schools to look in to for meteorology?

Jul 8, 2004
Mankato, Minnesota
I didn't really know where to post this but i guess this will work lol. Well anyways I am kind of curious what schools i should look into if I decide to go in to meteorology after highschool. I already know the basic computer models RUC, GFS, NAM, NOGAPS, UKMET, NGM, GEM, ECMWF, and probably some more I can't think of at the moment, also I have taken skywarn classes and those are really helpful for learning the basics/ some Intermediate stuff about how severe weather forms and I really learned a lot about RFD....soo anyways can anyone tell me which schools I should look into if i decide to study meteorology?


Plenty of schools to look in to... do you have any specific interests?

I am of course bias to OU, but it is heavily geared towards going the research route. Despite that, it still makesfor a good school due to a couple of factors. For one, there is a large number of internships/jobs you can get as an undergrad in Norman. Looks good on resume, and can build your web of people you know. In addition, if you do well here, there is name recognition that goes along with the school due to past graduates sucess.

Some of the Bigger schools that come up off the top of my head:
Penn State
Florida State
Texas A&M

Smaller Schools:
North Dakota
Iowa State

Plenty I've missed... just ones I hear about frequently

Wow, 15 years old and 5 tornados...well on your way!

As far as schools, It depends on the career you want to choose. As far as research schools: University of Oklahoma, Penn State, Florida State, Texas Tech are some very good schools. But if your wanting to lean more towards the broadcast end of meteorolgy: Mississippi State, Lyndon State are some schools more broadcast oriented toward broadcasting.

But remember, the education you can receive at one the research based schools will be so valuable throughout whatever career you might choose.

I am not saying this in a mean way but I am going to tell you straight up that getting a degree in meteorology involves a lot more than studying severe weather. You need to take every bit of math, physics, etc. that you can to prepare yourself for the classes that you will be taking. Of course you will be taking forecasting classes and courses along the lines of that but its a small part in my opinion of getting a degree. I currently attend The University of Kansas and here are their degree requirement's.

ENGL 101 Composition 3
ENGL 102 or 105 Composition & Literature 3
ENGL Elective* See Below* 3
COMS 130 Speaker-Audience Comm. OR --
COMS 150 Personal Communication 3
COMS 330 Effective Business Comm. 3
"H" Course Any Humanities 3
"S" Course Any Social Science 3
EECS 138 Intro to Computers (FORTRAN) 3
EECS 138 Intro to Computers (C++) 3
MATH 121 Calculus I 5
MATH 122 Calculus II 5
MATH 123 Linear Algebra and Calculus 5
MATH 320 Elementary Differential Equations 3
PHSX 211 General Physics I 4
PHSX 212 General Physics II 4
CHEM 184 Foundations of Chemistry I 5
EVRN 148 Principles of Environmental Studies 3
DSCI 301 Business Statistics 4
ATMO 105 Introduction To Meteorology 5
ATMO 321 Climate and Climate Change 3
ATMO 505 Weather Forecasting 3
ATMO 521 Microclimatology 3
ATMO 630 Synoptic Meteorology 3
ATMO 640 Dynamic Meteorology 3
ATMO 642 Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere 3
ATMO 660 Advanced Dynamic Meteorology 3
ATMO 680 Physical Meteorology 3
ATMO 697 Seminar for Seniors 3
ATMO 525 Air Pollution Meteorology 3
ATMO 605 Forecasting Practicum 2
ATMO 650 Advanced Synoptic Meteorology 3

If you want to check out meteorology schools that you want to go to anywhere in the U.S. you should check out this site as it will be a good tool to use.

I see that you are from Minnesota. St. Cloud State University is the only school that has a program in your state.

I hope this helps a little.

Thanks for info........Yeah 2 of those tornadoes of the 5 were not even further then 25 miles from our house so kind of lucky right there.

I kind of want to work for a nws wfo, but I've heard those would be hard to get into? because they don't hire that often?

We are doing this thing at school to prepare for what you want to do after highschool in terms of school. The teacher said something about North Dakota had a good program for meteorology. I looked into Okalahoma but couldn't find much.
yes, I am aware of that you have to be good at math, which I am average at. And I also know you have to study hydrology, air pollution, oceanography, computer science, and communications and probably more then that
yes, I am aware of that you have to be good at math, which I am average at. And I also know you have to study hydrology, air pollution, oceanography, computer science, and communications and probably more then that

Sort of... I didn't cover any hydrology, air pollution (other than some basic cloud physics and global warming/aerosols), oceanography, or communications.

yes, I am aware of that you have to be good at math, which I am average at. And I also know you have to study hydrology, air pollution, oceanography, computer science, and communications and probably more then that

Sort of... I didn't cover any hydrology, air pollution (other than some basic cloud physics and global warming/aerosols), oceanography, or communications.


