Master of Science in Hydrology

The Master of Science degree in Hydrology requires completion of a thesis according to the general requirements of the Graduate Program.mThe student’s course of study must be approved by the advisory committee and must fulfill the general requirement for the master’s degree and must include:


  • ERTH 440, HYD 507, 508, 510
  • Six additional credits from graduate-level hydrology courses listed in the course catalog
  • HYD 591 (at least six credit hours)
  • HYD 592 (two credit hours) and HYD 593 (four credit

hours); credits do not apply to the 30 hours required for

the M.S. degree.

  • ERTH 202 or equivalent
  • MATH 283, 382, 548 or equivalent
  • At least three additional graduate‐level course credits

approved by the advisory committee.

  • The Institute Graduate Degree Requirements must also be satisfied


Examples of courses other than hydrology which are appropriate for graduate programs in hydrology include, but are not limited to: BIOL 343, 446; CHEM 331, 332, 333, 334; ERTH 405, 409, 444, 445, 448, 460; GEOL 503, 509, 547, 553; GEOP 505, 529; MATH 332, 382, 384, 410, 411, 415, 435, 436, 438, 483, 486, 488, 511, 512, 533, 586, 587; PETR 445, 523, 544, 546, 564; PHYS 421, 526.


Hydrology Graduate Courses:


ERTH 440, Hydrological Theory and Field Methods, 4 cr, 3 cl hrs, 3 lab hrs

Prerequisites: MATH 132, PHYS 132

Offered fall semester

Fundamentals of hydrological flow and transport will be presented. Precipitation, runoff processes, and flood generation. Capillarity, unsaturated flow, and infiltration. Laws of flow in porous media, hydraulic storage, and flow to wells. Laboratory and field exercises that demonstrate and implement fundamental concepts of the hydrological cycle.


HYD 507, 507D, Hydrogeochemistry, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs

     Prerequisite: CHEM 122; Pre or Corequisite: ERTH 440

     Offered fall semester

The thermodynamics and aqueous chemistry of natural waters, with emphasis on groundwater. Chemical equilibrium concepts, surface chemistry, redox reactions, and biochemistry. The interaction of water with the atmosphere and geologic materials. Basic concepts applied to problems of groundwater quality evolution, water use, and groundwater contamination. Shares lecture with ERTH 407, with additional expectations for graduate credit. (Same as CHEM 531 and GEOC 507.)


HYD 508, Flow and Transport in Hydrologic Systems, 4 cr, 3 cl hrs, 3 lab/recitation hrs

     Prerequisites: ERTH 440, 440L and 510

     Offered spring semester

Principles of flow and transport in hydrological systems, including rivers, lakes, aquifers, the vadose zone, glaciers and the lower atmosphere. Fluid mechanical and thermodynamic properties, fluid statics, fluid dynamics, including mass, momentum and energy conservation, and transport of heat, particles and non‐reactive chemicals with fluid flow. Single and multiphase laminar flow in porous and fractured permeable media. Turbulence and related topics that are of particular interest to hydrologists.

HYD 510, 510D, Quantitative Methods in Hydrology, 3 cr hrs

     Prerequisite: MATH 231; Pre or Corequisite ERTH 440

     Offered fall semester

Introduction to the methods of mathematical physics used in hydrologic science. Presented in the context of mathematical models of water and energy balances, fluid flow, and heat & solute transport. Application to aquifers, the vadose zone, land‐surface runoff, rivers, and the atmospheric boundary layer. Methods span advanced engineering calculus, including numerics and differential equations. Use of software (Matlab, Maple, and COMSOL Multiphysics) for problem solving and solution presentation. Programming with Matlab.


