What do meteorologists do?
The field of atmospheric science includes a diverse array of topics and applications, including the study of climate and climate change, air pollution and the associated environmental impacts, weather analysis and forecasting, remote sensing, atmospheric physics and dynamics, and interactions between the atmosphere and other components of the earth system. The advantage of a combined marine, earth, and atmospheric science department allows our students to obtain an integrated education that emphasizes application of scientific principles to real, cutting-edge problems. The faculty expertise in atmospheric sciences at NC State emphasizes application of theory and state-of-the-art technology to environmental problems. Examples include study of the impacts of air quality on the local environment, investigation of global climate change, improving flood prediction, and the operational forecasting of local weather phenomena such as winter storms, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes.
Opportunities for meteorology majors at NC State
Suppose that a band of strong thunderstorms is approaching the city of Raleigh, North Carolina ahead of a fast-moving cold front. Weather forecasters have anticipated the potential for severe weather in the form of large hail and damaging winds. As storm spotters and the general public begin to phone in reports of damage, undergraduate meteorology students from NC State University are working alongside professional National Weather Service forecasters to construct detailed analyses of current conditions and to help issue local storm reports. This hypothetical scenario is a reality at NC State, due to the presence of a National Weather Service Forecast Office (NWSFO) on the NCSU campus. This arrangement affords meteorology students with a unique opportunity to gain exposure to professional meteorology during the course of their education. This is but one of several examples of how the facilities and learning environment at NC State University provide a professional advantage to our students and faculty.
Our undergraduate majors qualify students for the full spectrum of employment opportunities while also preparing them for possible graduate education. The proximity of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) center in nearby Research Triangle Park, the NC Department of Air Quality (DAQ), a strong working relation with the local media, and the presence of the State Climate Office (SCO) and a NWS forecast office on the NCSU campus provide our students with a broad range of internship and employment possibilities. Our undergraduate students pursue careers in air quality, weather forecasting, meteorological research, broadcast meteorology, and obtain positions with the armed forces. Excellent scholarship opportunities are provided by the Air Force ROTC program. Other exciting professional development opportunities in the NCSU meteorology program include student-led weather forecasting for WKNC radio, weekly student weathercasts for the Carolina Week student-run news program, and two active local chapters of the American Meteorological Society (one student chapter, and the Central Carolina chapter). A significant fraction of our strong undergraduates go on to graduate school in the atmospheric sciences. Advanced degrees are advantageous for those wishing to pursue research-oriented careers in this field. Graduate students in our program find employment with the National Weather Service, at governmental research laboratories, and as faculty at other universities.
A strong high school foundation in the natural sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, earth sciences), mathematics (analytic geometry and calculus), and in communication skills (speaking and writing) is essential.
Undergraduate Atmospheric Science Degree Programs:
For more detailed information on individual Atmospheric Research groups, see our Atmospheric Research page.
» For information on undergraduate programs, contact:
Assistant Director of Undergraduate Programs
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