Hydrogeology

A stream cuts through rocky banks lined with pine trees.

Hydrogeology focuses on interactions of water in the earth's processes, especially in the vadose and saturated zones below the earth's surface. Possible areas of emphasis for students include groundwater contaminant transport, geochemical evolution of ground waters, nutrient transport processes, vadose zone hydrology, ground water resource evaluation and groundwater modeling.

Degree programs in Hydrogeology

  • Ph.D.
  • Masters
  • B.S. to M.S. Accelerated program

Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Hydrogeology (72 credits)

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree in Hydrogeology must satisfy all general requirements of the Graduate School and the M.S. degree in Hydrogeology. SLOs for the degree are that students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a basic level of competency in the general field of hydrogeology and in their area of research
  2. Explain ideas and results through written, numerical, graphical, spoken, and computer-based forms of communication
  3. Complete research in their field of study, including answering specific question(s) in conjunction with the advisor and dissertation committee
  4. Demonstrate appropriate quantitative skills for their sub-discipline

The Doctoral degree in Hydrogeology requires 72 credits beyond the Bachelor degree, successful completion of a qualifying examination after the first year of study and 1 credit of Comprehensive Examination. The Comprehensive Examination credit may count toward the required 30 credits of 700-level coursework. 24 credits of dissertation credits must be applied to the Doctoral degree, and students must sign up for these credits in the department of their advisor. 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) years immediately preceding the granting of the degree. Credits transferred into doctoral degree from a completed master’s degree are exempt from this eight-year limit.

A B.S. or B.A.-to-Ph.D. degree program is available for students with exceptionally strong academic qualifications, prior experience in hydrologic or related research, and demonstrated science/technical writing expertise. Students interested in proceeding directly to the Doctoral degree should contact the GPHS Director for further guidance.

The Doctorate of Philosophy in Hydrogeology allows flexibility to allow students to follow one or more of the broad areas of subsurface hydrology and to allow for specialization. All students receive a broad underpinning of the hydrologic sciences through the shared core courses. Additional requirements for the degree include two or more specialization courses in hydrogeology. Students are expected to work with their advisors and committee members to develop a Plan of Study that best matches their research efforts and interests.

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.

Master of Science in Hydrogeology

Student education and research examine the occurrence and processes associated with subsurface water transport. Specific areas of emphasis include but are not limited  to: ground water contaminant transport, geochemical evolution of ground waters, nutrient transport processes in soils and ground water, vadose zone hydrology and numerical simulation of ground water, geochemistry and reactive transport. Students follow the shared core of five (5) courses that provide the fundamentals of fluid mechanics and introductions to surface and ground water hydrology and environmental chemistry as well as two credits of seminar in Hydrologic Sciences. SLOs for the degree are that students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a basic level of competency in the general field of hydrogeology
  2. Explain ideas and results through written, numerical, graphical, spoken, and computer-based forms of communication
  3. Complete research in their field of study, including answering specific question(s) in conjunction with the advisor and thesis committee
  4. Demonstrate appropriate quantitative skills for their sub-discipline

Students can pursue a Master of Science degree either with Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (non-thesis option). The Master of Science Plan A degree in Hydrogeology requires a minimum of 30 credits beyond the Bachelor degree, of which at least 18 credits (including 6 credits of thesis) must be at the 700-level. Students must sign up for thesis credits in the department of their advisor. For the non-thesis option (Plan B), a minimum of 32 credits is required 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 however, the Plan B option should be considered as a terminal degree. All work towards a master’s degree must be completed within six (6) years immediately preceding the granting of the degree. For more information on credit requirements, students should consult the UNR General Catalog.

The Master of Science in Hydrogeology degree allows flexibility to allow students to follow one or more of the broad areas of subsurface hydrology and to allow for specialization. All students receive a broad underpinning of the hydrologic sciences through the shared core courses. Students are expected to work with their advisors and committee members to develop a Plan of Study that best matches their research efforts and interests.