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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Area of Study

NOTE: This area of study has been updated - please refer to the Undergraduate handbook change register for details.

All areas of study information should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. The units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the Faculty of Science component of any bachelors double degrees.

Managing facultyFaculty of Science
Offered bySchool of Geography and Environmental Science
School of Mathematical Sciences
Course coordinatorDr Richard Wardle (School of Mathematical Sciences), Professor Nigel Tapper (School of Geography and Environmental Science)


Atmospheric science explores the structure and evolution of the atmosphere, and includes the problems of forecasting the day-to-day weather, the climate and the role of both in environmental issues. The undergraduate program is designed to introduce the scientific principles behind these phenomena as well as provide a broad understanding of them. An interdisciplinary approach is essential in studying atmospheric science. The field draws on the strengths of environmental science, applied mathematics and physical geography; it involves applications of concepts in physics and chemistry. Modern scientific and computing techniques are employed to approach some of the fundamental problems facing our society. The discipline offers a balance of field work, data analysis, theoretical research and state-of-the-art modelling.

The atmospheric science program is offered jointly by the School of Mathematical Sciences and the School of Geography and Environmental Science (in the Faculty of Arts).


On completion of the sequence in atmospheric science students will:

  • have achieved a broad understanding of the physical theory of the Earth's atmosphere and it relation with climate and weather forecasting
  • have achieved an understanding of how physical theories of the atmosphere are constructed from basic principles and using mathematical analysis and numerical modelling
  • have acquired an insight into at least one broad area of atmospheric science such as clouds, weather forecasting, large-scale weather, climate variability, Australian atmospheric environment and the earth boundary layer
  • have learned a number of mathematical models and their applications in atmospheric science and weather forecasting
  • have learned a number of higher level atmospheric science methods and their applications
  • have developed problem solving and critical thinking skills
  • have developed skills in the effective use of mathematical computer software and spreadsheets
  • have developed skills in the written and oral presentation of a mathematical argument
  • be prepared for a range of further learning and training in atmospheric science and other disciplines, including honours studies in atmospheric science
  • be suitable for employment, both national and international, in a range of areas requiring analytical and quantitative skills.


Level one

Level two

  • ATM2020 Climate dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans
  • ATM2030 Clouds, weather and forecasting
  • ATM2211 Climatology: Surface-atmosphere processes and interactions
  • ATM2250 Climate change and variability

Level three

  • ATM3040 Physical meteorology
  • ATM3050 Dynamical meteorology
  • ATM3261 Earth systems interactions: From biogeochemical cycles to global change
  • ATM3370 Urban climate, water and sustainability

Sequence requirements

Minor sequence in atmospheric science (24 points)

The level two units ATM2020 and ATM2030 have a co-requisite/pre-requisite of MTH1030.

Major sequence in atmospheric science (48 points)

* Note that at least 18 points of the level three units listed above must be completed. MTH2010 and MTH2032 must also be completed as corequisites/prerequisites for some of the level three units.


Level one

ATM1020 and ATM1030 are designed for any science student, not necessarily those wishing to major in this discipline. They may form part of a minor sequence in atmospheric science, however they are not a pre-requisite for higher-level units.

Students considering taking a major sequence in atmospheric science will need to complete a 12-point sequence of level-one mathematics (either MTH1020 and MTH1030, or MTH1030 and MTH2010). Also, as atmospheric science is a broadly based discipline, a level-one unit in either physics or chemistry is recommended.

Level two

Students considering taking a major sequence in atmospheric science must complete the prerequisite mathematics unit MTH2010 and are strongly encouraged to take MTH2032 as well (as it is a prerequisite for MTH3360).

Level three

Students taking a major sequence in atmospheric science should take at least two of ATM3040, ATM3050, ATM3261 and ATM3370, although some substitution is allowed with the approval of the coordinator.


Full details regarding entrance requirements and course structure for honours is described in the course entry in this Handbook for the course 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science.