Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I consider the Hydrologic Sciences graduate program?

If your research interests lie within an area related to hydrologic sciences, the Hydrologic Sciences graduate program will provide you with a link to students with similar interests. Some of the greatest learning opportunities in graduate school will come from your peers, and the Hydrologic Sciences program provides a means for you to take full advantage of those opportunities. Professionally, the program will provide connections with senior researchers across the field and will inform potential employers of your expertise in hydrologic sciences.

I know I would like to be involved in the Hydrologic Sciences program. How do I decide which department to apply to?

While the Hydrologic Sciences program will provide you with access to the resources of all the involved departments, you should associate with a department based on how closely your research interests are aligned with those of the faculty within the department and the course curriculum requirements for the department. It is highly recommended that you contact individual faculty members before applying to a department.

If I am admitted to the Hydrologic Sciences Program, do I also need to satisfy the course requirements of my home department?


Since the Hydrologic Sciences certificate and Ph.D sub-plan are identical in course requirements and prerequisites, why would I choose one over the other if I aim to attain a Ph.D? How do the two options differ?

If your terminal degree will be a Ph.D, you might choose the certificate program over the Ph.D sub-plan program in Hydrologic Sciences if a diploma from your home department will be most indicative of your primary field of expertise. For instance, if you want your diploma to indicate that your primary field is Environmental Engineering but that you have expertise in Hydrologic Sciences, you may opt for the Hydrologic Sciences certificate. On the other hand, if you want your diploma to indicate that your primary field in your home department is Hydrologic Sciences, choose the Ph.D sub-plan program. Aside from the official notation on your diploma, the certificate and Ph.D sub-plan programs differ in the requirements for the Preliminary Examination, Comprehensive Examination, Dissertation Defense, and committee formation.

Do I need to have a specific project in mind before I apply to the Hydrologic Sciences Program?

No. You need to be able to clearly formulate your research interests, but your interests will evolve and develop during the first few semesters as you take classes, attend seminars, and get to know the professors and researchers within the program.

Can I design my own thesis project?

Yes. If you choose to work on a project that is already funded, you are likely to have the opportunity to plan and design a research project within the overall framework of the funded project. At the Ph.D. level, you are also encouraged to design your own project, put together an interdisciplinary committee, and seek funding to complete the research, as many of our students have successfully done. Again, it is important to contact professors whose research interests are aligned with yours and may be able to serve as a mentor throughout this process.

How do I get involved in doing research with one of the partner government agencies?

Contact the Graduate Coordinator and/or a professor from the Hydrologic Sciences program about your interests, and he/she will be able to help you make the connections. If you have a particular researcher in mind from one of the partner agencies, contact him/her. If the researcher is not already listed as an adjunct faculty member to your home department, your departmental secretary will need to list him/her as such before you can add him/her to your committee.

What are the deadlines for application to the Hydrologic Sciences program?

Deadlines for application under option A are consistent with departmental application deadlines (see Academics> Admissions. Applications under option B may be submitted at any time subsequent to enrollment.

Aside from the external funding opportunities (see Academics> Admissions> Scholarships), what funding opportunities are available through the University of Colorado?

The University offers a limited number of Teaching Assistantships (TAs), Research Assistantships (RAs), and fellowships (see CU-Boulder's Graduate School Funding). Students will be considered for these appointments based on their departmental application for admission. Depending on the department, RAs may be negotiated between students and their research advisor after one or two semesters of enrollment.