Hydrology Courses

There is a strong tradition of interdisciplinary graduate training and collaboration in graduate hydrology research programs on campus, and more than a dozen classes in hydrology are typically offered each year from eight different departments in the colleges of Arts & Science, Agriculture and Engineering. A full list of courses offered at the University of Saskatchewan is available here.

The University of Saskatchewan also offers a Master of Water Security (M.W.S.). The Master of Water Security program is an interdisciplinary project‐based program that focuses on a holistic approach to water security.  More information about this program is available here.

The following classes are currently offered by the Geography and Planning Department (as of Fall 2020):

Undergraduate Classes

GEOG 225
Term 2
Dr. Krystopher Chutko

Hydrology of Canada
This course outlines the geographic distribution of hydrologic processes in Canada, and relates types of processes and their rates of operation to regional physical environments.

GEOG 233
Term 2
Dr Krystopher Chutko

Introduction to Weather and Climate
An examination of the elements of weather and climate including the composition and thermal structure of the atmosphere; radiation and energy balances; global circulation; air masses; fronts and atmospheric disturbances; and climates of the world.

GEOG 323
Term 1
Dr. Xulin Guo

Remote Sensing
Advanced lectures, seminars and laboratories for those specializing in resource and environmental studies. It includes inductive and deductive evaluation of air photo patterns and the interpretation of multi-spectral imagery and remote sensing imagery.

GEOG 325
Term 2
Dr. Cherie Westbrook

River Systems
Processes responsible for river form and hydrological functioning are investigated conceptually and analytically. Topics covered include watershed controls on streamflow generation, river forms, river flow regimes, stream chemistry, and the impacts of climate and land use changes on stream ecohydrology.

GEOG 328
Term 1
Dr. K. Chutko

Groundwater Hydrology
Groundwater is the largest source of readily accessible freshwater. This course provides a rigorous understanding of subsurface hydrological processes and covers fundamentals of subsurface flow and transport, emphasizing the role of groundwater and soil water in the hydrological cycle, and groundwater-surface water interactions.

GEOG 333
Dr. Kristopher Chutko

Global Climate Change
Earth’s climate is constantly changing in response to influences forced upon it by natural systems and human actions. It is expected that current and future climate changes will have a strong influence on human populations, society, and development. This course will describe how humans predict future climate changes and how we can mitigate or adapt to those changes. Major topics discussed in this course will focus on the politics and economics of climate change and how these can help, or hinder, our attempts to manage climate change. More direct attempts, through geoengineering and weather modification, will be addressed as well.

GEOG 390
Term 1
Dr. Krystopher Chutko

Methods in Hydrometeorology
Introduces a variety of field and laboratory approaches, methodologies and techniques that find frequent application in physical geography. Field projects will be undertaken to collect data for analysis, evaluation and presentation.

GEOG 423
Term 2
Dr. Xulin Guo

Advanced Remote Sensing
Deals with advanced remote sensing techniques including satellite imagery calibration, spectral data transformation and land use cover classification, and detection of environmental change. The course consists of three interrelated components: lectures, laboratory exercises and group projects.

GEOG 427
Term 1
Dr. Nicholas Kinar

Advanced Hydrology
Lectures, numerical assignments and an essay will help the student develop a physical understanding and analytical abilities regarding the principles governing the hydrological processes responsible for the spatial variability of water resources in Canada. Topics covered will be precipitation, interception, snow accumulation, snowmelt, evaporation, infiltration, groundwater movement and streamflow with a special emphasis on the land-based hydrological cycle in western and northern Canada.

CE 319
Term 2
Dr. Amin Elshorbagy

Basic hydrological processes such as precipitation, evapotranspiration, runoff, infiltration, interception, and depression storage are introduced. Engineering applications such as streamflow and storm hydrographs, flood routing, hydrologic analyses and design, and watershed simulation are covered.

CE 464
Term 1
Dr. Amin Elshorbagy

Water Resources Engineering
This course builds on and supplements various aspects of other hydrotechnical courses, especially those related to hydrology. The course focuses on three major parts of water resources engineering practice. Part I deals with watershed analysis and simulation, including use of state-of-the art software, and the effects of urbanization on watershed runoff, including the design of street drainage systems and detention ponds. It also covers determination of peak discharges for hydrologic design. Part II deals with water use and its associated analysis, including irrigation, drought management and hydropower. Part III deals with water excess management and flood damage mitigation. Several aspects of the course include consideration of economics as a decision-making tool, notably those aspects dealing with drought and flood management.

Graduate Classes

GEOG 803
Term 1 and 2
Dr. Paul Hackett

Research in Geography
The purpose of this course is to introduce graduate students to theoretical and practical issues in geographical research. Its specific objective is to demonstrate and promote professional practices in geography culminating in a research plan that will serve as the basis for developing a graduate research proposal.

