Why UNC Asheville?

The Department of Atmospheric Sciences at UNC Asheville is truly a unique and powerful program, providing you with the technical and critical thinking skills that will prepare you for a variety of careers in the private and public sectors.  Whether your goal is to forecast for the National Weather Service, pursue a graduate degree, become a broadcast meteorologist, or tackle the challenges of climate change, our program will help you get there.  Among our strengths and features are:

  • Small class sizes. As a relatively small and focused program, you will find that most of your meteorology classes have between 5 and 15 students.  This allows for enhanced personal interactions with your faculty and a much more conducive learning environment then you would find at a larger school.
  • Location. Asheville is located literally two miles from the global hub of weather data, the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).  Many of our students have internship experiences at NCEI and a couple of our courses are sometimes taught by world-renown climate scientists.  You’ll have the opportunity to make many connections with professionals in the field.
  • Research. UNC Asheville is a founding member of the National Council for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) and encourages students to pursue independent research during their tenure.  Our faculty may have research grants to fund students to work on various research questions while they pursue their degree.  These studies have included such topics as tornado damage, remote sensing of hurricane winds, geographical information system (GIS) applications, and field work.  Or, pursue a project that interests you!
  • Tradition. Since 1979, our department has graduated over 380 students.  Most have gone on to pursue careers in the National Weather Service, NCEI, emergency management, broadcasting, or climate.  Others have gone on to earn Masters or Doctoral degrees at some of the best graduate programs in the nation, including Oklahoma, Purdue, Wisconsin, Florida State, and SUNY Albany.
  • Internship Opportunities. Our location in Asheville, NC offers a unique number of internship opportunities which will give you a leg up in achieving your career goals.  In recent years our students have completed internships at the National Weather Service, NCEI, The Collider, the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS), NASA, and more.
  • Learning Environment. As a purely undergraduate program, all of your classes are taught by faculty – there are no teaching assistants or graduate students.  In larger schools, you will find that some of your classes will be taught by students, especially in the early stages of your education.  Our faculty are experts in teaching, not research specialists that may struggle in the classroom.
  • Field Work Opportunities. Do you like to be outside?  Asheville is world-renown as an outdoor city with hiking, rafting, biking, and golf just a short drive away.  Want to earn academic credit at the same time?  Join our faculty as they conduct fieldwork to support their research.  Launch weather balloons during winter storms, or hike to remote locations to download data from our mountain rain gauge network.
  • Severe Weather Field Experience. Is storm chasing your thing?  We have just the class for you.  Join Dr. Chris Godfrey on a 2-week journey to the southern Plains where you’ll hunt down Mother Nature’s most violent creation.  While you are there, visit the National Weather Center, Storm Prediction Center, and the National Severe Storms Lab.  A once in a lifetime opportunity that you do not want to miss!

Please contact us for more information about these and more!