I don't know what they're teaching at OU :p , but I took hydrology and a mandatory communications course at my alma mater Creighton University. They also offer courses in air pollution and hydrology. It is another one of the smaller up and coming schools in Atmospheric Sciences / Meteorology. The school has quite a few people from MN as well.
Well, hydrology is an elective class. It isn't hard to get a hydrology minor (only 2 or so classes extra), but I figured if I am ever at the point in my career where a hydrology minor would of helped... I've defintely gone the wrong way ;)

Well, hydrology is an elective class. It isn't hard to get a hydrology minor (only 2 or so classes extra), but I figured if I am ever at the point in my career where a hydrology minor would of helped... I've definitely gone the wrong way ;)

When I worked at FTW, the building was split between us and the West Gulf River Forecast Center. I remember their operations area being about the same size as ours (if not bigger), but it seemed they'd only have one or two people on duty at any given time.

Sometimes, during a severe weather event, we'd be running around like chickens with our heads cut off, and they'd be over there drinking coffee.

Perhaps hydrology ain't such a bad thing to study after all... :p

DISCLAIMER: No offense directed at hydrologists or the employees of the River Forecast Center. After all, there were times they'd be running around like chickens with their heads cut off, and we'd be sitting around drinking coffee - usually AFTER the severe weather episode that dropped 15" of rain on someone somewhere. And, besides, they'd come over and help us out when shorthanded.
Jordan, I am going into meteorology this coming fall and am only 50 miles away from you. If you are looking at school nearby so to say... Then North Dakota, Crieghton, St. Cloud State, Iowa State are the nearby ones.

Of course there are the well-known schools, such as an Oklahoma, Penn State, Texas colleges, and Florida Universities. But, if money becomes an issue for you as many times college does come down too... You may want to stick with a nearby college for those reasons. A good idea is to go visit the colleges, talk to some of the profs their. I went and visited Iowa State, Creighton and St. Cloud State.. All of them were good meteorology programs.

Just to reestablish the point that some of the bigger schools are huge in undergraduate work, they are involved in research. Sometimes their undergraduate program isn't as top notch as the graduate school.. No offense to any college/university, etc... That is just something that I have found out.

For classes, you are going to have to take the normal requirements like the English/History/Humanities, etc.. But, you will have to be taking most likely 3 semesters of a Calculus class, at at least 2 semesters of Physics. When choosing your classes for high school, don't take the easy route, take the top math courses you can, as well as science classes. And if you are able to be advanced in school, then it is always an idea to take some college classes when you are a senior. Such as I am going to have my 2 semesters of English/Chemistry done with, along with a speech class and possibly another. That will get you well ahead of other incoming freshman.

Hope that this helped.. If you have any other questions for me, then I believe you are a part of another forum I'm in.. :D
Jordan, I see you live in Mankato, MN. If you are looking for the most affordable education than consider the University of North Dakota, Wisconsin, South Dakota School of Mines and Tech, or St. Cloud State. Last I known Minesota had a reciprocity agreement with SD, ND, and WI so you can attend these schools at MN rates rather than the customary non-resident tuition. MN does not have a reciprocity with NE or IA so scratch UNL or ISU off the list if you can't afford the out state rates. Make sure you visit the various schools you are interested in. Get to know the profs. You may discover that you don't feel comfortable at a particular school. I went to SCSU in MN and can vouch for the solid met program but SCSU is the UC-Berkley of the north in terms of liberal distractions. If that is your political leaning than you'll do just fine.

I would add that it depends on what type of program do you want to be in. Going to a well known or big university doesn't necessarily bring the best education or happiness. I got my undergraduate degree at the lesser known University of Nebraska, but I got just as good of an education as I could have anywhere. I learned a great deal personally from my advisors at my alma mater, the University of Nebraska, and I don't have the relationships with the professors now at Florida State that I did while at UNL. And going to a lesser-known school didn't hurt me one bit when it comes to material - I am every bit as prepared as my classmates. Nick, (long time no see, BTW!) is that something you feel at OU, coming from Creighton?

If you want to work at an NWS WFO, it is hard to get into - unless you have the right training. The keys are experience and knowledge - work for the best grades you can get and get as much experience as you can. You can start out with a volunteer internship and then move on to paid internships later in your undergraduate work. Some schools are more 'reknowned' for synoptic and mesoscale meteorological prowess (St. Louis, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M come to mind right off the bat), but you can become a good forecaster anywhere. One of my best friends is a student intern for the NWS while at the aforementioned lesser known Creighton University, but she is as bright as pretty much anybody in the country. The key is to pick a university that you enjoy for whatever reason (location, size, proximity to home and family, affordability, friends, etc.) and to make the most out of the situation. When I started my undergraduate degree, all I cared about was severe weather. Everything blossomed from there - you're at a good starting point in my opinion!

Finally, there are a few schools co-located with NWS offices, which makes it easier to be around forecasters and forecasting. Florida State, North Carolina State, SUNY-Albany, Penn State, and Oklahoma (soon) are a few off of the top of my head. Other schools are a short drive from an office, and some schools (Creighton and Nebraska come to mind immediately) are heavily involved with the local WFO.

