Student Guide

One of many resources to help out new and experienced students


Advice from current graduate students.

The University of Colorado, as one of the top research institutions in the nation, is a mecca for the hydrologic sciences. Whatever you want to do, the opportunity probably exists. To fully take advantage of all the resources the University has to offer, you need to take the initiative to discover them. One good source are the guides for students and student TA's assembled by individual departments and institutes such as Engineering's TA manual and INSTAAR's Grad student survival guide. Here are some additional steps you can take to familiarize yourself with the many opportunities:

  • Courses. Prior to registration each semester, check the upper division and graduate course listings on CUConnect from each of the Hydrologic Sciences departments.
  • Fellow students. Get to know the students from other departments, both through classes and through social activities (graduate student picnics, intramural sports, etc.). They will often serve as some of the best resources and can inform you of reading groups, pertinent classes, and talks of interest.
  • Talks: Obtain schedules of colloquia and seminars from Hydrologic Sciences departments and attend them as often as you can.
  • Scholarships: Make a decided effort to apply for outside fellowships/scholarships/sources of funding, because these will give you the freedom to pursue a project of your own design and take charge of your graduate research.
  • Faculty from other departments.Take advantage of the interdisciplinary faculty involved in the Hydrologic Sciences program and form your committee early on. You will greatly benefit from the advice and ideas your committee members have to offer on different subtopics and at different stages in your research.
  • Life balance. Seek to achieve a balance in your life between academics, social activities, and recreation. The University of Colorado-Boulder facilitates the attainment of such a balance, with its proximity to the mountains and myriad outdoor activities, an excellent Recreation Center, and a variety of athletic, social, cultural, and academic extracurricular activities. If you are interested in volunteering in the community, attend the annual Volunteer Fair, or participate in organized programs such as Engineers Without Borders, the Environmental Center, or departmental outreach programs. See the main guide to graduate student life.
  • Time management. One of the greatest challenges of beginning your graduate student career is learning how to manage your time. You may have a combination of teaching, research, and coursework commitments, and your schedule will probably change from day to day. Expect to spend your first several semesters focusing largely on coursework while fulfilling TA duties, where applicable, and formulating your general research plan. As you complete your course requirements, your primary focus will shift increasingly toward research. Although there will be days/weeks where you spend considerable amounts of time in the lab/office, your schedule will often be flexible, allowing you to accommodate outside commitments.
  • Gain teaching skills. If you have any interest in pursuing academics or teaching as a career, get involved in the Graduate Teacher Program! This program exemplifies the University of Colorado's outstanding commitment to quality teaching and leads to certification as a Graduate Teacher. The program offers workshops, training, teaching evaluations, and consultations designed to assist graduate teachers in their professional development and improve their teaching. At the conclusion of the program, participants will have completed an academic teaching portfolio, which will often set them apart in academic job searches. For more information, visit the Graduate Teacher Program, or contact Laura Border.


If the student has a grievance that falls within the framework of the Program, every effort should be made to settle the difficulty by the discussion between the student and the faculty member or members directly involved. If such discussion fails to yield a resolution of the problem, the aggrieved student shall prepare a written statement describing the situation and present it to a Co-Director of the Program. The Co-Director shall meet with the student and the faculty members involved and shall render its decision on the appropriate resolution of the problem. If the student remains dissatisfied with the Co-Director's decision, he or she may file a formal complaint with the Dean of the Graduate School, who will involve the Graduate School's normal procedures for reaching a final resolution.


Graduate students Bruce Raup and Dave Bahr (both Geological Sciences & INSTAAR), Worthington Glacier, 1993. Photo: Tad Pfeffer (CEAE & INSTAAR).


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