Experiences with the Development of an Undergraduate Degree in Ecohydrology

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 5:15 PM
Laurel Saito1, Mark Walker2 and Nancy Markee1, (1)University of Nevada Reno, Reno, NV, United States, (2)University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Reno, NV, United States
In 2007, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science established the first undergraduate degree in Ecohydrology in the United States. The degree was designed to prepare students for careers as hydrologists while also including coursework equivalent to a minor in ecology (UNR does not officially offer a minor in ecology). The development of the major was intended to provide students with useful skills and training for the job market, and also to increase enrollment in the University’s water-related undergraduate majors. The Department also established an Ecohydrology minor. Since the degree was established, average enrollment in the major has been almost two times higher than the previous Watershed Science option in Environmental Science (the closest comparable degree offering at UNR). The Department has graduated 19 students as of May 2014, and an additional 8 students have graduated with the Ecohydrology minor. Several Ecohydrology graduates have gone on to graduate degrees, and most of the remainder are employed in water-related areas. The students have established an Ecohydrology Club at UNR and are active in organizing water-related activities to do together. This presentation will describe the development of the degree, its implementation, and challenges and opportunities for carrying out an undergraduate degree in Ecohydrology. It will also discuss potential development of a 5-year Bachelor of Science-Master of Science (BS-MS) degree in Ecohydrology.