Curriculum Guideline


Effective Date:
Course Code
GEOG 3311
Geography and the Environment
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 hrs. per week / semester Lab: 2 hrs. per week / semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:  lecture, labs, field work, analysis and interpretation of hydrologic data, slides, videos, individual and/or team projects and small group discussions. Readings will be assigned to supplement the text book and the lectures.

Course Description
Hydrology is the scientific study of earth’s water resources. Students will be introduced to the physical and chemical properties of water and the processes responsible for its occurrence, distribution and cycling, with emphasis on the terrestrial phase of the hydrologic cycle. Field and lab work will involve measurement techniques and the analysis of hydrologic data. Emphasis will also be placed on a description of Canada’s water resources and their management, including the impacts of urbanization and climate change.
Course Content
  1. Introduction
    • definition and scope of hydrology
    • physical and chemical properties of water
  2. The hydrologic cycle
    • movement through various earth systems
    • phase changes and physical processes
  3. Global and regional water balances
    • mass and energy balance equations
  4. Precipitation
    • mechanisms
    • spatial variability
    • temporal variability
    • measurement
    • precipitation data analysis
  5. Interception and infiltration
    • definitions
    • measurement
    • effect of vegetation
    • Horton’s model
  6. Evaporation, evapotranspiration
    • estimation and measurement
    • spatial variability
    • atmospheric and surface controls
    • potential and actual evaporation
  7. Snow and ice
    • snowpack properties
    • distribution
    • measurement
    • snow melt processes
  8. Soil moisture
    • measurement
    • relevant physical properties of soil
    • water storage and movement
    • measurement
  9. Groundwater
    • confined and unconfined aquifers
    • storage
    • movement
    • Darcy’s law
  10. Run off
    • stream flow
    • basins
    • watershed models
  11. Surface water storage
    • lakes and depressions
  12. Inventory of Canadian water resources
    • effects of climate change
  13. Water quality and water management
    • properties of water
    • characteristics of water quality
    • natural and anthropogenic processes affecting water quality
    • urban hydrology
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Describe and explain the hydrologic cycle and the variety of processes involved within it.
  2. Describe and use maps and air photographs to identify and illustrate the variety of landforms involved in the terrestrial stage of the hydrologic cycle.
  3. Be able to utilize, through lab and field work, routine methods for measuring hydrologic flow and storage.
  4. Have used, through map and field work, some methods of analyzing hydrological data.
  5. Describe the extent of Canada’s water resources.
  6. Evaluate the human impact on stream systems and implications for water resource management.

Means of Assessment

The evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria during the first week of classes.

Evaluation will include some of the following:

  • Laboratory assignments with a combined value of up to 50%.
  • Multiple choice and short answer exams with a combined value of up to 50%.
  • Field work with a value of up to 25%.
  • A term project with a value of up to 25%.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

Laboratory Assignments  30%
Midterm Examination  25%
Final Examination  25%
Term Project  20%
Total 100%
Textbook Materials

  • Dingman, S.L. (2002) Physical Hydrology (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
  • Viessman, W. and Lewis, G.L. (2003) Introduction to Hydrology (5th ed.). New York: Harper Collins.
  • Ward, R.C. and Robinson, M. (2000) Principles of Hydrology (4th ed.). London: McGraw Hill.


GEOG 2210 or GEOG 2220 or permission of instructor