Hydraulics and Water Resources

The graduate program in Hydraulics and Water Resources at The University of Iowa prepares students for careers in hydraulics, hydrology, and water resources, by providing a strong theoretical and applied foundation, and a broad-based academic background, necessary for positions in engineering design, research, and academia.  The program combines hydraulics, fluid mechanics, hydrology, and water resources, with elements from environmental engineering, meteorology, remote sensing and systems analysis, and related disciplines such as mathematics, statistics, electrical and computer science engineering, geology, and geographical information systems.

The Hydraulics and Water Resources curriculum is associated with IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering, a world-renowned research institute.  All the professors in the program are research engineers at the institute.  IIHR, a leading laboratory in fluids-related fundamental and applied research, offers unique opportunities for students to participate actively in the research of real-world problems – including river health and restoration, hydraulic structures for urban water management and fish passage, and wind energy - providing interdisciplinary education for future leaders in science and engineering, and advancing knowledge in support of sustainable natural and engineered systems.

Most of the faculty members in the Hydraulics and Water Resources program are also part of the Iowa Flood Center, the only academic flood center in the nation.  By training and educating a workforce knowledgeable in the flood-related sciences, the Iowa Flood Center provides students with the opportunity to work on improving flood monitoring and prediction capabilities, and on developing models for flood frequency estimation and real-time forecasting.

Admission Requirements

For consideration for financial support, we strongly encourage you to submit your application by January 15.

Decisions on admission to the graduate program, and offers of financial support, are made on a competitive basis. Factors considered include academic background and performance, letters of recommendation, work experience and professional training, GRE scores, and TOEFL scores (when applicable).

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must be taken prior to admission. A cumulative Verbal & Quantitative score of at least 301 is required. The TOEFL exam is required for admission for students whose native language is other than English or that do not have a degree from an English-speaking country. A minimum TOEFL score of 81 for the internet-based exam is required.

Students who do not have an undergraduate B.S. degree in civil & environmental engineering, but who have adequate training in mathematics or science, may be admitted for graduate study in the Hydraulics and Water Resources Program. However, certain undergraduate courses may need to be taken without graduate credit.

HWR Graduate Degree Requirements

The Hydraulics and Water Resources Program offers both masters and Ph.D. degrees.

The MS degree may be earned on either a thesis or a non-thesis basis. The thesis option requires a minimum of 30 hours of credit – 24 semester hours of course work plus 6 semester hours of thesis research credit. The non-thesis option requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of course work. Students seeking financial support should apply for the thesis option.

The Ph.D. degree requires 72 hours of credit beyond the basic undergraduate degree. A minimum of one year of on-campus residency is required for the Ph.D.

Course Requirements for the MS Degree

At the MS level, the program of study is designed to develop a fundamental knowledge of fluid mechanics, hydraulics, hydrology, and water resources, its applications to such areas as hydraulic infrastructure, sediment transport and stream restoration, flood and drought assessment, and land-atmosphere interactions. A core program of courses plus electives, and thesis research (MS thesis-option only), is required.

The MS program requires a minimum 30 hours of credit beyond the basic undergraduate degree.

Core Courses: Students must take 18 hours of credit from the Hydraulics & Water Resources core courses.

Program Electives: Students must take at least 3 semester hours of credit from the Hydraulics & Water Resources program electives. The remaining 3 semester hour course that is outside of the program electives can be selected subject to the approval of the student's advisor and Program Director.

Thesis: Students may opt to complete a Master’s Thesis. This project will count for 6 semester hours of credit (CEE:5999). Students who choose the non-thesis option must take an additional 6 hours of free elective credit.

Seminar: All students are required to participate in CEE:5096 Water, Energy, Food Nexus Graduate Seminar, and register for the seminar when they are registered at fulltime status (at least 9 semester hours).  Attendance is mandatory and every missed seminar will have to be substituted by attending the next seminar offered by any of the other CEE Graduate Programs (SMM or TI; evidence of attendance is required).  Each student is required to present one seminar during their MS degree program, normally on their thesis or report topic.

Course Requirements for Ph.D. Degree

The Ph.D. degree requires the development of a high level of competence in Hydraulics and Water Resources through a combination of course work and research. The Ph.D. degree is more individualized to emphasize a specific area, and also develop special expertise in related areas of science and engineering.

The Ph.D. program requires a minimum 72 hours of credit beyond the basic undergraduate degree.  Up to 18 semester hours of PhD dissertation research (CEE:7999) credit may be applied towards this total.

Core Courses: Students must take 18 hours of credit from the Hydraulics & Water Resources core courses.

Program Electives: Students must take 9 hours of credit from the Hydraulics & Water Resources program electives. Students may substitute upper-level courses (course numbers greater than 3000) in departments CEE or ME (Mechanical Engineering) with the approval of the student’s advisor and Program Director.

Sciences Electives: Students must take 12 semester hours of credit from approved sciences electives. Students may substitute upper-level courses (course numbers greater than 3000) from the departments of Mathematics (MATH), Statistics and Actuarial Science (STAT or ACTS), Physics (PHYS) or Computer Science (CS), with the approval of the student’s advisor and Program Director.

Free Electives: Students must take 15 hours of elective credit.  Courses selected are subject to the approval of the student’s advisor and/or advisory committee.

Seminar: Students in Hydraulics and Water Resources are expected to register continuously for CEE:5096 Water, Energy, Food Nexus Graduate Seminar, and attend the weekly seminars. Attendance is mandatory and every missed seminar will have to be substituted by attending the next seminar offered by any of the other CEE Graduate Programs (SMM or TI; evidence of attendance is required).  Students are required to present yearly seminars during their PhD degree program, normally on their thesis or report topic and after the Comprehensive Exam. Students who are no longer registered for course or research credits are not required to register for the seminar, but are expected to continue their attendance.

Dissertation:  Students must complete a Ph.D. Dissertation, for which they may receive up to 18 hours of credit.