The air quality option includes both outdoor and indoor air quality. Outdoor air quality ranges in scale from localized, such as ozone in the Denver metro area, to global climate change, and the ozone hole in the upper atmosphere. Air quality is a concern both from a human health perspective and broader effects to the entire planet. In the United States the Clean Air Act regulates air quality. Indoor air quality is also of critical importance, particularly given that Americans spend the bulk of their time indoors. Indoor air pollutants may include radon (which seeps into the building from surrounding soil); bioaerosols (including airborne viruses, bacteria, mold spores, etc.); volatile organic compounds that off-gas from paint, carpet, plastics of computers, etc.
Jobs in this area include:
air quality monitoring by collecting air samples from outdoor or indoor environments
working with toxicologists, biologists, etc. to conduct human health impact evaluations
working with regulatory agencies to develop new standards to ensure public health and overall environmental quality
ensure that industries, regions, and cars are in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations
designing air pollution control devices for power plants, industries, cars
using modeling software to predict the fate and transport of contaminants in the air, including transformation reactions in sunlight, etc.
designing indoor air treatment devices that can be placed in HVAC ducts such as UV lights and HEPA filters
designing devices to sample and analyze air, for example real time monitors needed in the case of bioterrorism attacks
Students select a minimum of 9 credits from the following:
• ATOC 3500 Air Chemistry and Pollution (3 credit hours, I*; prerequisite: two semesters chemistry)
• ATOC 4720 Introduction to Atmospheric Physics and Dynamics (3 credit hours, S; prerequisites: one year of physics, one year of calculus)
• CHEM 4541 Physical Chemistry Lab (2 credit hours, I*; prerequisite or co-requisite: CHEM 4521 or CHEM 4531)
• MCEN 3032 Thermodynamics 2 (3 credit hours, S; prerequisite: MCEN 3012 Thermodynamics or equivalent)
• MCEN 4228 Sustainable Energy (3 credit hours, F; prerequisites: )
• MCEN 4228 Environmental Modeling (3 credit hours, I*; prerequisites: chemistry, fluid mechanics, computer programming)
ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC SCIENCES (ATOC) MINOR
This option is highly compatible with a minor in ATOC. The minor requires 18 credits, all of which can count toward the EVEN major as technical electives, earth lab/field course, and option courses, if you plan carefully. See details here.
ATOC 1050-3 Weather and the Atmosphere + ATOC 1070-1 Weather and the Atmosphere Lab (this combination can be air/earth lab/field course in EVEN)
Maximum 6 credits of: ATOC 1060-3 Atmosphere, Ocean, and Climate (this course can be lower division technical elective in EVEN or free elective); OR ATOC 3180 Aviation Meteorology OR ATOC 3300-3 Analysis of Climate and Weather Observations (these courses can be upper division technical electives or free elective in EVEN)
ATOC 3500-3 Air Chemistry and Pollution [air option course for EVEN]
ATOC 4720-3 Atmospheric Physics and Dynamics [air option course for EVEN]
3 credits of: ATOC 3600-3 Principles of Climate OR ATOC 4570-3 Desert Meteorology OR ATOC 4100 Modeling the Environment and Climate (upper division technical elective for EVEN)
Research: Prof. Jana Milford is active in modeling outdoor air pollution and promoting appropriate air policy laws. homepage
Research: Professor Shelly Miller researches indoor air quality, including assessing exposures to indoor air pollutants, and developing and evaluating indoor air pollution control measures. She is currently investigating the use of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation of upper room air to prevent the spread of airborne infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. She also is collaborating with National Jewish Medical and Research Center on a pilot study of childhood asthma using intervention methods in both classroom and home environments. homepage
Research: Professor Michael Hannigan conducts research to characterize air pollution, determine the impacts of air quality on health, and energy links to air quality. Professor Hannigan is currently involved in the Denver Aerosol Sourcess and Health (DASH) study. homepage
Research: Professor Daven Henze is interested in problems related to air quality, aerosols, utilizing satellite observations and inverse modeling. homepage
Collaborative for Air Quality Research (CAQR):
The Collaborative for Air Quality Research brings together the interests and activities within the College of Engineering. The CAQR website provides futher information on current research projects, students and upcoming events.
Companies that Specialize in Air Quality work:
Montgomery Watson Harza (MWH)
Air and Waste Management Association
Indoor Air Quality Association, Inc.
Wikipedia Air Pollution article
Air Quality Research at CU Boulder
Note: a more complete layout of the curriculum is shown here