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Bachelor of General Studies


Students in the BGS degree receive a broad-based multidisciplinary education. The structure of the curriculum is three-tiered, with General Education as the first tier, a base cluster of three concentrations as the second tier, and the focus  cluster as the third. The base and focus clusters of courses are chosen from a set of focus areas with individual expected outcomes and approved courses from across the University.

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

General Studies Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program requirements for the BGS degree will be able to demonstrate success in meeting the following learning outcomes:

  1. Effectively analyze and synthesize the relationship between multiple disciplines of study.
  2. Identify and recognize cultural differences and the impact of an educated citizen and responsible member in global society.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate ideas using a variety of different media (oral, written, visual) and basic information technologies.
  4. Develop and identify the academic preparation, opportunities, and potential contributions to careers in their major field.


Bachelor of General Studies (Majors)

In addition, graduates within the individual major will demonstrate success meeting a corresponding learning outcome:


A) Arts, Media and Entertainment (AMENT)

            Analyze the arts and media in social, cultural, technical, and entertainment contexts.


B) Economy and Industry (ECI)

            Describe and apply one or more the basic concepts of commerce and the key            interpersonal skills in workplace relations.


C) Global and Intercultural Understanding (GIU)

            Identify and describing contemporary global problems within their historical, cultural,          and linguistic contexts and the similarities, differences, and interdependencies among      cultures.


D)  Science, Technology, Health and Society (STHS)

            Identify and apply specific knowledge and skills in the STHS disciplines to effectively        solve problems in everyday living.


E) Social Behavior and Human Understanding (SBHU)

            Describe and analyze multiple perspectives on social and cultural change, and assess the      strengths and weaknesses of conflicting points of view.


F) Sports and Society (SPS)

            Identify and describe issues related to cultural, gender, and socio-economic diversity as       reflected in sports and utilizing specific skills in finance and management to sports-     related business problems.


Assessment Activities: 

Indirect Student Assessment: Senior Exit Surveys

Senior exit surveys ask students questions directly related to the overall expected learning outcomes of the BGS degree. All seniors are required to complete the exit survey when registering for the BGS convocation.

LASC 498 Senior Capstone (offered online in 7-week terms)

The Senior Capstone requires students to demonstrates a synthesis of learning accumulated in the major, as articulated by the expected student outcomes. LASC 498 structure and content is driven by the expected learning outcomes for the BGS and the specific themes within the degree.

For example: LASC 498 AMENT asks students to create an eportfolio that summaries their work throughout the completion of the BGS in AMENT.  For each expected learning outcome, students submit one graded assignment and a reflection that they believe best demonstrates their ability to meet that outcome. A final reflection and career portfolio (resume plus goal statement) is also required.

*LASC 498 will be required of all students beginning with the 2017-2018 catalogue

Academic Degree Programs: 
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The Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences offers an opportunity for United States Air Force men and women who have an Associate’s degree in Weather Technology/Meteorology from the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) to acquire a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Meteorology through University of Arizona South.  This degree provides a curriculum that closely aligns to the learning outcomes and requirements set by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the American Meteorological Society (AMS), and the National Weather Service (NWS) for foundational knowledge in weather forecasting.  The unique aspect of this program is that the learning acquired by the graduates is internationally recognized, and thus allows the graduates to work anywhere in the world as a forecaster.  The Bachelor of Applied Science in Meteorology is also one of the only programs in the world to offer a quantitative program online for transfer students.  This means that the course work is heavily rooted in mathematics, physics, and computer programming to explain atmospheric phenomena and the ability to forecast such events.  This quantitative knowledge that our graduates possess gives them an advantage in looking for careers in weather forecasting, and allows them to work in other applied science fields or pursue a post-graduate degree in Atmospheric Science or other related fields.

The curriculum offers a number of courses that are crucial for a meteorologist and atmospheric scientist.  The content includes foundations in mathematics and physics, computer programming, hydrology, climatology, physical meteorology, atmospheric dynamics, remote sensing, and synoptic and mesoscale meteorology.  The faculty members who are involved in teaching and developing the courses offer the knowledge of their field and their experience to the students.  Their research covers a wide range of topics under the Earth-atmosphere system, including hydrology, hydrometeorology, atmospheric chemistry and aerosols, climate and global change, numerical weather prediction, lightning and atmospheric electricity, radiation and remote sensing, synoptic, and tropical and mesoscale meteorology.  This span of specialty knowledge brings a variety of real world applications of the content to the BAS Meteorology courses.

