Why Watershed Science at CSU?

Sustainable management of freshwater resources is an increasingly important and complex challenge in Colorado and worldwide, and we need scientists who can address complex water issues. The Watershed Science program focuses on how water moves through the landscape, what factors affect its quality, and how to manage water resources. Students begin their program by building a strong foundation in the physical and natural sciences in preparation for upper-division coursework in land-use hydrology, snow hydrology, water quality, and watershed problem analysis. Students gain hands-on experience with water measurements outside and in the lab, and build technical and writing skills to prepare them for careers in hydrology and water resources.

Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the key concepts in watershed science including surface and subsurface hydrology and water quality.
  • An understanding of land use effects on fresh water resources.
  • Field and lab-based watershed measurement and data analysis skills.
  • Skills in watershed problem analysis, including the use of GIS and watershed models.
  • Strong critical thinking, writing, and oral communication skills.

Potential Occupations

The B.S. in Watershed Science qualifies students for a wide variety of careers in hydrology and water resources management. Examples include: watershed scientist, hydrologist, water quality analyst, watershed manager, environmental consultant, watershed use specialist, and water conservation specialist. Employment opportunities for graduates are found in consulting firms, governmental agencies, international development and resource management agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private industry. Graduates are also well positioned for advanced science degrees. The B.S. curriculum includes all of the requirements for graduates to meet the U.S. governmental hydrologist certification.

Effective Fall 2018

Freshman
AUCCCredits
CO 150College Composition (GT-CO2)1A3
ESS 120Intro to Ecosystem and Watershed Sciences 1
ESS 129Information Management for Sustainability 1
ESS 130Intro to Systems Theory for Sustainability 1
Select one course from the following: 4
Principles of Animal Biology (GT-SC2)3A 
Principles of Plant Biology (GT-SC1)3A 
Biology of Organisms-Animals and Plants  
Select one group from the following: 5
Group A:
  
Fundamentals of Chemistry (GT-SC2)3A 
Fundamentals of Chemistry Laboratory (GT-SC1)3A 
Group B:
  
General Chemistry I (GT-SC2)3A 
General Chemistry Lab I (GT-SC1)3A 
Select one course from the following: 3-4
Introduction to Geology-Parks and Monuments (GT-SC2)3A 
Exploring Earth - Physical Geology (GT-SC2)3A 
The Blue Planet - Geology of Our Environment (GT-SC2)3A 
Geology of Natural Resources (GT-SC2)3A 
Physical Geology for Scientists and Engineers3A 
Select one course from the following: 4
Calculus for Biological Scientists I (GT-MA1)1B 
Calculus for Physical Scientists I (GT-MA1)1B 
Arts and Humanities3B3
Global and Cultural Awareness3E3
 Total Credits 28-29
Sophomore
 
ESS 210/GR 210Physical Geography 3
LIFE 320Ecology 3
NR 322Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 4
SOCR 240Introductory Soil Science 4
WR 304/GR 304Sustainable Watersheds3A3
Select one course from the following: 4
Calculus for Physical Scientists II (GT-MA1)1B 
Calculus for Biological Scientists II1B 
Select one course from the following: 5
General Physics I (GT-SC1)3A 
Physics for Scientists and Engineers I (GT-SC1)3A 
Social and Behavioral Sciences3C3
 Total Credits 29
Summer 
NR 220Natural Resource Ecology and Measurements 5
 Total Credits 5
Junior
 
AREC 342Water Law, Policy, and Institutions 3
ESS 320Internship and Career Preparation 1
ESS 330Quantitative Reasoning for Ecosystem Science 3
SOCR 470Soil Physics 3
SOCR 471Soil Physics Laboratory 1
WR 4182Land Use and Water Quality 3
WR 419Water Quality Laboratory for Wildland Managers 2
Select one course from the following: 3
Writing in the Disciplines: Sciences (GT-CO3)2 
Professional and Technical Communication (GT-CO3)2 
Specialized Professional Writing2 
Select one course from the following: 3
Introduction to Statistical Methods  
Statistics for Engineers and Scientists  
Arts and Humanities3B3
Historical Perspectives3D3
 Total Credits 28
Senior
 
WR 4162Land Use Hydrology4B3
WR 4172Watershed Measurements 3
WR 440Watershed Problem Analysis4A,4B,4C3
WR 486Watershed Field Practicum 2
Select one couse from the following: 3
Principles of Microclimatology  
Snow Hydrology  
Watershed Science Department List (see list below) 9
Electives3 6-7
 Total Credits 29-30
 Program Total Credits: 120

Watershed Science Department List

Select a minimum of 9 credits from courses not taken elsewhere in the program. Additional coursework may be required due to prerequisites.

