Career Outlook

Why study hydrology and water resources?


The science of water examines our most precious resource in many ways. In broad terms, the study of water looks at its occurrence, circulation, and distribution on the planet, as well as its physical, chemical, and biological characteristics.  The study of hydrology and water resources also includes the interaction of water with the global environment and with living things. 
The people who study water are called many things--hydrologists, water scientists, water quality specialists, hydrogeologists, geohydrologists, environmental scientists, earth systems scientists, ecohydrologists, and water resources planners--to name just a few!  We use the generic term "hydrologist" to include them all.
Hydrologists work to solve water-related problems, such as:
  • Pollution carried by water--including oceans, rivers, streams, rain, snow, and ice--and devise methods to clean and control it
  • Weather-related problems, such as flood forecasting and rainfall-runoff control
  • Drought management, acid rain, and global warming
  • Global water resources management so that all water uses--municipal (home and city), industrial, and agricultural--are achieved efficiently while protecting the environment
Can you imagine anywhere on Earth where hydrologists don't work?


The career outlook has never been better! 


The career outlook for hydrologists and water resources specialists is excellent.  The employment demand for hydrologists is expected to grow faster than average (among all occupations) in the coming decade with an anticipated growth rate of about 24% between 2006 and 2016 and an overall growth rate of 18% between 2010 and 2020 (from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. News and World Report Best Grad Schools Guide). 
From the UA perspective:  The University of Arizona School of Earth and Environmental Systems ranks 7th in the nation (U.S. News and World Report Best Grad Schools Guide), so you're starting from one of the best schools of its kind!
Our students obtain professional entry-level employment upon completion of a bachelor's degree, or, for those interested in more advanced study, graduate-level degrees can lead to careers in advanced research in national laboratories, environmental law, and teaching at the college or university level. 
Our students are employed by private consulting companies (and some start their own!), industrial and agricultural companies, and government agencies at the city, county, state, tribal and federal levels, throughout the U.S. and abroad. 


Come study with the original, come study with the best! 


We're the original Department of Hydrology and Water Resources---and still the best!  Our graduates are employed everywhere.  A rigorous, first-class curriculum, the international reputation of our faculty, and the wide range of course offerings combine to give our students an edge in the job market. 
Graduates from our program who emphasize the more physical aspects of hydrology analyze ground-water contamination and devise strategies for clean up.  They also plan water development in the U.S. and other countries, and they address a wide range of water quantity and quality problems in streams, rivers, and lakes.  In fact, anywhere that water problems need to be solved or prevented, our students find jobs.
Graduates from our program who emphasize water resources are prepared for positions in technical and administrative fields involving policy, planning, and management for both water allocation and water-quality control.
Take a look at where our most recent graduates are working here.


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