Hydrology is a science dealing with the occurrence, circulation, distribution, and properties of the waters of the solid earth and its atmosphere. Many of the significant environmental problems that society is facing today are related to hydrologic or water issues. These include the hydrologic impact of climate change; the transportation of hazardous materials in both ground and surface water; the maintenance of high quality water for human consumption, industry, irrigation, recreation, energy generation, and agriculture; the understanding of geological hazards; and the management of important aquatic environments. Because water is important to and affected by physical, chemical, and biological principles, the curriculum of the B.S. degree in hydrologic sciences is multidisciplinary.
The main focus of the hydrologic sciences and policy major is to provide students with the scientific training needed to understand and solve complex hydrologic problems at local, regional, and global levels. The goal of the hydrologic sciences curriculum is to provide a rigorous framework for students to examine the hydrologic process in our environment. Although the program is housed within the Environmental Studies Program, the curriculum for this degree is offered cooperatively by the departments of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology; Chemistry and Biochemistry; Geography; and Earth Science. Lower-division courses concentrate on the physical and natural sciences. In the upper division, students complete a core group of hydrology courses and then select one of the following three emphases: biology and ecology, physical and chemical sciences, or policy.
Students who graduate with a B.S. degree in hydrologic sciences and policy are prepared to do graduate work in such fields as environmental science, biology, ecology, chemistry, geography, geology, environmental engineering, and a variety of specialty programs in hydrology.
Hydrologic sciences students are also often qualified for positions in environmental consulting and planning, water quality analysis, aquatic resource management, waste water treatment, as well as a variety of jobs with state and federal agencies. Students who are interested in pursuing a career in the hydrologic sciences are encouraged to visit the environmental studies peer advisor's office for additional information pertaining to jobs and careers in the hydrology field.