Does BSU have a Meteorology or Atmospheric Science major?

No, but much of the coursework in a typical meteorology program, such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, and computer science is available. Depending on your desired path in atmospheric science, you could pursue a Geography, Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, or Chemistry major. In addition, a minor in one or more of these fields is desirable considering the interdisciplinary nature of atmospheric science.

Should I be a geography major?

It certainly is worth considering. Geographers have a good sense of the world and how the environment interacts with natural and anthropogenic phenomena. Topics in geography including digital mapping and remote sensing are significant components of atmospheric science. Of course, there are many directions one could take in atmospheric science. If you were interested in cloud and thunderstorm development, a physics major might suit you better. If you would like to pursue a career in modelling, a computer science major with a minor in physics and mathematics would be desirable. Regardless of what major you choose, you should plan to at least minor in geography.

Who should I contact if I am interested in a track toward atmospheric science?

Robert Hellström
Science and Mathematics Center, Room 203
Tel: 508.431.2842
Email: rhellstrom@bridgew.edu

Can I become a meteorologist with ONLY a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography?

Most likely not. While BSU offers courses and independent study to prepare students for graduate school in atmospheric science, specific coursework required for the workforce, such as Atmospheric Dynamics, are not yet available. Students interested in becoming a meteorologists are encouraged to pursue undergraduate research and internships to prepare for graduate school in meteorology or atmospheric science.

What’s the difference between meteorologists, climatologists, or atmospheric scientists?

Meteorologists and atmospheric scientists are similar in that they study the weather. The two field names are used interchangeably although one could argue that a meteorologist is someone who focuses more on operational forecasting or broadcasting whereas an atmospheric scientist conducts research. An atmospheric scientist may never make a forecast as their research interests can be quite diverse. A climatologist looks a weather trends and data for long periods. They monitor changes to the environment and need to have a strong background in meteorology.

Where do meteorologists, climatologists, or atmospheric scientists work?

In the National Weather Service, military, private consulting firms, broadcasting networks, insurance companies, newspapers, airlines, airports, industrial farms, utility companies, schools and universities, disaster management, shipping companies, research institutions, and the list goes on.

Why should I pursue a masters in atmospheric science?

A graduate degree provides a solid background in atmospheric science and gives you a chance to conduct research with and collaborate with established scientists in the field. Also, the job market for meteorologists, climatologists, and atmospheric scientists is very competitive and many employers prefer masters degrees or PhDs. A masters degree can give you a competitive edge over students who graduated with only a bachelor’s degree in meteorology.

Have BSU (or BSC) Geography Majors been accepted to graduate school for atmospheric science?

Yes, students have been accepted to both Masters programs and Doctoral programs in atmospheric science.

I’ve never taken a meteorology course, would I be accepted to a graduate program in meteorology or atmospheric science?

Courses in meteorology are very valuable because they give you an introduction to the atmosphere to enhance your understanding and to help you choose a research focus. Most graduate programs do not require prior coursework in meteorology. Instead, students are accepted on the basis of their research preparation, overall character, and academic performance in science and mathematics.

Do I need to take calculus to be an atmospheric scientist?

Absolutely, Calculus is the language used to describe our atmosphere and is applied quite heavily in numerical modelling and upper level meteorology courses. You could get away with taking only two semesters of Calculus, but doing so would limit your choices of graduate schools. Most require Calculus up to Differential Equations.

What classes should I take to prepare for graduate school?

For Students