If you’re fascinated by the power of hurricanes, the unpredictability of tornadoes or the effect of man on the global climate, a career in meteorology is right for you. Learning to forecast the weather takes a solid foundation in science and math provided by skilled and experienced instructors. Various American schools offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees in meteorology.
Penn State University offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in meteorology. The department has offered degrees since the early 1940s, has the largest student-run weather station in the United States and boasts 3,000 alumni of the program. Students can focus on atmospheric science, environmental meteorology, forecasting and weather risk management. The Rosenthal School at the University of Miami offers bachelor's and master's degrees in meteorology as well as broadcast meteorology. Honors students write a thesis on a faculty-guided project. The school, founded in 1949, emphasizes small classes and student-faculty interaction.
Iowa State University offers an undergraduate meteorology degree and graduate degrees in environmental science. Researchers at Iowa State have focused attention on tornado dynamics and predicting and tracking severe local storms. A vast computer weather data archive helps students and faculty make informed predictions. Central Michigan University offers the only undergraduate meteorology major in that state. The school offers small classes, laboratory time and the use of powerful computers for the study of weather and climate. Students can opt to live with other meteorology majors in the Science and Technology Residential College.
The University of South Alabama started offering its bachelor's degree in meteorology in 1999. Its Coastal Weather Research Center was set up in 1998 and provides forecast and climate data to businesses and local governments in Alabama and Mississippi. The climate is ideal for weather study because the school lies in one of the wettest major cities in the United States with one of the highest thunderstorm frequencies in the nation. Texas A&M University offers a bachelor's degree in meteorology and master's and doctoral degrees in atmospheric science. The program puts students in meteorology and computer laboratories to make forecasts and study severe weather. The tropical meteorology course covers the study of cyclones.
The University of Washington offers atmospheric science bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Its students go on to be broadcasters, researchers and meteorologists for the National Weather Service. Researchers study the effects of pollution on the weather and climate change in a wet climate. Students have access to the nearby Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratories at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Regional Center. San Jose State University is the only school of its kind in the state system to offer bachelor's and master's degrees in meteorology. Most of its graduates work in private industry, academia and for the National Weather Service and the U.S. Armed Forces. Faculty members specialize in air pollution meteorology, cloud processes, remote sensing, weather analysis and forecasting and global climate change.
- Penn State University: Department of Meteorology
- University of Miami: Rosenthal School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
- Iowa State University: Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences
- Central Michigan University: Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
- University of South Alabama: Meteorology
- Texas A&M University: Department of Atmospheric Sciences
- University of Washington: Department of Atmospheric Sciences
- San Jose State University: Department of Meteorology and Climate Science
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images