Choosing the Best College for Meteorology in the USA
written by: Mihir Shah•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 9/20/2010
Although one of the less talked-about majors at the university, meteorology is steadily growing in popularity. Pennsylvania State University, or Penn State, is the epitome of an excellent, almost ideal meteorology and atmospheric college program; however, there are several other prominent schools.
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Meteorology Colleges in the USA
What is the best college meteorology program in the USA? Although there are no set rankings for the best meteorology college programs, one program is clearly known to be the strongest and most durable: Pennsylvania State University, better known as Penn State. In fact, it is one of the largest and oldest programs the nation has to offer. Meteorology can be defined as an atmospheric science, or the study of weather patterns, forecasting, and atmospheric conditions that can affect how the world works. Aside from Penn State, the most reputable programs with the most rigorous curricula and success rates would be Colorado State, University of Wisconsin, and the University of Washington.
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Open since 1855, Penn State has abundant resources and is known for producing on-camera meteorologists that are seen daily on the news channel. Penn State has consistently ranked as one of the top research schools for earth science and atmospheric science, getting funding from a number of different agencies to further their research. Selling points for Penn State include the ability to boast the largest student-run weather service in the nation, coincidentally drawing a large out-of-state population to their university.
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Colorado State University
Colorado State University (CSU) is one of the better research programs for meteorology. Using the Radar Meteorology Group, the Department of Atmospheric Science at the university studies cloud properties and forecasts. CSU conducts fieldwork throughout the world and is an excellent program to gain exposure through research. Currently, the program is funded by top science organizations: the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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University of Washington
The Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington is world-renowned for its environmental research efforts in the states. Their primary focus is on climate change, weather forecasting, air quality, atmospheric chemistry, and so forth. Throughout their history, the University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences department has received a number of prestigious honors: the NASA Distinguished Public Services Medal, Norbert Gerbier-Mumm International Award, American Astronomical Society Kuiper Prize, and others.
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University of Wisconsin
In the sixty years since the inception of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, the meteorology program has been distinguished nationally. The focus at the University of Wisconsin is on theory, modeling, and diagnostic studies. Their areas of strength include climate systems, satellite and remote sensing, and weather systems.
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Ultimately, the question, "What is the best college meteorology program in the USA," cannot be answered with four or five schools. There are a myriad of colleges that offer the meteorology programs; however, the particular program may be named differently. In any case, Penn State, CSU, University of Washington, and the University of Wisconsin are the most reputed of the meteorology programs. Honorable mentions are Oklahoma State and Florida State University.