Skip to Main Content
Mobile Menu

M.S. in Hydrologic Sciences

Program Coordinator: Dr. Alejandro N. Flores | | 208-426-2903

General Information

Boise State University offers a Master of Science in Hydrologic Sciences through the Department of Geosciences Hydrologic Sciences Program. Graduates from this program will be prepared to enter the workforce or continue education in a PhD program. The degree requires completion of 27 credits of graduate coursework and completion of a thesis equivalent to a minimum of 6 credits. The overall goal of the graduate Hydrologic Sciences program is to provide a balanced education by completing the following:

Hydrologic Science Core (18 credits)

Students must complete all core courses. The core courses introduce students to theories and applications in watershed hydrology, groundwater hydrology, atmospheric sciences, aqueous geochemistry, and hydrologic simulation. Students who can demonstrate completion of equivalent courses at another university may substitute other courses subject to approval of the Supervisory Committee.

  • GEOS 516 (3) Hydrology
  • GEOS/CE 512 (3) Hydrogeology
  • GEOS/CE 526 (3) Aqueous Geochemistry

  • GEOS 518 (3) Applied Hydrologic Modelling
  • GEOPH 522 (3) Data Analysis & Geostastics
  • GEOS 652 (3) Methods in Hydrologic Science

Electives (6 credits)

Students must complete two elective courses approved by the Supervisory Committee. Electives provide opportunities to add depth in specialized topics or breadth in supporting disciplines. Typically, depth electives are selected to gain expertise in the area of expertise of the students primary adviser. Departmental seminars and readings groups do not satisfy this requirement. Examples of electives include, but are not limited to:

  • GEOS 551 Principles of Soil Science
  • GEOS 523 Advanced Geomorphology
  • GEOS 616 Watershed Processes
  • GEOS 623 Advanced Hydrogeology
  • CE 697 Terrestrial Hydrometeorology
  • GEOS 636 Stable Isotope Geochemistry
  • GEOPH 566 Snow and Ice Physics
  • CE 520 Environmental Process Chemistry
  • CE 537 GIS in Water Resources
  • CE 597 Engineering Hydrology
  • CE 633 Contaminant Hydrogeology

  • UI CE xxx Fluvial Geomorphology
  • UI CE xxx River Restoration
  • GEOG xxx Remote Sensing
  • PUBADM 540 Contemporary Issues in Natural Resource and Environmental Policy and Administration
  • PUBADM 541 Environmental and Regulatory Policy and Administration
  • PUBADM 543 Public Land and Resource Policy and Administration
  • BIOL 515 Applied and Environmental Microbiology
  • BIOL 527 Stream Ecology

Additional Requirements

Students with an adviser in the Department of Geosciences must meet additional requirements.

  • First semester students must register for Graduate Orientation [GEOS 601 (2)]
  • Every semester, all students must register and attend Graduate Seminar [GEOS 598 (1)]

Students with an adviser in the Department of Civil Engineering must meet the following additional requirements:

  • Research Methods [ENGR 500 (1)]

Thesis (6 credits minimum of GEOS/CE/BIOL 593)

The thesis must be the result of independent and original research by the student, guided by a faculty advisor. The style and format of the thesis are to conform to the standards of the Department of Geosciences and the Graduate College. Thesis credits are initially graded IP (In Progress) and later graded P (Pass) or F (Fail) depending on the outcome of the thesis defense. A public defense of the thesis (final oral examination) is scheduled after the Supervisory Committee has reviewed a draft that is considered to be nearly a final version. The date of the defense is determined jointly by the Supervisory Committee and the student and must be consistent with any guidelines provided by the Graduate College. The chair of the Supervisory Committee conducts the defense according to the procedure established for the Department of Geosciences by the Graduate Program Committee and consistent with the requirements of the Graduate College. A majority vote is used to decide the outcome (Pass or Fail). A student who fails a defense may be permitted to try again within one year, but a second failure will result in dismissal from the program.


Completion of a full course of study leading to a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university with a major in physical or natural science or engineering. The study must have included a minimum of:

  • 8 semester hours in Chemistry
  • 8 semester hours in Physics
  • 8 semester hours in Differential and Integral Calculus
  • 3 semester hours or 6 quarter hours in Statistics
  • 3 semester hours in Geographic Information Systems

A Supervisory Committee may prescribe additional perquisite courses for an individual student, subject to approval of the Graduate Program Committee. Prospective students should demonstrate basic training in Geoscience and Engineering. Students may be admitted provisionally if their background lacks some prerequisites. Prerequisite courses may be taken during the early phases of graduate study, but credits earned in this way will not apply to the graduate program.

For more information, please visit the Hydrologic Sciences Program.

Graduate Assistantships, Teaching and Research Fellowships

Graduate fellowships including tuition and fee waivers are funded from three sources: appropriated state funds, endowments, and research grants and contracts. Information on graduate fellowships funded by research grants and contracts may be obtained from individual faculty, or from the coordinator of the Hydrologic Sciences program.

Graduate Program Committee

The Graduate Program Committee of the Department of Geosciences consists of the graduate program coordinators for geophysics, geology, and earth science education, plus the chair of the Department. The duties of the Graduate Program Committee are defined by the Department and are consistent with policies set by the University. These duties include development of recommendations for admission of prospective graduate students, decisions on transfer credits and required background courses, decisions on the award of departmental graduate fellowships and assistantships, and appointment of Supervisory Committees for graduate students.

Supervisory Committee

Each admitted student will be assigned a supervisory committee whose purpose is to design the program of courses, guide the student’s research, conduct the thesis defense, and approve the final thesis. The supervisory committee consists of at least three members: a chair from BSU who takes on the primary advising role, and at least two members chosen in any combination from BSU, UI, ISU, or other institutions (selection based on a direct interest in the student’s research). The Coordinator of the Hydrologic Sciences graduate program works closely with each supervisory committee and will serve as temporary advisor to each new student until a supervisory committee can be assigned.

Application and Admission Requirements

Applicants should have a B.S. or equivalent degree from an accredited institution in one of the following fields: geophysics, geology, hydrology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, or engineering. Evaluation for admission requires three personal references, transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, and scores on the GRE General Test. Students whose native language is not English must submit a TOEFL score of 587 or higher for the written exam and 240 or higher for the computer-based examination. A copy of a report resulting from a previous university course, professional position, or research experience is also requested as evidence of the applicant’s ability to complete a significant project and write an acceptable scientific report. Preference is given to those applicants whose records indicate a high probability for successful completion of publishable graduate research.  Application materials are available online.


Further questions may be directed the Coordinator, Hydrologic Sciences Program, Boise State University, 1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725, telephone (208)-426-2903 or email: .

For more information and degree requirements, please refer to the university catalogs.