Climate & Space interests bridge both engineering and science and prepare students to answer a growing demand for expertise in atmospheric, climate and space science. Climate & Space programs focus on the description of atmospheric characteristics and phenomena on the Earth and other planets and the interrelationships between the Earth and the Sun. Because of the integrated nature of the program, Climate & Space students have an extensive background in atmospheric and space science, weather and climate, and the engineering of complex and highly reliable space systems and instrumentation.
Climate & Space students are prepared for positions in space engineering, climate, meteorology, space science research and teaching, environmental assessment, resource management, risk management, or in one of the growing number of fields interested in climate change. Climate & Space has actively participated in the Nation’s space program since its inception. For more than 70 years, Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering faculty members have been at the forefront of many engineering and theoretical breakthroughs. In 1946, a probe was deployed on a V-2 rocket to measure electrons in the upper atmosphere. In 1956, Climate & Space researchers were studying atmospheric pollution by aeroallergens, penetration of particulates into buildings, dynamic wind loading of structures, and industrial air pollution. Climate & Space was involved with NASA’s Pioneer Venus and Dynamic Explorer Program from its inception in the early 1970s to its completion in the 1990s. Today, Climate & Space researchers are involved in many space missions exploring Mercury, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn as well as new initiatives in climate change.
Climate & Space offers high quality academic programs that combine extensive hands-on experience at all levels with a strong emphasis on the theoretical and applied aspects of a student’s area of concentration.
Atmospheric scientists are focused on the weather and climate of the Earth, with topics ranging from fundamental research of basic processes to preparing for adaptation to climate change. The focus of planetary/space scientists includes the effects of space weather on Earth, planetary atmospheres and environments, and the construction of satellite-platform instruments for observation of the Earth-atmosphere-ocean system.
Dr. Tuija Pulkkinen
1517 Climate and Space Research Building
Undergraduate Degree Program
The Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering offers two degree programs in Climate and Meteorology (CM) and Space Science and Engineering (SSE). CM students begin to understand the interactions among all of the Earth system components while gaining in-depth knowledge in one of two concentrations: Meteorology or Climate Science and Impact Engineering. SSE students begin to understand the space environments of the Sun and planets (especially Earth) as they develop a deep understanding of the fundamental physical processes of energy transfer throughout the solar system.
The B.S.E. degrees in Climate & Space prepare graduates for employment in the National Weather Service, private weather forecasting companies, air-quality and water-quality management firms, NASA, and the growing number of fields interested in climate change. As importantly, Climate & Space students who complete either of the two degree programs will be exceptionally well prepared for graduate studies in atmospheric science, environmental sciences, space science, or space engineering.
Graduates of the Space Sciences and Engineering degree program are prepared to pursue graduate degrees in the space sciences or join the space industry, which is facing a severe workforce shortage. They can also join government agencies and federal laboratories that deal with space-related disciplines.
In addition to the College of Engineering core courses, all Climate & Space undergraduate students take five Climate & Space core courses that introduce the various aspects of atmospheric, oceanic, and space sciences, emphasizing the common elements of, and the interactions between, the various disciplines and the scientific basis of the phenomena that are observed. Additional courses are specific to the degree and concentration. Students have a number of technical and general electives they may also take to complete 128 credit hours. The electives must be at the 300 level or above. Completion of a concentration will be noted on the student’s transcript. For the most current information, visit the website for Climate & Space Sciences.
B.S.E. in Climate and Meteorology
Not an ABET-accredited program. Click to view the current sample schedule here.
Additional information can be found on the Climate & Space Sciences Department Advising website.
Climate Science and Impact Engineering Concentration
The aim of the Climate Science and Impact Engineering concentration is to provide a flexible program for those interested in pursuing further graduate education or careers in industry. The Climate Science and Impact Engineering concentration prepares students for graduate studies, climate modeling, and a position in “value-added” industries that provide water resources, agricultural, seasonal recreation, and transportation industries with near-term climate analyses and predictions. Positions in government agencies serving to make policy or federal laboratories conducting climate research are also open to students. The program also provides students who are interested in both climate science and in a second area of expertise, such as the traditional engineering disciplines, policy, or law the option to take courses in those areas. There is a need for scientists and engineers who can carry out evaluation and engineering activities that require expertise both in climate science and in the engineering disciplines. These include issues related to air quality, energy engineering, sustainability, and water resources.
Graduates with a concentration in Meteorology are prepared for careers in weather forecasting, corporations that are increasing the source of weather analyses and predictions modeling, and for graduate studies in meteorology and the technologies that enable weather and climate prediction.
Students electing this concentration are encouraged to complete an internship in a weather forecasting office.
B.S.E. in Space Sciences and Engineering
Space Science Concentration
The Space Sciences concentration is for students interested in space physics and allows students to develop the quantitative, theoretical, and computational skills necessary to understand the Sun-Earth space system. Requiring depth in fundamental physical understanding enables students to be prepared for research and further graduate training.
