Climatology Schools and Degree Programs

Climatologists predict future weather conditions for different seasons and assist in planning agricultural land use or building projects based on anticipated weather conditions. Read on to learn more about relevant degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels and tips for picking a school. Schools offering Science, Technology, and International Security degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Climatology is the study of the motions, chemical makeup and processes of the atmosphere over a period of months or years to determine how changes will affect future weather conditions. It differs from meteorology in that it focuses on prior and future, but not current, weather. Therefore, climatologists collect data about variations in wind, sun, rain and temperatures in a specific area over a period of time, analyze it to identify trends, monitor air quality and predict future weather.

Schools Look for a curriculum meeting professional association standards and internship opportunities
Programs Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy
Courses Climate impacts, dynamic meteorology, electromagnetic theory, microclimatology, statistical mechanics

Which Climatology Degree Programs Are Available?

Climatology programs are components of a school's earth science, atmospheric science, geography, urban planning or oceanography department. Studies in the field can be combined with meteorology and other science degree programs.

Available 4-year degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology and Climatology, Atmospheric Sciences, Geography or Meteorology with a concentration in climatology or climate science. Most entry-level positions with the National Weather Service (NWS) require at least a bachelor's degree. Programs may be offered in an online format.

What About Graduate Degree Programs?

At the post-graduate level, potential degrees include a Master of Science in Atmospheric Science, Geography with a specialization in climatology or Biometeorology with a specialization in climatology. Master's degree programs typically require two years of study.

Potential doctoral degrees include a Doctor of Philosophy in Climate, Physics and Chemistry, Atmospheric Science, Climate Dynamics or Biometeorology with a specialization in climatology. These programs usually require at least four years of study and are designed for individuals interested in research or teaching careers. Courses are offered part and full-time.

What Subjects Will I Study in an Undergraduate Program

In a bachelor's degree program, you may learn about dynamic, satellite, physical and synoptic meteorology. Field trips, outdoor studies, lab research projects and internships supplement lectures. You might also cover some of the following course topics in your undergraduate degree program:

  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Geographic information systems
  • Airflow dynamics
  • Air pollution
  • Hydrology
  • Advanced geometry

What Will I Study in a Graduate Degree Program?

Climatology master's degree programs may also offer you the chance to complete internships, research projects and a thesis paper or project. Some doctoral degree programs allow you to plan your curriculum based on your interests, but you generally study weather predictability, atmospheric radiation and planetary atmospheres. You may also teach undergraduate students and in most cases are expected to write and defend a dissertation. These courses may be covered in a graduate degree program:

  • Electromagnetic theory
  • Microclimatology
  • Agro-meteorology
  • Climate impacts
  • Atmospheric dynamics
  • Mathematical physics
  • Statistical mechanics

How Should I Select A School?

When selecting a school, determine whether a prospective program's curriculum complies with the educational requirements established by the NWS, American Meteorological Society (AMS) or the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). Attending a program that complies with these association's standards may help prepare you for employment.

Also, consider the impact that internships may have on your future job search. The networking opportunities internships offer allow you to establish contacts with future employers, possibly making your job search easier upon graduation. Consider these schools that offer climatology degree programs:

  • San Jose State University (CA)
  • Oregon State University (Corvallis)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge)
  • Arizona State University (Tempe)
  • Ball State University (Muncie, IN)

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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