Physics, Astronomy & Meteorology

Alice Chance, Chair
        Science Building 178, Midtown campus
        (203) 837-8667
        (203) 837-8320 (fax)

Dennis Dawson, Associate Chair
        Science Building 278, Midtown campus
        (203) 837-8671
        (203) 837-8320 (fax)

Nancy Diana, Department Secretary

        SB 324, Midtown campus
        (203) 837-8669
        (203) 837-8320 (fax)


A. Chance, Chair J. Boyle D. Dawson, Associate Chair
R. Eisenson A. Owino  


The goal of the physics, astronomy and meteorology department 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 era of Einstein and up to the present day. Applications are made to the fields of astronomy, electronics, engineering, meteorology and to the 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.


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 students with a complete and current education in the principles and applications of physics, astronomy and meteorology, in ways that accommodate the students’ backgrounds and career 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 science, and meteorology.
  • Provides students with the experimental and theoretical background necessary to pursue careers as general earth science teachers.
  • 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, the Center for Galactic Astronomy 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, nowcasting, and consulting meteorology through academic internships offered through the Meteorological Studies and Weather Center.
  • Gives students the opportunity to develop the professional skills required by broadcast meteorologists by supervising students working in and with on-campus radio and TV programming.
  • 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.

Degree Programs In Physics, Astronomy & Meteorology

Bachelor of Arts

Earth and Planetary Sciences: Astronomy Option

Bachelor of Science

   Options: Theoretical Meteorology and/or Operational Meteorology & Weathercasting
Secondary Education: Earth Science, Astronomy Option
Secondary Education: Earth Science, Meteorology Option

Minor Programs

Earth Science

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


Students must complete all general education requirements, the courses and credits listed below and additional free electives to total a minimum of 122 semester hours, including exercise science and foreign language.

Core Requirements (Core Courses)

PHY 110, 111 or PHY 120, 121 General Physics I & II
CHE 110, 111 General Chemistry I & II
CS 170 Computer Science I
MAT 181, 182 Calculus I & II
AST/PHY 450 and/or AST 490

Astronomy Option Required Courses

AST 150 General Astronomy
AST 231 Solar and Planetary Astronomy
AST 331 Astronomical Observation and Analysis
AST 405 Astrophysics
AST 490 Advanced Topics

Course Restrictions

For a complete list of prerequisites, corequisites 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 students with a broad based background of fundamental skills in mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, earth science, and general meteorology. Students choose an option in either theoretical meteorology or operational meteorology and weathercasting. This allows students to enter professional employment upon graduation. A student completing the undergraduate courses in meteorology will have the necessary expertise to find employment as a weather forecaster or broadcast meteorologist, to enter emerging environmental research fields, or to pursue graduate studies in meteorology or atmospheric science. Practical experience is available in WestConn’s Meteorological Studies and Weather Center and our student-produced TV and radio weather programs, and research experience is available through student assistantships offered to qualified candidates from faculty research grants.

  To fulfill natural science, mathematics and computer science general education requirements for the B.S. Meteorology, students must take Chemistry 110/111 (8 SH) and Math 181 (4 SH) in addition to the required major requirements listed below.

Natural Science, Mathematics and Computer Science General Education Courses Required for B.S. Meteorology (12 SH)
MAT 181 Calculus I
CHE 110, 111 General Chemistry I and II


Students must complete core courses in mathematics and computer science, physics, astronomy, earth science and meteorology. Also, students must choose between track options in meteorology.

  1. Core Courses in Mathematics and Computer Science (12 SH)
    CS 170 Computer Science I: Language
    MAT 182 Calculus II
    MAT 281 Calculus III
  2. Core Courses in Physics (8 SH)
    PHY 110, 111 General Physics (Calculus) I & II 8 SH
  3. Core Courses in Astronomy and Earth Science (8 SH)
    AST 150 General Astronomy
    ES 103 Planet Earth
    ES 110 Physical Geology
    ES 210 Intro to Physical Oceanography
  4. Core Courses in Meteorology (22 SH)
    MTR 150 Meteorology
    MTR 175 Intro. to Analytical Meteorology
    MTR 230 Weather Analysis and Forecasting I
    MTR 310 Atmospheric Thermodynamics
    MTR 311 Atmospheric Dynamics
    MTR 370 Internship in Meteorology
    or MTR 450 Senior Research in Meteorology
  5. Track Options in Meteorology
    (Students must choose one of the following track options)
    1. Theoretical Meteorology (15 SH minimum)
      MAT 282 Ordinary Differential Equations
      MTR 315 Atmospheric Physics
      MTR/PHY 360 Physics of Fluids
      MTR 420 Geophysical Hydrodynamics I
      or MTR 421 Geophysical Hydrodynamics II
      MTR Elective (200 level or higher)
    2. Operational Meteorology & Weathercasting (18 SH minimum)
      MTR 231 Weather Analysis and Forecasting II
      MTR 240 Climatology
      MTR 330 Operational Forecasting and Weathercasting I
      MTR 331 Operational Forecasting and Weathercasting II
      MTR Elective (200 level or higher)

Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education (B.S.).

See the Department of Education and Educational Psychology within the School of Professional Studies.

Minor in Astronomy

Twenty (20) semester hours of astronomy courses:
AST 150 General Astronomy
AST 231 Solar and Planetary Astronomy
AST 331 Astronomical Observation and Analysis
AST 405 Astrophysics
AST 450 Senior Research

Minor in Earth Science

Eighteen (18) semester hours of courses noted as earth science. Advisement must be through department chair.

Minor in Meteorology

Twenty-one or twenty-two (21 or 22) semester hours of meteorology courses:
MTR 150 Meteorology
MTR 175 Analytical Meteorology
MTR 230 Weather Analysis and Forecasting
MTR 310 Atmospheric Thermodynamics
MTR 311 Atmospheric Dynamics
MTR Elective (200 level or higher)

Minor in Physics

Twenty (20) semester hours of physics including PHY 110, 111, General Physics (Calculus) I & II and 12 semester hours by departmental advisement.

Program in Engineering Technology at Central Connecticut State University
Students are advised of a special engineering and engineering technology program leading to a bachelor’s degree at Central Connecticut State University. For further information, speak with Dr. Alice Chance, WCSU Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Meteorology, or review the CCSU catalog.

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