Instructor: Harlan Bengtson
Credit Hours: 4.00

Approval Number: Not Required

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Course Description

An understanding of hydrology is important for many civil engineering, environmental engineering, and geotechnical related projects. A good starting point is review of the hydrological cycle, watershed characteristics, precipitation, and the rainfall/runoff process, topics included in this course, which is the first in a 'Hydrology Review Series'. These topics provide a start on the review of hydrology and preparation for studying more advanced areas of hydrology.

This course is intended for hydrologists, civil engineers, hydraulic engineers, highway engineers, geotechnical engineers and environmental engineers. An attendee of this course will gain knowledge about the hydrological cycle, introductory hydrology topics and precipitation. Upon completing this course, the student will be prepared to study additional hydrology topics.

The study file for this course consists of the material in chapters 1 & 2 from 'Highway Design Series No. 2, Second Edition put out by U.S DOT in October 2002.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:


  • Describe the processes by which water is transported and converted from one form to another in the hydrological cycle.
  • Describe watershed characteristics and the way that they affect runoff from the watershed in response to precipitation.
  • Determine probability of occurrence in a single year for a storm of given return period and vice versa.
  • Obtain values for the Manning roughness coefficient for overland and sheet flow for various specified ground covers.
  • Obtain values for the intercept coefficient for use in the velocity vs slope equation for specified type of flow and ground cover.
  • Calculate an estimate of the velocity for overland flow using the velocity slope equation.
  • Calculate an estimate of the velocity for pipe and channel flow using the Manning equation.
  • Calculate time of concentration by the velocity method.

Instructor Bio

Dr. Bengtson is a graduate of Iowa State University with B.S. and M.S. degrees and of the University of Colorado with a PhD. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Missouri. He has spent 30 years in engineering education in teaching and administrative positions, including six years as Dean of Engineering at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. His areas of expertise are environmental engineering, hydrology and hydraulics, engineering science and renewable energy systems. He did consulting work while holding the academic positions. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Bengtson worked for Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing as a Product Development Engineer and for E. I. duPont deNemours as a Process Development Engineer. Dr. Bengtson has authored numerous publications, presentations and technical reports. He is currently active in providing continuing education opportunities for Professional Engineers and is the founder of and, sites with the objective of providing inexpensive, easy to use Excel spreadsheets for a variety of engineering calculations.

Other Approvals

National Professional Engineer board: Not Required