Course Objectives

This course aims to describe and explain:

  • The physical principles and processes that govern hydrology, with special reference to Canadian conditions.
  • Mass and energy balance calculations and their application in hydrology.

On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Describe the principal hydrological processes active in Canadian contexts
  • Assess the effects of variable boundary conditions on hydrology
  • Apply coupled energy and mass balance equations to calculate hydrological fluxes including runoff and streamflow.

Course Synopsis

The University of Saskatchewan Centre for Hydrology with the assistance of the Canadian Society for Hydrological Sciences is offering an intensive course on the physical principles of hydrology with particular relevance to Canadian conditions. Factors governing hydrological processes in Canadian landscapes will be discussed including precipitation, interception, energy balance, snow accumulation, snowmelt, glaciers, evaporation, evapotranspiration, infiltration, groundwater movement and streamflow routing and hydraulics. These processes will be framed within the context of distinctly Canadian landscape features such as high mountains, glaciers, peatlands, prairies, tundra, boreal forests, frozen rivers and seasonally frozen ground. Students will be exposed to an overview of each subject, with recent scientific findings and new cutting edge theories, tools and techniques. They will complete numerical and essay assignments to develop skills in problem solving and in synthesizing complex hydrological concepts. Field examinations in nearby environments and research basins will enhance the learning experience. Students will emerge from the course with a deeper understanding of physical hydrological processes and how they interact to produce catchment water budgets and streamflow response.

The course will take place at the University of Calgary's Biogeoscience Institute's Barrier Lake Station in the Kananaskis Valley from 10-21 January, 2020. The course will focus on classroom instruction, but will take advantage of the proximity to the Marmot Creek Research Basin and the Canadian Rockies Hydrological Observatory to expose students to cold regions hydrological phenomenon, state of the art field instrumentation and measurement techniques. Each day will start with lectures on the primary subject, and include time to work on assigned exercises. Certain days will include a field work component to examine the processes and measurement techniques relevant to the lectures.

The course is intended for hydrology and water resources graduate students and early to midlevel career water resource engineers, hydrologists, aquatic ecologists and technologists who are either working directly in hydrology and water resources or are looking to broaden their understanding of hydrological systems and processes. This physical science course is quantitative in nature and so a firm foundation in calculus and physics at the first year university level and some undergraduate hydrology or hydraulics training is strongly recommended.

The course has been featured in an issue of Water News. Click the issue cover below to view the feature and learn more about the course.


Preliminary Schedule

Date Subject Instructor
Jan 10th Fundamentals & Hydrological Cycle Dr John Pomeroy
Jan 11th Interception & Evapotranspiration
  • Snow Survey Training
  • Essay Assignment & Assignment 1

Dr Richard Petrone
Dr John Pomeroy

Jan 13th Snow Accumulation & Redistribution Dr John Pomeroy
Jan 14th Snowmelt and Snowcover Depletion
  • Assignment 2
Flow through Snow

Dr John Pomeroy
Dr. Nicolas Leroux

Jan 15th DAY OFF  
Jan 16th Groundwater Hydrology
  • Assignment 3
Dr Edwin Cey
Jan 17th Glaciers

Sensors at the Usask Coldwater Laboratory, Canmore

Michael Demuth
Caroline Aubry-Wake
Dr. John Pomeroy

Jan 18th Soil Hydrology

Instrumented Basin Visit – Marmot Creek

Dr. Andrew Ireson
Dr. John Pomeroy

Jan 19th

Hillslope and Catchment Hydrology

River Basin Hydrology
  • Assignment 4
  • Stream gauge site visit

Dr Sean Carey
Dr. Kevin Shook
Dr Alain Pietroniro

Jan 20th Hydraulics, River Ice, Routing Streamflow Hydrographs
  • Assignment 5

Dr Tricia Stadnyk
Dr Kevin Shook
Dr. Alain Pietroniro
Dr John Pomeroy

Jan 21st Final exam (university course credit students only)  

If you have medical issues that will affect you on these field trips please contact Professor Pomeroy to discuss beforehand.

The closed book final examination (2 hour) will be given on the last day of the course. Exercises and literature review are due two months after they are assigned and are submitted electronically to Dr. Pomeroy via the Blackboard system.

NOTE: you must work independently and originally in all assignments and examinations, cite appropriately in submitted essay material and follow the University of Saskatchewan Academic Misconduct Rules.


Details on marking and evalulation will be posted prior to the course.

Non-credit (audit) students must complete the quantitative exercises and attend all lectures and field excursions. Those taking the course for university credit must complete all assignments, the literature review and the final examination.

