Meteorology graduate programs prepare students for careers in weather forecasting and analysis in both the public and private sectors. These programs cover facets of atmospheric science including radar and climate dynamics and incorporate fields like physics and chemistry. Programs are available at the master's and doctoral levels.
Meteorology Graduate Program Information
Graduate-level programs in meteorology include a range of courses related to climatology and earth science, and students often have the opportunity to gain practical experiences through fieldwork or research or teaching assistantships. In addition to completing courses like those listed below, students conduct original research under the guidance of a faculty advisor to produce a thesis or dissertation.
Introduction to Atmospheric Science
Preliminary classes in meteorology programs often cover foundational concepts in atmospheric science. Students investigate small- and large-scale interactions that occur within the atmosphere. Specific topics include thermodynamics, circulation, and atmospheric disturbances. These classes may also examine methods of data analysis in atmospheric science and mathematical approaches to problem solving in the field.
Courses in dynamic meteorology examine major atmospheric motions that impact weather. Students may explore methods of forecasting atmospheric patterns using numerical methods and modeling. Specific topics might include coordinate systems, scaling, wind types, baroclinic disturbances, and omega equations.
Climate Systems and Change
Meteorology graduate programs devote extensive attention to climate systems and dynamics. Courses in this area focus on components of Earth's climate system, including atmosphere and biosphere. Along with how these components impact climate, classes on climate systems often address climate change. Specific topics in this area may include radiative forcing and rising sea levels.
Courses in this area of meteorology cover the structure and dynamics of mesoscale weather phenomena. Specific topics include severe storms, frontal waves, mesoscale clouds, instability, and squall lines. Mesoscale classes may incorporate both lecture and laboratory components.
Meteorology graduate programs incorporate other relevant disciplines, including physics. Atmospheric physics classes study the nature of Earth's atmosphere and concepts related to its behavior. Specific topics include turbulence, equilibrium thermodynamics, cloud physics, entropy, phase changes, and circulation. In addition, weather events like hurricanes may be studied.
Meteorology Graduate Program Admissions
Applicants to both master's and doctoral programs in meteorology should submit transcripts showing earned undergraduate degrees. Some programs require a major in physical sciences or engineering; at a minimum, applicants generally need prior coursework in physics and math through at least differential equations. Admissions committees may give preference to applications showing a GPA of 3.5 or higher, and good grades in science-related classes are particularly important. These programs also require GRE scores, with combined scores of 310 or higher preferred. Additional requirements usually include letters of recommendation, and some schools require a statement of interest outlining an applicant's rationale for pursuing the degree.
Graduate programs leading to a master's or Ph.D. are available to prospective students with an interest in the field and an academic background in math and science. Graduate students in this field can expect to conduct independent research and complete courses in atmospheric science, physics, climate systems, and other key aspects of meteorology.