Meteorology isn't just about predicting the weather; it's about shaping our understanding of the world around us. With a degree in meteorology, you'll gain the knowledge and skills needed to make a real difference in preparing for the challenges of the future

What is meteorology?

Meteorology is the scientific study of the atmosphere's behaviour, including weather forecasting. Meteorologists play a crucial role in helping governments and industries understand and prepare for the risks associated with natural disasters such as floods, fires, and windstorms.

From the environment and agriculture, energy and utilities, property and construction, and transport and logistics, meteorologists are in high demand across a range of sectors, helping industries to adapt their infrastructure to become more climate-ready.

By studying meteorology, you'll be equipped to tackle issues like extreme weather events, climate change, and sustainable development.

What do undergraduate courses involve?

You'll need a degree to become a meteorologist, but it doesn't have to be a meteorology course. Graduates with a first degree in subjects such as maths, physics, environmental science, physical geography, computer science, and climate change can also enter the field.

The Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS) provides a list of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, see RMetS university degree courses.

However, if you want to study a meteorology degree specifically, there are several Bachelors programmes available.

To study the three-year BSc Environmental Science at The University of Manchester, you'll need ABB at A-level, including at least one science subject. The programme offers an understanding of how the weather works and allows you to tailor your degree by choosing one of three pathways:

  • Pollution and environmental processes
  • Ecology, evolution, and conservation biology
  • Atmospheric and climate science - (this is the option most related to meteorology)

Choosing the climate science module will teach you about environmental issues, including weather forecasting, urban air quality, pollutant transport, and climate change. Tuition fees for 2024/25 are £9,250.

Other relevant Bachelors programmes, as identified by RMetS, include:

  • BSc Climate Change - Liverpool John Moores University
  • BSc Climate Science - Durham University
  • BSc Environmental Science - University of Lancaster
  • BSc Meteorology and Climate - University of Reading
  • BSc Oceanography and Coastal Processes - University of Plymouth
  • BSc Physics with Meteorology - University of Edinburgh.

Should I study a Masters in meteorology?

It's worth noting that while a research job in meteorology requires a Masters degree, not all other meteorological jobs do. However, gaining a postgraduate degree could significantly increase your knowledge and help you build industry connections.

Pursuing a Masters degree also showcases your dedication and passion for a particular field, which could benefit you when faced with tough competition for jobs.

'An MSc in meteorology prepares students for a range of career paths including academia, research, operational weather forecasting, climate modelling, environmental consultancy, insurance risk forecasting, and positions in government or the private sector relating to climate risk and resilience,' explains Professor Holloway, meteorology programme director at the University of Reading.

The University of Reading offers the one-year MSc Applied Meteorology that can prepare you for a career in this field. To be eligible, you need to have a good Bachelors degree (2:2 or above) in a closely related subject such as physical science or mathematics.

The course includes compulsory modules such as measurements and instrumentation, introduction to computing, forecasting systems and applications, weather and climate discussion, and atmospheric physics. There are also optional modules available such as climate change, tropical weather systems, preparing for floods, and hazardous weather analysis.

For UK students in 2024/25, the tuition fees are £12,550. Learn more about postgraduate loans.

According to RMetS, the following Masters degrees are also relevant:

  • MRes Climate and Atmospheric Science - University of Leeds
  • MSc Climate Change - University College London.
  • MSc Geographic Information and Climate Change - University of Swansea.

Search for postgraduate courses in meteorology.

Can I study a short course?

Currently, there are no short courses accredited in the UK. However, there are various vocational qualifications available for observers, forecasters, broadcasters, and those with a general interest. These courses include:

The RMetS also awards professional accreditation to those who can demonstrate appropriate academic qualifications, knowledge, skills, and expertise. Both Registered Meteorologist (RMet) and Chartered Meteorologist (CMet) are the two awards.

'Our MSc in Applied Meteorology and Climate is approved by the RMetS and is a first step towards becoming professionally accredited as either a RMet or CMet. These accreditations are an important way to provide evidence of skills and experience when choosing a career path in this field,' explains Prof. Holloway.

What skills do I need?

It is important to have a strong understanding of physics, mathematics, and basic principles of weather if you want to become a meteorologist. Additionally, having a high level of computer literacy is essential as meteorologists work with various computer programmes.

'Meteorology students need to have good maths and physics skills. During the course, they will also develop computer skills including programming skills in order to perform data analysis as well as understand computer models of weather and climate. Scientific reasoning, scientific writing, and communication of scientific arguments are all important skills that are developed during the degree,' adds Prof. Holloway.

To gain the necessary skills you could  join your university's meteorological society and look for work experience opportunities. For instance, the Met Office offers three-month summer placements that provide hands-on experience in the industry. It is also important to develop transferable skills that employers look for.

What jobs can I do with a meteorology degree?

Graduates can become TV weather presenters, work for internet weather forecasting companies, or find opportunities in private industries. For example, they can work as forecasters or consultants for finance, insurance or energy companies, or advise NGOs on sustainability and climate.

With a degree in meteorology, graduates can acquire scientific skills that can apply to most graduate-level jobs that require quantitative reasoning or scientific literacy.

MSc Meteorology graduates from the University of Reading have gone on to pursue a range of roles including:

  • operational weather forecaster
  • researcher in weather or climate
  • sustainability consultant for private companies
  • forecasters of weather-related risk for insurance companies
  • weather-related consultants on wind or solar energy.

Learn more about graduate jobs in science and pharmaceuticals.

Find out more

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