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Hydrogeology Program, North Carolina State University

Information for this profile was provided by John Fountain. Information may also available on the department website.

Jump down to Overview and Context * Connecting to the Future of Science * Goals and Assessment * Courses and Sequencing

Overview and Context

North Carolina State University's Hydrogeology program curriculum. Diagram constructed by Carol Ormand from information provided by John Fountain in 2007. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The hydrogeology program is a concentration within the bachelors of science degree in geology. It is designed to integrate research with classwork throughout the program. This is one of several tracks within the geology program. It is designed for students interested in a career in environmental geology including academic careers.

Connecting to the Future of Science

Learning that emphasizes critical thinking (as opposed to memorization) essentially uses the same thought processes as research: identify a problem, find out what is known, identify what is not known that is needed for the problem, design a study to get the required data, get the data, interpret the data and report the results - thus we use project type research at all levels to develop these skills.

Students will be comfortable with their ability to figure things out without being explicitly told the answer. This should prepare them for the constantly evolving science.

Goals and Assessment

Our goals include:
  • Develop critical thinking skills to enable graduates to succeed in their careers.
  • Provide the basic math and science knowledge necessary to understand current science issues and to enable graduates to succeed in their careers.
  • Develop writing and speaking skills sufficiently to provide effective scientific communication.
  • Develop an understanding of the role of science in society.
  • Develop in our graduates confidence in their abilities to understand complex issues and solve complex problems.

The success of our graduates in graduate school and in jobs provides the best evidence. We solicit feedback from all graduates, both at the time of their graduation and periodically thereafter. Our graduates' ability to pass professional geology exams will also demonstrate the success of the program.

Courses and Sequencing

Entry into the program

Physical Geology or Environmental Issues in Water Resources (preferred entry)

Core courses

For the geology major:
  • Physical Geology
  • Historical Geology (prerequisite: Physical)
  • Mineralogy/Petrology
  • Sedimentary Petrology/Stratigraphy
  • Structural Geology
  • Senior Seminar
For the hydrogeology concentration:
  • Environmental Geology
  • Introduction to Hydrology
  • Earth System Chemistry
  • Geophysics
  • Watersheds and Wetlands Hydrology


  • Advanced Igneous Petrology (prerequisite: mineralogy/petrology)
  • Geomorphology
  • Soil Science
  • Research Seminar


Senior Seminar

Other required courses

  • Calculus I. II and III
  • General Chemistry I and II
  • Engineering/Science Physics I and II
  • Public Speaking
  • Technical Writing
  • English I

Additional Comments

Environmental Issues in Water Resources and Environmental Geology are project-oriented inquiry-based combined lecture/labs that involve students directly in research. In the research seminar undergraduates work independently in faculty research labs while in the seminar they learn research techniques and develop proposal and present results. In the senior seminar they prepare for graduate school including scientific writing (abstracts and proposals) and oral and written presentations.