Online Hydrology Courses and Classes Overview

Scholastic institutions, particularly those in western states, often offer online hydrology classes to fulfill requirements in environmental engineering, urban planning or resource management degree programs. Additionally, some professional associations and businesses offer limited-scope classes to provide continuing education units.

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Online Courses in Hydrology

The following are some of the common courses in hydrology that students can take online.

  • Introduction to Basic Hydrology Course: Students in this course study how each of water's three physical states affects geology, geography, biology and chemistry. Water's effects on natural and human history, business and sociology are also discussed. Additionally, this course examines the availability of potable water in a changing world.
  • Basics of Water Quality and Management Course: In this course, students examine methods of managing water quality across ecosystems by studying pollution risks on surface water, chemical toxicity and subsurface contamination. Techniques to balance competing industrial and agricultural production, wildlife and human biological and recreational needs are also explored.
  • Introduction to Limnology Course: This course introduces students to unique properties of inland watersheds, rivers and streams. The biological and chemical dynamics of riparian and aquatic systems are also studied. Students discuss and examine the affects of agriculture, industry and population on ecosystems' trophic states.
  • Snowshed and Glaciated Hydrologic Systems Course: In this course, students examine hydrologic functions in areas drained primarily by snowmelt rather than streams or lakes. In addition to learning about the physical properties of snow, students identify and discuss the principles of snowpack, cover and snowmelt. Glacier formation, identification and monitoring techniques are also discussed.
  • Business and Environmental Factors in Hydrology Course: Students in this course review regulatory approaches from various levels of government and investigate their application. Corporate legal and ethical responsibilities, management concepts for environmental projects and compliance are also covered.
  • Groundwater Hydrology Course: This course introduces students to the basics of groundwater and its place in hydrology. The course examines groundwater's impact on geography, the role of groundwater in the water cycle, and measures for containing contaminated groundwater.
  • Hydrogeology Course: In this course, students learn how water moves through porous media. They gain experience making calculations using Darcy's Law and the groundwater flow equation. Computer modeling applications in the field of hydrogeology are also explored.
  • Hydraulic Engineering Course: This course provides an introduction to hydraulic engineering. Students learn about civil engineering fluid systems, such as reservoirs, pipe networks, pumps, turbines and channels.

Program Information

Hydrology is the scientific study of the placement and quality of water on the earth's surface. Common study topics for aspiring hydrologists include precipitation patterns and sustainability methods. There are few online programs leading to degrees in hydrology, but students are often able to use hydrology courses to fulfill requirements for such degrees as an Associate in Water Resource Management, a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Sciences or a Master of Science in Hydrogeology.

Students who are interested in hydrogeology can find relevant coursework within environmental and water-related online undergraduate and graduate-level educational programs.

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