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Online Schools for Hydraulics Engineering: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online hydraulics engineering school. Read on to get an overview of the program options, delivery methods, and common topics offered for the field of study.

Online graduate programs are available in hydraulics engineering and vary in the award level and program curricula. Interested students can explore these considerations here and learn about some of the available schools.

How to Select an Online Hydraulics Engineering School

Hydraulics engineering is a branch of civil engineering that deals with planning, managing and treating watercourses. A few master's degree and graduate certificate programs exist for students interested in pursuing online education in this field, and all of them require at least a bachelor's degree for admission. The field of hydraulics engineering strongly intersects with environmental engineering. There are a few schools that offer online options at the graduate level; programs vary in focus.

Award Level

Online programs are available at graduate degree and certificate levels, so students should consider which type meets their needs before selecting a school. A graduate degree is commonly required for individuals aspiring to work in teaching or research, while graduate certificate programs appeal to students interested in expanding their knowledge in hydraulics engineering without committing to a master's degree program. Some graduate certificate credits can transfer toward a master's program.

Additionally, while some programs are open to recent graduates with a bachelor's degree in engineering or a natural science major, including physics, other certificate programs call for applicants to be professional engineers.

Program Curricula

Even though hydraulics engineering is rooted in both environmental and civil engineering, some programs base their curriculum solely on environmental engineering. Students should consider whether they want to take courses in a combined program or not.

Also, air pollution and quality courses may be offered through graduate certificate programs, but typically not in master's degree programs. Individuals with a strong interest in the relationship between water and air may wish to enroll in a graduate certificate program in hydraulics engineering.

List of Online Hydraulics Engineering Degree Programs

Online Graduate Certificate in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering

Students in these programs learn how pollutants travel through water, soil and air. They study the impact pollution has on water quality and ways to effectively protect water resources, and some programs may put an extra emphasis on wastewater and its treatment. Enrollees download course lectures online and watch them using streaming media. A proctor may be needed to administer tests off-campus. Examples of courses in the program include:

  • Environmental engineering chemistry
  • Surface water hydrology
  • Biotechnology
  • Water pollution control processes
  • Geotechnology

Online Master's Degree in Water Resources Engineering

The focus of these 2-4 year degree programs is effective and sustainable management of water resources. Online courses look at the trend towards environmentally sustainable water management and how to incorporate it into U.S. infrastructure and industrial practices. Students examine design, analysis and practice techniques by viewing lectures notes on the Internet and completing readings. They communicate with professors and classmates using e-mail, chat rooms and online discussion boards. Coursework might include:

  • Physical hydrology
  • Lake, stream and wetland ecology
  • Water control and measurement
  • Drainage and wetland engineering
  • Transport in bioengineering

Schools With Online Programs in Hydraulics Engineering

Colorado State University offers an online graduate certificate program in water resources that includes an optional course geared toward engineers entitled Water Resources Planning and Management. The certificate program requires 10 credits and includes courses in laws applying to water and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) fundamentals.

Villanova University has a nationally-recognized Master of Science in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering program that can be taken online or through evening classes on campus. Students can also enroll part- or full-time. The program requires 30 credits and offers a thesis or non-thesis track.

Online graduate certificates and master's degree programs in hydraulics engineering are available, but relatively rare. Students interested in these programs should consider which award level to pursue, as well as what topics the program curricula includes.

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