Schools that Offer Climatology Programs: How to Choose

Climatology is the scientific and mathematical study of the Earth's atmosphere, weather and climate. Continue reading to learn about what you should consider when choosing a climatology program, and to view some climatology programs at U.S. schools.

How to Select a Climatology Program

According to the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, there are over 60 colleges and universities around the nation that have programs in climatology or atmospheric science ( Most programs are housed within the academic department of geography, but some schools have atmospheric science programs in specialized departments, often coupled with other environmental sciences. Other schools offer climatology courses in meteorology programs that focus on science applications, such as weather forecasting.

Remember the following as you choose a climatology program:

  • Those interested in an undergraduate climatology program may want to select a program that is devoted to atmospheric science rather than one that offers climatology courses in conjunction with another specialty.
  • Specialized programs offer instruction in all areas of atmospheric science, including air pollution, weather analysis and climate management, in addition to core courses in mathematics, computer science and physical sciences that prepare the student for graduate climate research.
  • It is best to choose a school with access to adequate climate research facilities and faculty with climatology expertise.

Climatology Program Overviews

Bachelor's Degree in Atmospheric Science, Meteorology or Geography

Baccalaureate degree programs in areas related to climatology are designed to prepare students for employment as meteorologists, climatologists, air quality analysts or storm chasers. The varied curriculum also prepares students for graduate study in climatology. Areas of study include:

  • Advanced calculus
  • Statistics
  • Computer science
  • Atmospheric studies

Master of Science Degree in Atmospheric Science

Master of Science degree programs can take at least two years of full-time study to complete, which may include time spent working on an original research thesis. Graduate climatology courses can include:

  • Atmospheric thermodynamics
  • Dynamic meteorology
  • Advanced forecasting

Doctoral (Ph.D.) Degree in Atmospheric Science

Relevant Ph.D. programs can take upwards of three years of full-time resident study to complete. Initial coursework is often the same as the master's degree track coursework. However, after passing qualifying exams, the candidate must complete and defend a comprehensive doctoral dissertation in climatology. The curriculum may include introductory coursework in:

  • Dynamics of the Earth's systems
  • Ocean science
  • Atmospheric physics
  • Solar-terrestrial physics
  • Atmospheric and ocean fluid

10 Schools with Climatology Programs

University/CollegeInstitution Type
College of DuPage2-year, Public
Florida State University4-year, Public
Howard University4-year, Private not-for-profit
New York University4-year, Private not-for-profit
Princeton University4-year, Private not-for-profit
Saint Louis University4-year, Private not-for-profit
Texas Tech University4-year, Public
University of Alaska Fairbanks4-year, Public
University of Arizona4-year, Public
University of Miami4-year, Private not-for-profit

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