Initial Publication Date: May 1, 2013

Meteorology-Climatology at University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Information for this profile was provided by Deborah Bathke, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Information is also available on the program website. Students in this program are pursuing a bachelors degree.

Program Design & Assessment


The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences offers a program leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology-climatology. This program combines basic atmospheric science courses with a rigorous training in mathematics, computer science, and physics.

Strengths of this program

The Meteorology-Climatology program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is rigorous, but flexible. All students completing the degree program meet the hiring requirements of the federal government for employment as a meteorologist. However, students are given the flexibility to pursue their own interests within the broad field of atmospheric sciences through the selection of electives and a capstone course.

Types of students served

  • Atmospheric science students preparing for graduate school or employment in state, federal, and private agencies which are involved in the many operational and applied fields of meteorology-climatology
  • Environmental studies students emphasizing in meteorology, climatology, or applied climatology
  • Math, physics, computer science, and environmental studies students interested in applications of these disciplines
  • Education majors working toward a science teaching certificate
  • Students needing general science credit

Program Goals

Students completing the Meteorology-Climatology degree program will acquire knowledge of:

  • Basic Processes of the Atmosphere: Understand the thermodynamics, forces responsible for atmospheric motion, and the interactions of radiation in the atmosphere and with the Earth's surface.
  • Analytical Methods: Understand and apply appropriate mathematical, statistical, and computer programming techniques and methods necessary to solve problems in the atmospheric sciences.
  • Prediction and Forecasting Techniques: Synthesize a broad understanding of the basic processes of the atmosphere to generate short and long term predictions of weather and climate.
  • Atmospheric Measurements: Understand the principles of sensor characteristics and sources of error; use relevant radar, satellite, and surface instrumentation; interpret and evaluate data needed to understand basic concepts, conduct research, and make forecasts.
  • Interactions and Feedbacks of the Atmosphere: Understand how the atmosphere interacts with other components of the Earth System to exchange matter and energy on short and long timescales.

Students completing the Meteorology-Climatology degree program will have opportunities for:

  • Breadth and Specialization: Select from a wide variety of courses including air pollution, boundary layer meteorology, broadcast meteorology, global climate change, radar meteorology, and tropical meteorology with opportunities to specialize in specific aspects of the atmospheric sciences.
  • Conducting Scientific Research: Engage in cutting-edge research with faculty through the University's Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences, funded research grants, and independent studies.
  • Professional Development: Integrate classroom learning with practical applications through internships; participate in department-sponsored professional development workshops.

Students completing the Meteorology-Climatology degree program will use:

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills: Generate a scholarly product in a capstone course that requires disciplinary knowledge, technical proficiency, information collection, and the synthesis and interpretation of data.
  • Oral, Written, and Multi-Media Communication: Use and apply communication skills to address diverse audiences through multi-media presentations of research, current weather events, and forecasts; visual displays of atmospheric data; written scientific reports; and educational demonstrations to lay audiences.

The learning goals were informed by the following resources:

  • U.S. Office of Personnel Management occupational requirements for the Meteorology Series, 1340
  • American Meteorological Society information statement for undergraduate programs in atmospheric science
  • Atmospheric Science Literacy Framework and Climate Science Literacy Essential Principles
  • Discussions with colleagues at other institutions (e.g., biennial AMS Heads and Chairs Meetings)
  • Alumni Advisory Board

How program goals are assessed

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln requires students within each major to complete an approved capstone course in which they must "Generate a creative or scholarly product that requires broad knowledge, appropriate technical proficiency, information collection, synthesis, interpretation, presentation, and reflection."

To evaluate the effectiveness of its program in meteorology-climatology, each major also participates in an exit survey in their last semester to gather information about the program from the student's perspective.

Design features that allow goals to be met

  • The Meteorology-Climatology curriculum is designed so that students take a set of core courses in which they learn the basic processes and interactions and feedbacks of the Earth's atmosphere. These courses form a foundational base upon which broader or more specialized knowledge can be developed.
  • Elective courses and two capstone options within the major give students the option to emphasize in a subfield of the atmospheric sciences.
  • Ancillary coursework in mathematics, computer science, and physics teach students appropriate analytical methods and techniques which students then apply to atmospheric data in laboratory sections of meteorology-climatology courses.
  • Multiple course options are available for students to learn meteorological measurements and instrumentation.
  • The meteorology-climatology degree program fulfills the recommended curriculum of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). The degree program also meets or exceeds the minimum hiring requirements of the federal government for employment as a meteorologist. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a member of UCAR.

Alumni Careers

Graduation rate

Approximately 10-15

Careers pursued by our alumni

  • Graduate school in Atmospheric Science or related fields
  • Employment with federal agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service, and the military
  • Private weather consulting
  • Broadcast meteorology
  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Business
  • Other professional occupations requiring a strong scientific base

Courses and Sequencing

Diagram of course sequencing and requirements

Supporting Materials

UNL Meteorology-Climatology Course Requirements (Acrobat (PDF) 334kB May1 13)
UNL Meteorology-Climatology Course Scheduling (Acrobat (PDF) 294kB May1 13)