and meteorology; electives encourage deeper exploration of topics such as cloud physics, geographic information systems (GIS), environmental science and conservation biology. Because of PennWest California’s relationships with the American Meteorological Society, the National Weather Service and private companies, students have opportunities to engage in meaningful internships and research collaborations.

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Graduate Benefits

The climate science concentration prepares students to succeed in graduate school or to seek employment in private industry, where climate-focused planning is essential to fields such as transportation, finance, insurance, construction and environmental consulting. Employment opportunities also exist in planning agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government agencies that address climate issues and public policy. Earth science graduates from PennWest California are creating climate models that contribute to our understanding of historic climate patterns and future climate trends – work that helps to identify vulnerabilities and mitigate risk.


Curriculum and Related Programs

Curriculum - Bachelor's

Course Credits
General Education Courses 41
Building a Sense of Community
UNI 100  First-Year Seminar
ENG 101  English Composition I
Public Speaking
CDC 101  Public Speaking
Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy
MAT 281  Calculus I
Health and Wellness
Any Health and Wellness Course
Technological Literacy
CIS 120  Application Programming I
Any Humanities Course
Fine Arts
Any Fine Arts Course
Natural Sciences
PHY 101  College Physics I
Social Sciences
GEO 222  Geography of North America
General Education Options
  • EAS 469  Global Climate Change
  • MAT 215  Statistics
  • MAT 282  Calculus II
  • PHS 137  Environmental Chemistry
Required Major Courses 39
EAS 104  Introduction to Meteorology 4
EAS 142  Introduction to Climate Science 3
GLG 150  Introduction to Geology 4
EAS 163  Intro to Oceans and Climate 3
EAS 245  Weather Analysis and Forecasting I 4
EAS 300  Natural Hazards 3
EAS 369  Climate Dynamics 3
EAS 414  Synoptic Climatology 3
EAS 419  Applied Climatology 3
EAS 431  Digital Media for Weather and Climate Apps 3
EAS 452  Atmos Thermodynamics and Radiation 3
EAS 465  Seminar in Atmos. Science 3
Related Electives 7
GIS 311  Geographic Information Systems 3
PHY 202  College Physics II 4
Recommended Electives 12
Select at least 12 credits from the following:
  • BIO 248  General Ecology (3 credits)
  • GLG 200  Historical Geology (3 credits)
  • GLG 303  Hydrology (3 credits)
  • EAS 323  Atmos Instrument and Measurement (3 credits)
  • EAS 342  Dynamic Meteorology I (3 credits)
  • EAS 346  Tropical Meteorology and Climate (3 credits)
  • EAS 442  Dynamic Meteorology II (3 credits)
  • EAS 453  Cloud Physics (3 credits)
  • ENS 101  Introduction to Environ Science (3 credits)
  • ENS 399  Conservation Biology (3 credits)
  • ENS 440  Environ Pollution Control (3 credits)
  • GIS 350  Remote Sensing of Environment (3 credits)
  • GIS 413  Environmental Applications GIS (3 credits)
  • MAT 360  Non-Parametric Statistics (3 credits)
Free Electives 21 or 22
Total 120

Additional requirements, not counted toward the General Education requirements, include:

  • Special Experience Course (1 course required): EAS 431 Digital Media for Weather and Climate Apps
  • Writing-Intensive Component Courses (2 courses required): EAS 323 AND EAS 465
  • Laboratory Course (1 course required): EAS 104 Intro to Meteorology

Program Notes: 42 credits of advanced coursework at the 300 or 400 level are required.

Related Programs



Above representation of climate.

How do weather and climate differ?

In a word: time. Weather science, or meteorology, focuses on the state of the atmosphere – temperature, humidity, cloud cover, precipitation and wind – over a period of hours, days or weeks. Climate science takes a longer view, looking at atmospheric changes over a span of years, decades or centuries to see how they impact our planet and its inhabitants.   

Climate scientists looking at a computer.

What does a climatologist do?

Climate scientists collect, analyze and report on data about Earth’s climate in the past and present – and they may use those data to forecast future trends. According to NASA, their tools range “from the latest satellite observations to samples of prehistoric ice extracted from glaciers.” Climate science professionals also may develop tools and techniques to assist in climate research.

Climate map

How do climate scientists make a difference?

Climate scientists help us understand our rapidly changing world. Their insights can help us identify hazards, mitigate risks and adapt to climate change. All human interests – business and industry, real estate, trade, agricultural production, and our environment – are influenced by our changing climate.