HYD 511, 511D, Groundwater Hydrology, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs

     Prerequisite: ERTH 440

     Offered alternate spring semesters

Study of the occurrence, movement, and chemical and isotopic composition of groundwater. Hydrogeologic properties. Groundwater recharge and stream/aquifer interaction, flow net and hydrograph analysis. Groundwater exploration using geologic and geophysical methods. Groundwater in different geological, climate, and physiographic regimes. Characterization of groundwater using stable isotopes and major ion analysis. Physics of flow to wells, steady‐ state and transient solutions to well hydraulics equations, image well theory, responses of aquifers to perturbations. Role of groundwater in contaminant migration and heat transfer. (Shares lecture with ERTH 411, with additional expectations for graduate credit)


HYD 513, 513D, Watershed Dynamics & Ecohydrology, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs

     Prerequisite: ERTH 440

     Offered alternate spring semesters

Processes governing hydrological flow rates and pathways through watershed systems: hillslope runoff production and in-channel flood routing. Emphasis on physical mechanisms and their treatment in models, as well as observations made in the field. Interactions between terrestrial plants and water, nutrients, and light resources in semiarid ecosystems and riparian zones. Vegetation induced flow roughness, ecohydrological processes and dynamics, and simple numerical models. (Shares lecture with ERTH 413, with additional expectations for graduate credit)


HYD 514, 514D, Vadose Zone Hydrology, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs

     Prerequisite: ERTH 440

     Offered alternate fall semesters

Physics of unsaturated flow in porous media, multiphase flow, potentials and water retention, unsaturated hydraulic conductivity, transient flow problems. Mathematical modeling of variable-density flow. Analysis of slope stability, drainage through mine tailings and rock piles, hazardous waste migration, soil moisture controls on evapotranspiration and vegetation growth. (Shares lecture with ERTH 414, with additional expectations for graduate credit)


HYD 534, 534D, Introduction to Remote Sensing, 3 cr, 2 cl hrs, 3 lab hrs

     Prerequisite: PHYS 122 or consent of instructor

Introduction to the theory and practical use of remotely sensed satellite images. Principles of radiation physics; sensor systems; data acquisition; image analysis; classification schemes. Remote sensing applications to atmospheric sciences, hydrology, mineral and oil exploration, natural hazards monitoring, and land and resources management. Become familiar with ERDAS Imagine remote sensing software. Laboratory exercises using ERDAS Imagine deal primarily with computer analysis of remotely sensed images with some field exercises. Shares lecture/lab with ERTH 434, with additional expectations for graduate credit. (Same as GEOL/GEOP 534)


HYD 536, Advanced Remote Sensing, 3 cr, 2 cl hrs, 3 lab hrs

     Prerequisite: ERTH 434 or HYD 534 or GEOL 534

     Offered on demand

This class deals with quantitative remote sensing for determination of the components of the energy balance (net radiation, latent and sensible heat fluxes, soil heat flux) and soil moisture, hyperspectral and multispectral image processing, radar and microwave imagery. In addition, advanced applications for geology, geophysics and geochemistry will be discussed. Shares lecture/lab with ERTH 436, with additional expectations for graduate credit. (Same as GEOL 536)


HYD 516, 516D, Geofluids, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs

     Corequisites: ERTH 440, HYD 511 or PETR 445

     Offered alternate spring semesters

The role of groundwater in geologic processes. Fluid flow impelling mechanisms within the earth’s crust to depths of 10 km. The role of groundwater in petroleum generation/migration, overpressure/underpressure formation in sedimentary basins, hydrothermal ore deposit formation, contact metamorphism, geothermal systems, seismicity, slope failure, sediment transport, and glaciation


HYD 520, Data-driven Modeling in Science and Engineering, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs

     Prerequisites: MATH 283 or 382 and MATH 335 or consent of instructor

Statistical learning techniques and data assimilation for science and engineering applications. Focus is on practical applications and the understanding of the assumptions underlying techniques, allowing students to learn the basics of useful tools for data-driven modeling and revisit their theoretical and practical underpinnings as needed. Topics may include supervised and unsupervised learning, regression, classification, importance sampling, ensemble forecasting, and Kalman Filtering. The codes R and Python will be used. (Same as GEOP 520)


HYD 546, Contaminant Hydrology, 3 cr, 3 cl hrs

Prerequisites: ERTH 440; HYD 507. Preor Corequisite: HYD 508

The physics, chemistry, and biology of inorganic, organic, and microbial contaminants in groundwater and surface water systems. Mechanisms by which contaminants are introduced. Transport and transformations of contaminants in surface waters, the vadose zone, and the saturated zones. Movement, capillary trapping, and solubility of relatively immiscible organic liquids. Contaminant isolation and remediation techniques.

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