Breadth and Flexibility: The First Degrees

In 1940 the Geology curriculum was broadened into an Earth Science curriculum with four major options, one of which gave students the opportunity to specialize in Meteorology. In 1942, the first bachelor's degrees in Meteorology were granted under the Earth Science option. Meteorology was first approved as a separate curriculum in Penn State's 1946-48 undergraduate catalog. The first two Bachelor's and Master's of Science degrees in the Meteorology curriculum were granted in1947, and the first PhD degree was awarded in1949 (Blackadar, 1981).

Since the first major was granted, the science and application of Meteorology has undergone spectacular changes. The curriculum and methodology has been revised many times. For example, all graduates are required to be proficient in synoptic dynamics, physics and thermodynamics of the atmosphere. Furthermore, within a basic framework of courses, each undergraduate student is encouraged to develop a specialty option, such as, Weather Forecasting, Hydrometeorology, Computer Applications, and Weather Quality. Because the department emphasizes breadth and flexibility in its curriculum, graduates report a wealth of opportunities for their careers, ranging from government and military positions to private industry.