What Is Hydrological Engineering?

Mar 04, 2020

Hydrological engineering, sometimes called hydrologic engineering, is an engineering specialty that focuses on water resources. There are both undergraduate and graduate degree programs available in this field, leading to potential career options in education, engineering, and consultancy.

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Hydrological Engineering Overview

Do you need help locating hydrological engineering programs? Learn what degree programs are offered in the area and find out about common courses and the career outlook information in the field.

Hydrological engineering, also called water resources engineering, is a civil engineering specialty offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Hydrological engineering is chiefly concerned with the flow and storage of water. Hydrological engineering also focuses on preventing floods and lessening the effects of floods, droughts, and other natural disasters.

Programs commonly cover:

  • Urban drainage
  • Water supply
  • Wastewater treatment
  • River management
  • Coastal protection

Degree Programs

Hydrological engineering is primarily a graduate degree major but is also offered at the undergraduate level. Programs may be offered along with related disciplines, such as hydrologic science or hydraulic engineering. Students learn how to use science and mathematics to design water storing, moving, and conserving systems. Course topics in a hydrological engineering program include:

  • Water cycle management
  • Flood control
  • Soil physics
  • Probability
  • Numerical analysis

Research opportunities are also available to both undergraduate and graduate students. Research projects might focus on a number of topics, including watershed hydrology, contaminant transport, turbulent flows, and environmental hydraulics.

Salary and Employment Information

Hydrological engineers can find employment in many different industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the most popular industries for hydrologists in 2018 included architectural, engineering and related services and federal, state, and local government.

The BLS noted that employment of hydrologists is expected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average. The BLS also reported that in May 2018, hydrologists had a median annual salary of $79,370.

Hydrological engineering is a concentration of civil engineering that focuses on the flow and storage of water. These programs are primarily available at the graduate level and allow students to pursue work as hydrological engineers and hydrologists upon program completion.

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