How Much Does Hydrology School Cost?

If you are fascinated about the movement of water through the earth’s crust and you want to do your share in ensuring that clean water continues to be available for present and future generations, then you’re probably thinking seriously about becoming a hydrologist. With the rise of activities like mining, hydraulic fracturing and construction and their corresponding environmental impact, the field of hydrology is set to provide great job opportunities for students who are inclined to work in the field. Moreover, it’s a very fulfilling profession considering that the work you do will enable you to look for sustainable solutions to the issue of water supply and map out comprehensive water management plans that seek to address problems of national and global concern like drought and floods.

Before you can become a full-fledged hydrologist, you need to prepare for extensively. This means going to school and earning your bachelor’s degree in the field and then getting a master’s degree or a graduate certificate in hydrology. A postgraduate degree is necessary because an undergraduate degree is only going to be sufficient for entry-level jobs.

Just like any other college degree, you are no doubt concerned about how much you are going to spend to go to hydrology school. There are only a few schools in the United States that specifically offer a bachelor’s degree in hydrology and water resources sciences. For those schools that do have this area of study for an undergraduate degree, the cost of tuition and fees, books and supplies and housing and food can range anywhere from close to $16,000 to a little over $60,000 a year.

You can substantially lower the cost of hydrology school if you attend a public school in your state of residence because you will most likely be able to avail of in-state student discounts on tuition offered there. Out-of-state students attending public educational institutions don’t get to enjoy this perk while all students regardless of residency status pay the same costs in private schools.

The cost of postgraduate degree programs also vary depending on the school you are going to be attending. Let’s take a look at some schools. Colorado School of Mines offers a Master of Science in Hydrology program. Fulltime resident students or those taking anywhere from 9 to 15 units pay $7,395 per semester for tuition while non-residents pay $15,735 per semester while books and supplies cost $750 per semester. Students also have to pay other mandatory fees and health insurance as well as shoulder their own living expenses. The University of Arizona also offers a Master of Science in Hydrology program which cost $5,868.91 per semester for resident students taking at least 7 units and $14,359.91 per semester for non-residents. This does not yet include the student’s books and room and board expenses. Meanwhile, Portland State University offers a Graduate Certificate in Hydrology which can be completed in 10 terms. According to information in the school’s website, the total estimated cost for the program which already includes tuition and fees, room and board and books and supplies is $44,486.

Financial aid can greatly bring down the cost of your undergraduate and postgraduate education. Don’t forget to talk to the financial aid adviser of the school where you will be attending if you could possibly apply for scholarships, grants and tuition discounts. For postgraduate students, try to explore possibilities of applying for graduate fellowships. If you still need more ways to fund hydrology school, consider applying for student loans. Unlike other forms of financial aid, you will have to pay back your student loans so make sure that you carefully consider the pros and cons of going this route. Another way of making hydrology school more affordable is to arrange to stay at your parent’s house while you’re working towards your degree. Doing so will certainly save you a lot of money since you won’t have to worry about money to pay for rent and food just yet.

Career Spotlight: Hydrologist



Hydrologists are environmental scientists who work to understand how water systems and cycles interact with the Earth. They are mostly concerned with the possibility of contamination and how to preser[...]

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