Hydrology and Climate Program
Welcome to the Boise State Water, Landscapes, and Climate Program!
We are a group of faculty, researchers, and students, integrated across traditional disciplinary boundaries, engaged in education and research in basic and applied realms of the physical, biological, and geochemical aspects of water in the environment. We encourage interested students to explore our website and contact individual faculty members to learn more about specific research and educational opportunities.
The Boise State University Hydrologic Sciences program trains students in the scientific underpinnings of the movement and storage of water in the environment, and the interaction of water with geologic, biologic and social systems as described by this definition of hydrology:
Hydrology is the geoscience that describes and predicts the occurrence, circulation, and distribution of the water of the earth and its atmosphere, and the geological, chemical, biological and societal processes that affect and are affected by water.
-Dingman, 2002 (Modified)
We offer a suite of degrees designed to train students in theories and applications of hydrologic science with integrated sets of courses and research opportunities promoting
- Understanding of physical processes and earth properties governing flux and storage of water in the environment, and the interactions and feedbacks between the hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere
- Abilities to acquire, interpret, and apply environmental data, and to model and predict hydrologic processes using contemporary measurement and computational tools to address hydrological and environmental problems of societal relevance.
Faculty, staff, and students work together on a wide range of research topics that take us from the streets of Boise, to the wild Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, to worldwide locales including Cambodia, Benin, and Scotland. Because of the shared core curriculum and common research interests, graduate students in the hydrologic sciences program and develop strong professional and personal connections that typically extend beyond graduation.
Degrees and Programs
Outcomes: Upon completion any of the BSU Hydrologic Science programs, students will be equipped with knowledge and abilities to begin a career as a hydrologist, geoscientist, environmental scientist, or engineer in government, private, and academic sectors, or continue with advanced graduate education.
BS Geosciences-Hydrology Emphasis: Lower division courses in Geosciences, Geophysics, and Hydrology provide a foundation for Hydrologic Science as an essential component of Earth Science. Upper division courses provide introductions to various components of the earth-atmosphere-biosphere system including courses in atmospheric science, watershed hydrology, groundwater hydrology, geochemistry, and field and computational methods. Electives allow students to build interdisciplinary connections in other fields of interest.
MS Hydrologic Science: An interdisciplinary program shared between Geosciences, Civil Engineering, and Biology, administered through the Department of Geosciences. A suite of core courses introduce students to theories and applications in watershed hydrology, groundwater hydrology, atmospheric sciences, aqueous geochemistry, and hydrologic simulation. Advanced courses allow students to specialize in any of the above focus areas. A research project leading to a thesis under the direct supervision of a faculty adviser serves as a capstone experience. The thesis should produce research suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Graduates from this program will be prepared to enter the workforce or continue education in a PhD program.
MS Earth Science – Hydrology Emphasis: A suite of core courses introduce students to theories and applications in watershed hydrology, groundwater hydrology, atmospheric sciences, aqueous geochemistry, and hydrologic simulation. Advanced courses allow students to specialize in any of the above focus areas. This professional, non-thesis, degree requires additional coursework beyond MS Hydrologic Science program to develop a specific area of expertise. This program is intended as a terminal degree for those entering the workforce.
PhD Geoscience/Geophysics: Research-based degrees intended to prepare students to enter the workforce at a high professional level, or to pursue an academic or research career. Course curriculum is tailored to each student to ensure broad training while developing expertise. A dissertation under the supervision of a faculty adviser should produce publication quality research suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
Minor in Hydrology: Designed for students who are interested in hydrology, water resources and water quality, but with a major in another department. For example, majors in other disciplines such as biology, environmental studies, mathematics, engineering and business often find employment in firms and agencies that specialize in environmental projects. Course work in the minor provides fundamental skills and knowledge of the hydrologic sciences.
Minor in Climate Studies: The Climate Studies minor aims to help students understand past, current and future changes in climate and the effects of climate change on Earth’s atmospheric, biologic, hydrologic and ecologic systems. This minor will include the interactions among physical and human systems, and prepare students to address the grand challenges associated with global climate change. This minor provides needed preparation for students joining the workforce to understand the causes of climate change, how climate change will affect businesses, agriculture, and forest resources, and how to best prepare for the future.