What is meteorology?

Meteorology majors acquire the knowledge and skills needed to understand one of the most influential phenomena on our planet: the weather. As a meteorology major, you’ll acquire knowledge about both the scientific and human elements of weather systems, combining an understanding of atmospheric physics and forecasting with a significant focus on geospatial technology. This unique feature will allow you to better understand the impacts that weather has on the ground in the day-to-day lives of people.

Learn more about this major and the Department of Geography.

What will I learn in this major?

Students majoring in meteorology take courses in a variety of core areas that include geography, mapping and geospatial information science (GIS), human systems, math, physics, and statistics. Students must also complete degree requirements in the study of meteorology such as an introduction and survey of meteorology, weather analysis, severe weather, dynamic meteorology, synoptic meteorology, and physical meteorology.   

Students can participate in the annual Hokie Storm Chase, which tracks severe weather across Tornado Alley in the Great Plains in late May

Why study meteorology at Virginia Tech?

  • Virginia Tech’s meteorology program is distinguished from most others due to its incorporation of geospatial information technology within the study of classical meteorology. Students learn to predict severe weather and to model and assess its impacts on landscape features and the human environment.
  • The National Weather Service (NWS) office in Blacksburg serves as a partner of the Virginia Tech meteorology program.
  • Students have the opportunity to participate in the Hokie Storm Chase, a field course in severe weather forecasting that takes students to the Great Plains. Students learn how to predict thunderstorms and tornadoes and, weather permitting, are able to observe these wonders of nature firsthand.
  • Hands-on learning is a hallmark of the program. Students are required to complete a field experience that may include any of the following: study abroad, undergraduate research, an internship, a field experience offered through the department, or service learning.
  • Student clubs and organizations such as the Meteorology Club at Virginia Tech provide an opportunity to connect with others with similar interests and get involved on campus and in the community.   

What can I do with a degree in meteorology?

Graduates in meteorology may enter the job market or pursue a graduate degree in the field. Career possibilities are listed below. Some potential employers include NASA, FEMA, NOAA, the National Weather Service, the shipping industry, power companies, airlines, the military, the U.S. Department of Defense, television and radio stations, weather application developers, The Weather Channel, and other weather forecasting groups.

  • Climatologist — Researches long-term weather patterns and influencers; presents findings at conferences or to employers, government agencies, and other groups; and uses data to address climate issues and/or help people to adapt.
  • Emergency management specialist — Specializes in the prevention, preparedness, and response to natural and manmade disasters.
  • Geospatial analyst — Examines a wide range of data, including geographic information systems (GIS), aerial photographs, maps, and soil and other environmental samples.
  • Meteorologist — Interprets Doppler radar data, satellite imagery, and other meteorological and hydrologic data, and prepares and issues warnings for a weather service area concerning hazardous weather conditions such as severe weather, high winds, flash floods, marine effects, winter storms, etc.   
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