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Universities and Undergrad Meteorology Degrees

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Curious as to the current thinking about some of the most reputable meteorology degree programs.   I'm thinking more in terms of a high school student who has an intense interest in meteorology and where he might pursue a dedicated degreed program.

 

Years ago, I know these were some of the schools most frequently mentioned:

 

Penn State

Florida Sate

Arizona State

Colorado State

University of Oklahoma

 

I'm sure there are many others and would be interested to hear of personal experiences with any of the programs.

 

Also, in terms of emerging trends in the meteorology, what sub-specialities hold the most promise for a longer term career (e.g. modeling, severe wx research, climate, etc.)?

 

Thanks.

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Curious as to the current thinking about some of the most reputable meteorology degree programs.   I'm thinking more in terms of a high school student who has an intense interest in meteorology and where he might pursue a dedicated degreed program.

 

Years ago, I know these were some of the schools most frequently mentioned:

 

Penn State

Florida Sate

Arizona State

Colorado State

University of Oklahoma

 

I'm sure there are many others and would be interested to hear of personal experiences with any of the programs.

 

Also, in terms of emerging trends in the meteorology, what sub-specialities hold the most promise for a longer term career (e.g. modeling, severe wx research, climate, etc.)?

 

Thanks.

I believe Millersville University's program is well regarded.

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Thanks.  Have you had any personal experience w/Millersville yourself? If so, I'd be interested in feedback such as class sizes, instructor approachability, course selection, etc.

I attended classes there for a year before dropping out, but that was back in 2004. I don't remember much about the university itself. There are a few people here that attended MU, they'd probably be of more help.

I do remember classes being around 30 students (generally).

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Curious as to the current thinking about some of the most reputable meteorology degree programs.   I'm thinking more in terms of a high school student who has an intense interest in meteorology and where he might pursue a dedicated degreed program.

 

Years ago, I know these were some of the schools most frequently mentioned:

 

Penn State

Florida Sate

Arizona State

Colorado State

University of Oklahoma

 

I'm sure there are many others and would be interested to hear of personal experiences with any of the programs.

 

Also, in terms of emerging trends in the meteorology, what sub-specialities hold the most promise for a longer term career (e.g. modeling, severe wx research, climate, etc.)?

 

Thanks.

Two to add to the list that I can provide more details on if interested:

1) The University of Wisconsin-Madison -- I did my BS and MS there

2) The University of Maryland-College Park -- My PhD is from there and I am joining the faculty this summer.  Although they have just recently started an undergraduate major, it is well run, becoming reputable, and the local ties to NOAA and NASA offer a unique opportunity if you have interests in climate, NWP, data assimilation, forecasting, atmospheric chemistry, and/or many other topics....

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Two to add to the list that I can provide more details on if interested:

1) The University of Wisconsin-Madison -- I did my BS and MS there

2) The University of Maryland-College Park -- My PhD is from there and I am joining the faculty this summer.  Although they have just recently started an undergraduate major, it is well run, becoming reputable, and the local ties to NOAA and NASA offer a unique opportunity if you have interests in climate, NWP, data assimilation, forecasting, atmospheric chemistry, and/or many other topics....

 

Super!  Good points about UM-CP. 

 

For a kid coming out of high school in the next couple of years, what are some suggestions you would provide in terms of preparation for an undergrad meteorology program (no doubt strong math/science background is a must)?  I'm thinking not just about in-school stuff but also external things to enhance one's chances of acceptance into a degreed meteorology program.  Just FYI, my son is in ninth grade right now, but it's never too soon to "prepare to prepare".

 

I'm also interested in sub-speciality areas that seem to have the most room for growth in the coming years.  Any ideas you have there would be appreciated.

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Super!  Good points about UM-CP. 

 

For a kid coming out of high school in the next couple of years, what are some suggestions you would provide in terms of preparation for an undergrad meteorology program (no doubt strong math/science background is a must)?  I'm thinking not just about in-school stuff but also external things to enhance one's chances of acceptance into a degreed meteorology program.  Just FYI, my son is in ninth grade right now, but it's never too soon to "prepare to prepare".

 

I'm also interested in sub-speciality areas that seem to have the most room for growth in the coming years.  Any ideas you have there would be appreciated.

I don't really have suggestions specific to meteorology.  A strong general science and math background will be important eventually, but it is more important to be well rounded, get good grades, work on communication skill (speaking and writing)....i.e., things that will help you get into any good college or university. 

 

In terms of sub-specialty, that really does not become as much of an issue until you reach the point of doing undergraduate research, going to graduate school, or pursuing a specific career path such as NWS.  To be honest, even most graduate students do not  have a sub-specialty chosen ahead of time, but instead enter with "general interests" to help sort out getting matched up with a primary adviser.  Feel free to PM me to get an email address if you have more specific questions about schools, degrees, career options, etc.

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UAlbany and NC State need some representation in this thread. Virginia Tech's fairly new program for undergrads seems to be thriving.

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I'm not a meteorologist, but I do have a Ph.D. in another area of the physical sciences.

 

He should just go to the best, most competitive, undergraduate school he can get into, and that he likes.

 

Small liberal arts.., large university.., it doesn't matter.

 

A career in meteorology almost certainly involves a graduate degree, and it isn't necessary to study meteorology as an undergrad to go to even the best meteorology grad schools.

 

Math, physics, chemistry.., could  all be good prep for grad school in meteorology, and coming from a good undergrad school is definitely a help in getting into a good grad school.

 

And, maybe he'll get to college and decide he likes something else. If he's in a school where all the departments are good, he'll be much happier.

 

If, for example, he studies math at a good school as an undergrad, his opportunities after undergrad school will be almost unlimited. Ph.D. in meteorology, Ph.D. in econ, good job at a bank, law school.., whatever.., all are possible.

