Choose from our list of core and elective courses below.


The basics

Five courses are required for the Hydrologic Sciences PhD Degree and Graduate Certificate. The number of required courses is intentionally kept low, so that the student is free to design an overall academic program that meets his or her needs in terms of specialized scholarly interests. The five Hydrologic Sciences courses are included in the minimum semester hours required for all graduate students. The coursework is designed to assure competency in appropriate subject matter at the graduate level.


All students entering the program are expected to have had taken a standard year-long sequence of courses in calculus and physics, plus upper division courses in differential equations and fluid mechanics.

The math prerequisite can be satisfied by taking APPM 2360: Introduction to Differential Equations and Linear Algebra. The fluid mechanics prerequisite can be satisfied by taking one of several courses, including CVEN 3313: Theoretical Fluid Mechanics, GEOL 5110: Geomechanics, ASTR/ATOC 5400: Introduction to Fluid Mechanics, or GEOL 5700: Sediment Transport Mechanics. These supplementary courses may count toward your overall graduate degree, but only count as prerequisites toward the graduate certificate in hydrology.

You are encouraged to contact the Graduate Program Coordinator ( about your application to the program if you have deficiencies in either of these areas. You can indicate your plan to meet these prerequisites as part of your application and this plan will be considered by the Hydrologic Sciences Steering Committee along with your planned coursework and thesis research.

Required courses

The Hydrologic Sciences Program is interdisciplinary, therefore, students should choose two core courses from different topical areas as well as three additional required courses in at least two topical areas (which may include further core courses).

Core Courses

Topical Area Title Code Offered
Aquatic Chemistry Water Chemistry CVEN 5404 Every Fall
Atmospheric Processes and Climate Intro to Atmospheric Dynamics ATOC 5050 Every Fall
Cold Regions Hydrology Snow Hydrology GEOG 5321 Every Spring
Environmental Fluid Dynamics Environmental Fluid Mechanics CVEN 5313 Every Fall
Groundwater Hydrology Groundwater Hydrology CVEN 5353 Every Fall
Oceanography Oceanography GEOL 5060 Every Spring
Surface Water Hydrology Physical Hydrology CVEN 5333 Every Fall


Additional required courses

Topical Area Title Code Offered
Aquatic Chemistry Advanced Aquatic Chemistry CVEN 6404 Last offered Fall 2011
Aquatic Surface Particles CVEN 6414 Last offered Fall 2012
Watershed Biogeochemistry GEOG 5241 Last offered Spring 2013
Aqueous and Environmental Geochemistry GEOL 5280 Last offered Fall 2013
Atmospheric Processes and Climate Physics and Chemistry of Clouds and Aerosols ATOC 5600 Last offerred Spring 2016
Desert Meteorology and Climate ATOC 5750 Fall 2016
Mountain Meteorology ATOC 7500 Fall 2016
The Arctic Climate System GEOG 5271 Every Fall
Geomorphology Mechanics and Dynamics of Glaciers CVEN 5718 Every Fall
Fluvial Geomorphology GEOG 5251 Spring 2016
Geomechanics GEOL 5110 Fall 2016
Sediment Transport Mechanics GEOL 5700 Last offered Spring 2013
Limnology/Aquatic Ecology Applied Stream Ecology CVEN 5323 Every Fall
Stream Biology EBIO 5020 Fall 2014
Limnology EBIO 5030 Every Spring
Methods Applied Groundwater Modeling CVEN 5383 Every Spring
Water Resource System Management CVEN 5393 Every Spring
Quantitative Methods CVEN 5454 Every Spring
Numerical Methods in Civil Engineering CVEN 5537 Every Fall
Advanced Data Analysis Techniques CVEN 6833 Every Fall
Quantitative Methods GEOG 5023 Every Spring
Modeling Modeling Hydrologic Systems CVEN 5363 Spring 2016
Surface Water Quality Modeling CVEN 5494 Summer 2017
Oceanography Intro to Physical Oceanography ATOC 5051 Last offered Fall 2015
Dynamics of Oceans ATOC 5061 Every Spring
Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology GEOL 5430 Last offered Fall 2012
Remote Sensing/GIS Advanced Remote Sensing GEOG 5100 Every Spring
GIS Programming GEOG 5303 Every Spring
Remote Sensing of the Environment GEOG/ 5093 Every Spring and Fall
Solute Fate and Transport Transport and Dispersion in Surface Water CVEN 5343 Every Spring
Environmental Transport and Dispersion Processes CVEN 5833 Fall 2016
Flow and Transport in Porous Media CVEN 6383 Fall 2016


Stonefly, Zapada haysii, common in streams with acid mine drainage in Colorado. Photo: Diane McKnight (CEAE & INSTAAR).


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