The snow program in the Department of Earth Sciences provides a foundation for understanding the distribution of snow (geography), mechanics of snow (physics, engineering), composition of snow (chemistry), variability of snow (statistics), and ecological effects of snow (ecology, hydrology). It is also one of the best pre-professional programs in the world for those who want to carry their interests in snow into a professional career. Employment ranges from ski patrol, director of snow safety, avalanche-center employee, snow scientist with a federal agency, or consulting in the area of land use planning, transportation engineering, or avalanche protection.
The optimal degree for employment and advancement in snow science is the Master's Degree. Some students interested in college teaching or advanced research may require a Ph.D. degree. The snow science option is an excellent preparatory degree both for employment and for advanced graduate studies.
In the Snow Science Option, students progress through a broad-based core of courses that includes introductory geology and geography, calculus, chemistry, physics, weather and climate, geomorphology, glacial geology, and mountain geography. In addition to the core of snow science courses, students focus on snow geography, snow mechanics, or snow statistics. Snow geography examines spatial analysis of factors important to snow distribution, snow hydrology, snow melt, and the analysis of factors which influence the spatial distribution of snow or snow avalanche factors. Snow mechanics prepares the student to study the mechanics of snow as it relates to transportation, avalanche release, and the impact of snow on buildings (loading and avalanche impact forces), as well as snow metamorphism and snow strength. The snow statistics emphasis prepares the student to apply statistical techniques to questions about spatial and temporal variability of snow properties such as strength, depth, grain size, grain type, water content, and fracture initiation. The capstone course is snow dynamics and accumulation. Students are strongly encouraged to consider a graduate degree in snow science to prepare for professional jobs, but such training is not always required.
Courses Required in Department
|ERTH 101IN - Earth System Sciences||4|
|ERTH 102CS - Topics in Earth Sciences*||1|
|GPHY 141D - Geography of World Regions||3|
|M 171Q - Calculus I||4|
|M 172Q - Calculus II||4|
|University Core and Electives||12|
|CHMY 141 - College Chemistry I||4|
|CHMY 143 - College Chemistry II||4|
|PHSX 205 - College Physics I||4|
|PHSX 207 - College Physics II||4|
|ERTH 303 - Weather and Climate||3|
|University Core and Electives||11|
|ERTH 307 - Principles of Geomorphology||4|
|Courses from Core and Snow Geography, Mechanics, or Statistics Emphasis||26|
|ERTH 450R - Snow Dynamics and Accumulation||4|
|GPHY 441R - Mountain Geography||4|
|GEO 445 - Glacial Geology||3|
|Courses from Core and Snow Geography, Mechanics, or Statistics Emphasis||19|
|Total Program Credits:|| 120 |
Select one of the following areas of Emphasis: Snow Geography, Snow Mechanics, Snow Statistics
Snow Geography Emphasis
Snow Mechanics Emphasis
Snow Statistics Emphasis
- The Snow Statistics Emphasis meets the requirements for a Statistics Minor. Statistics is integral to snow science and students with an interest in numerical analysis are encouraged to take this option.
- A C- is required in all curriculum courses to graduate by Regents' policy. This includes electives in this curriculum.
- A minimum of 120 credits is required for graduation; 42 of these credits must be in courses numbered 300 or above.
- All offerings are dependent upon available staffing.