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

The learning outcomes for the program were designed with the learning outcomes and requirements specified by the WMO, NWS, and AMS for meteorological preparation programs as a reference.  These outcomes are represented across the BAS Meteorology curriculum, and each does not necessarily represent one specific course.  The major topics that are discussed throughout the curriculum are as follows:

The learning outcomes below reflect what atmospheric scientists/meteorologists should be able to do at the end of their undergraduate degree curriculum.

Learning Outcomes Fully Assessed by the End of the Academic Program

Students will be able to:

1.     demonstrate their understanding of foundational knowledge, concepts, and equations in atmospheric science as well as other related topics through mathematical derivations and explanations.

2.     analyze atmospheric/atmospheric related problems and datasets, obtained through multiple sources, by applying foundational knowledge as well as mathematical, statistical, and numerical methods using computer coding software, and knowledge of the foundational topics.

3.     synthesize and communicate scientific conclusions (ex. weather forecasts, research findings) in a clear and concise manner based on data analysis.

4.     evaluate the reliability and validity of scientific conclusions using critical thinking skills and knowledge of the different physical, environmental, and geographic influencing factors.

Assessment Activities: 

Assessment Activities and Learning Outcomes file attached reflects both the direct and indirect measurements of the learning outcomes for the BAS Meteorology program.  Currently, direct measurements of this program are assessed through various coursework, while indirect measurements are given to the students at the end of their degree program. 

The direct measurements are assessed during the courses with summative assessments that typically come in the form of either traditional exams or projects.  The reason they are referred to as direct measurements is that students demonstrate their proficiency regarding those outcomes.  The instructor then gives feedback to the student on their performance.

These indirect measurements are student assessments of the program overall, and include the Program Assessment Rubric and the Reflection Survey.  The Program Assessment Rubric involves student and program manager rankings on a scale from 1-5 on how well they feel (and the program manager feels) they meet the particular learning outcome.  1 is the lowest performing rank meaning ‘needs improvement’, and 5 is the highest performing rank meaning ‘Excellent’.  There are boxes for comments.  The reflection survey includes two short explanation questions.  Please see the attached BASMet_Program_Assessment_Rubric.pdf and BASMet_Reflection_Survey.pdf.

Assessment Findings: 

Program Assessment Rubric

As stated above, these findings are only based on one student currently graduated.  In the future, all assessment information from students who graduate will be collected for analyzation.

The figures attached (Program Assessment Rubric Figure-Student and Program Assessment Rubric Figure-Program Manager) represent feedback given by the student and the program manager on the 5 point scale rubric, which we call the Program Assessment Rubric.  Both the student and the program manager have very similar feedback for the student’s performance on each learning outcome, and the student is clearly above average (3 = average).  The overall score is given by looking at the performance of the student over the entirety of their coursework in the BAS Meteorology program (see Assessment Activities and Learning Outcomes Table attached).

Reflection Survey

The reflection survey was particularly enlightening.  The student was able to elaborate on the program, and how well they felt the program prepared them to meet the learning outcomes.  Overall the student said that they felt the coursework was average to above average in helping them achieve competence in the learning outcomes.  They mention that the concepts taught during this degree linked up nicely to what they had already learned during their Associate’s in Weather Technology, but was more rigorous and involved mathematical and physical explanations.  This student pointed out that some of the courses were better constructed than others.  They did not necessarily elaborate on why some courses were better, except for saying that some were more comprehensive than others, and they felt they related more directly to the learning outcomes.  The coursework that the student felt was “excellent” in helping them achieve those learning outcomes were ATMO 441a: Dynamic Meteorology I and ATMO 430: Computational Methods in Atmospheric Sciences.  The student does feel that this program is a great investment to help these USAF men and women either commission as an officer or work in the civilian sector as a meteorologist.  They feel that the skills and knowledge gained during the program will help with professional goals.