GEOG 823
Term 2
Dr. Xulin Guo

Field and Laboratory Techniques in Remote Sensing Geography
There are three major parts to this course: class discussion, field data collection, and a research project. A topic is assigned for weekly in-class discussion. One time field data collection will be arranged including using spectroradiometer and LAI-2000 instruments. Each student must finish a research project.

GEOG 825
Term 1
Dr. Martyn Clark

Process-based Hydrological Modeling
This course will provide the understanding and tools necessary to develop and apply hydrological models across a broad range of landscapes. Students will learn how to represent process understanding in hydrological understanding, how to devise meaningful model experiments, and how to evaluate experiments in a systematic way.

GEOG 826
Term 1
Dr. Phillip Harder

Fundamentals of Hydrology
This course presents the quantitative relationships that encapsulate our understanding of hydrological processes most relevant to western and northern Canada. Three principal themes are explored: (1) the physical concepts and major conceptual and practical challenges in hydrology; (2) surface-atmosphere water and energy exchange; and (3) water movement over the landscape.

GEOG 827
Term 2
Dr. John Pomeroy

Principles of Hydrology
This course aims to:

  1. describe and explain the physical principles and processes that govern hydrology with special reference to Canadian conditions,
  2. describe and explain mass and energy balance calculations and their application in hydrology.

Lectures are held in an intensive 10 day period at the Biogeoscience Institute, Barrier Lake Field Station, Kananaskis Valley, Alberta. The course is described in full here

GEOG 829
Term 2
Dr. Bram Noble and Dr. Cherie Westbrook

Professional Practice in Water Security
This short course emphasizes integrative science and professional practice for NSERC CREA TE for Water Security students.

CE 834
Term 1
Dr. Amin Elshorbagy

Water Resources Development
This course builds on and supplements undergraduate hydrotechnical courses especially Hydrology (CE 319). The course focuses on three major parts of water resources engineering practice: Part I - Watershed Analysis and Simulation; Part II - Water Use and associated Analysis; and Part III - Water Excess management and associate Analysis. It includes consideration of water resources systems and their management, establishment of the various data needs for water resource systems analysis, the use of economics as a decision-making tool in water resources engineering. While focused on the engineering aspects of water resource management, the student is also exposed to the broader issues which impact the management decisions of the resource (e.g., social, environmental, ethical).

CE 836
Dr. Warren Helgason

Land Atmosphere Interactions
This course investigates the transfer of energy at the earth surface as it pertains to hydrological and climatological applications. In addition to developing an understanding of the structure of the atmospheric boundary layer, the following physical processes are covered in detail: turbulent heat exchange, evaporation, ground heat storage, radiation heat transfer, and snow melt. The course will also cover measurement techniques for each of the aforementioned processes. The learning objectives will be accomplished through independent readings of seminal and current literature, problem sets, computer modeling exercises, and a term project. The course will focus on applications within natura and agricultural environments.

ENVS 813
Dr. Andrew Ireson

Numerical Modelling for Environment Scientists and Engineers
This course provides graduate students with a set of modelling skills to solve a range of water-related environmental problems. The models help us to think through physical processes and interpret observations. Students will learn to critically assess modelling studies as will be needed throughout their careers.

ENVS 826
Dr. Yanping Li

Climate Change
This course will help the student develop a fundamental understanding of the climate system, and the potential environmental and social consequences of climate change. Students will also gain a broad knowledge of climate change, climate change impacts in the water cycle, arctic hydrology and how it is related to sea level rising.

ENVS 827
Dr. Jeffery McDonnell

Breakthroughs in Water Security Research
Seminar that investigates the latest in water security research nationally and internationally. Developing awareness and understanding for major concepts in water security and helping students understand what constitutes world class research.

ENVS 898
Dr. Saman Razavi

Watershed Modelling
This course provides an overview of the fundamentals of hydrologic modelling from our perceptions of the behavior of watershed systems to developing and testing watershed simulation models. Theory and numerical implementation of a wide range of systems analysis approaches, as applied in watershed modelling, are taught, including local and global (derivative-based and derivative-free) optimization, multi-objective optimization, uncertainty analysis (Monte-Carlo simulation and Bayesian inference), and local and global sensitivity analysis. Scale dependency in hydrology in both time and space and its implications for modelling is discussed. Strategies for improving computational efficiency and model performance are presented. Although this course revolves around watershed modelling, the materials taught are general and applicable to modelling other earth and environmental systems (e.g., groundwater, water quality, and atmospheric modelling).

PLAN 898
Term 2
Dr. Robert Patrick

Water Resources Planning and Management
The processes and practices of water resource planning and management in the urban and rural land use contexts. A focus on water and land use policy, water governance, and fundamental principles and practices for integrated watershed planning and management, source water protection, and urban stormwater and wastewater management.