The old weatherman joke is one that everyone has heard. People joke about how great it would be to get paid to be wrong every time they have a picnic or round of golf ruined by rain or extreme heat.
The truth, however, is that meteorologists are usually correct. The science of meteorology, however, is extremely nuanced and dynamic.
Not only do we all enjoy keeping tabs on the weather, but meteorology is also one of the most challenging and important scientific fields.
Students in meteorology programs, in addition to learning the ins and outs of broadcast television, also confront the realities of climate change and the impact that humans have on the atmosphere. That’s why the study of the atmosphere is so crucial, making it one of the top scientific fields. They focus on things that will have lasting effects on our lives.
Good programs in meteorology and the atmospheric sciences require knowledgeable faculty, up-to-date resources, and state-of-the-art infrastructure due to the critical nature of the subject matter.
Finding such institutions can take time, but we’ve done the legwork for you. Based on each school’s overall ranking in the U.S. News & World Report list of National Universities, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 meteorology programs in the country.
You will be prepared to do the crucial work of meteorology with this knowledge. These institutions can equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to work in a variety of fields, from television weather forecasting to atmospheric research.
The top programs for studying the weather and the atmosphere are listed below.
Best meteorology schools
The top spot goes to Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, which is not surprising. In addition to being the only Ivy on this list, it is also the only Ivy that features an atmospheric sciences major.
Access to a wide range of resources, including the Northeast Regional Climate Center, is just one of the many benefits of studying at this university.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides funding for the center, and it works in tandem with the National Climatic Data Center, the National Weather Service, and other groups to monitor and record weather patterns in the Northeast.
Class sizes in the College’s majors are among the smallest across all of Cornell’s academic departments, giving students unparalleled access to faculty mentorship and guidance.
When students and teachers form strong bonds, students gain access to a wealth of information and opportunities to take part in research projects. Cornell University’s Atmospheric Sciences Division cooperates with other schools in the New York State University system.
That’s why the program’s tuition is much closer to that of a State University of New York than it is to that of an Ivy League school.
University of California, Berkeley
Students and faculty at the University of California, Berkeley conduct research at the Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center (BASC). As the university’s hub for atmospheric science education and research, the Berkeley Atmospheric Science Center (BASC) equips the department with state-of-the-art resources and provides administrative support.
One of the many significant benefits of being a part of the school’s program is access to the BASC. The study of the atmosphere, climate, and the dynamics of circulation are all areas of expertise for meteorology majors. The physics of climate variability, the impacts of smog, and stratospheric ozone layer changes are just a few of the many topics covered in this comprehensive course.
A capstone project, in which students conduct original research and present their findings, builds on the foundation laid by the preceding coursework. Working closely with both their department advisor and direct supervisor, students can take advantage of the many resources available at UC Berkeley, such as the BASC, to further their education and pursue their passions.
University of California, Davis
For those interested in studying meteorology, we recommend the University of California, Berkeley. Students in the Atmospheric Science program at UC Davis benefit from smaller lecture halls and more one-on-one time with professors. The College of Agricultural and Environmental Science’s Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources is home to this particular program.
Under close guidance from instructors, students perform experiments, utilize specialized equipment, create sophisticated theoretical frameworks, and build models. Students in the program work closely with scientists from a variety of departments to develop new areas of inquiry, an experience that encourages students to think critically and creatively.
Professional societies like the American Meteorological Society (AMS) have recognized the students’ efforts. Two of the six fellowships offered by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) were given to undergraduate researchers in the program for their work investigating the effect of climate change and climate variability on ozone pollution.
In addition, there are opportunities for students at Davis to get involved in groups like Extreme Weather. Members of the group study extreme weather events like typhoons and hurricanes, as well as other phenomena like atmospheric blocks and extratropical cyclones. The team looks into the events’ potential impact on the economy and society.
University of California, Los Angeles
You may have noticed that many UC campuses are represented here. Among the campuses in the UC system, the Los Angeles campus may have the strongest commitment to meteorology.
This recognition is due to UCLA’s recognition of the critical nature of the issue. The university is well aware of the seriousness of climate change and is in a prime position to prepare the next generation to address the issue.
This program is designed with the many climate and ecological shifts in mind. The faculty and students at this institution take an active interest in the topic of human impact on the environment and do their best to keep up with the latest research and developments in the field.
Participants in the program learn from experts like Professor Rong Fu. Professor Fu, who was recently honored with the American Meteorological Society’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Biometeorology, has devoted much of his career to the investigation of feedback mechanisms in the tropical biosphere and to the training of future scientists.
University of Miami
Students at the University of Miami’s Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences can participate in cutting-edge research in the Atmospheric Sciences Department. The Rosensteil School gives its students access to exciting research projects by taking advantage of its location, a hot spot for interesting weather.
One such endeavor is an atmospheric chemistry group, whose members investigate the impact of gases and particles on air quality and climate. Members of the group travel to various locations to collect data that will be used to study the impact of atmospheric chemistry on human health and climate. These locations range from forests to urban centers to the high-latitude oceans.
Cloud and aerosol processes are also investigated by program participants, with a focus on their interactions with one another and with radiation. Scientists studying pollution’s effects on air quality and climate at the Cloud-Aerosol-Rain-Observatory in south Florida.
University of Wisconsin, Madison
The Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department has an unmatched level of excellence thanks to its faculty of 18 professors who are experts in fields like climate sciences, weather systems, and more.
Learning about the atmosphere and ocean for weather forecasting is important, but students and teachers also tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. The program’s participants investigate environmental factors that have an impact on human well-being, such as air chemistry and quality, solar and terrestrial radiation, clouds, and precipitation.
