10 Best Meteorology Schools In The United States

November 23, 2022
By AdmissionSight

10 Best Meteorology Schools in the United States

What are the best meteorology schools?

Where can one find the most reputable schools of meteorology? If you’re like most people, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about the weather. You might find yourself lying on the ground and staring up at the ceiling of the atmosphere while doing so.

Whoever decides to take this burgeoning interest and turn it into a lifelong career may find themselves wondering which schools offer the best programs in meteorology. This could be the case whether the interest is brand new or has been held for a long time.

Finding those schools can require a significant amount of research, but we’ve already done the legwork for you so you don’t have to worry about it.

The following is a list 10 best meteorology schools in the United States.

1. Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)

It should come as no surprise that the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University is at the top of this list. Not only is it the only Ivy League university included on this list, but it is also the only Ivy League school that offers a program in atmospheric sciences.

The university provides all of the amenities that one would anticipate from an institution of its standing, such as access to a variety of resources, one of which is the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

front view of Cornell University surrounded by trees

The center is supported financially by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and it collaborates with the National Climatic Data Center, the National Weather Service, and other organizations to collect data on and keep track of changes in the atmosphere in the northeast.

The majors in the College, just like those in every other program at Cornell, feature small class sizes, providing students with exceptional opportunities to collaborate closely with faculty.

Students develop close relationships with their teachers, which gives them access to a wealth of knowledge as well as opportunities to participate in research projects. The Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University works in collaboration with the State University of New York system.

Because of this, the tuition for the program is significantly lower than that of an Ivy League school and much more comparable to that of a SUNY institution.

2. University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)

UCLA is highly recognized among the best meteorology schools in the US because of the university’s awareness of the pressing nature of the problem. The institution is aware that climate change is a significant challenge, and it is in a privileged position to educate the upcoming generation on how to address this issue.

To achieve this goal, the program takes into account the many changes that have occurred in the climate as well as in the natural habitats that we have. Because human actions affect the surrounding environment, both the teaching staff and the students at this institution take an active interest in the topic and make an effort to keep abreast of the most recent advancements.

UCLA main library.

Participants in the program gain experience working with some of the foremost experts in their field, such as Professor Rong Fu. Professor Fu, who was just given the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Biometeorology by the American Meteorological Society, has spent years researching tropical biosphere feedback mechanisms and mentoring the next generation of professionals.

3. University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)

The Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center serves as the home base for research conducted by both students and faculty at the University of California, Berkeley (BASC). The Berkeley Atmospheric Science Center (BASC), one of the best meteorology schools in the country, provides cutting-edge technology and administrative support to the department in its role as the university’s central location for research and education in the field of atmospheric science.

Aerial view of Berkeley campus.

The BASC is just one of the many important advantages that come with participating in the school’s program. Students who major in meteorology acquire a foundational understanding of the scientific study of the atmosphere, climate, and the dynamics of circulation. The course covers a wide range of topics, some of which include the physics of climate variability, the effects of smog, and changes in the stratospheric ozone layer, amongst others.

However, all of this work lays the groundwork for a capstone project, in which students conduct their independent research and present their findings. Students have the opportunity to advance their knowledge and interests by making use of the extensive resources available at UC Berkeley, such as the BASC while working closely with both their departmental advisor and their direct supervisor.

4. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI)

“Science-driven engineering at its best!”

This is how the Climate and Space Sciences Engineering department at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor promotes itself to prospective students. This is a bold claim, but one that is supported by the exceptional meteorology program that they have.

Front view of the University of Michigan with an empty yard filled with different varieties of trees

Since its inception in 1954, this program has emphasized research, instructing students in the fundamentals of science while also fostering innovation to match more recent discoveries. This illustrious tradition is still upheld at the school today.

Major projects include theoretical and modeling efforts, which develop methods to track ocean waves and currents, as well as the impact of naturally occurring and man-made aerosols on climate, as well as several other topics.

The teaching staff and the student body conduct joint investigations into the chemistry of the lower atmosphere and the overall air quality. They work together to develop new methods of sensing climate change, including instruments and chemical chains. Hence, the University of Michigan is among the best meteorology schools in the US.

5. University of California, San Diego (San Diego, CA)

The oceanic and atmospheric sciences major at the University of California, San Diego provides students with everything they need to become experts in their field, just like the other programs on this list. Students investigate the fundamentals of the ocean as well as the atmosphere, including the chemistry and physics that govern these two environments.

university of california san diego front view

Students utilize specialized tools and consult with experts from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography when conducting their research. Students work closely with faculty and graduate students to advance research subjects in classrooms that are kept intentionally small.

However, what truly sets UC San Diego apart from other schools is the exceptional internship opportunities it provides. One position that serves as an example from the past can be found in the Open Space Division of the Park and Recreation Department of the City of San Diego. Students also have the opportunity to work as campus organizers, which can assist the university in its transition to clean energy while also increasing student participation.

