College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Advising - Zulauf Hall 201 - 815-753-0114

A 2 + 2 Plan Leading to a Bachelor of Science Degree in Meteorology


All degree requirements are subject to the provisions and notices in the NIU Undergraduate Catalog. Information is valid through August 2013.


B.S. Degree in Meteorology

The Department of Geography at Northern Illinois University invites students from Illinois community colleges to consider a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology. The meteorology program is housed in the Department of Geography. The baccalaureate degree program in meteorology provides an educational foundation and experience that will prepare students for public and private sector careers in applied meteorology, environmental meteorology, weather forecasting, broadcast meteorology, and applied climatology, as well as additional graduate education.

Approximately 50 percent of our majors transfer to NIU from community colleges. This brochure suggests a two-year program that will prepare community college students with the appropriate set of background courses to complete the degree program in meteorology. All degree programs in the Department of Geography are structured so that community college transfer students may complete their degree in two years, provided (1) enrollment begins in the fall semester, and (2) selected math and science courses, identified below, are completed prior to enrollment.

In addition to course work, preparation for a career in meteorology is enhanced by the many extracurricular opportunities and activities available at NIU. The department supports a remote weather station that has functioned as DeKalb's official National Weather Service climate station for nearly 40 years. The meteorology program has its own student chapter of the American Meteorological Society. The activities of this group are both professionally and socially oriented. Students interested in weather forecasting can hone their skills by making daily forecasts for the Northern Star, NIU's student newspaper, or by participating in the Inter-Collegiate Weather Forecasting Contest. Those with interests in long-term weather patterns, such as those related to El Niño/Southern Oscillation, often develop experience in climate analysis and forecasting through internships with public agencies or private firms in weather-sensitive industries.

Students pursuing the B.S. degree in meteorology are required to satisfy college requirements in mathematics and natural sciences.

The structure of the degree program in meteorology at NIU meets standards established by the American Meteorological Society for an undergraduate degree in atmospheric science and federal civil service requirements for positions entitled meteorologist. To properly prepare for career opportunities, students are encouraged to consult regularly with an adviser in the department.

Meteorology Requirements

CSCI 230 or CSCI 240
GEOG 105
GEOG 106
GEOG 300
GEOG 460
MATH 229
MATH 230
MATH 232
MATH 336
MET 300
MET 320
MET 410
MET 411
MET 421
PHYS 253
PHYS 273
STAT 301

+9 hrs. of electives from the following:

GEOG 370, Regional Climatology
GEOG 391C, Internship: Meteorology/Climatology
GEOG 406, Natural Hazards and Environmental Risk
GEOG 408, Tropical Environmental Hazards
GEOG 461, Applied Statistics in Geographic Research 
GEOG 491, Undergraduate Research in Geography
GEOG 492, Hydrology
GEOG 498C, Seminar: Meteorology/Climatology
MET 430, Micrometeorology
MET 431, Applications in Climatology
MET 444, Mesoscale Meteorology
MET 485, Atmospheric Physics
MET 491, Undergraduate Research in Meteorology

The Department of Geography at Northern has a legacy of strength in physical geography, mapping science, and urban/economic geography in addition to meteorology. Each of our degree programs, be they geography or meteorology, rests in a liberal arts tradition where specialization is second to a well-rounded education. Though requirements for the meteorology degree will fill much of a student's junior and senior years, we encourage meteorology students to broaden their earth science backgrounds and skills through other elective course work in the department. With a few additional select courses, it is possible to fulfill educational requirements for the federal civil service classification of hydrologist. The department has exceptional facilities in support of GIS and mapping science--one of the fastest growing information technology sectors today. Having a broader science and skills background can open vistas to career tracks in environmental fields not traditionally filled by meteorologists.

What Classes Should I Take at My Community College?

As you earn your associate's degree or work toward completion of the IAI General Education Core Curriculum, you should try to take classes that will satisfy requirements for your degree at NIU. For example, you must choose either a B.A. or B.S. sequence at NIU.  A B.S. at NIU requires you to take a combination of math and science courses.  A B.A. requires completion of a foreign language sequence or four years of a high school foreign language with grades of 'C' or better.  Check NIU’s Articulation Tables to see which classes will transfer to NIU from your community college.  For more details about these and other NIU requirements, consult the Undergraduate Catalog.

Suggested Semester Plan

Fall     Spring  
GEOG 105/106 4   COMS 100 3
ENGL 103 3   ENGL 104 3
Gen Ed 3   Gen Ed 3
Gen Ed 3   Gen Ed 3
Gen Ed       3   Gen Ed       3
  16     15

MATH 229 1 4   MATH 230 4
PHYS 253 4   PHYS 273 4
Gen Ed 3   CSCI 230/240 4
Elective       4   Gen Ed       4
  15     16

GEOG 460 3      
MET 300 4   GEOG 370 3
MATH 232 4   MET 320 3
STAT 301 4   MATH 336 3
GEOG 300       1   Electives     4-6
  16     13-15

Elective 300/400 3      
Elective 3      
MET 410 4   MET 411 4
MET 421 3   MET electives 2 6-9
MET elective2       3   Elective     2-3
  16     12-16

Minimum 120 total; 40 at the 300-400 level

1 For some students, the series of mathematics courses beginning with MATH 229 may be started during the freshman year. This would enhance course schedule flexibility during the last two years of the program.

2 Several of the advanced meteorology electives are offered on a two-year schedule. Students should consult with the department office or with the meteorology adviser for specific information.


Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University (NIU) is a major comprehensive university with over 25,000 students. It offers approximately 54 undergraduate and 75 graduate programs in the Colleges of Business, Education, Engineering and Engineering Technology, Health and Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Visual and Performing Arts.

The 786-acre main campus of Northern Illinois University is located in the city of DeKalb, a community of about 42,500 located 65 miles west of Chicago's Loop, on the East-West Tollway (I-88).

The campus, which features two lagoons and a wooded area, has grown from a single building in 1895 to a modern, 63-building campus. The first building, Altgeld Hall, originally known as "the Castle on the Hill," still stands and houses administrative offices.

Visit Our Website

Everything you ever wanted to know about the geography department, programs offered, or faculty and staff is right at your fingertips.

If you have access to the Internet, you can find our website at, and from there you can get in touch with the Northern Illinois University home page. This is very helpful for students interested in the university, and also gives information about the community, people, places, classes, events, etc.


For a current NIU Undergraduate Catalog and application materials, contact:

Office of Admissions
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115-­2857
(800) 892-­3050 (toll-free in Illinois)
or (815) 753-­0446


Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, status based on the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran. Further, the Constitution and Bylaws of Northern Illinois University provides for equal treatment regardless of political views or affiliation, and sexual orientation.