University General Course Catalog 2016-2017 
    Jul 14, 2024  

Hydrology, Ph.D.

I. Contact Information

Dr. Sudeep Chandra, Interim Co-Director
Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences
(775) 784-6221

Dr. Scott Tyler, Interim Co-Director
Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences
(775) 784-6250


II. Brief Introduction

The Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences (GPHS) offers a Doctoral degree in Hydrology. The program provides training to scientists and engineers in the broad areas of ground water, watershed sciences, water quality and water treatment, environmental restoration and water resource evaluation. The degrees are structured to provide a foundation in water resources with an emphasis in a student’s chosen area or areas. Several areas of emphasis are available, including ground water modeling, subsurface contaminant transport, surface water hydraulics and geomorphology, ecohydrology, and surface water quality management. Students may also define their own areas of emphasis by developing a curriculum from a breadth of graduate courses offered across the campus. The Program is strongly interdisciplinary, with faculty support and participation from the College of Science, the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, the College of Engineering, the Desert Research Institute, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S.D.A. Agricultural Research Service, and the U.S. Forest Service. The curriculum and course offerings represent a blending of engineering and science based materials. Research and teaching assistantships, as well as several fellowships, are routinely made available to students accepted into the program.

III. Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

GPHS Program objectives are to enable students to complete their programs of study and dissertation research in a timely manner and to prepare students for productive careers in water-related fields. GPHS Doctoral degree graduates in Hydrology are fully qualified to conduct hydrologic research, hydrologic planning and serve in the regulatory environment of both public and private sector employers. Learning outcomes associated with these objectives include:

  1. students demonstrate a high level of competency in the general field of hydrology;
  2. students are able to explain ideas and results through written, numerical, graphical, spoken, and computer-based forms of communication;
  3. students demonstrate their ability to complete research in their field of study in the hydrologic sciences; and 
  4. students demonstrate appropriate quantitative skills for hydrology, including statistical or numerical modeling techniques.

IV. Admission Requirements

Students entering the program should have a Bachelor of Science degree or equivalent in engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, hydrology, hydrogeology, natural resources, ecology, or a related field. Contact the Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences at  Prospective graduate students should have verbal and quantitative GRE scores exceeding 153 each and an undergraduate GPA above 3.0. International students should have TOEFL scores exceeding 600. In addition, the Program prerequisites include 2 semesters each of physics and chemistry as well as mathematics through differential equations and probability/statistics.  Any deficiencies are to be made up during the first year of graduate studies and students are encouraged to consult with their advisors and the Program Director for guidance on the appropriate courses for fulfilling deficiencies.

Application deadlines and additional information can be found at the Hydrologic Sciences web site ( and students are encouraged to contact the Program Director for more information on the availability of teaching and research assistantships.

V. Program Requirements

Candidates for Ph.D. degrees in Hydrology must satisfy all general requirements of the Graduate School. The Doctoral degree in Hydrology requires:

  • 72 credits beyond the Bachelors degree,
  • successful completion of a qualifying examination after the first year of study, and
  • 1 credit of Comprehensive Examination,
  • 24 dissertation credits must be applied to the Doctoral degree, and students must sign up for these credits in the department of their advisor.

The Comprehensive Examination credit may count toward the required 30 credits of 700-level coursework.

A maximum of 24 credits of course work (with grades of “B” or better) from a completed Master’s degree program may be allocated toward the doctoral degree upon completion and approval of a Credit Transfer Evaluation Request Form. Up to 18 credits of 700-level courses may be transferred from the master’s degree program.

All work towards a Doctoral degree must be completed within eight (8) calendar years immediately preceding the granting of the degree. For more information on credit requirements, students should consult the UNR General Catalog.

Note that the GPHS does not generally accept students with only Bachelor’s degrees directly into the Doctoral degree programs; rather these students are first accepted into the Master’s Program and may be considered for the Doctoral degree after one year of study. Students interested in proceeding directly to the Doctoral degree should contact the GPHS Director for further guidance.

A. Core Courses (15 units)

The Doctoral degree in Hydrology gives students the flexibility to study in broad areas of hydrologic sciences or specialize in a sub-discipline. All students receive a broad underpinning of the hydrologic sciences through a set of shared fundamental core courses between the Hydrogeology and Hydrology degrees.  A grade of B- or better is required for each of the shared fundamental core courses and these courses may only be retaken once. The shared fundamental core courses are listed below:

B. Hydrology Requirement (3 units)

Students following the Hydrology degree are required to also complete one of the following courses:

VI. Total Units (72 units)

The Doctoral degree in Hydrology requires 72 units beyond the Bachelor’s degree.

VII. Notes

Consult with your advisor and the GPHS Director for more information and requirements.  Doctoral degree candidates should consult the “GPHS Examination Procedure Guidelines” information package for a review of committee, qualifying and comprehensive examination procedures and scheduling.

VIII. Undergraduate Prerequisites

The Program requires undergraduate prerequisites of 2 semesters each of calculus-based physics (PHYS 180  and PHYS 181 , or equivalent), chemistry (CHEM 201  and CHEM 202 , or equivalent) and calculus (MATH 181  and MATH 182 , or equivalent), one semester of probability/statistics (STAT 352 , or equivalent), and differential equations (MATH 285 , or equivalent). Although calculus-based physics (PHYS 180 and 181) is highly recommended, a non-calculus-based physics course, PHYS 151  and PHYS 152  or equivalent, will be allowed if approved by the student’s advisor. Calculus III (MATH 283 ) is not a formal requirement, but is highly recommended. Any deficiencies are to be made up during the first year of graduate study, and students are encouraged to consult with their advisors and the GPHS Director for guidance on the appropriate courses for fulfilling deficiencies. Students must provide evidence that the deficiencies were met if the courses are not taken at UNR.