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College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences

Meteorology

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Contact Information

OU School of Meteorology

Phone: (405) 325-6561

Email: dbarnhill@ou.edu

Website: som.ou.edu

Program Description

The weather affects everyone. Meteorologists study, observe, and predict variations in day-to-day weather and seasonal trends. Meteorologists have the knowledge to warn people of sever and hazardous weather, such as tornados, flash floods or hurricanes and possibly save hundreds of lives. Knowledge of meteorology is also used to investigate the causes of variations in our climate, in understanding the debate on climate change, and in predicting seasonal changes, such as droughts and heat waves. Meteorologists are also involved in the exploration and in increasing the efficiency of new energy sources such as wind energy and solar power. The economy of the nation has a $485 billion dollar sensitivity to weather variations, so that meteorology is also used to benefit society through water management, energy, aviation, health, and wide variety of business sectors.

Meteorology combines the excitement of studying the forces of nature with the elegance and rigor of mathematics and physics. Students interested in both weather and engineering will benefit from interdisciplinary opportunities of the Atmospheric Radar Research Center. Students can also pursue a number of specialized minor programs, including minors in mathematics, computer science, geography, business, and broadcast journalism for meteorology, which prepares interested students to become television broadcasters.

OU houses the nation’s largest meteorology department. The nationally ranked School of Meteorology gives students the opportunity to learn the skills needed to work in one the fastest-growing and most-influential career fields. In July 2006, OU completed construction of the National Weather Center. The School of Meteorology is now housed within the National Weather Center, giving students and faculty the unique opportunity to work with professionals in more than a dozen weather-related organizations, including NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory, Storm Prediction Center and National Weather Service Forecast Office. The National Weather Center is a world-class teaching and research facility.

If you would like to arrange a tour of the National Weather Center, the Prospective Student Services office will assist you in setting up a tour time.

Degree Options

A Meteorology student graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology degree. If students wish to continue their education, they can pursue a Master of Science in Meteorology, or a Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Interests & Skills

Meteorology students typically have interests in weather, math and science. High school preparation should include courses in math and science, including algebra, trigonometry, calculus, chemistry, physics and geographic sciences. Mathematics, physics and computer science form the foundation for meteorological studies.

Notable Achievements

The School has also produced Oklahoma's first resident elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences, graduated students who later became Directors of the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center, a Space Shuttle astronaut, two past Presidents of the American Meteorological Society and the state of Oklahoma’s first member of The National Science Board, which oversees The National Science Foundation. The School’s outstanding faculty includes 6 OU Presidential Professors, three OU Regents Professors, three current and two Emeritus OU George Lynn Cross Research Professors, and 13 Fellows of the American Meteorological Society (four emeriti). The School has 6 endowed chairs and two professorships.

The School has international exchange programs for undergraduates with the University of Reading in England, Monash University in Australia, Kyoto University in Japan, and the University of Hamburg in Germany.  The student body has organized their own tutoring and mentoring programs, forecast training opportunities at their Oklahoma Weather Laboratory, and outreach and social activities of the Student Chapter of the AMS.  The outstanding student body includes an incoming undergraduate class that was awarded six of the nation’s fourteen American Meteorological Society (AMS) undergraduate scholarships, awarded to the top high school students entering atmospheric science programs. The graduate program was also award-winning this year, with two new National Science Foundation (NSF) graduate fellows of the four to five awarded annually in each discipline.  These students join other undergraduates and graduates with prestigious national scholarships and fellowships, including participants in the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates program, NOAA Hollings Scholarship students, AMS Minority and Graduate Fellows, and other NSF Graduate Fellows.  The School has more American Meteorological Society Industry Graduate Fellowship students than any program in the nation. 

In addition to research in the Masters and PhD programs, the School has opportunities for undergraduate research including Capstone Projects for all seniors. The School has a world class research environment as the School collaborates with 5 OU research centers which are nationally-acclaimed (Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms; the South Central Regional Climate Science Center, Oklahoma Climatological Survey; Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies; Atmospheric Radar Research Center). In 2010, these centers, along with the School of Meteorology, had $14M in research expenditures and $40M of funded research projects. The School has more than 25 adjunct faculty members including nationally-recognized researchers from the NOAA organizations within the National Weather Center.

Program Accreditation

The School of Meteorology meets the national requirements for a professional meteorology school. Over half of our undergraduates attend graduate school.

The OU School of Meteorology was designated as a world leader in mesoscale, severe storms and radar research in a recent external review. The research expertise of the School spans from tropical to polar meteorology and from weather to climate studies. The School is ranked among the top five programs overall in research funding.

Your Future

Types of Employers

Private sector companies that
    use weather information
Academic careers (19 recent
    PhDs have become
    university professors)
Government agencies
Research institutes
Energy companies including
    wind, solar and natural gas
Private sector meteorological
    firms including forecast
    services
Broadcasting

Recent Graduates Jobs

Meteorologist, Oklahoma
    Mesonet
Meteorologist, National
    Weather Service
Oklahoma Department of
    Emergency Management
Financial analyst, OGE
Assistant professor at
    University of Nebraska
TV Broadcast Meteorologist
    (Dallas-Fort Worth market)
Meteorologist, U.S. Air Force

Experienced Alumni Jobs

Former Director, National
    Weather Service
Current Director, NOAA National
    Severe Storms Lab
Scientist, National Center for
    Atmospheric Research
Professors at Penn State
    University, Purdue, Texas Tech
    and other universities
Manager, OK Mesonet
Research Scientist, National
    Severe Storms Lab
President, Weather Decision
    Technologies