Watershed Science

Bachelor of Science in Watershed Science

Measuring snow depth

Watershed science is the interdisciplinary study of the natural processes and human activities that affect fresh water resources.  Water is a critical component of Earth’s ecosystems and is used for human consumption, agriculture, energy production, transportation, and recreation.  Management of fresh water resources is an increasingly important and complex challenge in Colorado and worldwide. 

The Watershed Science program capitalizes on its proximity to the Rocky Mountains, High Plains, and inter-montane basins of Colorado, to give students unique educational opportunities in outdoor laboratories, as well as in traditional classrooms and laboratory settings.  Upper-level undergraduates are able to participate in internships, volunteer activities, co-operative educational opportunities or summer jobs in watershed science, to enhance practical training and development.

Students begin the degree with a solid foundation in physical and natural sciences in preparation for upper-division courses emphasizing experiential learning and the ability to incorporate studies in earth science, ecology, and sustainability. Courses include:

  • Sustainable Watersheds
  • Land Use Hydrology and Water Quality
  • Watershed Measurements
  • Natural Resource Ecology and Measurements
  • Snow Hydrology and Seasonal Snow Environments
  • Watershed Problem Analysis

Upon graduation, students will:

Demonstrate an understanding of the key concepts in watershed science, including surface and subsurface hydrology and water quality.

Demonstrate understanding of land use effects on fresh water resources.

Develop skills in collection and analysis of meteorological, hydrological, and water quality data.

Develop skills in watershed problem analysis, including the use of watershed models.

Demonstrate strong critical thinking, writing, and oral communication skills.

Continue on to productive careers in academia, business, and governmental organizations, or be well-prepared for graduate school.

Minor in Watershed Science

The minor in Watershed Science provides a background in core watershed science classes, including water resources, hydrology, and the watershed practicum field course. The minor offers a broad and flexible selection of additional courses that emphasize both physical and societal aspects of water. Students can select the combination of courses that best fits their interests and complements their major.

Undergraduate Advising

The ESS Undergraduate Advisor serves all students, assisting them with university processes, paperwork and handling general advising questions. For more information please visit the ESS Advising page.