Hydrology, Bachelor of Science College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences


The Major Program

Hydrology is the study of the occurrence, distribution, circulation, and behavior of water and water-borne materials in the environment of Earth. It includes practical measurement and technical analysis of water phenomena underground, on the Earth's surface, and in the atmosphere. Contemporary hydrologic problems include environmental restoration, sustainability of groundwater and surface water resources, water pollution, and natural disasters such as floods, droughts, landslides, avalanches, and land subsidence. The management of these problems demands hydrologic scientists with the comprehensive, interdisciplinary education embodied in this program. Beyond its societal utility, hydrology can be an exciting science for the curious-minded. Hydrologists explore natural phenomena such as climate change, waterfalls, health of coral reefs, biogeochemical cycles, and aquifers.

The Program

A hydrologist needs a strong background across the basic sciences of physics, mathematics, chemistry, and biology. Breadth of understanding comes from exposure to ecology, geology, engineering, policy, and law. Depth of experience is provided by core hydrology courses, internship opportunities, and practical outdoor training. Students choose electives to match their interests and career goals. Transfer students should have completed as much as possible of the preparatory subject matter listed below.

Internships and Career Alternatives

Job opportunities in hydrology exceed the available supply of trained hydrologists. Students commonly obtain internships and jobs with state and federal agencies, private consulting firms, environmental interest groups, irrigation districts, and utility companies. Federal agencies hiring hydrologists include the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of Agriculture (Fish & Wildlife, Agricultural Research, Forest Service, and National Resource Conservation Service), Environmental Protection Agency, and national research laboratories (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory). State and local agency employers include California's Departments of Water Resources, Conservation, Fish & Game, and Toxic Substances as well as the Water Resources Control Board and Regional Water Quality Control Boards. To obtain higher levels of  responsibility and salary, hydrologists often seek advanced degrees, and the hydrology major is designed to provide students with a highly competitive education to get into graduate school.

Lead Faculty Advisor

Helen Dahlke (Land, Air & Water Resources)

Hydrology Major Advisor

Lacole Brooks

Advising Center

1150 PES Building

Preparatory Subject Matter
Biological Science
BIS 002AIntroduction to Biology: Essentials of Life on Earth5
BIS 002BIntroduction to Biology: Principles of Ecology & Evolution5
CHE 002AGeneral Chemistry5
CHE 002BGeneral Chemistry5
CHE 002CGeneral Chemistry5
PHY 009AClassical Physics5
PHY 009BClassical Physics5
PHY 009CClassical Physics5
MAT 021ACalculus4
MAT 021BCalculus4
MAT 021CCalculus4
MAT 021DVector Analysis4
MAT 022ALinear Algebra3
MAT 022BDifferential Equations3
GEL 050Physical Geology 3
GEL 050LPhysical Geology Laboratory2
Choose one:4
Engineering Problem Solving
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal71
Depth Subject Matter
Choose one:4
Fluid Mechanics Fundamentals
Fluid Mechanics
Equivalent of either.
Choose ECI 114 or STA 130 series:4-8
Probabilistic Systems Analysis for Civil Engineers
Mathematical Statistics: Brief Course
and Mathematical Statistics: Brief Course
HYD 134Aqueous Geochemistry6
HYD 141Physical Hydrology4
HYD 144Groundwater Hydrology4
ESM 108Environmental Monitoring3-4
or HYD 151 Field Methods in Hydrology
Soil Science
SSC 107Soil Physics5
Water Policy & Law
Choose one:3-4
Water Law
Resource & Environment Policy Analysis
Environmental Law
Water Policy & Politics
Water Science & Management
GIS & Remote Sensing
Choose one:4-5
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Environmental Analysis using GIS
Aerial Photo Interpretation & Remote Sensing
Environmental Remote Sensing
Hydrologic Science
Choose three:8-13
Irrigation Systems & Water Management
Evapotranspiration Principles, Measurement & Modeling
Plant-Water-Soil Relationships
Systems Hydrology
Water Science & Design
Hydrogeology & Contaminant Transport
Runoff, Erosion & Water Quality Management
Engineering Hydraulics
Irrigation Practices for an Urban Environment
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal45-57
Restricted Courses
Upper division courses to supplement or expand areas of student interest selected with approval of advisor.16-26
Restricted Courses Subtotal16-26
Total Units132-154