THE UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA
Preparation for Meteorology
in the Faculty of Science
• published by the Dean’s Office, Faculty of Science •
Meteorology is the branch of science concerned with the atmosphere. It includes the study of
atmospheric physics, chemistry, and dynamics, and the direct effects of the atmosphere upon the earth’s
surface, the oceans, and life in general. We live at the bottom of an ocean of air 100 km deep. Weather
affects everything we do.
Because storms are not bothered by political boundaries, the nations of the world work together
in close co-operation to study the atmosphere. Most countries have a meteorological or weather service.
In Canada, weather services are provided by the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) of
Environment Canada. It is a scientific organization responsible for observing and forecasting the
weather, providing climatological information and consultation, and conducting basic and applied
atmospheric research. MSC also observes and forecasts ice conditions in Canada’s navigable waters.
A CAREER AS A METEOROLOGIST
MSC meteorologists work in four main areas:
Forecasting. In five forecast offices across the country or with the Canadian Armed Forces, meteorologist-
forecasters use sophisticated numerical models and computer technology to analyze and predict the weather.
Improvements in computer modelling have changed the focus of human forecasters to smaller scale significant
Meterotological Services. Meteorologists provide consultation, advice, and development work for clients in
government and the private sector. Work activities relate to solving weather or climate-related problems in
agriculture, forestry, air pollution, water management, etc. Meteorologists act as liaison with emergency
managers, the media and the public.
Meteorological Applications. Meteorologists in the Canadian Climate Centre in Toronto and in regional offices
deal on a national basis with the application of climatology and meteorology to specialized areas such as energy,
hydrometeorology, the Arctic environment, industry, and transportation.
National Science Labs. Meteorologists work to eliminate or minimize knowledge gaps about the atmosphere
and to improve methods and systems within the weather service. Global climate change is a significant part of
Environment Canada’s research effort.
Meteorologists are required to have a strong background education in physics, mathematics, and
meteorology. This prerequisite education is normally obtained through one of the following types of university
1) Bachelor of Science (with acceptable courses in meteorology or atmospheric science)
Completed courses must include senior level physics and mathematics courses, atmospheric
thermodynamics, atmospheric dynamics, and at least 2 other meteorology related courses.
2) Master of Science (meteorology or atmospheric science)
3) Bachelor of Science (honours, major, or specialization in physics or engineering physics preferred,
with a strong background in mathematics) combined with a one-year Diploma or Certificate program in
meteorology or atmospheric science.
Where Should You Study?
Although the University of Manitoba does not offer programs in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology,
several Canadian and U.S. universities do offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in meteorology or
atmospheric sciences. The Canadian Universities that offer degree programs in Atmospheric Science and
Meteorology include: University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, Dalhousie University, University of
Guelph, York University, McGill University and UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal)..
Alternatively, you may choose to complete an undergraduate degree program in Physics and
Mathematics at the University of Manitoba. Such a program will serve as suitable preparation for entry to a
Certificate or Diploma program in meteorology. Several Canadian universities offer Certificate or Diploma
programs in meteorology. Please consult the universities that offer programs in Atmospheric Sciences and
Meteorology or the MSC for further details. Their website is:
High School Courses
Students who wish to prepare for a professional program in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology
should have taken the following courses in High School: Pre-Calculus Mathematics 40S and Physics 40S. These
courses are essential for study towards a career in meteorology. Geography 40S is recommended.
First Year University Courses
For entry to an Honours Physics or Joint Honours Mathematics-Physics program, at the University of
Manitoba, your first year of study must include: Mathematics MATH 1500 and MATH 1700 (or MATH 1690)
Calculus, Vector Geometry and Linear Algebra MATH 1300, and PHYS 1050 Physics 1: Mechanics and PHYS
1070 Physics 2: Waves and Modern Physics. In addition, the following courses are strongly recommended:
STAT 1000 Basic Statistical Analysis 1, COMP 1010 Introductory Computer Science and 6 credit hours from the
Faculty of Arts (which could include the required “W” course).
Students are also encouraged to complete introductory level courses in Geology and Physical Geography
at some point in their degree program.
Advanced Level Courses
Honours Physics and the Joint Honours program in Mathematics and Physics offer students very little
flexibility in course selection and allow for few elective courses to be taken. Although either degree program may
be considered as an appropriate background for entry to a Meteorology Certificate or Diploma program, students
who wish to have greater choice of courses may want to consider completing a Bachelor of Science Four Year
Major degree or the Three Year General degree program. In this case, advanced level courses must be chosen
carefully to satisfy degree requirements, as well as serve as an acceptable background for entry to Atmospheric
Sciences and Meteorology programs. Students are advised to consult a Science Student Advisor, as well as their
department, the MSC, and universities which offer Certificates, Diplomas, and Undergraduate and Graduate
degree programs in meteorology, regarding an appropriate selection of courses.
For Further Information contact:
Warning Preparedness Meteorologist
Meteorological Services of Canada
Suite 150, 123 Main Street
Phone (204) 984-7923