University General Course Catalog 2021-2022 
    Dec 09, 2023  

Hydrogeology, M.S.

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The Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences (GPHS) offers a Master of Science degree in Hydrogeology. 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. 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 blend of engineering and science based materials. Students pursuing a Master of Science degree may choose a thesis option (Plan A) or non-thesis option (Plan B) and should consult with their advisors and the Program Director for guidance on the best choice for their individual needs. Research and teaching assistantships, as well as several fellowships, are routinely made available to students accepted into the program.

Contact Information

Dr. Anne Nolin, Graduate Program Director
Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences
(775) 682-8148


Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

GPHS Program objectives are to enable students to complete their programs of study and thesis research in a timely manner and to prepare students for productive careers in water-related fields. GPHS Masters degree graduates in Hydrogeology 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 basic 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 are able to complete research in their field of study in the Hydrologic sciences; and 
  4. students demonstrate appropriate quantitative skills for hydrology, including appropriate statistical or numerical modeling techniques.

I. Program Requirements

Candidates for the M.S. degree in Hydrogeology must satisfy all general requirements of the Graduate School. Students can pursue a Master of Science degree either with Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (non-thesis option). Because of the diverse skills needed by hydrologists, additional credits beyond the University minimums are required. 

  • The Masters of Science Plan A degree in Hydrogeology requires a minimum of 31 credits beyond the Bachelors degree, of which at least 18 credits (including 6 credits of thesis) must be at the 700-level. 
  • For the non-thesis option (Plan B), a minimum of 32 credits is required for Hydrogeology, with at least 15 credits at the 700-level (including 2 credits of Professional Paper). 

Students should consult with their advisor and the GPHS Director for guidance on choice of plan options. In general, the Plan B option should be considered as a terminal degree. For more information on credit requirements, students should consult the UNR General Catalog.

A. Core Courses (15 units)

The Master of Science degree in Hydrogeology gives students the flexibility to study the broad areas of hydrologic sciences or specialize in a subdiscipline.  All students receive a broad underpinning of the hydrologic sciences through a set of fundamental core courses shared by 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:

II. Total Units (31 or 32 Units)

The Master of Science Plan A degree in Hydrogeology requires a minimum of 31 credits beyond the Bachelors degree.

The Master of Science Plan B degree in Hydrogeology requires a minimum of 32 credits beyond the Bachelors degree.

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.

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