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Career as Hydrologist

Career as a Hydrologist

About Hydrologist

A professional who deals or studies the science of movement of water through the atmosphere (land surface and underground) is called as Hydrologist. In simple words, a practitioner of Hydrology is called as a Hydrologist. These professionals specialize in various fields such as physical geography, environmental engineering, civil engineering and earth or environmental science. They play a vital role in solving the water-related problems such as water management, environmental preservation etc. There are different subdomains in Hydrology such as marine hydrology, groundwater hydrology and water hydrology.

Even though there are decent career prospects in the field of Hydrology, the number of students opting for B.Sc/ M.Sc in Hydrology is less due to the lack of enough number of institutes and tough competition for admission. The scope of securing employment n government sector is high for Hydrology graduates. Even though Hydrology is one of the subjects in Civil Engineering, a specialized degree in B.Sc/ M.Sc is necessary for relevant career prospects. You can check all the details about the career path for Hydrologists such as eligibility, job roles and salary here.

Eligibility to become Hydrologist

The number of colleges offering B.Sc course in Hydrology are limited in India. Therefore, it is advisable to choose a B.A/ B.Sc course in Geography after Class 12th. This course will help you in applying for an M.Sc course in Hydrology. You can also choose B.Tech in Civil Engineering/ Environmental Engineering after Class 12th to take up M.Sc in Hydrology.

List of Master’s Courses in Hydrology & Eligibility

After passing a Bachelor’s degree, you can choose any of the following courses in Hydrology –

Name of the Course

Eligibility Criteria

Admission Process

M.Tech Hydrology

Candidates who have passed B.Tech in Civil Engineering/ Environmental Engineering are eligible for admission in M.Tech Hydrology.

GATE/ University-Level Entrance Exams

M.Sc Hydrology

The candidates must have passed B.A/ B.Sc degree with Geography as the main/ combination subject.

Merit/ Entrance Based

M.Tech/ M.E in Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering

The candidates must have a B.Tech degree in Civil Engineering/ Environmental Engineering.

GATE/ University-Level Entrance Exams

Apart from the above, the aspirants can also choose different courses in Water Management/ Geography at M.Sc Geography to be eligible for jobs in the field of Hydrology.

Types of Job Roles Hydrologist

Some of the job roles in the field of Hydrology (apart from Hydrologist) can be checked below –

Name of the Job Role

Major Responsibility

Conservation Scientists

These professionals play a vital role in identifying potential threats to natural resources and its impact on human beings. Based on their observations, they provide solutions or instructions for the further course of action.


They play a vital role in analyzing rock formations with an objective to determine the earth’s past. They also discover oil sources in different locations.

Environmental Scientists

They play a vital role in determining the pollution levels and figure out the solutions for the same.

Environmental Engineers

They play a vital role in providing solutions to water problems such as pollution, contamination and methods to improve the groundwater levels.

Lecturer/ Professor

A graduate in Hydrology can also opt for teaching. For this, they will have to clear UGC NET exam or Ph.D.

Top Recruiting Agencies for Hydrologists

Compared to the private sector, the scope of securing employment in the government sector are high. Some of the top recruiting agencies for Hydrologists are –

  • National Institute of Hydrology – Roorkee
  • UPSC (Union Public Service Commission)
  • State Public Service Commission (Group 2 Services)
  • Municipal Corporations
  • Construction Agencies
  • Beverage Companies that require Ground Water for Production
  • Universities/ Colleges (Government and Private)

Skills required to become a Hydrologist

The following skills are required to become a hydrologist –

Physical Strength and Stamina: Hydrologists travel to a lot of remote/rural areas to obtain a high volume of water samples. They may be required to wade in rivers, streams or lakes. For this purse, they require physical stamina and strength.

Analytical Skills: Hydrologists require analytical skills as they will have to analyze the data and water samples.

Good Subject Knowledge: A decent subject knowledge and methods to apply the same are required to excel in this field.

Other Skills: Some of the other skills that are required for Hydrologists include –

  • Critical Thinking
  • Basic Computer Knowledge
  • Organizational Skills
  • Communication Skills

Planning to choose Hydrologist as your career?

Pay Scale/Salary of Hydrologist

The salary details for different job roles for Hydrologists can be checked below –

Name of the Job Role

Average Salary (Per Annum)


Rs. 5,00,000 (with 1-3 years of experience)


Rs. 4,00,000 (entry-level)

Environmental Scientist

Rs. 3,60,000 (entry-level)

Books & Study Material to Become Hydrologist

If you are aspiring for a bright career in the field of Hydrology, here is the list of best books that you can refer to –

  • Handbook of  Applied Hydrology – VP Singh
  • Distributed Hydraulic Modeling using GIS
  • Introduction to Hydraulics and Hydrology – John E. Gribbin
  • Computer Models of Watershed Hydrology – VP Singh
  • Isotope Hydrology – P. Aggarwal
  • Water Resources Engineering – Anand Prakash
  • Hydrology – Mohan Das Madan

Pros of becoming a Hydrologist

  • Hydrology is a challenging and innovative career where you will the professional needs to provide innovative solutions to water-related issues.
  • The pay scale is high for candidates with more than 5 years of experience.

Cons of becoming a Hydrologist

  • Only a limited number of institutes in India offer a specialized course in Hydrology
  • Competition for securing a job in the government sector is high
  • Sometimes, Hydrologists may have to hike or navigate difficult terrains to get water samples

Paths for Being Hydrologist

FAQs about Hydrologist

What are the different job roles in the field of Hydrology?

Different job roles in the field of Hydrology are Geoscientists, Environmental Engineers, Hydrologists etc.

Are Environmental Engineers eligible for jobs in Hydrology?

Environmental Engineers are eligible for jobs in Hydrology.

What is the average salary for a Hydrology professor?

The average salary for a Hydrology professor is Rs. 3,00,000 per annum.

How to apply for jobs after M.Sc Hydrology?

After completing M.Sc Hydrology, you can apply for relevant jobs in various government sectors.

What are the steps to start a career in Hydrology?

After passing Class 12th, you will have to choose a B.A/ B.Sc course in Geography or B.Tech in Civil or Environmental Engineering. Later, you can choose M.Sc / M.Tech in Hydrology.

Which is best institute for Hydrology in India?

National Institute of Hydrology, located in Roorkee and IIEST are the best institutes for Hydrology in India.

How are the career prospects for Hydrologists in India?

The scope for securing employment in governments sector is high for Hydrologists in India.

Can a graduate in B.Tech Civil Engineering become a Hydrologist?

B.Tech Civil Engineering will have to complete M.Tech in Hydrology to become a Hydrologist.

What is the starting salary for Hydrologists in India?

The starting salary for Hydrologists in India can be around Rs. 3,50,000 per annum.

What is the eligibility criteria to become a Hydrologist?

Candidates who have a M.Sc/ M.Tech degree in Hydrology/ Water Resources Management are eligible to become Hydrologist.

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