Graduate education in Meteorology builds upon a foundation in the physical, mathematical and computational sciences. Students will experience the smoothest transition into their graduate studies if they have a broad background in these fields. Topics of particular utility include basic physics through mechanics and electromagnetics, mathematics through partial differential equations, and tensors. Depending on one’s research interests, chemistry, linear algebra or matrices, statistics, and numerical analysis will also prove valuable. No matter what the subject area in Meteorology, a working knowledge of at least one computer language is essential.
If your undergraduate degree did not cover one or more of these areas, you should study them on your own. Schaum’s Outlines provide one cost and time effective means of doing so. Volumes are available on Matrix Operations, Linear Algebra, Numerical Analysis, Partial Differential Equations, Tensor Calculus, Statistics, and a number of other mathematical fields. The Visual QuickStart series fills the same role in learning computer languages on your own. Volumes are available for C, PHP, Python, Perl, and Visual Basic. Commercial standards today for analysis and visualization of scientific data sets include MatLab and IDL; these two programming environments are now common in academia, government and industry.
The Meteorology faculty at Penn State strongly recommends that first year students read Atmospheric Science: An Introductory Survey (published by Wallace and Hobbs) before the start of their first semester in graduate school. This text explores many of the basic concepts of meteorology. Even if already familiar with these concepts, students new to Meteorology will benefit from reading this book. If a student is looking for a more advanced treatment, look at Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics by Salby (published by Academic Press). Both of these are used as texts for survey courses taught to students with non-meteorology backgrounds.