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 2021

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
WR 204/GR 204Sustainable Watersheds (GT-SC2)3A3
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 (GT-SC1)3A 
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
 Total Credits 28-29
Sophomore
 
LIFE 320Ecology 3
SOCR 240Introductory Soil Science 4
STAT 158Introduction to R Programming 1
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: 3
Introduction to Applied Statistical Methods  
Intro to Theory and Practice of Statistics  
Select one group from the following: 10
Group A:
  
General Physics I (GT-SC1)3A 
General Physics II (GT-SC1)3A 
Group B:
  
Physics for Scientists and Engineers I (GT-SC1)3A 
Physics for Scientists and Engineers II (GT-SC1)3A 
Social and Behavioral Sciences3C3
 Total Credits 28
Summer 
NR 220Natural Resource Ecology and Measurements 5
 Total Credits 5
Junior
 
AREC 342Water Law, Policy, and Institutions 3
WR 416Land Use Hydrology4B3
WR 417Watershed Measurements 3
WR 418Land Use and Water Quality 3
WR 486Watershed Field Practicum 2
Select one course from the following:23
Writing in the Disciplines: Sciences (GT-CO3)2 
Strategic Writing and Communication (GT-CO3)2 
Specialized Professional Writing2 
Watershed Science Department List (see list below) 3
Arts and Humanities3B3
Diversity and Global Awareness3E3
Electives 4
 Total Credits 30
Senior
 
NR 322Intro. to Geographic Information Systems 4
WR 440Watershed Problem Analysis4A,4B,4C3
WR 474Snow Hydrology 3
Select one course from the following: 4
Hydrogeology  
Soil Physics  
Select one course from the following: 3
Stream Biology and Ecology  
Limnology  
Watershed Science Department List (see list below) 3
Historical Perspectives3D3
Electives1 5-6
 Total Credits 28-29
 Program Total Credits: 120

Watershed Science Department List

Select a minimum of 6 credits from courses not taken elsewhere in the program. Additional coursework may be required due to prerequisites.

AREC 442Water Resource Economics3
ATS 350Introduction to Weather and Climate2
ATS 351Introduction to Weather and Climate Lab1
BSPM 445Aquatic Insects4
BZ 440Plant Physiology3
BZ 441Plant Physiology Laboratory2
BZ 471Stream Biology and Ecology3
BZ 472Stream Biology and Ecology Laboratory1
CHEM 334Quantitative Analysis Laboratory1
CHEM 335Introduction to Analytical Chemistry3
CHEM 338Environmental Chemistry3
CIVE 322Basic Hydrology3
CIVE 330Ecological Engineering3
CIVE 413Environmental River Mechanics3
CIVE 423Groundwater Engineering3
CIVE 424/GEOL 424Modern Gas and Oil3
CIVE 425Soil and Water Engineering3
CIVE 440Nonpoint Source Pollution3
ERHS 448Environmental Contaminants3
ESS 311Ecosystem Ecology3
ESS 312Sustainability Science3
ESS 412Sustainable Cities3
ESS 471Special Topics in Ecosystem Sustainability1-6
ESS 474/BZ 474Limnology3
F 311Forest Ecology3
F 324Fire Effects and Adaptations3
FW 300Biology and Diversity of Fishes2
FW 301Ichthyology Laboratory1
GES 470Applications of Environmental Sustainability3
GEOL 446Environmental Geology3
GEOL 452Hydrogeology4
GEOL 454Geomorphology4
GEOL 551Groundwater Modeling3
GEOL 552Advanced Topics in Hydrogeology2-3
GEOL 553Use of Tracers in Hydrogeology3
GR 410Climate Change: Science, Policy, Implications3
GRAD 592Water Resources Seminar1
NR 310Ecosystem Services and Human Well-Being3
NR 320Natural Resources History and Policy3
NR 323/GR 323Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation3
NR 370Coastal Environmental Ecology3
NR 422GIS Applications in Natural Resource Management4
NRRT 330Social Aspects of Natural Resource Management3
NRRT 362Environmental Conflict Management3
RS 478Ecological Restoration3
SOC 461Water, Society, and Environment3
SOCR 322Principles of Microclimatology3
SOCR 370Irrigation Principles2
SOCR 371Irrigation of Field Crops1
SOCR 440Pedology4
SOCR 500Environmental Measurement Laboratory1
WR 406Seasonal Snow Environments3
WR 492Seminar3
WR 575Snow Hydrology Field Methods1