Space Instrumentation Concentration
This concentration is for students interested in observational solar and space physics and provides a foundation of the Earth and Space Sciences with technical, laboratory, and project-based learning experiences within space instrumentation and space systems.
Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering Minor
The primary goal of the Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering (Climate & Space) Minor is to provide exposure to research opportunities in atmospheric, climate, and space science and engineering for those students who wish to work in the geoscience or space industry but are not majoring in Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering. The secondary goal is to increase awareness of the Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering and the educational and research opportunities in Climate & Space within the College of Engineering as a whole. This program is for undergraduate students in the College of Engineering, Ross, and LSA.
Students must have:
- Registered no later than the last day to add courses for the semester in which they complete the last courses for the minor
- Submitted their program of study for the minor to the Climate & Space undergraduate advisor
- Attained a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the designated courses
- Completed the Climate & Space Minor as part of a degree program
A. Prerequisite coursework:
- Math (8 Credits)
- MATH 115, and
- MATH 116
- Physics: (10 Credits)
- PHYSICS 140, 141, and
- PHYSICS 240, 241
B. Required Coursework (9 credits)
- One course from SPACE 101 (Introduction to Rocket Science – 3 credits)
- CLIMATE 102 (Extreme Weather – 3 credits), SPACE 103 (Introduction to Space Weather – 3 credits), or CLIMATE 105 (Our Changing Climate – 3 credits)
- CLIMATE 320/SPACE 320 (Earth and Space System Evolution, 3 credits)
- Students declaring prior to FA18, CLIMATE 321/SPACE 321 (Earth and Space System Dynamics, 3 credits) is required (with 6 credits remaining for focus courses).
- Students declaring FA18 or later are not required to take CLIMATE 321/SPACE 321 (with 9 credits remaining for focus courses)
C. Core Focus Courses (minimum 6 credits)
- At least two courses from one of the following tracks:
- Climate Science and Impacts Engineering
- Space Sciences
- Space Engineering
For additional information, visit the website for Climate & Space Sciences.
Enrollment and Graduation Data
The University Registrar publishes the number of students enrolled annually in this program, and the number of degrees granted each term by this program.
Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Study (SUGS)
In our increasingly technical world, master’s degrees are becoming the minimum accepted level of education in the industry. Climate & Space SUGS programs are designed to provide a comprehensive knowledge of atmospheric/space sciences or space engineering and to increase your depth of knowledge beyond the baccalaureate degree level. The SUGS program offers breadth, depth, and hands-on experience in both areas of concentration. Students interested in completing their undergraduate and master’s level education in five years may select either the SUGS in Atmospheric Science or in Space Engineering.
Each degree (B.S.E. and M.S. or M.Eng.) is awarded upon completion of the requirements. Students will typically enter the SUGS program by provisional enrollment in the senior year. Once SUGS students are within six credit hours of completing the required undergraduate degree, they must officially enroll in the Climate & Space M.S. or M.Eng. program for a minimum of two full terms, normally the last two semesters, and pay full graduate tuition for these two terms. Students are allowed to “double count” a certain number of credit hours for the two degrees.
SUGS in Applied Climate
The Climate & Space M.Eng. in Applied Climate, effectively a subset of the broad discipline of environmental engineering, is a professional degree designed for students whose interests lie in applying a basic understanding of climate science to engineered solutions requiring: adaptation to intensities and frequencies of extremes of weather associated with regional climate change, and mitigation of regional and global climate change through actions such as altered emission of short- and long-lived radiatively active gases and aerosols.
SUGS in Climate and Space Science
This program is designed to provide a comprehensive knowledge of atmospheric or space science and the various components of each system. Students enjoy extensive computational facilities as well as laboratories for measurement of the chemical and physical properties of the atmosphere and space weather. Climate & Space atmospheric scientists and students are solving problems related to short- and long-term forecasting, air quality, atmospheric turbulence and convection, biogeochemical cycling, and precipitation processes, among a growing list of areas. Space Science faculty and students are studying planetary, solar, and cosmic weather used in determining the systemic relationships between a planet and its atmosphere.
SUGS in Space Engineering
For students interested in studying the scientific, engineering, and management aspects of space engineering, this program, developed with Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, allows them to structure the program to a specific area of interest. The program is designed to provide a comprehensive knowledge of space science and engineering and their interrelationship; to teach the systems approach to conceiving, designing, manufacturing, managing, and operating complex space systems; and to provide practical experience in space system design, project development and management. Eight program concentrations are currently available: Space Science; Propulsion; Plasma Electrodynamics and Sensors; Instrumentation and Sensor Payloads; Launch Vehicles; Telemetry and Spacecraft Communication; Astrodynamics; and Computer Control and Data Handling.
Please review the website for the Climate & Space SUGS programs for the most up-to-date information on Climate & Space SUGS Programs, including example concentration course schedules. For more information, please contact the SUGS Advisor, Lindsay Coleman at clasp–[email protected].
- Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Applied Climate
- Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Space Engineering
- Master of Science (M.S.) in Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering
M.Eng. in Applied Climate
The CLaSP M.Eng Program in Applied Climate combines theoretical and applied aspects of weather and climate with a significant design or monitoring project. This design ensures that students graduate with skills necessary for success as practicing engineers. The Program offers an interdisciplinary education at the nexus of Earth system science and engineering, with opportunities for breadth through courses in such areas as public policy, public health, or business. Students are allowed to structure their coursework to meet the needs of their individual areas of interest. Specific concentrations are suggested to assist students and their advisors with course planning.
Students will learn:
- Current tenets of climate science and practices useful for their continuing education in this evolving science;
- An engineering approach to managing the complexity of the Earth’s climate-related environment, its systems components, and a number of closely coupled internal subsystems including those involving human society;
- A set of tools and skills useful in practical engineering problem-solving in team environments;
- Technologies of climate adaptation and associated mitigation strategies that minimize risks to commercial and government operations, and to their physical assets.
Areas of Study
Course concentrations will be defined through discussions between students and their program advisors to match the student’s career aspirations.
- Climatological and meteorological observing systems
- Emission inventory modeling principles, methods, and practices
- Data analysis, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and processing tools
- Climate and Weather modeling
- The intersection of climate and water resources
- Integrated Assessment
M.Eng. in Space Engineering
The ClaSP M.Eng. program in Space Engineering combines strong emphasis on both theoretical and applied aspects with extensive hands-on experience at all levels. The program is designed to develop students into a new type of interdisciplinary engineer prepared for future managerial and systems engineering roles in space-related industries and government agencies.
If you are interested in studying the scientific, engineering, and management aspects of space engineering, this program, developed with the Aerospace Engineering and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science departments, allows you to structure the program to your specific area of interest.
- To provide a comprehensive knowledge of space science and engineering and their interrelationship.
- To increase depth beyond the baccalaureate level in a space-related discipline.
- To teach the systems approach to conceiving, designing, manufacturing, managing, and operating complex space systems.
- To provide practical experience in space system design, project development, and management.
While your specific concentration curriculum will be decided through discussions with your program advisors, suggested programs have been developed in the following areas:
- Space Science Program
- Propulsion Program
- Plasma Electrodynamics and Sensors Program
- Instrumentation and Sensor Payloads Program
- Launch Vehicles Program
- Telemetry and Spacecraft Communications Program
- Astrodynamics Program
- Computer Control and Data Handling Program
M.S. in Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences
Applicants to the master’s program may have a bachelor’s degree in any field of study, but they are expected to have completed minimum requirements in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Normally this would include five semesters of mathematics, eight credit hours of physics including two laboratories, and five credit hours of chemistry. Thirty semester hours are required for the master’s degree, fifteen of which must be from the Department’s offerings. A minimum of four additional hours must be in mathematics and/or natural science.
Ph.D. in Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering
Applicants for the doctoral program are expected to have the ability and scholarship of a high order in one of the following areas: atmospheric science, space and planetary physics, or geoscience and remote sensing. Doctoral students are expected to carry a course load of nine to twelve semester hours (three to four courses) each semester until the dissertation work is begun. There are no foreign language requirements. During the first year, students must select courses from among the core courses for their particular program. After the second year, students must pass a qualifying examination before they can be advanced to candidacy. After reaching candidate status, students will concentrate on a dissertation topic under the guidance of an advisor.
This program gives students the basic courses to allow them to specialize later in a broad range of sub-disciplines. Students are expected to learn the basic morphology of the atmosphere and the space environment, as well as the necessary physics, chemistry, and mathematics.
The most up-to-date information on the Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering graduate programs is available online on the Graduate Studies page.
Certificate in Climate Change Solutions
In the Climate Change Solutions Graduate Certificate Program, students will address the physical basis of changing climate, its impacts on humanity and justice, and be introduced to solutions. We welcome and encourage applications from students from wide-ranging academic programs across the University of Michigan.
This certificate program will:
- Train interdisciplinary students about the basics of climate change science and equip them to explore solutions needed to mitigate climate change and adapt to future changes.
- Develop skills in graduates to think in a systems way about the causes and consequences of climate change and enable innovative approaches that focus on climate adaptation and resilience.
The program consists of 12 credit hours (three ‘core’ mandatory courses and the remainder of credits from an approved list of electives). The core courses establish a knowledge of climate science and the effects of warming on society, strategies for slowing and reversing the amount of warming that will be realized, and methods for responding to the growing consequences of climate change. These three courses cross the formal framework of climate change, mitigation, and adaptation.
The Climate Change Solutions Graduate Certificate Program was developed in partnership between CLaSP and the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS), and is designed for students already enrolled in a graduate degree program at the University of Michigan. Master’s or doctoral students from any field, CoE, SEAS, LSA and the professional schools, are welcome to apply.