As evidenced by these programs, the University of California, San Diego places a significant emphasis on the students who participate in the program and their education.

6. University of California, Davis (Davis, CA)

On our list of the best meteorology schools in the US is the University of California. The program in Atmospheric Science at the University of California, Davis, features small class sizes and increased opportunities for interaction with faculty members. This program is housed in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science and is a part of the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources.

UC Davis signage propped to a red brick wall while a school building is at the back


Students conduct observations, make use of specialized instruments, develop advanced theoretical frameworks, and construct models while being closely supervised by teachers and mentors. Students in the program collaborate closely with scientists from a variety of departments to identify new lines of inquiry, which fosters students who are both thoughtful and creative.

The efforts put in by these students have been acknowledged by professional organizations such as the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Because of the work that they did investigate the impact that climate change and climate variability have on ozone pollution, undergraduate researchers participating in the program were awarded two of the six fellowships that were made available by the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

In addition, students at Davis have the opportunity to participate in programs such as the Extreme Weather group. The members of the group conduct research on a variety of severe weather phenomena, including extratropical and tropical cyclones, atmospheric blocks, and other phenomena. They investigate the possibility of socioeconomic damage being caused by the events in question.

7. University of Wisconsin, Madison (Madison, WI)

The Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department has achieved a level of excellence that is unparalleled in its field thanks to the department’s faculty, which consists of 18 professors who are experts in a wide range of fields, including climate sciences, weather systems, and more. Thus, it is widely known as one of the best meteorology schools in the country.

University of Wisconsin front view

In addition to gaining an understanding of the atmosphere and ocean to make accurate forecasts of the weather, students and faculty members are exposed to some of the most significant challenges facing our society today.

Participants in the program investigate the chemistry of the air and its quality, as well as the radiation from the sun and the earth, clouds, precipitation, and other environmental factors that have an impact on our standard of living.

The accomplishments of the school’s various programs and projects contributed, at least in part, to the overall success of the institution. Recent events led to the institution’s selection as a partner community for the Bridge Program run by the American Geophysical Union. With these resources, the program will be able to continue to recruit members of underrepresented communities and keep them in the program.

8. University of Georgia (Athens, GA)

Even though the University of Georgia’s major in atmospheric sciences is a relatively recent addition to the list of available options, it has already distinguished itself as being among the very best meteorology schools in the US.

University of Georgia aerial view

This new major in atmospheric sciences better satisfies the requirements of potential employers in the field, building on the school’s prior success with its undergraduate certificate in atmospheric sciences.

The American Meteorological Society’s requirements have been satisfied by the major, which now places a greater emphasis on research and features a more comprehensive set of courses.

Because of this modification, the new program is ideally suited for individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in the field of meteorology. This degree satisfies the requirements set forth by the federal government for employment in the civil service as a meteorologist, as well as the educational prerequisites necessary to become a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist.

Graduates of the program can be found working in a variety of fields, including broadcast television, the National Weather Service, emergency management, the energy and utility industries, and more.

9. University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL)

Many things make the University of Miami one of the best meteorology schools. Students at the Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami have the opportunity to work on projects that are at the forefront of their fields of study in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences. The Rosensteil School allows its students to take part in exciting research projects, taking advantage of the fact that it is situated in an area that is known for having particularly interesting weather.

University of Miami front view where its signage is visible

These projects include a group called the atmospheric chemistry group, which is working to understand the role that gases and particles play in changing our climate and our overall air quality. Participants in the group travel to a variety of environments, such as forests, urban centers, high-latitude oceans, and others, to collect readings and measurements, which they then put to use in an analysis of the impact that atmospheric chemistry has on both human health and the climate.

Cloud and aerosol processes are also investigated by the scientists participating in the program, with a focus on the effects of how these processes interact with one another and with radiation. As a result of their work at the Cloud-Aerosol-Rain-Observatory in south Florida, these scientists have developed a deeper comprehension of how pollutants and smoke influence both air quality and climate.

10. Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)

The study of meteorology at Ohio State University presents students with challenges that go beyond those presented in the classroom. Additionally, it is a great deal of fun. The actions that the students carry out within their Meteorology Club provide tangible evidence of the passion that they hold for the subject.

Ohio State University welcome signage

The Club recently hosted its 25th Annual Severe Weather Symposium, where they invited experts from all over the world, including former students and faculty members of the institution. Members collaborated to move their studies forward by sharing their findings and research programs and working together to do so. The club is an essential component in ensuring that the program remains on the cutting edge.

Over the course of many years, the advocacy efforts of the club have made it possible for the department to acquire new resources, such as a system of solar-powered instruments and data logger equipment. Students will be able to more closely examine changes in the weather now that they have access to this material. Hence, Ohio State University is unquestionably among the best meteorology schools in the US.

