Credit: 3 graduate 
Instructor(s): Sam Carlson

Course Description

Applied watershed hydrology explores how water from rain and snow moves through landscapes and stream networks. This class will provide a broad introduction that focuses on patterns of streamflow, their measurement, and underlying physical processes including precipitation, evapotranspiration, soil water dynamics, snowmelt, overland and subsurface hillslope runoff, and channel flow. Real-world examples will be used to illustrate the influence of climate, topography, geology, soils, vegetation, land use, and other factors. Applications to aquatic and riparian resources, environmental problems, and human safety will be emphasized.

Meeting Place and Times

Participants login to the course at a time of day that best fits their schedule. It is necessary to connect at least 4 - 6 times per week and spend at least 8 - 10 hours per week while the course is in session, either online or offline working on course related assignments, to stay current and successfully complete this 3 credit graduate course.


Sam Carlson studies interactions among the geomorphic, chemical, and biological characteristics of stream networks, floodplains, and riparian areas, and has aPh.Din Ecology and Environmental Science from Montana State University.Hispreviouswork includes an investigation into the consequences offorest management practices on channel morphology and stream nutrient dynamics, and a quantitative examination of the thermal influence of lakes on streams.Apart from his work in environmental science, Sam spends his time in his workshop, on a bike, or in a canoe. 


ENSC 245 or an equivalent course in soil science and an introductory geography/ earth science class.

Time Commitment:

8-10 hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees

See the Online Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid page.

If you are also taking a face-to-face course, please refer to the MSU Fee Schedules.

Required Books/Materials

  • No textbook required. Reading will be located in D2L.

Computer Requirements:

  • Internet access
  • A device and browser that pass the system check for Brightspace LE, MSU's learning management system.

This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

For More Information

For course information: Please contact Marni Rolston 406-994-2029

How to Register

You must be accepted as a student to Montana State University to take this course.

Learn how to apply.

After your application has been accepted, you will register via MSU's online registration system, MyInfo.

Registration requires a PIN number. Learn how to find your PIN.

Once you have your PIN, learn how to register through MyInfo.