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Hydrology Graduate Programs

Overview: 

We currently offer MS and PHD degree programs in Hydrolgy and MS and PHD degree programs in Hydrometeorology (hybrid degee with expertise in both areas, hydrology and atmospheric sciences-meteorology). We also offer an Accerelated Master's program in Hydrology (dual Bachelor and Master degrees). The graduate programs serve students whose educational and professional goals are knowledge and expertise in the:

  1. Physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the hydrologic cycle in the areas of surface water, hydroclimatology/hydrometeorology, global change, surface-subsurface interaction, vadose zone, hydrogeology, groundwater, unsaturated media and fractured rock, contaminant fate and transport, and isotope-geochemistry
  2. Environmental and social sciences, operations research, management, water resources systems, water resources engineering, water policy and planning, environmental and water quality management, economics, decision making and risk analysis

MS and PHD Programs in Hydrology

Established in the late 1960s, the original department of Hydrology and Water Resources was the first of its kind in the United States. Components of the graduate programs include:

  • Fundamental (Core) and Advanced Elective course work* in the major area of study (Hydrology)
  • *PHD students also complete courses in a minor area of study to complement and support the focus of the major, e.g. geoscience, atmospheric science (for non-Hydrometerology students), global change, remote sensing and spatial analysis, applied mathematics, soil/water/environmental science, statistics, civil engineering, chemical engineering, environmental engineering, chemistry, systems engineering
  • Field and Laboratory Methods
  • Professional and Career Development
    • HWRS 695A Colloquium (required for MS and PHD)
    • Oral Communication and Technical Presentation (MS, one oral or poster; PHD, minimum two, oral and/or poster presentations but at least one oral)
  • Research (900 Research, 909 Report, 910 Thesis, or 920 Dissertation)
  • Formal Written and Oral Examinations
    • Oral Qualifying Exam in Major (PHD only)
    • Written Comprehensive Exams in Major and Minor (PHD only)
    • Oral Comprehensive Exams in the Major and Minor (PHD only)
    • Final Oral Exam (MS and PHD)

MS and PHD Programs in Hydrometeorology

For details about the hybrid Hydrometeorology degree, refer to the Atmospheric Sciences-Graduate section of this website. Formally established in 2010, this degree program is the first of its kind in the United States. Briefly, 50% of the course work completed is taught by faculty with hydrology expertise, and 50% with expertise in atmospheric sciences. This is a very prescribed program of study, i.e. specific course work is required from both areas and has been carefully designed to overlap and reinforce topics that are common to both areas. Research advising/supervision and final examination processes are overseen by a committee represented by both areas, hydrology and atmospheric sciences.

References

Faculty Areas of Research

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

By the time of graduation, students majoring in Hydrology will have the following Expected Learning Outcomes (ELOs):

  1. Demonstrate mastery of at least four of the following topics: a) Water quality, b) Subsurface hydrology, c) Surface water hydrology, d) Systems hydrology, e) Water policy
  2. Conduct basic hydrological measurement techniques
  3. Analyze hydrologic data and formulate conclusions
  4. Effectively communicate hydrologic concepts and research
  5. Produce and/or publish professional-quality data summaries and professional-quality reports and/or peer-reviewed, journal-quality papers on research results OR, for PHD students, peer-reviewed, journal-quality papers on research that constitute a new contribution to the discipline

 

Assessment Activities: 

Graduate students' Expected Learning Outcomes (ELOs) are measured through a variety of direct and indirect activities throughout their studies.

Outcome 1: Demonstrate mastery of at least four of the following topics* (water quality, subsurface hydrology, surface water hydrology, systems hydrology, water policy)

  • Completion of core courses* (or equivalent) with grade of B or higher

Outcome 2: Conduct basic hydrological measurement techniques

  • Grade in HWRS 513A

Outcome 3: Analyze hydrologic data and formulate conclusions

  • Grade in HWRS 513A

Outcome 4: Effectively communicate hydrologic concepts and research

  • Presentation at El Día del Agua y la Atmósfera or enrollment in an HWRS 696-series seminar course (for MS students). Students receive specific feedback on their presentations from El Día judging (rubric to be improved).
  • Completion of two professional presentations, one of which can be at El Día,one or more at regional, national, or international conferences (for PHD students). Students receive specific feedback on their presentations from El Día judging (rubric to be improved).

