Rouse was a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, from 1929 until 1933, when he moved to Columbia University. He was at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (1936–1939), and in 1939 he joined the staff of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, where he was dean of the College of Engineering from 1966 to 1972. His work includes hydraulic studies of similitude, efflux and overflow, jet diffusion, boundary roughness, and sediment suspension.
Among his written works are Fluid Mechanics for Hydraulic Engineers (1938), Elementary Mechanics of Fluids (1946), Basic Mechanics of Fluids (1953), and History of Hydraulics (1957).
Hunter's eldest son Richard Rouse is one of the world's foremost specialists in Western European History in the Middle Ages.
- Ettema, Robert (2006). "Hunter Rouse – His Work in Retrospect". Journal of Hydraulic Engineering. 132 (12): 1248–1258. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429(2006)132:12(1248).
- Ettema, R. (2006). "Hunter Rouse, Hydraulician: An Overview of His Work". World Environmental and Water Resource Congress 2006. American Society of Civil Engineers. pp. 1–12. doi:10.1061/40856(200)92. ISBN 978-0-7844-0856-8.
- Guo, Junke (2002). "Hunter Rouse and Shields Diagram". Advances in Hydraulics and Water Engineering – Proceedings of the 13th IAHR–APD Congress, Singapore, 6–8 August 2002. 2. World Scientific. pp. 1096–1098. doi:10.1142/9789812776969_0200. ISBN 9789812380906.
- Rouse, Hunter (1976). "Hydraulics' Latest Golden Age". Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics. 8: 1–13. Bibcode:1976AnRFM...8....1R. doi:10.1146/annurev.fl.08.010176.000245.