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
ESS 130Intro to Systems Theory for SustainabilityX  1
Select one course from the following: X 4
Principles of Animal Biology (GT-SC2) X3A 
Principles of Plant Biology (GT-SC1) X3A 
Biology of Organisms-Animals and Plants (GT-SC1) X3A 
Select one course from the following: X 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 
 Total Credits   13-14
Semester 2CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
WR 204/GR 204Sustainable Watersheds (GT-SC2)X 3A3
Select one group from the following:X  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:X  4
Calculus for Biological Scientists I (GT-MA1)X 1B 
Calculus for Physical Scientists I (GT-MA1)X 1B 
Arts and Humanities  3B3
CO 150 and AUCC 1B (Quantitative Reasoning) requirement must be completed by the end of Semester 2. X   
WR 204/GR 204 must be completed by the end of Semester 2.X   
 Total Credits   15
Sophomore
Semester 3CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
SOCR 240Introductory Soil ScienceX  4
Select one course from the following: X 4
Calculus for Physical Scientists II (GT-MA1) X1B 
Calculus for Biological Scientists II X1B 
Select one course from the following:X  5
General Physics I (GT-SC1)X 3A 
Physics for Scientists and Engineers I (GT-SC1)X 3A 
 Total Credits   13
Semester 4CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
LIFE 320EcologyX  3
STAT 158Introduction to R Programming X 1
Select one course from the following: X 5
General Physics II (GT-SC1) X3A 
Physics for Scientists and Engineers II (GT-SC1) X3A 
Select one course from the following:X  3
Introduction to Applied Statistical MethodsX   
Intro to Theory and Practice of StatisticsX   
Social and Behavioral Sciences  3C3
 Total Credits   15
Semester 5CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
NR 220Natural Resource Ecology and MeasurementsXX 5
 Total Credits   5
Junior
Semester 6CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
WR 416Land Use HydrologyX 4B3
WR 486Watershed Field PracticumX  2
Watershed Science Elective (See list on Requirements tab.)   3
Arts and Humanities  3B3
Diversity and Global Awareness  3E3
STAT 158 must be completed by the end of Semester 6.    
 Total Credits   14
Semester 7CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
AREC 342Water Law, Policy, and Institutions X 3
WR 417Watershed MeasurementsX  3
WR 418Land Use and Water QualityX  3
Select one course from the following:   3
Writing in the Disciplines: Sciences (GT-CO3)  2 
Strategic Writing and Communication (GT-CO3)  2 
Specialized Professional Writing  2 
Electives   4
 Total Credits   16
Senior
Semester 8CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
NR 322Intro. to Geographic Information SystemsX  4
WR 474Snow HydrologyX  3
Select one course from the following: X 4
Hydrogeology X  
Soil Physics X  
Select one course from the following: (Historical Perspectives must be selected if BZ 474/ESS 474 selected in Semester 9.)   3
Stream Biology and Ecology    
  3D 
 Total Credits   14
Semester 9CriticalRecommendedAUCCCredits
WR 440Watershed Problem AnalysisX 4A,4B,4C3
Select one course from the following: Historical Perspectives must be selected if BZ 471 selected in Semester 8.)X  3
Limnology    
  3D 
Watershed Science Elective (See list on Requirements tab.)X  3
ElectivesX  5-6
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   14-15
 Program Total Credits:   120