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Hydrology (MS) 
Program Description

The department offers a program leading to the Master of Science (M.S. Thesis option) degree with a major in hydrology. The faculty offers competence in hydrogeology, hydrogeochemistry, hydrometeorology, hydroclimatology, environmental hydrology, ground-water hydrology, surface-water hydrology, vadose zone hydrology, mathematical and statistical methods in hydrology (including stochastic and numerical modeling), water resources systems, and water resources policy.

The programs are designed for students with interests in the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the hydrologic cycle, as well as water resources systems, environmental studies, or water policy and the social sciences related to water resources. Students may concentrate in one or a combination of these fields but should acquire some proficiency in all aspects of hydrology and water resources. Research-based M.S. study programs are individually planned to meet the student's special interests and professional objectives. More information about faculty research areas of expertise may be found at the department website, Research Focus Areas.

M.S. Thesis option applicants need not have completed an undergraduate degree in hydrology and water resources; however, previous study in this field or a related field is beneficial. The programs have been designed to enable students who have completed fundamental undergraduate mathematics and science course work to enter directly.

All M.S. Thesis option students are expected to acquire basic computer programming and coding skills, although these undergraduate units are not included in the Master's Plan of Study.

All M.S. students must complete a field methods-field synthesis course sequence: HWRS 513 A (Spring) and HWRS 513B (Summer Presession) for a total of 3 units.

To meet the professional development requirement, M.S. Thesis option students are required to enroll in the HAS department's weekly seminar-colloquium, HWRS 595A (1 unit), for at least one semester during academic residency. These units are not included in the Master's Plan of Study.

Each M.S. Thesis option student must complete fundamental (core) courses in hydrology and water resources unless equivalent graduate courses have been taken elsewhere. Consult with the Director of Graduate Studies-Hydrology regarding potential graduate transfer course work for the Master's degree. For the M.S. Thesis option, a research-based Master's Thesis is required. A Master’s Final Oral Examination is required. More program information is available at the HAS department website, Master of Science in Hydrology.


Department/Academic Unit(s)

Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences

College of Science  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Guadalupe V Romero
Graduate Program Coordinator
Guadalupe V Romero
Director of Graduate Studies
Martha P L Whitaker
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Kristi R Davenport
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

Applications for Fall Semester admission must be completed by January 15.

Applications for Spring Semester admission must be completed by August 1 (for any student requiring a visa) or October 1 (for any student not requiring a visa).

If GRE scores are close to the minimum required, we recommend you apply. Other factors in your application may help mitigate this requirement.

Required: Applicants should upload required documents to the Graduate College application, including a Statement of Research Interests; a Resume or Curriculum Vitae; Three Letters of Recommendation (instructions provided); copy of Transcripts for all colleges and universities attended; Diploma Certificates (international applicants). All of these documents may be uploaded and attached to the Graduate College online application.

At the Graduate College website, click on Apply-Now to begin your application.

Undergraduate course prerequisites in science and mathematics include:

  • Physical Geology: 1 semester
  • College Chemistry: 2-semester sequence, Inorganic/Analytical
  • College Physics: 2-semester sequence, 1 course in Mechanics; 1 course in Electricity/Magnetism or Optics/Thermodynamics
  • Fluid mechanics: 1 semester
  • Mathematics: Calculus 1, Calculus 2, Vector Calculus, Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations
  • Engineering Statistics or Probability Theory: 1 semester
Standardized Tests

Required test(s): GRE
Required GRE Subject tests: None
Recommended tests:
Recommended GRE Subject tests:
Minimum GRE Verbal:
Minimum GRE Quantitative: 155
Minumum GRE Written: 4.5
Minimum GMAT:
Minimum MAT:
Minimum TOEFL: 550
Minimum IELTS: 7

Financial Aid

Graduate Assistantship in Research
Graduate Assistantship in Teaching
Tuition Scholarships

Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall: January 15
  • Spring: October 1

International Applicants:

  • Fall: January 15
  • Spring: August 1
International Conditional Admission
International applicants may be considered for conditional admission to this program at the department's discretion.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832
ETS Major Field Code(s) for this program: 1699

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

Minimum credits: 31

Master's Core coursework (6 units required):

  • HWRS 518 Fundamentals in Subsurface Hydrology (3)
  • HWRS 519 Fundamentals in Surface Hydrology (3)

Master's Core coursework (6 units required):

  • HWRS 517A Fundamentals of Water Quality (3)
  • HWRS 528 Fundamentals: Systems Approach to Hydrologic Modeling (3)
  • (Optional) One of the following three courses may be substituted for 517A OR 528 (but not both):
    • HWRS/AREC 575 Economics of Water, Environmental Markets/Policies (3), HWRS/AREC 576 Natural Resources Law and Economics (3), OR HWRS/LAW 641 Water Law (3)

Language requirements: None

Other requirements: 1) HWRS Primary Faculty Advanced Elective Requirement:

Advanced elective course work (12 units total) must be approved by the department. While the study of hydrology and water resources is interdisciplinary in nature, not all crosslisted courses may be used in the Master's Plan of Study. (Crosslisted courses are those in which HWR is not the home department and the course instructors reside in other departments.) Students must complete at least 9 of 12 required units with HWRS Primary Faculty instructors. More information about required courses and pre-approved non-HWRS courses is available in the HAS department's Master of Science Program Guide.

2) Field Methods-Field Synthesis course sequence requirement (3 units required):
  • HWRS 513A Field Methods (2) Spring
  • HWRS 513B Field Synthesis (1) Summer Presession

3) Professional Development Requirements (two requirements):

M.S. Thesis option students are required to enroll in the HAS department's weekly seminar-colloquium, HWRS 595A (1 unit), for at least one semester during academic residency. These units are not included in Master's Plan of Study.


M.S. Thesis option students are required to make a poster or oral presentation of their Master's Thesis research at an approved regional or national conference. No academic credit is awarded for paper or poster presentation. Presentation at the HAS department's annual student research symposium, El Dia del Agua y la Atmosfera, satisfies this requirement.

4) Final Examination Requirement:

A final oral examination with the thesis director and two other approved faculty members is required. While the initial presentation may be open to the public (at the discretion of the student and his or her committee members), the examination by faculty committee, or defense of thesis, is closed. Refer to the Master of Science Program Guide for details.

5) Thesis Archival

Electronic submission of the Master's Thesis to the Graduate College and archival with ProQuest UMI is required. The department does not maintain a separate archive, although members of the student's faculty committee may request a copy of the manuscript.
Minor Requirements

There is no Minor for students at the Master's level.

Student Handbook  
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Last revised 03 Sep 2019