Jun 15, 2024  
2023-2024 University of Wyoming Catalog 
2023-2024 University of Wyoming Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Hydrology, Ph.D.

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Join a cutting-edge PhD program to gain expertise in technical, philosophical, and methodological aspects of hydrology related to above- and below-ground systems. We foster research and learning on critical water-related science and social topics.

Additional Information

Hydrologic Sciences (WRESE), Ph.D. Program

Office of Graduate Education
Old Main 310
Phone: (307) 766-4128
Website: http://www.uwyo.edu/wrese
E-mail: wrese@uwyo.edu

Program Director: Andrew D. Parsekian, Ph.D.

Degree Offered

Ph.D. in  Hydrologic Sciences

The Water Resources/Environmental Science and Engineering (WRESE) program facilitates Ph.D. level course offerings in water-related disciplines, and coordinates offerings of these courses. Furthermore, the WRESE program serves as a focal-point for water-related graduate research and education at the University of Wyoming.

This interdisciplinary degree program encourages cross-department and inter-college coordination for research and education in hydrology and water resources.

The WRESE Program grants a PhD in Hydrological Sciences.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

Ph.D. in Hydrologic Sciences

The WRESE Program only admits students seeking a doctoral degree.

Those interested in graduate study in this program, are encouraged to contact the WRESE program (wrese@uwyo.edu) for more information and guidance regarding applying. In order to apply, please submit an application to the program via the University of Wyoming’s online application system (http://www.uwyo.edu/admissions/apply.html). Prospective students applying to the WRESE program must satisfy the minimum criteria for admission of their advisor’s home department (i.e., number of reference letters required; minimum GRE scores, if requested; other supporting documents, if requested; etc.). Similarly, applicants should adhere to the submission deadline indicated by their advisor’s home department.

Minimum criteria for admission to the WRESE Program are:

  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.000
  • Agreement by a faculty member affiliated with the WRESE program to sponsor the student
  • Admission to a home department at the University of Wyoming

Typically, students admitted into the program will have previously obtained a Masters-level degree. Under certain circumstance, students may be admitted directly after an undergraduate degree if they show exceptional promise and commitment. Students already admitted to doctoral programs in individual departments at the University of Wyoming may apply to transfer to the WRESE program.

International applicants, who are not native English-speakers, must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. If an international applicant wishes to be considered for Graduate Assistantship funding, the applicant should also submit the results of an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). Please contact the UW English Language Center (http://www.uwyo.edu/elc/) if you have questions regarding the English proficiency requirements.

Please see the Graduate Admissions and Graduate Student Regulations and Policies entries in the front section of the UW Catalog for more information.


Program Specific Degree Requirements

Students in the WRESE Program are expected to create their graduate committee within the first year of study. The committee should be composed of three faculty members within the PhD program in Hydrology and 2 should be from the student’s departmental home. A committee shall be composed of no fewer than 5 members, of which only one may be from outside the University. Additional committee members may be added to support the student’s learning and objectives on the discretion of the committee and WRESE Program chair.

Program of Study

Students enrolled in the Program should complete their Program of Study within the first 3 semesters. The student shall work with his/her research advisor and committee to determine the appropriate course of study relative to the student’s research agenda. Students are expected to complete a rigorous course of study in quantitative hydrological sciences. Minimum requirements for the PhD include:

  • Coursework credits: 42 hours (26 can be from an MS)
  • Total credits: 72 hours
  • Math expectations: students are encouraged to pursue a high level of math proficiency, with typical students progressing through differential equations. Individual math expectations will be determined by the committee and program chair.

A dissertation proposal should be approved by the end of the 4th semester. Students shall submit their proposal to their committee for review two weeks prior to a holding a committee meeting where the student (a) presents their proposal in a public presentation and (b) defends the proposal to the committee in a closed meeting. After the meeting, the student shall amend the proposal as required by the committee within a timely manner.

Admission to Candidacy / Preliminary Examination

Advance to candidacy is attained by passing preliminary exams within 3 years of initiating a degree program. Students should complete their preliminary exams as close to the end of their primary coursework as possible. Preliminary exams consist of two parts. The first part is a written examination wherein committee members shall submit written questions to the student. Once the student has passed their written exams, they will be administered an oral examination. 

The written exam shall be administered by the student’s research adviser, who will coordinate the questions so as to obtain a comprehensive review of the student’s knowledge of the materials the student has learned in the classroom and needs to complete his/her research topic. Written questions should cover both conceptual and theoretical underpinnings in hydrological sciences and technical questions related to the student’s research area.

The written exam will consist of a series of questions as decided upon by the committee and should take no more than two weeks to complete.

Each committee member shall grade their portion of the exam as pass/fail. The student shall be viewed as passing the written exam if no more than one person grades their portion of the exam as failing.

The oral examination will be held no sooner than two weeks after the written exams, and only after the student has passed their written examinations. The oral exam should be no less than 90 minutes long and no longer than 3 hours. 

Following the exam, each committee member must vote pass/fail. The student will be deemed as passing if they receive no more than one failing vote.


The student will prepare a dissertation and make the document available to the committee at least two weeks in advance of an oral defense of the document. The oral defense must be at least 15 weeks after the student has been advanced to candidacy. Students shall present a public defense to the university community that is expected to be approximately 45 minutes long, with a public question-and-answer period after the presentation. If the committee determines that the student has presented a suitable oral presentation of his/her research findings, a closed session meeting will be held in which the student defends their research to the committee. At the conclusion of the defense, each committee member must vote pass/fail. The student will be deemed as passing if they receive no more than one failing vote.

Other information:

Students in the WRESE Program may participate from any college, with the expectation that their program of study and dissertation will focus on quantitative issues of hydrology and water resources. The Program welcomes academic diversity, and students in WRESE have entered into the Program from a wide range of academic backgrounds and have hailed from numerous home departments, including Ecosystem Science and Management, Civil and Architectural Engineering, Botany, Zoology and Physiology, and Geology and Geophysics.

Water Resources/Environmental Science and Engineering is an Interdisciplinary program that fulfills an important need by organizing a rigorous Ph.D.- level curriculum, with sufficient numbers of relevant courses to serve the needs of Ph.D. students affiliated with the program faculty.

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