Geography and Atmospheric Science

Geography as an academic discipline studies the spatial dimensions of, and links between, culture, society, and environmental processes.  The study of Atmospheric Science involves weather and climate and how those affect human activity and life on earth.  At the University of Kansas, our department's programs work to understand human activity and the physical world.

Why study geography?

Because people, places, and environments interact and evolve in a changing world.  From conservation to soil science to the power of geographic information science data and more, the study of geography at the University of Kansas prepares future leaders. The study of geography encompasses landscape and physical features of the planet and human activity, the environment and resources, migration, and more. Our program has a unique cross-disciplinary nature with pathway options and diverse faculty who are passionate about teaching and research. Our students are engaged through internships, undergraduate and graduate research, departmental organizations, and events. Alumni work in a variety of fields including academia, business, conservation, environmental regulation, GIS, regional planning, resource management, soil science, urban planning, and more. A variety of scholarship opportunities are offered through both the University of Kansas and the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science for qualified undergraduate and graduate students.

Why study atmospheric science?

The study of atmospheric processes enables us to understand human interactions with the environment and generate solutions that make a real difference in people’s lives. The atmospheric science program at the University of Kansas is the only one of its kind in the state, following national meteorological guidelines set by both the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the National Weather Service (NWS). Our program provides students with a solid foundation, but also options. Our students are engaged through research, internships, and several student organizations including the KU Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), which sponsors an annual Douglas County Severe Weather Symposium, in addition to monthly events.  We recently partnered with the National Weather Service to provide opportunities for students to explore work in a variety of NWS regional offices through the Student Career On-Site Training (SCOut) program.

The Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science is housed in Lindley Hall on the KU Lawrence campus, which includes multiple laboratories, computer labs, and a weather station. Additionally, the KU Field Station just north of Lawrence provides students an outdoor lab for field work, research projects and more. The station, established in 1947, is part of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), a National Science Foundation initiative. Classes are held in both Lindley Hall and the new Earth, Energy, and Environment Center.

Geography labs include multiple computer labs and those for Soils and Geomorphology, Palynology, and Pedology. Additional campus resources include the map collections of the Spencer Research Library and University Map Library. The University of Kansas Undergraduate Research Center is another great resource. The center aids undergraduates interested in doing research, offers funding opportunities, and provides step-by-step workshops which provide students the skills necessary to explore, investigate, and excel.

Atmospheric Science labs include a Meteorology and Climate Hub (MACH) with state-of-the-art AWIPS II software used by the National Weather Service and computer lab and collaborative space dedicated to students doing research. Students also get hands-on experience, from forecasting and providing reports to university radio (KJHK 90.7 FM) and television (KUJH-TV) to research project opportunities through our department and the University of Kansas Undergraduate Research Center.