Meteorology is a physical science involving study of the atmosphere and its interaction with the earth’s surface, oceans, and living things. Meteorologists study issues ranging from how plants, buildings and the landscape affect atmospheric processes to the mechanisms that fuel severe storms. They extrapolate weather model forecasts to local settings and study the impact of weather and climate on human life and the environment. Whether you have your head in the clouds or are simply intrigued by theimpact of weather and climate on our daily lives, meteorology may be the major for you.
NIU’s Meteorology program was the first program of its kind offered by an Illinois public university. We are now among the largest undergraduate-only programs in North America. Our Meteorology curriculum is modeled after National Weather Service and American Meteorological Society standards and includes elective coursework in weather analysis, forecasting, applied climatology, and hazards.
Our laboratory includes the same training modules used by the National Weather Service and the private sector. Students have access to real-time meteorological data, including Doppler radar and satellite imagery, surface and upper-air data, and a full suiteof numerical model data. State-of-the-art software packages and a digital map with current observations across the U.S. provide a backdrop for interactive, student-led weather discussions.
Research and internship opportunities provide experiences that give you distinct advantages in the work place. Our students conduct research with NOAA and the National Weather Service. They work on faculty-led research projects, forecast for the campus newspaper and TV station, and operate the DeKalb-area National Weather ServiceCooperative Weather Station. Students are severe weather watchers and conduct weather awareness seminars. Many complete internships with top meteorologists, such as WGN-TV’s Tom Skilling. As a result of these experiences and their degree credentials, our graduates find work with the NOAA Climate Service, the National Weather Service, private sector weather consulting firms, and with major media outlets.
Visit our scholarship page to find information about the competitive awards available to students at all levels.
NIU graduates with a degree in Meteorology are enjoying successful careers in weather forecasting, broadcast and research meteorology, air pollution control, climatology, aeronautical and marine meteorology, consulting, natural hazards warning and mitigation, and risk assessment. Many pursue graduate degrees in atmospheric science, geography, and environmental science.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, moderate growth is expected in this field, with computerized technology contributing to an increased need for atmospheric scientists in private industry as demand for more specialized weather information increases.
— Tamara Houston, physical scienctist for NOAA's National Climatic Data Center
Our undergraduate program, which leads to a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology, is highly structured, with a core curriculum that includes a foundation course in physical meteorology, a two-course sequence in synoptic meteorology, a two-course sequence in atmospheric dynamics, remote sensing, and additional coursework in statistics and a computer programming language. Elective courses in the weather analysis and forecasting specialization examine topics ranging from how plants, buildings and the landscape affect atmospheric processes to the extrapolation of weather model forecasts. Coursework in the applied climatology specialization focuses on the impacts of weather and climate on the environment and how we can use weather and climate information to adapt our behaviors to the risk and uncertainty of climate change.