Program Description


The meteorology program provides students with an in-depth knowledge of the atmosphere, and prepares them for careers in the atmospheric sciences.

Meteorology is the science of the atmosphere, which blends physics, mathematics, chemistry, and computer science to provide a theoretical and practical framework for studying the complex behavior of our dynamic atmosphere. Weather forecasting is one of the many facets of meteorology. Other areas of study include El Niño, La Niña, global climate change, planetary atmospheres, air quality, ozone depletion, atmospheric chemistry, and severe storms.


  • Forecasting
  • Air pollution
  • Atmospheric dynamics
  • Climatology
  • Numerical modeling
  • Boundary layer
  • Instrumentation
  • Severe storms
  • Cloud physics
  • Weather communications

Bachelor of Science in Meteorology The BS program is designed to be completed in four years. The BS can be earned in two years by qualified transfer students. Electives allow specialization in computational meteorology, applied meteorology, forecasting, air pollution, science education, or preparation for graduate study.

Master of Science in Meteorology The MS degree program is designed to be completed in two years. A research thesis is required. Research assistantships are often available to qualified students.

Department facilities include a state-of-the-art computer laboratory with access to real-time weather data, numerous computer work-stations, and a personal computer lab. An instrument laboratory houses a low speed wind tunnel and environmental monitoring equipment. The rooftop observatory with two automated weather stations is a favorite location for students to observe and discuss the weather.

Current research topics include volcanic smog in Hawaii, stratus forecasting, modeling of the Martian atmosphere, stratospheric aerosols, local mesoscale phenomena, air pollution and toxic gas dispersion, stratospheric ozone destruction, El Niño and La Niña. Part-time positions and internships are often available with the National Weather Service, NASA, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and various local companies. Air Force ROTC scholarships are available to undergraduates.


The Undergraduate program leading to the Bachelor of Science Degree in Meteorology began at San Jose State University in 1960, while the Master of Science degree program was inaugurated in 1964. The primary function of the meteorology program is to train students for a professional career in meteorology. The four year program leading to the B.S. degree provides graduates the knowledge and training needed for work in private industry, aviation, and government agencies (such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Forestry Service, various air pollution agencies, armed forces, and Federal Aviation Administration). It also prepares students for postgraduate study.

The program leading to the M.S. degree provides students with greater competency in both applied and theoretical meteorology to qualify them for research work, higher levels of professional responsibility, or further graduate study.

The Meteorology Department occupies the top floor of the Duncan Hall of Science. The Department's A. E. True rooftop observatory has a commanding view of the entire Santa Clara Valley. Departmental facilities include a personal computer laboratory, upper air sounding equipment, micro- meteorological wind and temperature sensors, low speed wind tunnel, and a variety of cloud physics and solar radiation instruments. Real-time meteorological data, including observations, forecasts, weather maps, and satellite images, are received via a satellite communication system in the weather analysis and forecasting laboratory. A local computer system is used for data retrieval and processing for classroom applications.

In addition to the comprehensive meteorological book and periodical collections in the main library, the department maintains a reading room that includes texts and meteorological journals donated by alumni, faculty, and friends; CD-ROM and microfilm archives of worldwide climatological data; historical weather maps; and satellite imagery.

The instructional program in Meteorology is complemented by a strong research endeavor. Present studies are primarily directed towards solutions of practical problems in applied meteorology; however, research of a more theoretical nature is not overlooked. Current investigations include volcanic smog in Hawaii, stratus forecasting, modeling of the Martian atmosphere, stratospheric aerosols, local mesoscale phenomena, air pollution and toxic gas dispersion, stratospheric ozone destruction, El Niño and La Niña.

Graduate students generally find employment within the Department as assistants on research projects or as teaching assistants. Salaries for the various positions depend on percentage of time employed. Various fellowships, grants, and loans are also available.

Undergraduate students frequently work within the Department as student assistants. They maintain instruments, take observations, perform clerical tasks, and assist in various research projects. They are paid on an hourly basis, with the rate of pay determined by the nature of the task and their experience. For general information about financial aid, write to the University Financial Aids Office and/or contact the Meteorology Department.


Honors Program

Students may apply through their advisor for the Honors Program in Meteorology after completion of their Junior year courses. To be eligible, students must have a 3.0 average overall and in all meteorology courses. Under the supervision of a faculty member, a student enrolled in the Honors Program will register for Metr. 285 in her or his final semester and will present her or his Senior Research Project as a Departmental Seminar. Details can be obtained in the Department office.

Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS)

The Student Chapter of the AMS is active in promoting the professional development of meteorology students. Activities include monthly meetings with speakers from various branches of meteorology, tutoring service, and social events. The AMS also sponsors the local chapter of Chi Epsilon Pi (The National Meteorology Honor Society), Albert and Rosa Miller prize for outstanding Senior Research Project, Christopher A. Riegel award for academic achievement, and Gary Quinby prize for service to the Department.

Cooperative Education Program

The Cooperative Education Program (CO-OP) integrates classroom work with practical on-the-job experience. Students are employed for specific periods for off-campus work around the country or in the Bay Area. The program is coordinated on the basis of the interest and needs of both students and employers (e.g., government research laboratories, National Weather Service, or private industry). Participation in the CO-OP program begins after completion of Metr. 61. Further information relating to requirements, salaries, length of work periods, presently available jobs, etc. can be obtained from the campus CO-OP office or from the CO-OP advisor in the Meteorology Department.

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San Jose State University Department of Meteorology
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