Water Resources Science

Problems with global freshwater depletion is increasingly recognized as linked to the land surface through freshwater runoff into the world's oceans and evapotranspiration.  Geologists have long been concerned with hydrology, and most groundwater issues require a reasonably sophisticated knowledge of geology. Increasing knowledge of connections between the biosphere and the hydrosphere are driving the emergence of the field of ecohydrology.

Many environmental problems require training in both hydrology and other areas of science.  Allied fields include ecology, forest science, geology, oceanography, atmospheric sciences, climatology, geomorphology, soil physics, geochemistry, public health, and microbiology.  Many of these scientific disciplines now have significant overlap with hydrology, and demand has increased for scientists trained in these areas to command a knowledge of hydrology.

The Water Resources Science degree program is designed to train students broadly in water resources while maintaining an intellectual affiliation with a secondary field. Students completing the WRS degree program will meet the coursework requirements to attain Professional Hydrologist certification through the American Institute of Hydrology (AIH).



  • One year, Calculus Equiv: MTH 251, 252, (253 or 254)
  • One year, Physics*
  • One year, Chemistry*
  • One year, upper division in Science*
    • Semester program = two terms (ex., Fall/Spring)
    • Quarter program = three terms (ex., Fall/Winter/Spring)

*all transferrable coursework in these areas will be considered


Students graduating from the WRS degree program will have three sets of requirements.
  1. Entrance Requirements . All students entering the WRS degree program will be required to show basic competence in chemistry, physics, mathematics to integral calculus, and advanced competence (upper-division) in one science.
  2. Program Requirements . Students will complete a standard MS (45 cr.) or PhD (108 cr.) program based in water resources science but allowing for significant coursework in another field.
  3. Exit Requirements . Students graduating from the degree program must show that they have a total of 37 cr. of water-related coursework based upon the American Institute of Hydrology (AIH) standards. Up to 22 credits of this may be met by coursework taken elsewhere, including as an undergraduate, though it is expected that many of the requirements will be met by OSU coursework.

Required courses within each WRS focus area are identified in the WRS Course List. Students would also be expected to maintain ties to and include significant coursework from their secondary field of emphasis (ecology, geology, etc.).

For more information please see the Student Resources Page for Handbooks, Check Lists and Forms.