All students are required to enroll in Geography 827 at the University of Saskatchewan in either an audit or credit capacity. Options are available to switch between these for some time after the course. See below for more details.

All students attending will receive a certificate from CSHS recognizing their participation in the course. Those that attend and complete the assignments will receive a certificate from CSHS stating they have completed the course. All others will receive a certificate from CSHS stating that they attended the course.

Course Texts and Readings

Students are highly encouraged to purchase the following two texts for use at the course.

Physical Hydrology, 3rd Edition, S.L. Dingman, 2014:
Waveland Press, Long Grove, IL, ISBN 978-1-47861-118-9
(Available from November in the U of S Bookstore)

The Surface Climates of Canada, W.G. Bailey, T.R. Oke and W.R. Rouse, 1998:
Montreal: McGill-Queen's Univ Press
(Available on Amazon)

Handouts and readings will be distributed via PAWS (University of Saskatchewan student web services).


Please note that both logistics fees and tuition fees are payable by all course participants, whether they are students or professionals, and attending for audit or credit.

The logistics fees, which cover the use of the facilities, meals and accommodation, are payable to the CSHS: tuition fees are payable to the U of S. Both vary with your status (e.g., student or professional), and are detailed below.

There are thus two stages involved in registering for the course, as follows:

Stage 1: Registration With CSHS, and Payment of Logistics Fees

Logistics fees, which cover the use of facilities, and meals and accommodation at the Biogeoscience Institute, are as follows:

Status CWRA Member? Fee
Student Yes $1000
Student No $1030
Professional Yes $2500
Professional No, But eligible for Young Professional membership $2565
Professional No $2630

To register with the CSHS for the course, and to pay these fees, please follow this link, then continue to Stage 2...

Registrants who cancel will be refunded 85% of these logistics fees, but only if their cancellation is received in writing by the organizers before 1st December, 2020. No refunds will be possible after this date, for any reason.

Stage 2: Registration With the USask, and Payment of Tuition Fees

All participants must apply for admission as a graduate student with the University of Saskatchewan.

Current Graduate Students in Canada

    • Students request permission to register in the course by emailing Dr. John Pomeroy ( and outlining how they meet the course prerequisites listed in the course synopsis
    • Students submit either a Canadian Universities Graduate Transfer Agreement (CUGTA) form or a Western Dean's Agreement (WDA) form, depending on the home institution.
Please note that each University has their own version of the CUGTA form, so students using this form should obtain it from their home institution.
  • Students will have their home institution sign the form and send it to the department of Geography and Planning ( at the University of Saskatchewan. They will be automatically registered in the course, but must pay student fees and tuition directly to the University of Saskatchewan.

Professionals or Students outside of Canada

  • Apply for admissions here (application type- non-degree)
    Note: Students and professionals have to pay the $125 application fee, but DO NOT submit transcripts, or submit proof of English equivalency and should ignore these requests if prompted automatically by the form.
  • Request permission to register in the course by emailing Dr. John Pomeroy ( and outlining how they meet the course prerequisites listed in the course synopsis
  • Students and professionals MUST submit a letter of support from their home institution or employer on official letterhead, listing the course, the term it will be taken, and the dates that the course will be held.  This letter should be submitted to 
  • Once admitted to the University of Saskatchewan, students will be given access to a University of Saskatchewan PAWs account.  Students should then notify the department of Geography and Planning ( that they have been admitted and provide their student number so that a permission to register can be entered.
  • After getting email confirmation from the department, students taking the course for credit can register themselves and pay their tuition on PAWs.  Students wishing to audit the course can contact Student Central at using their PAWs email account and request to be registered as an audit student in the course.  Tuition will still be paid on PAWs.  


Tuition and fees are payable by all participants, but vary depending on your citizenship and whether you are taking the course for credit or as an audit student.

Tuition and Fees for Canadian Students
Credit- $737.70 CAD   
Audit- $393.45 CAD

Tuition and Fees for non-Canadian Students
Credit- $1137.03 CAD   
Audit- $593.12 CAD

If you would like to request transfer of credit to your home institution, please order your transcript for the course directly through your PAWS account or this link.

Withdrawal from Course, or Switching from Credit to Audit
If after taking the course you decide to withdraw or switch from credit to audit, please contact U of S Student Central (, or phone 1-877-650-1212) for details. If you do so by 10th February 2021, you will receive a 50% reduction in the tuition fee. It is still possible to switch from credit to audit until 26th March 2021, but there will be no reduction in the tuition fee.

Further Information

For further information...