Earth Sciences
ATS 350Introduction to Weather and Climate2
ATS 351Introduction to Weather and Climate Lab1
CIVE 322Basic Hydrology3
CIVE 413Environmental River Mechanics3
CIVE 423Groundwater Engineering3
CIVE 425Soil and Water Engineering3
CIVE 440Nonpoint Source Pollution3
GEOL 452Hydrogeology4
GEOL 454Geomorphology4
GR 323/NR 323Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation3
GR 333Glaciers and Climate Change3
GR 410Climate Change: Science, Policy, Implications3
NR 422GIS Applications in Natural Resource Management4
SOCR 322Principles of Microclimatology3
SOCR 440Pedology4
WR 406Seasonal Snow Environments3
WR 474Snow Hydrology3
WR 492Seminar3
WR 575Snow Hydrology Field Methods1
Ecology
BSPM 445Aquatic Insects4
BZ 440Plant Physiology3
BZ 441Plant Physiology Laboratory2
BZ 471Stream Biology and Ecology3
BZ 472Stream Biology and Ecology Laboratory1
BZ 474Limnology3
CIVE 330Ecological Engineering3
ESS 311Ecosystem Ecology3
RS 478Ecological Restoration3
Sustainability
AREC 442Water Resource Economics3
ESS 312Sustainability Science3
ESS 412Sustainable Cities3
ESS 471Special Topics in Ecosystem Sustainability1-6
NR 310Ecosystem Services and Human Well-Being3
NR 320Natural Resources History and Policy3
NRRT 330Social Aspects of Natural Resource Management3
NRRT 362Environmental Conflict Management3
SOC 461Water, Society, and Environment3

Distinctive Requirements for Degree ProgramThis program assumes that students will either test out of or take the prerequisite Mathematics courses (MATH 117, MATH 118MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126) prior to the courses listed in this plan.
 

Freshman
Semester 1CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
CO 150College Composition (GT-CO2) X1A3
ESS 120Intro to Ecosystem and Watershed Sciences   1
ESS 129Information Management for SustainabilityX  1
Select one from the following:   4
Principles of Animal Biology (GT-SC2)X 3A 
Principles of Plant Biology (GT-SC1)X 3A 
Biology of Organisms-Animals and PlantsX   
Select one course from the following:   3-4
Introduction to Geology-Parks and Monuments (GT-SC2) X3A 
Exploring Earth - Physical Geology (GT-SC2) X3A 
The Blue Planet - Geology of Our Environment (GT-SC2) X3A 
Geology of Natural Resources (GT-SC2) X3A 
Physical Geology for Scientists and Engineers X3A 
Arts and Humanities  3B3
 Total Credits   15-16
Semester 2CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
ESS 130Intro to Systems Theory for SustainabilityX  1
Select one group from the following:   5
Group A:    
Fundamentals of Chemistry (GT-SC2)X 3A 
Fundamentals of Chemistry Laboratory (GT-SC1)X 3A 
Group B:    
General Chemistry I (GT-SC2)X 3A 
General Chemistry Lab I (GT-SC1)X 3A 
Select one course from the following:   4
Calculus for Biological Scientists I (GT-MA1)X 1B 
Calculus for Physical Scientists I (GT-MA1)X 1B 
Global and Cultural Awareness  3E3
CO 150 and AUCC 1B (MATH) requirement must be completed by the end of Semester 2. X   
 Total Credits   13
Sophomore
Semester 3CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
ESS 210/GR 210Physical GeographyX  3
NR 322Introduction to Geographic Information Systems X 4
SOCR 240Introductory Soil Science X 4
Select one course from the following:   4
Calculus for Physical Scientists II (GT-MA1) X1B 
Calculus for Biological Scientists II X1B 
 Total Credits   15
Semester 4CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
LIFE 320EcologyX  3
WR 304/GR 304Sustainable Watersheds X3A3
Select one course from the following:   5
General Physics I (GT-SC1)X 3A 
Physics for Scientists and Engineers I (GT-SC1)X 3A 
Social and Behavioral Sciences  3C3
SOCR 240 must be completed by the end of Semester 4.X   
 Total Credits   14
Semester 5CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
NR 220Natural Resource Ecology and MeasurementsXX 5
 Total Credits   5
Junior
Semester 6CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
SOCR 470Soil PhysicsX  3
SOCR 471Soil Physics LaboratoryX  1
Select one course from the following:   3
Writing in the Disciplines: Sciences (GT-CO3) X2 
Professional and Technical Communication (GT-CO3) X2 
Specialized Professional Writing X2 
Select one course from the following:   3
Introduction to Statistical MethodsX   
Statistics for Engineers and ScientistsX   
Arts and Humanities  3B3
WR 304/GR 304 must be completed by the end of Semester 6.X   
 Total Credits   13
Semester 7CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
AREC 342Water Law, Policy, and Institutions X 3
ESS 320Internship and Career Preparation   1
ESS 330Quantitative Reasoning for Ecosystem ScienceX  3
WR 418Land Use and Water QualityX  3
WR 419Water Quality Laboratory for Wildland ManagersX  2
Historical Perspectives  3D3
 Total Credits   15
Senior
Semester 8CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
WR 416Land Use HydrologyX 4B3
WR 417Watershed MeasurementsX  3
WR 486Watershed Field PracticumX  2
Select one course from the following:   3
SOCR 322 (Spring only)
Principles of Microclimatology    
Snow Hydrology    
Elective   3
 Total Credits   14
Semester 9CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
WR 440Watershed Problem AnalysisX 4A,4B,4C3
Watershed Science Department List selection (See Department List on Requirements tab).X  9
ElectivesX  3-4
SOCR 322 or WR 474 MUST be completed by the end of Semester 9.X   
The benchmark courses for the 9th semester are the remaining courses in the entire program of study.X   
 Total Credits   15-16
 Program Total Credits:   120