Job type


£22.5k - £46k

Typical salary

38 – 45

Hours per week

Hydrologists study the impact of rainfall, rivers, and waterways on the environment. They also look at sustainable ways to use water.

More info

  • Study the impact of rainfall, rivers, and waterways on the environment
  • Opportunity to work in sustainability
  • Potential to become a senior hydrologist

As a hydrologist, you'll study different types of water in the environment and its impact.


  • Measure river flows and the amount of water above and below ground
  • Investigate the causes and impact of flooding and drought
  • Model rainfall patterns under different climate conditions
  • Study snowfall, glaciers and ice formation
  • Analyse water samples for chemicals and pollutants
  • Assess water use in agriculture and industry
  • Work on engineering projects like dams, drainage and flood defences
  • Advise policy makers on sustainable water use
  • Collect data from flood events to improve forecasting and risk management


You could work in an office, in a laboratory, or in the countryside. Your working environment might be outdoors in all weathers.

You'll need

To become a hydrologist, you'll need maths knowledge, knowledge of engineering science and technology, analytical thinking skills, knowledge of geography, science skills, thoroughness and attention to detail, knowledge of physics, and excellent written communication skills.

You may need to have a full driving licence.

You can start by doing a degree in environmental science, geography, civil engineering, environmental engineering, Earth sciences, or ecology. After finishing your degree, you could then complete a postgraduate course in water engineering, flood risk management or hydrogeology.

Alternatively, you could do an environmental practitioner degree apprenticeship before specialising in hydrology.

You could start out as an assistant hydrologist if you have a relevant degree. Your employer might encourage you to study for a postgraduate qualification, like a master's or PhD in hydrology, while you're working.


With experience, you could become a senior hydrologist, co-ordinating a team of researchers, hydrologists and engineers. You might also work as a consultant, advising government departments and businesses on sustainable water use, civil hydro-engineering projects or flood risk management.