I was in your shoes 4 years ago... I grew up just south of St. Paul, MN, and my best friend goes Minnesota State - Mankato. At any rate, I seriously considered the following (seriously meaning that I visited the school): Oklahoma, Wisconsin, St. Louis University, Nebraska - Lincoln, and Creighton. Wisconsin, as a campus, was too big for me personally, and Nebraska and Creighton were too small for me (not that there's anything wrong with any of these schools, but it was a personal decision). SLU is a good program, but I wasn't sure about going to school in an urban environment. In the end, I chose OU, which is more suburban, has a relatively compact campus, provides many opportunities for experience for students (with CAPS, CIMMS, NSSL, SPC, NWS, and private firms such as WeatherNews Inc.), and just felt like the right place for me. As long as you work hard, I'm not sure you can go wrong with most of the scools mentioned in this thread.

I suggest visiting as many schools as you can. Some will feel just right... Can't really put it into words, but you just get the feeling that you want to go to that school.

I actually just went through the school search again, but this time for grad schools. I seriously looked into Wisconsin, Texas Tech, and OU. But again, for similar reasons as undergraduate, I decided to stay here at OU and will work under Dr. Bluestein for the next few years.
If your long term plan is to get into the weather service, then START EARLY. Volunteer at an office during the summer or during the school year if feasible. I started as a volunteer after my freshman year and haven't worked anywhere else since.

Hopefully our budget will recover over the next few years and there will be some cash for student employees, because the STEP (Student Temporary Employment Program) and SCEP (Student Career Experience Program) programs are what got me in. It is getting much harder to get in with a bachelor's these days.
I'm in this boat as well right now. I'm finishing my last semester of HS right now...and will be attending the junior college here in Champaign for two years, before transferring elsewhere to pursure a degree in meteorology. I have narrowed it down to two schools, those being OU, and Valparaiso. I chose Oklahoma for many reasons, but really like it simply for its location, right in the heart of tornado alley. Also knowing folks out there would help me feel not so lost in a new big place. However, Valpo offers some great oppurtunities, and is much closer. The Valpo campus would be about 3 hours from my home, where as OU would be a good 10 hour haul.

Im about 99% on these two schools, but there are others that are in the back of my mind, such as Wisconsin and Iowa State, but I'm fairly close to ruling out any others aside from the previously listed two.

Essentially, I will make my final decision after visiting each campus, and as Jeff said, finding which school feels the best.
Mr. Prichard,

Congratulations on one of the most exciting points of your life -- and -- one of the most important decisions you will make to this point.

Let me offer you some advice from the point of view of a University of Oklahoma graduate and an employer of meteorologists.

The two schools very good but in different ways and you would not go wrong with either. How to decide? Valpo is probably the stronger choice if you want to go into forecasting or another area of applied meteorology. The University of Oklahoma may be the better choice if you wish to focus on severe storms or get a PhD.

No matter how much you may enjoy chasing, the location of a meteorology school should not be a significant consideration. This may seem like a contradiction from the above comment about OU, but it is not. If you wish, for example, to specialize in severe storm meteorology, OU is a fine choice...but the university chosen should flow from your interests, not the other way around. The fact OU is in the center of the "tornado belt" is a bonus.

Like everything else in life, a university education is what you make it. Go beyond the classroom. Get an internship at the NWS, at a private sector weather company, at a research institution in different summers. Find out what YOU like and at what you can excell, not what a professor gently pushes you toward (can't tell you the stories of woe I have heard in this regard over the years). Once you find what you really like, you will be in a position to excell. Success, no matter what area in which you chose to specialize, follows from excellence.

Again, congratuations!
Minnesotan going to OU

I'm from Northfield, MN (not too far from Mankato) and ended up going to OU.

Why OU?
- I have some extended family nearby
- Tuition isn't too terrible (out of state is ~$13,000 / year) - you can get in-state tuition (~$4000 / year) if you go to a community college down here to take care of some general ed classes and then enroll at OU
- Numerous internships/jobs related meteorology are available
- The weather is great (except for the summer - too hot!)
- The campus is beautiful
-The National Weather Center will be completed eventually (it'll be done by the time you would get here) and offer additional opportunities

A few other points...

South Dakota School of Mines and Tech doesn't have an undergrad program... however they have an awesome little campus (which I have visited) and NWS is on-site.

From what I've gathered, SCSU (St. Cloud State) has a great program, especially if you're interested in forecasting weather. I didn't care much for the campus, and I thought it was too close to home.

You may know this but Wisconsin and Minnesota have reciprocity. Which means if you fill the paperwork out, you can go to public Wisconsin schools for resident tuition, and WI students can go to public Minnesota schools for the same.

That being said, a school with a great program is University Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Visit and look under the mathematics department. There will be a section for atmospheric sciences. It is a growing program that emphasizes the math end of things. If your looking for smaller class sizes this is an option. The faculty is very approachable. A very good thing.

Some advice. Take all of the math you can, and pay attention. Pick a school that is right for you, both socially and what will be conducive for your learning style. Not all schools are created equal.
Im a freshman right now in High School. What exactly do you do with an internship at a NWS WFO??

I was thinking about doing this for the San Diego office but im not sure what it is.
This thread has been a great help so far....Thank You!! :D