Without water, life as we know it could not exist. But in recent years much of our water has been depleted or contaminated. Scientists in the field of water resources are dedicated to providing an adequate supply of water, managing its use, and protecting its quality. The Earth Sciences Department at the College at Oneonta offers a program that trains students to understand and solve the many water problems that we face.
The Water Resources Program
This is one of the few programs of its kind at the bachelor's level in the entire country. It provides a broad training in all scientific aspects of the subject, with major emphasis on underground water. It includes the following topics, in which the courses can be varied slightly according to one's interests.
Hydrology (4 courses) - the occurrence, movement, and quality of water on and below the earth's surface, and how it is obtained for use.
Geology (5-9 courses) - the natural framework through which water moves: types of rocks, their origin and structure, landforms associated with water movement, environmental geology, glacial geology, and geophysical field techniques.
Meteorology (1 course) - analysis of weather and climate.
Chemistry (2 courses) - geochemistry of natural waters, environmental chemistry.
Biology (1 course optional) - limnology (the study of lakes).
Requirements include a core of eleven courses, plus two selections from a group of related courses. The program also includes introductory courses in chemistry, physics, calculus and statistics. Many other related courses are available for elective credit. Water Resources is also available as a minor for those in other undergraduate programs.
Most of these courses include laboratory work, computer applications, and field experience. In addition to classroom instruction, there are many opportunities for hands-on experience working on local water projects. Student research projects are encouraged. We also have a summer internship program in which students can work for professional firms or government agencies for college credit.
Faculty and Students
Water Resources faculty include five geologists, two meteorologists, a hydrologist, and an environmental scientist/oceanographer, all in the Earth Sciences Department, plus a chemist and biologist from other departments. All are involved in diverse research projects, but their primary goal is effective teaching. Five of the faculty in the Water Resources Program have received the Chancellor's Award ence in Teaching, and three are Distinguished Teaching Professors. One has received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Research. Students and faculty enjoy a close working relationship with much individual recognition and advisement, even after graduation. We have been particularly successful in developing the scientific skills of students, even those with little prior background in the subject.
The Water Resources Program was begun in 1980, and hundreds of our graduates are now professionals in that field. Current enrollment in the program is about 15. The Earth Sciences Department also offers bachelor's degrees in Geology, Meteorology, Environmental Sciences, Earth Science, and Education with an Earth Sciences concentration. There is also a master's degree in Geology, which includes an option in hydrology and environmental geology.
If you plan to enter the Water Resources Program as a freshman or sophomore, you need only a general background in high-school science and math. If you wish to transfer into the program after obtaining a degree from a two-year college, you should consider taking two semesters each of calculus, physics, and chemistry before transferring, so that you can more easily complete the program requirements in two years at the College at Oneonta.
Graduates of our program who wish to continue their training have the appropriate background to apply for graduate programs in hydrology, hydrogeology, watershed management, environmental science, and education. More than 100 universities in the United States offer graduate training in water-related fields. With a few additional courses taken at the College at Oneonta or in graduate school, students can enter graduate programs in geology, geography, or engineering. Our graduates have achieved great success in graduate programs at universities throughout the country, including such leaders in the field as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Pennsylvania State University, and University of California at Berkeley. It is also feasible to switch to other fields such as land-use management, forestry, or law and still make extensive use of an undergraduate training in water resources.