The Water Resources Management program requires 45 credits, including 30 credits in the core curriculum plus 15 credits in an area specialty. For full-time students, this option generally requires four semesters and one summer session.

No thesis is required, but all students must complete a 2-credit planning seminar and the associated 4-credit summer practicum. They also must enroll for the fall term following their practicum to complete the associated report.

Required Curriculum

The core curriculum (categories A, B and C) reflects the diversity of knowledge and interdisciplinary experience needed in water resources planning and management. Courses in each category are selected in consultation with faculty advisors.

Representative subjects include:

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Category A - Natural Science and Technology, 9 credits

  • Algae
  • Aquatic plants/resources
  • Ecology
  • Entomology
  • Environmental health
  • Environmental toxicology
  • Forestry/ecosystem management
  • Hydrogeology
  • Hydrology
  • Hydroscience
  • Limnology
  • Pollution control
  • Environmental engineering
  • Small watershed engineering
  • Soil science
  • Water analysis
  • Water resources engineering
  • Wildlife ecology

Category B - Water Resources Institutions and Public Decision-Making Processes, 9 credits

  • Environmental/resource economics
  • Environmental education/communication
  • Environmental decision-making
  • Environmental impact analysis
  • Land use controls
  • Land/water policy
  • Regional planning
  • Resource policy
  • Water rights/environmental law

Category C - Analytical and Design Tools in Water Resources, 6 credits

  • Cartography/surveying
  • Computer programming
  • Economic analysis
  • Modeling techniques
  • Remote sensing
  • Statistics for bioscience
  • Statistical methods
  • Technical writing/journalism

View a list of courses previously approved for credit in WRM (pdf). This list also is available from the Academic Programs Office, 70 Science Hall. Course offerings change continually.

Category D - Synthesis and Integration, 6 credits

All students must complete a 4-credit interdisciplinary water resources management summer practicum and the preceding (spring semester) 2-credit planning seminar, or an accepted substitute. The practicum, a culminating experience near the end of the student’s program, is a student-faculty team project focused on a contemporary problem in water resources.

Students who participate in the practicum during their second summer will need to be enrolled the following fall semester to assist in finishing the workshop report. Students who do the workshop in their first summer should be able to complete the program in four semesters.

Area Specialty, 15 credits

The area specialty is an intensive program of courses designed to provide each student with competence in a particular water-related area. Courses within the area specialty are taken concurrently with core program courses. With the approval of the appropriate department, area specialty courses may also be applied toward a second master’s degree or law degree.

WRM students typically pursue specialties in disciplines such as:

  • Agricultural economics
  • Botany
  • Civil and environmental engineering
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Forestry
  • Geography
  • Geology and geophysics
  • Industrial engineering
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Limnology
  • Political science
  • Rural sociology
  • Sociology
  • Soil science
  • Urban and regional planning
  • Water chemistry
  • Zoology

Interdepartmental area specialties can be arranged for students interested in fields such as aquatic biology, land use management, public information, and water quality.

Students may also elect an area specialty in international water resources management. Unlike the training provided by traditional degree program fields such as agricultural economics or environmental engineering, this specialty focuses on the management of water resources.

View examples of area specialties and corresponding courses (pdf)