Mississippi State University



Topic: Location

Where is Mississippi State?

Mississippi State is located in northeast Mississippi in the upland South. The surrounding area is very rural and is fairly densely vegetated. Mississippi State is located in the city of Starkville.

What major cities are near Mississippi State?

Jackson, MS. Birmingham, AL. and Memphis, TN. are each about a 2.5 hour drive. Atlanta and New Orleans are each about a 5 hour drive. Tuscaloosa (where the University of Alabama is located) is about a 1.5 hour drive.

How much commuting will I have to do on campus?

All meteorology courses will be taken in the same building: Hilbun Hall. A bicycle is not necessary to get around campus. Most locations on campus are within easy walking distance. Car parking can be difficult unless you get to class early.

Hilbun Hall

Topic: Weather

Does the program storm chase?

We have the NOMISSIT storm spotters. They go out in teams when severe weather threatens. There is also a yearly Great Plains storm chase that lasts for about 2 weeks in May.

How is storm chasing in Mississippi?

It is fairly difficult due to the dense vegetation and tall trees, rain-wrapped supercells (rain obstructs storm viewing) and many severe weather events occur in the night-time hours. Of course, in some cases the chases are very eventful and worthwhile.

What type of severe weather does the Mississippi State region experience?

The elevation is relatively low and the freezing level is usually fairly high, thus large hail is not common. The low level moisture and moisture depth tends to be high. HP (high precipitation) supercells are most common supercell type. Tornadoes are common in Mississippi in early Spring and in the middle Fall. Strong squall lines with high wind and heavy rain are very common in severe weather season.

Does it ever snow at Mississippi State?

There is about one small accumulating snow per year. The average yearly snowfall is only about 3 inches. In February of 2000 an 8" snowfall occurred. Ice storms are more common than snow storms.

Feb. 2000 Snow

How is the weather at Mississippi State in general?

The summer is brutally hot and humid. The fall is mild. The winter alternates between cold outbreaks and mild weather, the spring is very rainy and strong storms are common.

Topic: Program

What computer weather graphics are used and what are the student broadcasting practices like?

Click to see an example show:

In control room w/ broadcast in background

When should I apply to MSU and the meteorology program?

Try to be accepted by university and program before May for students planning on starting in the fall. Most students are required to begin the meteorology course sequence in the fall semester.

Where do I go to get more information about the BMP (Broadcast Meteorology Program)?

Go to link:

Where do I go to get more information about the PMP (Professional Meteorology Program)?

Go to link:

What are the unique / high points of the meteorology program at MSU?

1. Percentage of students finding job placement in meteorology within 6-months of graduation is very high.

2. The courses are specifically designed to give students the knowledge they need for a forecasting or TV weather job.

3. More emphasis is placed on forecasting rather than on calculus. Program allows a larger pool of people to potentially learn weather forecasting and meteorology job skills.

4. Witty and sociable professors make learning environment fun and enjoyable.

5. Large climate lab (map room). Many high tech computers, storm intercept team monitoring equipment, TV weather graphic systems and radar systems to track, broadcast and forecast weather.

Topic: Courses

What are the courses that are offered?

Refer to these webpages:

What is the program graduation rate of undergrad students?

Once a student makes it to Junior year and the student begins meteorology course sequence, the graduation rate thereafter is high.

What is the program graduation rate of grad students?

The graduation rate for graduate students is over 90%. Most grad students that begin the program graduate after 2 years. Some stay 2.5 years.

How difficult are the courses?

That varies with student background. Students that attend class regularly, put time into the course and have a positive attitude do well.

The meteorology courses require a good working knowledge of algebra and basic calculus. Current analysis and forecasting methods are highly emphasized.

Topic: Grad Students

Am I required to write a thesis?

Professional meteorology students are required to write a thesis. Broadcast meteorology students usually choose the non-thesis route. It is up to the student with advice from professor committee on deciding research topic and whether to go the thesis or non-thesis route.

Does the meteorology program require the GRE for admission for grad students?

No, but high scores will make chances of getting funding and getting accepted into program higher.

How difficult is it to get funding (assistantship)?

Currently, it is difficult. Available assistantships are highly competitive.

Topic: Degree

What is the title of the degree?

Although the coursework in the major will mostly be meteorology / forecasting courses, the title on the degree is "B.S. Geosciences". The degree from MSU is not titled a meteorology or atmospheric science degree.

Is the MSU Geoscience degree an accredited degree?

Yes. Mississippi State is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Many graduating students work toward higher degrees (Masters or Ph.D.) after completing the on-campus BMP or OMP program.

Topic: Students

How many undergrad students are in the program? In a typical meteorology course?

There are over 100 Geoscience undergrad majors in the meteorology program. A typical meteorology class will have 20 or more undergrad students.

How many grad students are in the program? In a typical meteorology course?

In a typical year about a dozen graduate students will enter the program.

Do undergrads and grads take same meteorology courses?

Yes, in a typical course, grad students will be with undergrad students. Often grad students will be given extra responsibilities in the course.

What is the male to female ratio in the meteorology courses?

It is about 60% male and 40% female. 3:2 ratio.

Topic: Jobs

Do MSU meteorology grads only take TV jobs?

Most students in the BMP take TV jobs once completing the program. The main focus of the BMP is to produce high quality weather personalities. Not all graduates go into TV. Some other places that graduates have gone are: grad or Ph.D. program, Weather Channel radio, teaching (secondary, college), government meteorology jobs that do not require a meteorology degree (such as air monitoring, computer programming), and state climatological employment.

The on-campus program also has a government track (Professional Meteorology Program). These students take the calculus and physics courses required for one to be classified as a meteorologist by the federal government. These students seek employment in the military, consulting meteorology or government meteorology positions.

What is the average starting salary for a broadcast meteorologist?

It is about $25,000 a year. After about 2 years in TV, the salaries vary substantially depending on the talent and connections the person has.

Topic: Partying and Sports

How are the sports at Mississippi State?

Mississippi State is a Southeast conference school in the western division bracket. Other teams in Mississippi State's bracket are Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, 'Ole Miss, and Auburn. Football is the most popular and anticipated sport. Mississippi State also has a large baseball facility and several major league players have played for State. Football games are accompanied by many pre-game parties. The MSU mascot is a bulldog (nicknamed "bully").

Does the meteorology program have get together?

Yes, several per year. About twice per year a professor or the program will host a large get together for faculty and students at their estate or at MSU. Another popular party is the annual "Storm Fest" that is hosted by an NWA chapter member. A get together also precedes the annual "Southeast Severe Storms Conference" in early Spring.

What are the food places around the university?

What foods are traditional?

The barbecue is incredible. The catfish is also outstanding. Make sure to try "The Little Dooey", delicious southern cooking.