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The Breakdown

It’s simple; water is our lifeblood. Without it, we could not sustain ourselves. Indeed, it’s a coveted resource that must be carefully preserved and monitored. Enter the hydrologist. Hydrologists deal with (and study) the distribution, circulation and properties of water found within the earth and the atmosphere. They analyze and help maintain water quality, ensuring it is fit for human consumption, recreation and agriculture. Further, they research the transportation of hazardous materials in ground and surface water and help to manage aquatic environments. Hydrologists also assess the effects of climate change on our current water supplies, hopefully ensuring we’ll have clean water for years to come.

To be a successful hydrology major, it’s necessary to have strong quantitative and analytical skills. Additionally, it’s important to be a creative problem solver who can think outside of the box. Oh, and it’s probably best if you’re not hydrophobic.

Nuts and Bolts

As a hydrology major, your schedule will be packed with science classes such as: Physical Geology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Structural Geology, Sedimentology, Physical Hydrology, Chemical Hydrology, Groundwater Hydrology, High Temperature Geochemistry, Dynamic Meteorology, Stream Ecology, Watershed Processes and Advanced Topics in Aquatic Biology.

Decisions, Decisions

Budding hydrologists are likely also interested in chemistry, ecology, environmental engineering, civil engineering, environmental studies, conservation biology, geology, atmospheric science, physics and oceanography.

What's Next

With a burgeoning population that’s infringing upon scarce and fragile resources, hydrologists are becoming all the more valuable. Students who major in hydrology will find that they’re qualified to work for a number of organizations, be they environmental interest groups, consulting firms or government agencies. They might also find employment with architectural and engineering firms. Additionally, it’s quite common for students to pursue graduate level studies in hydrology.


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Don Munce