As a hydrologist, you will involve in researches about water and water flow across and through the earth's crust.

What do hydrologists do?

A hydrologist is a scientist who solves problems concerning quality and availability of water. They study the water cycle and research the properties of underground and surface waters. They also analyse the effects of the surrounding environment on water and water flow, and work with other environmental scientists to develop water conservation plans.

What does a typical day at work involve?

  • Checked Analysing the consequences of environmental changes on water flow
  • Checked Studying the effects on flows brought by changes in land use
  • Checked Preparing plans on how to respond to specific weather conditions, such as droughts and floods
  • Checked Assessing the impacts of specific weather conditions on water catchments and supplies
  • Checked Formulating effective methods to manage available water in a particular area
  • Checked Forecasting and monitoring water usage and rainfall to support the planning of water resource development
  • Checked Investigating factors affecting acidity, nitrate levels or other diffuse pollution of surface water
  • Checked Calculating and auditing water resource systems and analysing the data
  • Checked Evaluating requests by companies to use river resources and issuing license
  • Checked Supervising data collection, and its evaluation for water resource planning and flood management

What areas can a hydrologist specialise in?

Surface water hydrology is the study of the distribution and circulation of surface water.
Ground water hydrology is the study of the distribution and circulation of ground water.
Watershed management is the study of the plans, programs and practices to manage and preserve watersheds.

How to become a Hydrologist?

Step 1
Take Science stream with preferably Geography

Studying Science stream with preferably Geography as a major subject at the 10+2 level and securing a minimum score in these subjects would be a prerequisite for admission into bachelor degrees in Hydrology.

Step 2
Take B.Sc. Hydrology/B.Sc. Geology

The undergraduate level course offered in this area is BSc. Hydrology and it is not a very popular course in India. You can either go for a B.Sc. in Hydrology in a foreign university or do B.Sc. in Geology/Earth Sciences at the UG level and then go for a hydrology specialisation at the master’s level. The duration of BSc degrees are usually three years.

Step 3
Take M.Sc. in Hydrology

After completing the UG degree, you can pursue an MSc. in Hydrology in India or abroad. The duration of the master level courses are usually two years.

Step 4
Go for doctoral level studies

After pursuing master’s, you can go for a PhD or MPhil to increase your chances of a better career in the academia.

Hydrology Colleges

Name State District Type Website Course

Requirements for masters (MSc) in hydrology

Requirements for admission into a PG course in one of the top institutions to help you get an overall picture

India (For M.Tech Hydrology from IIT Roorkee)

  • Bachelor's degree in Civil/Agricultural Engineering/Hydrology with at least 60% aggregate marks.
  • GATE score of 43.6 or more out of 100. (based on recent statistics)
  • Admission will be through CCMT (Centralized Counselling for M.Tech)

Foreign (For MS in Civil Engineering - Hydrology & Hydrodynamics from the University of Washington)

  • A bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3 (based on 4.0 scale)
  • GRE score
  • TOEFL - 92 or higher
  • 2 letters of recommendation

To see the entrance exams, scholarships and UG admission details, click here

Skills Required

Technical knowledge

A hydrologist must possess strong technical knowledge in their field of work, such as applying scientific knowledge and mathematical principles to solve water-related problems.

Communication skills

A hydrologist requires strong oral and verbal communication skills as they will have to prepare reports, provide feedbacks, and deal with enquiries from external bodies and individuals.

Organizational skills

A hydrologist must choose a methodical approach towards their work in order to properly complete tasks by setting priorities.

Scientific reasoning

A hydrologist should have a proper knowledge on how to apply logical/scientific reasoning to arrive at a possible solution and they should be familiar with different scientific methods and other tools that hydrologists have to use in their work.

Analytical & problem solving skills

Hydrologists are required to focus for hours on large amounts of data. During the process, they will have to compile information, analyse them, anticipate changes and find answers to problems.

Teaching skills

Hydrologists might have to learn several ways to learn and teach new things. They have to make the public aware of the need of approaching things differently for a better environment.


  • Checked Government Organizations
  • Checked NGOs
  • Checked Environmental Consultancies
  • Checked Utility Companies

Top Companies

  • Checked AECOM Technology Corporation
  • Checked CH2M
  • Checked HDR Inc.