MS and Ph.D. programs in Hydrology and Hydrogeology


Degree overview

The goals of the program are to provide fundamental and advanced training to students in the critical fields of surface and subsurface hydrology. Over 70 faculty at the University, DRI, and agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and the Agricultural Research Service conduct research in areas such as contaminant transport (surface and subsurface), watershed hydrology, ecohydrology, aqueous geochemistry, global climate change, groundwater hydraulics, vadose zone hydrology, surface water hydrology and water resources engineering. Thus, students have a tremendous range of options to study. Our size fosters a personal atmosphere in which there is a close relationship between faculty and students. The Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences supports a vibrant student chapter of the Nevada Water Resources Association (NWRA) as well as an active international water organization for students (SAIWI).

A researcher wearing a red parka coat stands in a shallow stream with equipment.

Hydrogeology degrees

Specific areas of emphasis in Hydrogeology include groundwater contaminant transport, geochemical evolution of ground waters, nutrient transport processes, vadose zone hydrology, ground water resource evaluation and ground water modeling.

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Hydrology degrees

Students within the Hydrology option can specialize in surface water hydraulics, watershed hydrology, water resources evaluations, water quality, geomorphology, and limnology.


Graduate programs admission requirements

Application deadline: December 15 for Fall semester | July 15 for Spring semester

In addition to the general requirements required by the Graduate School, the graduate programs require the following:

  • GPA of 3.0 or greater
  • Letter of intent
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Department application

The GRE is not required.

Students with training in hydrologic sciences, geology, geophysics, engineering, soil science, biology, chemistry, computer science, fluid mechanics, mathematics, physics, and other disciplines are strongly encouraged to apply for admission to the graduate program.

Getting started

The preferred approach admission to the GPHS program is outlined below:

  1. Review our research areas.
  2. Check out  our faculty, which you can filter by research areas. Read some of their papers, and find an advisor with interests that really excite you.
  3. Contact faculty to express interest, and inquire if they are planning to accept students in the near future.
  4. Sending a CV and short statement of interest during these initial email contacts is a great way to help faculty understand who you are and how you might fit into their labs.

Program requirements and deficiencies

Students admitted to the program should have a bachelor of sciences degree or equivalent in engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, natural resources, or ecology. Students with non-related degrees can also be considered for admission. Prospective graduate students should have an undergraduate GPA above 3.0 and international students should have TOEFL scores exceeding 600. GRE scores are no longer required.

In addition, the Program requires undergraduate prerequisites of 2 semesters each of calculus based physics (PHYS 180 and 181, or equivalent), chemistry (CHEM 201 and 202, or equivalent) and calculus (MATH 181 and 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 152 or equivalent, will be allowed if approved by your advisor.

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 office for guidance on the appropriate courses for fulfilling deficiencies.

For more detailed information regarding entrance requirements, undergraduate deficiencies, and degrees offered, please refer to our graduate program handbook.


Connect with a faculty advisor and learn more about our campus

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Find a faculty advisor

Your faculty advisor plays a key role in your graduate education. Visit our faculty websites, read some of their papers, and find an advisor with interests that really excite you. Contact faculty to express interest, and inquire if they are planning to accept students in the near future.

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Your Gradventure awaits

Prospective students who meet criteria for program admission will be invited to visit the Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences at the University for a personal interview and to meet faculty, students and postdocs in our program. Invited students will visit our campus and program early in the Spring semester.


This program is part of the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP), a tuition-savings program that makes out-of-state graduate studies more affordable for students. Through WRGP, you will receive a reduced tuition rate, giving you more educational options for your money.

How to apply

You can start your application through The Graduate School website, which provides detailed instructions on the application process.