The school’s achievements are in part due to its successful programs. The Bridge Program of the American Geophysical Union has recently chosen the institution as a community partner. More people from underrepresented groups will be attracted to and remain in the program with the help of these funds.
Texas A&M University – College Station
Texas A&M University – College Station is a must-visit for any prospective student who is interested in atmospheric sciences and meteorology. College Station is home to Texas A&M University, a large public institution. Texas A&M University–College Station is a fantastic school all around, as evidenced by its Best Colleges ranking of #55 out of 2,241 schools in the country.
In the most recent year for which data is available (2015-16), Texas A&M University–College Station awarded degrees in atmospheric sciences and meteorology to around 40 students. When they enter the workforce, graduates of the atmospheric sciences and meteorology program at Texas A&M University – College Station earn an additional $7,429.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Located in the heart of Champaign, UIUC is one of the state’s largest public research universities. UIUC is a fantastic school, earning a Best Colleges ranking of #44 out of 2,241 institutions across the country.
Approximately 29 students earned degrees in atmospheric sciences and meteorology from UIUC in the most recent year for which data is available.
University of Washington – Seattle Campus
The University of Washington (UW) in Seattle is a sizable public institution. UW Seattle is a fantastic college overall, as evidenced by its Best Colleges ranking of #38 out of 2,241 institutions across the country.
In the most recent data year, roughly 43 students graduated from UW Seattle with a degree in atmospheric sciences and meteorology.
Ohio State University – Main Campus
Ohio State University is a large public institution that serves the city of Columbus. Among the 96 accredited universities in Ohio, this one is considered the best.
In the most recent data year, about 21 students earned degrees in atmospheric sciences and meteorology from Ohio State. Graduates of Ohio State University’s Main Campus with a degree in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology can expect a $2,466 annual salary increase over their peers in the field.
Iowa State University
A degree in geology or meteorology can open doors to careers in exploration, environmental protection, and cutting-edge research and development. A master’s degree in Meteorology is available as a second major at Iowa State University.
Their goal is to foster an atmosphere that is welcoming and supportive of students of all backgrounds and perspectives.
Iowa State places a premium on promoting its inclusive environment and welcoming atmosphere. Since the year 2000, their faculty has been honored with nine different teaching awards. The student chapter of the American Meteorological Society has repeated as national champions.
Seminole State College
A meteorology degree can be used for more than just finding work as a TV weatherman. It’s possible to save lives and the planet through accurate weather forecasting and pollution control in this industry. This meteorology associate degree program also provides a strong foundation in higher-level mathematics and chemistry.
Seminole State College is well-known for its affordable, high-quality education. Also notable is that no class has more than 30 students. This Associate of Arts program can be completed online or at a campus near you.
You can continue your education at Seminole State University and earn a bachelor’s degree after completing your associate’s degree there. After completing your associate degree, you will have the option of continuing your education at the University of Central Florida or any of Florida’s other state universities.
What is meteorology?
Most of us don’t give much thought to meteorology, even though it’s one of the most important fields in atmospheric sciences.
The ability to foretell the weather might be the first thing that comes to mind. However, it is comprehensive in its treatment of the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere. Interest in the weather predates recorded history, but modern weather analysis goes far beyond simple forecasting.
With climate change now a global issue, meteorology and related fields have attracted the attention of scientists and laypeople alike. The power of weather forecasting lies in the fact that issues like changes in air pressure, massive tidal waves, wind direction, and water vapor levels can be studied, analyzed, and even avoided.
Even when the weather seems unpredictable, it attempts to forecast what will happen in the coming days and weeks on a local, regional, and even national scale. These forecasts can be shared with meteorologists, who in turn can warn the public about impending weather.
In many industries, the fate of workers is determined by such elementary forecasts. The ability to predict the weather is crucial to our survival.
Meteorology, however, can’t be relied upon 100% of the time. Their blunders only serve to highlight how fickle the weather can be. The accuracy of weather forecasts has improved thanks to modern meteorological tools and research.
How hard is a meteorology degree?
How difficult is it to become a meteorologist? Learning the advanced mathematical and physical concepts necessary for a degree in meteorology or atmospheric science can be challenging, as is the case with most other STEM degrees. Nonetheless, it’s also a very rewarding activity.
One can specialize in atmospheric chemistry to monitor air pollution levels, climatology to monitor atmospheric changes and the overall climate of the earth, cyclogenesis and the formation of tornadoes, computer forecasting and modeling, and even advising on legal cases in fields like forensic meteorology; one is not limited to providing the weather forecast for the five o’clock news.
Those determined to pursue a degree in atmospheric science can choose from a wide variety of options. Furthermore, with such a degree, one can pursue careers in broadcast meteorology, the military, private industry, or public service, like working for the National Weather Service.
When you tell people you want to study atmospheric science in college and go to meteorology school, they might immediately start picturing you as a weathercaster. However, this function is only a part of what teachers hope their students will gain from studying meteorology.
Surprisingly, many graduates in the field of meteorology find employment with government organizations like the National Weather Service, NASA, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Agriculture.
Many graduates find employment in the private sector or in companies that perform environmental science-related work. Others enter this field with the hope of becoming university professors.
If you find yourself drawn to topics like Synoptic Meteorology and Atmospheric Thermodynamics, it might be worth your time to look into Meteorology programs.
You could also pursue a career in meteorology if you’re interested in the science of predicting weather, such as whether or not it will rain today.