Outcome 5: Produce and/or publish, e.g. data summaries, reports, journal-quality papers on research results

  • Grade of "P" (Pass) or "S" (Superior) on thesis or dissertation (Rubric to be developed)

*Core courses include HWRS 517A Fundamentals of Water Quality, HWRS 518 Fundamentals of Subsurface Hydrology, HWRS 519 Fundamentals of Surface Hydrology, HWRS 528 Fundamentals: Systems Approach to Hydrologic Modeling, HWRS 515 Fundamentals Water Policy, Management, Planning, Rights or equivalent course

 

* 900 Research or 909 Report for MS Non-Thesis option, 910 Thesis for MS Thesis option, 920 Dissertation for PHD option

**PHD students only, major and minor fields of study

 

Assessment Findings: 

Assessment Reports for AY2015-16 and AY2016-17

For ELO1, each student's grads for the 4-5 core courses completed were averaged into one composite grade, then all of the students' composite grades were averaged to report the measured assessment for ELO1. For AY2015-16, the average grade was 3.76, and in AY2016-17, the average was 3.94.

ELO2 and ELO3 were measured using the Average of all graduates' final grades for HWRS 513A Field Hydrology. For both Academic Years, all students earned grades of A, so all students exceeded the ELO2 and ELO3, and the measurement is 4.0

ELO4 was measured by the completion of a professional presentation at El Día or completion of an HWRS 696-series seminar course (for MS students). PHD student were required to complete two professional presentations, one of which may have occurred at El Día. All sudents met this requirement.

ELO5 was measured by the grade on a student's thesis or dissertation. The grade of "P" (Pass) is represented with a 3.0, while the grade of "S" (Superior) is represented with a 4.0. For AY2015-16, the average score for all 7 students is 3.29, and for AY2016-17, the average score is 3.14.

Figure 1 shows the most recent measured assessment of ELOs for HWRS graduate degrees, where 3.0 = Met Expectations and 4.0 = Exceeded Expectations.

Figure 1:

Measured Assessment of ELOs for HWRS Graduate Degrees AY2015-16 and AY2016-17

Program Quality Indicators

Post-graduate employment opportunities for graduate-level majors exist in the Private Sector (Industry-Consulting), within Government-Tribal Agencies, with NPOs NGOs, and within Academia & Research.

Department alumni are distinguished and highly influential throughout society, industry, and government, both nationally and abroad.  Their impact on the fields of hydrology and atmospheric sciences around the globe has been profound.  A cross section of alumni are represented on the HAS Advisory Board and collectively demonstrate the breadth and depth of HAS teaching and research.

 

Change in Response to Findings: 

For the coming year, we will improve the Rubric used for evaluating poster presentations and oral presentations at our annual student research symposium, El Día del Agua y la Atmósfera, so the rubric's measures are less generic and correlate more closely with our program ELOs as stated above. With more explicit goals ("expected" outcomes) in mind, we hope to elicit more accurate data/numerical scores and comments from judges.

For the coming year, we will revise the Student Rubric (attached) for graduating students that combines the numerical data-driven exit survey with the written reflective essay into one document. We will develop a new Rubric for beginning/mid-career students to measure whether they (and we) believe they are making good progress in their plan of study and research.

For the coming year, we will revise the Faculty Rubric (attached) to more accurately measure the quality of ELO5 which deals with the production and/or publication of data summaries/reports (for non-thesis option) or journal-quality articles for theses and disserations (thesis and dissertation options). We recognize that the current method is too subjective. With further faculty discussion, we hope to develop more quantitative criteria based on students' abilities to demonstrate varying levels of competence in mastery of topics, oral presentation skills, and originality/creativity in writing.

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PDF icon Student Rubric519.24 KB
PDF icon Faculty Rubric341.23 KB
Updated date: Tue, 08/01/2017 - 15:12