Best Meteorology Schools

Updated on January 4, 2024

Meteorology is a fascinating and important field that studies the atmosphere, weather, and climate. An advanced degree in meteorology can lead to careers as weather forecasters, atmospheric scientists, climate researchers, and more. Here are 10 of the top meteorology schools in the United States based on factors like academics, research output, and career outcomes.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA

Rating: 9.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 7%

Avg SAT: 1520

Tuition: $53,450

Avg Salary: $97,300

Website: http://eapsweb.mit.edu

MIT is world renowned for its meteorology and climate science program. As part of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), the meteorology curriculum emphasizes real-world problem solving skills. The program is very interdisciplinary and students take courses across departments. MIT also has exceptional research facilities and abundant resources for students.

University of Oklahoma

Norman, OK

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 83%

Avg SAT: 1210

Tuition: $9,060 (in-state), $24,860 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $62,100

Website: https://www.ou.edu/cas/metorology

The University of Oklahoma is home to one of the oldest, largest, and most reputable meteorology programs in the country. It has its own School of Meteorology with cutting-edge facilities like weather radars, supercomputers, and storm chasing vehicles. Students get abundant field research opportunities and learn from expert faculty. Graduates have an excellent job placement rate.

Penn State University

University Park, PA

Rating: 8.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 56%

Avg SAT: 1300

Tuition: $18,450 (in-state), $34,858 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $60,300

Website: https://www.met.psu.edu/

Penn State’s meteorology program emphasizes the science behind weather forecasting and atmospheric processes. The curriculum covers the physics, chemistry and computer modeling skills needed for modern weather prediction. Facilities include radar systems, weather balloons, and a university-run weather forecasting center. Students also get opportunities to interact with professional forecasters.

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, CO

Rating: 8.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 80%

Avg SAT: 1165

Tuition: $12,900 (in-state), $27,391 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $58,400

Website: http://www.atmos.colostate.edu/

Colorado State University is located in an ideal place to study weather and climate. It has specialties in subjects like precipitation, severe storms and atmospheric chemistry. As part of the atmospheric science department, students take a mix of meteorology, math, physics and chemistry courses. Researchers also work on projects to improve weather modeling and forecasting.

University of Washington

Seattle, WA

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 52%

Avg SAT: 1325

Tuition: $11,839 (in-state), $38,166 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $60,100

Website: https://atmos.uw.edu/

The atmospheric sciences program at the University of Washington covers topics like remote sensing, atmospheric chemistry, climate change and cloud physics. Students learn quantitative and analytical skills for weather analysis and forecasting. The curriculum also explores recent advances in the field through seminar-based courses. Research opportunities are available through various climate centers and field sites.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 63%

Avg SAT: 1390

Tuition: $15,898 (in-state), $32,736 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $59,000

Website: https://atmosillinois.scs.illinois.edu/

The University of Illinois’ atmospheric sciences major incorporates physics, chemistry, mathematics and geography to provide an understanding of weather processes and systems. Students get access to extensive computing facilities, weather instruments, and field research projects. The program also partners with agencies like the National Weather Service to give students professional experience.

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

Rating: 7.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 62%

Avg SAT: 1230

Tuition: $9,222 (in-state), $28,843 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $55,800

Website: https://met.utah.edu/

The atmospheric sciences department at the University of Utah has expertise in mountain meteorology, numerical weather prediction, and remote sensing. Undergraduate students start with foundation courses in atmospheric physics, chemistry, and dynamics before specializing further. Many students participate in field studies and internships to apply their meteorology skills.

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

Rating: 7.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 36%

Avg SAT: 1300

Tuition: $5,656 (in-state), $21,683 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $52,900

Website: https://eoas.fsu.edu/

At Florida State University, undergraduate meteorology students focus on weather analysis, short-term forecasting, and interpreting numerical models. The location provides lots of opportunities to study severe storms, hurricanes, and other weather events in the field. FSU also operates an on-campus meteorology center with a TV studio for creating weather broadcasts.

University of Missouri

Columbia, MO

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 78%

Avg SAT: 1255

Tuition: $11,826 (in-state), $30,685 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $53,700

Website: https://atmos.missouri.edu/

The University of Missouri’s atmospheric science program emphasizes hands-on learning in the field and the classroom. Students get frequent opportunities to launch weather balloons, use radar systems, and storm chase. They take courses in operational forecasting, instrumentation, and statistics alongside physics and calculus. This prepares graduates for media or research careers.

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 12%

Avg SAT: 1495

Tuition: $58,586

Avg Salary: $63,400

Website: https://eoas.cornell.edu/

Cornell University offers an atmospheric science major covering the physics, dynamics, and chemistry of the atmosphere. Students use climate models, collect environmental data in the field, and take lab courses. The flexible curriculum accommodates specialization in subjects like atmospheric physics, climate change, or air quality. Undergraduate research opportunities are also readily available.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What degree do I need to become a meteorologist?

Most meteorologist positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in meteorology, atmospheric science, or physics. Some research roles and leadership positions prefer a master’s or doctoral degree. Studying math, statistics, chemistry and computer science is also helpful.

Should I get certified as a meteorologist?

Earning meteorologist certification from the American Meteorological Society can make you more competitive for media and research careers. It shows you meet knowledge standards in weather forecasting, data analysis and communication. Many employers view certification as a plus.

What skills are most important for meteorologists?

Important skills for meteorologists include math/statistics, physics knowledge, computer literacy, critical thinking, spatial perspective, communication, and visualization abilities. Good meteorologists can analyze multiple sources of data, understand scientific principles, and present weather information clearly.

What college has the best meteorology program?

Some of the best undergraduate meteorology programs are at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Oklahoma, Penn State, Colorado State University and University of Washington according to student outcomes, research activity, and program resources.

Can I work as a meteorologist with an associate’s degree?

An associate’s degree in atmospheric science or meteorology technology may qualify graduates for some entry-level assistant roles. But most career meteorologist jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree and coursework meeting professional knowledge standards.

What classes do meteorology majors take?

Common courses in meteorology programs include atmospheric thermodynamics, atmospheric dynamics, physical meteorology, synoptic meteorology, weather analysis, mesoscale meteorology, atmospheric physics, environmental calculus, physics, remote sensing, and more. Statistics and climate courses are common too.

Is meteorology a good career?

Meteorology is a solid, promising career path especially if you enjoy weather and math/science topics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 8% job growth for atmospheric scientists and meteorologists between 2021-2031. Career satisfaction is also usually high.

How much do meteorologists make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual pay for atmospheric scientists and meteorologists was $104,680 as of 2021. Salaries vary based on factors like location, education level, certification status, specific job role and experience.

Should I major or minor in meteorology?

Majoring ensures you take all recommended courses to meet meteorologist qualifications after graduating. Minoring provides a good science background but may leave knowledge gaps, so additional coursework is advised before seeking certification or full-time meteorology work.

What other careers combine meteorology?

Some common careers merging meteorology with other disciplines include meteorology professor, atmospheric chemist, air quality scientist, climate researcher, weather risk analyst, weather broadcaster, renewable energy consultant and environmental consultant.

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Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.