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Hydrologic Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno

Information for this profile was provided by Gina Tempel in 2007. Information is also available on the program website.

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

Overview and Context

University of Nevada, Reno, hydrologic sciences program curriculum. Diagram constructed by Carol Ormand from information provided by Gina Tempel. Click on the image to see a larger version.

This program is an interdisciplinary graduate program with more than 60 participating faculty members from 3 colleges and one research institution. Several of these faculty teach courses in the program and others direct graduate research with students in the program. Presently about 70 students are enrolled in the program which offers both M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs. The Hydrologic Sciences program is consistently ranked among the top 10 of its kind by US News and World Report. The program also has an active student population who are involved in student organizations on campus.

This is one of four graduate programs available to geosciences students. We also have graduate degree programs in Geological Engineering, Geochemistry, Geophysics, and Geology.

Connecting to the Future of Science

This program allows students the flexibility to design their own graduate degree program with the approval of their graduate committee. Students graduating from this program have been able to combine discipline areas and to thus be highly competitive for professional positions that require a high degree of interdisciplinary knowledge.

Goals and Assessment


  • Provide students with high quality graduate education
  • Faculty in program conduct first-rate research
  • Program prepares graduates for the dynamics of a profession in hydrology
  • Program strives to facilitate collaborative interdisciplinary research


  • Employment: where have our students gone after graduation. Our graduates have filled a variety of positions after graduations in government, higher education, research, industry, and consulting areas.
  • Quality of students who apply to the program.
  • Visibility of program nationally. Top 10 in US News and World report for past 10 years or so.
  • Amount of funding that faculty receive to fund graduate research.

Courses and Sequencing

Entry into the program

Students with undergraduate or MS degrees from the following disciplines may enter our program: Geology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math, Environmental Sciences, Geography, Civil and Geological Engineering, Geophysics, Economics.

Core courses

  • Environmental Geochemistry (Prerequisites: Physical Geology, Chemistry)
  • Groundwater Hydrology (Prerequisite: Physical Geology)
  • Fluid Dynamics
  • Small Watersheds
  • Graduate Seminar


Students must take 12 credit hours or 4 courses of electives. Because faculty from 3 colleges teach in this program, the possible electives are numerous. For students with a Geology BS or MS who enter the program, their pathway may either be chemical hydrology or physical hydrology for their graduate degree program. Courses for these pathways include:
  • Low Temperature Aqueous Geochemistry
  • Geochemical Modeling Methods
  • Isotope Hydrology
  • Groundwater Hydraulics
  • Vadose Zone Hydrology
  • Soil Chemistry

Other required courses

  • Math through differential equations
  • Statistics
  • 1 year of Physics
  • 1 year of Chemistry

Additional Materials

Download 2005 program self-study (Acrobat (PDF) 252kB Mar26 07) and appendices. (Acrobat (PDF) 1020kB Mar26 07)