Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What exactly is hydrology?

A: The short answer is that hydrology is the study of water. Please see our Hydrology - What is it? page for the longer answer.

Q: I am a high school student interested in the study of water as a possible future profession. What classes should I be taking right now?

A: Take all the science courses you can! Be sure to take as much Chemistry and Earth Science as possible. These will prepare you with an understanding of the scientific method and a rudimentary understanding of the water cycle and other core concepts necessary to a future in hydrology.

Q: My university doesn't offer a hydrology major, but I plan on studying hydrology in graduate school. What comparable subject can I major in?

A: Depending on area of hydrology you want to focus on, you should consider majoring in Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Atmospheric Sciences, Environmental Sciences, or Geology. These can train you toward a shrewd scientific mind and provide you with a wide base of foundation experience on which to build in grad school.

Q: I am graduating with a PhD in Hydrology. What can I do with my newly acquired skills?

A: Your newly acquired skills will most likely be awarded immediate application in the professional field of hydrology. You might consider applying for a government job, a private consulting job, or a university job.

Q: Can hydrologists predict and/or prevent floods?

A: There is no surefire way to predict or prevent floods, otherwise the world wouldn't be so fraught with disaster. But hydrologists develop such a keen understanding of the way water works with land and soil that by observing conditions involving precipitation patterns that can foresee future problems and recommend or implement preventive measures against flooding.