How hard is a meteorology degree?

How challenging is it to get a degree in meteorology? A degree in meteorology or atmospheric science, like most other STEM degrees, can be challenging due to the requirement that students have a strong understanding of more advanced mathematical and physical concepts. Despite this, it’s also one of the most rewarding things you can do.

One is not restricted to providing the weather forecast for the five o’clock news; rather, one may find themselves specializing in atmospheric chemistry to monitor air pollution levels, climatology to monitor atmospheric changes and the overall climate of the earth, researching cyclogenesis and how tornadoes form, making weather predictions based off of computer forecasts and models, or even advising on legal cases for careers such as forensic meteorology!

Those individuals who are intent on earning a degree in atmospheric science have access to a vast array of potential opportunities. In addition, with such a degree, one has the opportunity to pursue careers in a wide variety of fields, including broadcast meteorology, the military, private industry, or public service, such as working for the National Weather Service.

What do meteorologists do?

What exactly is it that meteorologists do? There is a widespread misconception that a meteorologist is a person who presents the weather forecast on television. However, only a small portion of professional meteorologists work in television.

Research, teaching, consulting, and forecasting are just some of the activities that meteorologists engage in. They find work in public and private universities as well as private and public corporations.


To embark on a career in meteorology, you will need to have earned good to excellent grades throughout high school, particularly in the subjects of mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, English, and even social studies.

A strong command of calculus and physics is essential to excel in the field of meteorology, which is primarily a mathematical discipline. You should aim to complete high school with the knowledge and skills necessary to enroll in calculus courses at the college level, if at all possible.

The field of computer science is also very important, and it is helpful to acquire skills such as computer programming and keyboarding. Skills such as collaboration with others, the capacity to perform well under pressure, and the capacity to juggle multiple responsibilities will expand career opportunities.

Basic requirements

The entry-level requirement for a meteorologist is a bachelor’s degree in meteorology or atmospheric science, which typically takes four years to complete. Degree programs in meteorology can be found at a wide variety of educational institutions, such as the best meteorology schools mentioned above.

However, some schools offer degrees that are specific to meteorology, while others offer degrees that are specific to broadcast meteorology or atmospheric science; therefore, it is important to make an informed decision.

Outside of the required coursework in meteorology, you can expect to take 4 semesters of calculus, 2 semesters of physics, and a chemistry class within your first two years of college. This is on top of the required coursework in meteorology. During your junior and senior years, you will likely take the majority of your meteorology classes.

Additionally, graduating with a minor or additional coursework in computer hardware and software, communications, business, agriculture, geography, social sciences, chemistry, physics, or mathematics could be beneficial depending on the career path that you choose to pursue after college.

In addition, having a grade point average that is exceptional is of great assistance in finding work that pays well. Although the majority of meteorologists hold a Bachelor of Science degree, it is becoming increasingly common for them to also hold a Master’s degree or even a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.).

Having one of these more advanced degrees will, in most cases, increase one’s earning potential and open the door to a variety of specialized career paths. Anyone interested in a research career should be prepared to pursue a doctoral degree.

Job Market

The job market for meteorologists is extremely competitive because there is a greater supply of meteorologists than there is demand. At this time, universities and colleges in the United States produce anywhere from 600 to 1000 new meteorologists every single year. Even though attending one of the top meteorology schools is not required, doing so is strongly recommended for those looking to improve their employment prospects.

According to the findings of one research study, the number of entry-level positions in meteorology that are available in the market each year is roughly equivalent to only half of the number of newly-graduated meteorologists.

There has not been an increase in the number of new, traditional entry-level positions to coincide with the growing number of meteorologists entering the workforce, and there is no indication that this will change in the coming years. There are indications that there will be an increasing surplus of graduates in the field of meteorology in the years to come.

As a result, some meteorologists may have a difficult time finding a traditional job related to the weather. Increase your chances of getting hired for a meteorology-related job by showing that you are flexible in terms of job location and the type of work you are willing to do.

The private and public sectors are both experiencing an increase in the number of non-traditional jobs related to weather. In other words, you should focus on gaining employment first and then worry about the location of your job later on in your career.

The vast majority of people who enter the field of meteorology do so not for the financial rewards but rather for their passion for the study of climate and weather in general. A lengthy and satisfying career is ensured by possessing a variety of skills and being open to working in a range of positions related to the weather and climate.

AdmissionSight can assist you if you are interested in pursuing a degree in meteorology and are considering applying to one of the best meteorology schools.

We have more than ten years of expertise assisting students in navigating the tough admissions process to the greatest colleges in the globe. Consult with AdmissionSight and see what we can offer to make sure that you are well-prepared and knowledgeable enough to enter your choice of school.


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