One of the most well-established interdisciplinary programs of its kind in North America.

Established in 1962, the Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences has always been a collaboration between the University of Nevada, Reno and the Desert Research Institute.

About us Updates from our Program Director

The Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Hydrologic Sciences

The University of Nevada, Reno's hydrology program focuses on studies of water in the environment including its role in geologic and biogeochemical processes, ecosystem functions, and climate science. Learn more about the graduate program, the admissions process and resources for student support.

River polluted by a mine

About us

Learn more about our research interests and interdisciplinary departments and partners that create our unique academic program. 

Grassy, boulder-dotted canyon with jagged peaks and blue skies

Degree programs

Admission requirements, deadlines, program timelines, funding information and more outlining the doctoral and master's programs.

Geothermal steam in picturesque valley

Student resources

Program handbook, career information, and a list of student organizations and campus resources. 

Discover areas of expertise and meet the faculty within each area to find a research direction you love. 

Researcher in the snow with equipment.

Research areas

Our hydrologic sciences research faculty have expertise in contaminant transport, watershed hydrology, ecohydrology, aqueous geochemistry, global climate change, groundwater hydraulics, vadose zone hydrology, surface water hydrology and water resources engineering. Learn more about our current research.

Two researchers at the base of a large pine tree.

People of Hydrologic Sciences

Our faculty come together from more than eight units across campus and the Reno area. Learn more about their areas of interest and current projects. 

Achievements and announcements

DRIVE: Doctoral Research Innovation, Vision, and Excellence

Tara McKinnon collecting aquatic insects using a Suber samplerStarting in January 2021, the Nevada DRIVE program promotes recruitment and retention of Ph.D. students at the University. GPHS was successful in obtaining 3 semesters of DRIVE funds around the theme of “Nevada Water” and in support of first-generation college students and Ph.D. students from historically underrepresented groups. Ms. Tara McKinnon is our first DRIVE scholar (Fall 2021). Tara's research focuses on understanding the ways that irrigation withdrawals from streams in the Shasta region affect the aquatic ecology of these streams. Because both aquatic and terrestrial insects are key food sources in these riparian ecosystems, her project has a strong focus on insect sampling. While on DRIVE funding, Tara gained expertise in terrestrial insect identification and processed hundreds of insect samples. She also trained and mentored local volunteers, who clocked over 600 hours assisting with these insect samples. 

In fall 2022, GPHS will be using our DRIVE funding for recruiting one to two Ph.D. students. We thank University President Brian Sandoval; Vice President for Research and Innovation, Mridul Gautam; and Executive Vice President & Provost, Jeff Thompson, for making the DRIVE program possible.

At right, Tara collects aquatic insects using a Suber sampler. 

Krishna Pagilla's wastewater survey tracks COVID-19 Delta variant in Truckee Meadows

Student testing samplesThe highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant has been successfully identified and tracked in Truckee Meadows wastewater since June 2021, establishing the monitoring process as a viable means of detecting new COVID-19 variants that may be present in Washoe County.

And while the Truckee Meadows COVID risk meter – based on several factors – remains very high, the level of Delta variant in the community has been trending down since September and the Risk Meter prediction is for the risk in the community to inch lower next week.

In continuing studies and monitoring of Truckee Meadows wastewater, researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, working with the City of Sparks, the City of Reno and Washoe County, have been able to identify a number of COVID-19 variants that are present in the community, and initially detected the variants in wastewater months before they were identified from clinical monitoring. can detect them in wastewater simultaneously or even before being detected through sequencing of clinical samples.

Our impact

Nevada Today news stories from the Hydrologic Sciences and the departments that contribute to the program.

adjusting instruments on tower on Antarctic ice shelf

Thwaites Glacier under threat from warming sea temperatures – College of Science scientists use fiber-optics to study ice-shelf melting

Chris Kratt travels to Antarctic to set up temperature sensing devices and retrieve data

A mountainous landscape shows a canyon carved by a river.

How old are the Sierra Nevada mountains, really?

Researchers in the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering weigh in on a hotly debated topic in tectonics and geomorphology: the age of the Sierra Nevada mountain range

A house’s porch stands unsupported by the ground that used to lie beneath it.

Yellowstone flooding response includes geotechnical surveys

Assistant geological engineering professor Michael Gardner visited the sites of flooding in Yellowstone National Park to determine how geostructure integrity was compromised