"Why study meteorology at the University of South Alabama?"

The University of South Alabama is a state university consisting of ten schools and colleges.  Established in 1963, USA has steadily grown to an enrollment of approximately 15,000 students and nearly 800 faculty.

The meteorology program began in 1991 as a "Concentration in Geography" and graduated its first student in 1995. In 1999, the Alabama Commission on Higher Education officially granted a "Bachelor of Science in Meteorology." Meteorology is taught in the College of Arts and Sciences and is part of the Department of Earth Sciences, which also includes the disciplines of geography and geology. 


Why study meteorology at the University of South Alabama?

Well, take a look at what we have to offer:


A Sound Curriculum

Students performing a hand analysis chartThe University of South Alabama offers a curriculum designed to provide each student with a thorough understanding of the laws of atmospheric behavior. Each student is exposed to the latest techniques in weather forecasting and atmospheric remote sensing. As a preparation for a career in forecasting, the procedures and importance of disseminating weather information to the public and industry are stressed. Because of close ties with the National Weather Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Keesler Air Force Base, and major area industries, students have the opportunity to visit and observe meteorologists in the field and discuss the importance of weather with those who depend on accurate and timely weather information. 

Students completing the meteorology curriculum will have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Meteorology. In order to prepare students for the many diverse areas of meteorological employment and future study, several tracks of study are offered that enable students to specialize in such areas as professional forecasting, broadcast, and graduate school preparation.  (See our page on the MET Curriculum.)


Small Classes and Individual Attention

Dr. Blackwell and student discussing a weather briefingAlthough the University of South Alabama has grown tremendously since its inception in 1963, classes remain small and, contrary to many other universities, are taught only by the faculty. The small class size makes it possible for the faculty to provide individual attention. Students are closely advised and counseled as they progress through their meteorology curriculum with an emphasis on post graduate employment. This close supervision enables the faculty to direct each student toward an appropriate position in what has become a field with a promising job market. With the focus on global warming, our fragile environment, and the escalating costs of adverse and severe weather, meteorologists will play an important role in the scientific community over the next few decades. 

For example, meteorologists are now found in many areas including the National Weather Service, the military, private and governmental research centers, teaching, county and state environmental agencies, private weather services, and the media.


Unique On-Campus Weather Forecasting Center

CWRC viewEstablished in January 1988, the Coastal Weather Research Center was designed to promote and support meteorological education and research through:

  1. Meteorology workshops and seminars

  2. A climatological and hurricane data archive

  3. Research on the interaction of coastal and oceanic environments

  4. The operation of a weather laboratory and information center

Through the interest and support of local and regional industry and the University community, the Weather Center has been able to effectively pursue its objectives.

A strong and active part of the Weather Center's operation is a state-of-the-art information center and weather laboratory. A variety of weather information, such as forecasts, severe weather alerts, and climate data is provided to businesses, industries, and municipal governments in Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi. The Computerized Weather Information Service transmits Weather Center and National Weather Service information to businesses 24 hours daily. 

CWRC view 2The Coastal Weather Research Center is located in the Mitchell Center on the main campus of the University of South Alabama. The Weather Center is a fully-operational weather forecast center, a unique facility for any college in the nation. It plays a key role in the meteorology program by providing a nucleus for students and faculty to gather and discuss weather and engage in research projects.

The presence of the Coastal Weather Research Center on the campus provides the meteorology student with the opportunity to experience weather forecasting and industrial meteorology first hand. An array of equipment and workstations allows each student meteorologist to have access to the same radar, satellite, and alphanumeric data that are used by the forecasting staff. In addition, students will have the chance to work at the Weather Center where they can combine classroom theory with actual weather forecasting applications.


Gulf Coast Weather: Experiencing a Natural Laboratory

Waterspout over Mobile BayThe Mobile area and the Alabama Gulf Coast is a virtual weather laboratory where students can experience many of the weather phenomena studied in the classroom. What could be better than to study meteorology in Mobile, one of the wettest major cities in the United States with one of the highest thunderstorm frequencies in the nation! Then in the summer and fall, all eyes focus on the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean as hurricane season unfolds. Although direct hurricane landfalls on the Mobile area are rare, the region often receives fringe effects of Gulf hurricanes as far away as Texas. Because of this threat, hurricanes are taken seriously by the local residents and the business community and thus are given special attention in the meteorology curriculum, as are all forms of severe weather.


Air Force ROTC
Hurricane Hunter Aircraft

The Air Force ROTC needs meteorologists! The mission of Air Force ROTC is to educate and prepare college graduates to be Air Force officers, not only to fly sophisticated aircraft, but also to operate high speed weather computers, and to serve as
meteorologists. The Air Force's demand for trained meteorologists is among the highest in the nation. The meteorology program at USA was created in part to help satisfy the Air Force's demand.

Through your meteorology studies and Air Force ROTC training at USA, you'll receive the initial training
required to assume positions of increasing responsibility in today's high-tech environment. There
are presently outstanding scholarship opportunities for high school students and university students
studying meteorology. Scholarships up to 4 years are available on a competitive basis to high school
seniors and students currently enrolled may compete for 2 or 3 year scholarships. When students graduate,
they will be commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force. Call Air Force ROTC at (251) 460-7211
for more information or to begin the application process.

Interested in Meteorology?

Feel free to contact the Meteorology Program.