Since most of our students are working while going through this program, many of them do not go full time.  The student mentioned in their reflection that it is sometimes hard to recall important foundational mathematics or physics concepts needed for the upper level atmospheric science classes when they were taken quite a while ago.  This causes a struggle with the mathematical portions of the class, even if the conceptual understanding is adequate. 

The student also mentioned some additional topics that could prepare students to more thoroughly meet the learning outcomes.  Those topics are ordinary differential equations, basic chemistry, and a second semester of dynamic meteorology.

Degree Type: 
Academic Degree Programs: 

BAS Core

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Bachelor of Applied Science degrees at The University of Arizona are designed to build on the foundational technical coursework taken in AAS programs at the community college level and expand on that foundation at an upper division level, providing students with analytical and critical thinking skills, the ability to communicate clearly and effectively, as well as organization and leadership skills. Students are expected to meet the standards for graduates of The University of Arizona with regards to writing, math, and second language foundations, and a breadth of general education knowledge. The BAS core coursework serves to address these areas, as well as other essential skills such as ethics, critical thinking, and methods of analysis. BAS students begin their junior year with a gateway or entry course and end the program with a capstone experience, to ensure their assessment and successful progression through the program

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

1.  Students will apply the general knowledge, theories, principles, and critical faculties from across disciplines to the human search for meaning in a complex and changing world.

2.  Students will demonstrate an understanding of how ethical issues affect individuals, communities and societies and be able to analyze the consequences of various professional ethical dilemmas.

3.  Students will demonstrate investigative and analytical thinking skills by examining alternatives, exploring complex questions and solving challenging problems.

4.  Students will demonstrate an understanding of the nature of mathematical reasoning, including the ability to prove simple results and/or make statistical inferences.

5.   Students will demonstrate proficiency with University writing standards by writing a thesis-driven essay using substantiating evidence; finding, analyzing, and utilizing secondary sources and appropriate methods of citation; writing grammatically, coherently, and persuasively in all written assignments.

6. Students will recognize and articulate a clear understanding of foundational assumptions, current theoretical debates, methodological techniques, and deep area knowledge of the important substantive questions in their concentration.

Assessment Activities: 

Proposed Assessment Activities:

1.  Students’ ability to apply knowledge, theories, principles, and critical faculties across disciplines will be assessed through successful completion with a “C” or better of General Education and Foundation requirements.

2.  Students’ ability to identify ethical issues and to analyze the consequences of various professional ethical dilemmas will be assessed through successful completion with a “C” or better in BASV 319—Ethics in the Public and Private Sectors or CYBV 325—Cyber Ethics.

3.  Proficiency in critical thinking skills will be assessed through successful completion of one of the BAS core courses in critical thinking with a “C” or better.  In addition, the Senior capstone will assess students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills by the incorporation of the theories or concepts from courses within their concentration into a research project and/or paper that contributes meaningfully to the analysis and solution of a particular issue or problem relevant to the field.

4.  Proficiency in mathematical reasoning skills will be assessed through successful completion with a “C” or better in BASV 314—Mathematics for Applied Sciences or BASV 376—Mathematics for Implied Technology.

5.  Proficiency with University writing standards will be assessed through successful completion with a “C” or better in ENGV 308 -- Technical Writing and subject area upper division writing emphasis courses.

6.    Understanding of the major theories, methodologies, and principles within the student’s concentration will be assessed in the graded Senior Capstone requirement through completion of a research project and/or paper incorporating specific skills and expertise acquired in earlier coursework and demonstrating a working knowledge of scholarly discourse relative to the concentration. 

7.  In addition, overall BAS core program assessment will be conducted through an evaluation of the educational experience with scores indicating program and institution contributions on the following UA Exit Survey/Arizona Board of Regents questions:

a)      To what extent has your experience at this institution contributed to your knowledge, skills, and personal development in writing clearly and effectively?

b)     To what extent has your experience at this institution contributed to your knowledge, skills, and personal development in thinking critically and analytically?

c)      To what extent has your experience at this institution contributed to your knowledge, skills, and personal development in analyzing quantitative problems?

d)     How would you evaluate your entire educational experience at this institution?

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