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UAlbany and NC State need some representation in this thread. Virginia Tech's fairly new program for undergrads seems to be thriving.

As a current student at UAllbany, I can say I highly recommend this program. It has expanded significantly in the past few years, with several faculty hirings and an expansion project planned. The expansion project will place the atmospheric science and environmental science departments in the same (NEW!) building as the Albany NWS as well as other unspecified, but weather related companies. UAlbany has been a contender in WxChallenge (I suggest Googling it if you don't know about it) lately and has the best faculty IMO out of any of the colleges I visited. Not saying other colleges don't have amazing faculty/staff, but UAlbany really found some gems. Another HUGE plus is the class sizes are very small (20 absolute max), leading to very personalized learning. 

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Thanks, everyone, for your comments, so far.

 

Any thoughts on future career paths in meteorology that have promising growth potential?  I realize that projecting trends 7 to 9 years out (an eternity) in a rapidly changing environment is not all that useful, but I'm also interested just for my own edification. Near term trends are fine.

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I'd also recommend checking out Plymouth State University in NH as that is both my BS and MS alma mater. It's a fantastic program with a tightly knit group of faculty and students. Academics are a mix of theoretical and operational meteorology as one complements the other.

 

Since the meteorology program is a lot smaller than some of the larger schools mentioned above, there is a lot more in the way of student-professor interaction at the undergraduate level. Plymouth is also a classic New England college town close to the White Mountains and skiing.

 

Although a competitor to Plymouth, Lyndon State College in Vermont is another small, but terrific program for undergraduate meteorology.

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Thanks, everyone, for your comments, so far.

Any thoughts on future career paths in meteorology that have promising growth potential? I realize that projecting trends 7 to 9 years out (an eternity) in a rapidly changing environment is not all that useful, but I'm also interested just for my own edification. Near term trends are fine.

Right now anything related to tech/programming is highly desirable, and probably will still be in 5-10 years. Some companies with international clients may prefer people who know multiple languages, but that's not necessarily in high demand.

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I'll throw in Millersville University in the mix too. Very hard science (math + physics) based and we've been getting a lot of research opportunities lately. Just in the past 3 years we've had teams deployed to California (2x), Texas, and New York (Lake Effect Snow).

 

http://www.millersville.edu/esci/meteorology/

My HS guidance counselor said that MU was up there with Penn State as far as quality of degree in meteorology, and at 1/4 of the price (a little over $3k/semester vs $16k/semester for in-state students), it's a great option.

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I'll throw up my hand for Rutgers in here, too - gotta represent! :P

At the high school level I'd reiterate what dtk said about just being good overall, focusing on math and science, but not neglecting writing ability, either. IIRC to get into undergraduate programs most met programs aren't overly competitive for that specific program (i.e. in general, if you can get into the University at large, you can get into the met program). It gets much more competitive at the graduate level, and that is where I'd say programming skills are a necessity and becoming increasingly invaluable. There's no harm in learning programming skills early on but I wouldn't really say it is a prerequisite to getting into an undergraduate program.

As for choosing a school, there are certainly reputable programs over lesser known ones, but I'd definitely say choose the one that is most affordable and has the right "fit". You can get a great education from most programs and I've known brilliant folks from small, unknown programs and I've wondered how certain people have degrees from the "reputable" ones -- IMO it is definitely strongly dependent on the individual student and how much they will seek out. A great education can be obtained at most universities. From my perspective the only advantage one may have at a larger program may be more opportunities for research, which will be good if one is looking to go to grad school. But again, even that is a large generalization.Good luck! :)

2) The University of Maryland-College Park -- My PhD is from there and I am joining the faculty this summer.

Congrats!

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I wouldn't get hung up on a particular met school. Folks are pretty much going to suggest their Alma maters. The curriculum will be similar at each school and like anything else in life, you get what you give. For side courses I'd take as much comp sci and GIS as you can.

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I wouldn't get hung up on a particular met school. Folks are pretty much going to suggest their Alma maters. The curriculum will be similar at each school and like anything else in life, you get what you give. For side courses I'd take as much comp sci and GIS as you can.

Recommend every word of this answer.

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I wouldn't get hung up on a particular met school. Folks are pretty much going to suggest their Alma maters. The curriculum will be similar at each school and like anything else in life, you get what you give. For side courses I'd take as much comp sci and GIS as you can.

 

It definitely is not a field like law where a firm is going to crap on some applicants for a job based on where they got degrees, regionally there is no doubt if you are going for a job on the East Coast they may look more favorably on a person from PSU, Albany, or FSU than they would from San Jose State but thats purely a home bias thing and not sure in the end its ever really a deciding factor if ever.  I find as a whole smaller schools tend to focus more on the forecasting aspect than the bigger ones do, knowing about 100 OU grads personally almost all told me they had to learn all of their forecasting skills once on the job. 

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It definitely is not a field like law where a firm is going to crap on some applicants for a job based on where they got degrees, regionally there is no doubt if you are going for a job on the East Coast they may look more favorably on a person from PSU, Albany, or FSU than they would from San Jose State but thats purely a home bias thing and not sure in the end its ever really a deciding factor if ever.  I find as a whole smaller schools tend to focus more on the forecasting aspect than the bigger ones do, knowing about 100 OU grads personally almost all told me they had to learn all of their forecasting skills once on the job.

I've always thought that too, but the more I work with folks from different schools the more I find out the smaller schools like Lyndon State and UNCA had pretty much the same amount of organized synoptic forecasting coursework as we did at Iowa State. Basically, they learned much of their forecasting from casual met clubs or national forecasting competitions. I'm sure there are exceptions for both large and small schools, though.

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