Distance Learning Water Resources Management Degree Programs

Dec 04, 2019

Get info about online programs in water resources management. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, as well as career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

Water resources management degree programs are rarely offered in an online format, but a few associate's and master's degree programs are available. Although coursework can be completed online, programs may require an internship. A few Master of Engineering degree programs in environmental engineering or civil engineering include a focus area in water resources management. Master of Science degree programs in water resources management are also available; they're usually more focused on the economics, politics and policies regarding water resource management, and students may learn how to use technology like GIS and spatial databases. Online students will need to use common media software and plug-ins, as well as a webcam, speakers, microphone, CD and DVD capabilities. Microsoft Office may also be required.

Associate's Degree in Water Resources

An online Associate of Applied Science in Water Resources prepares students for careers as water specialists. Online learners explore water patterns, collection and analysis. Related subjects of study include water conflict management, agriculture, sustainability, irrigation technology, natural resource management, environmental management, ecosystem science and civil engineering.

Program Information and Requirements

The associate's degree program typically consists of four semesters, and it can be completed in about two years. Entering students should be comfortable using a computer for word processing and Internet research. Communication is conducted through discussion boards. Some classes may involve chats and video conferencing. Instructors communicate with students primarily through e-mail. Students may be able to choose a specialization, like water utility management, drinking water operations and wastewater operations.

Distance education programs require students to have regular access to high-speed Internet. Classes have video and audio content that requires common media software and plug-ins. In order to videoconference, students need a webcam, speakers and microphone.

Common Courses

Students learn about the importance of water for the environment and human populations. They focus their studies on either water quality or water quantity. Both concentrations include classes in geography and map interpretation. To complete the associate's degree program students must take general education courses in math, natural sciences, social sciences and humanities.

Basics of Water Resources

This introductory class on water resources covers the basics of water resource management, including terminology and the water cycle. The course touches on water rights and laws, as well as relevant history. Students examine political, economic and social factors that affect water demand, availability and allocation.

Water Rights and Policy

How water use is governed is the focus of this course. Online learners explore the conflicts and legal developments in the past 30 years in dry areas in the northwest and southwest United States. Students learn how water resources are restricted and shared, along with how quality is regulated.

Hydrologic Measurements

This class familiarizes students with techniques and tools for measuring surface and ground water. Students learn common methods of hydrologic data collection and analysis.

Master's Degree in Water Resource Management

Online master's degree programs train students in the analysis, testing and management techniques used in water resources planning. Students explore theories in infrastructure planning, economics, water flow and ecology. The program typically culminates in a practicum or capstone project.

Program Information and Requirements

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Bachelor's degrees in science or engineering are preferred. Entering students must have completed calculus, chemistry, physics or biology.

Personal computers need to be equipped for CDs and DVDs. Students are required to have access to a printer. Some assignments require Microsoft Office. Updated browsers and recent operating systems are necessary.

Common Courses

Water resources management programs include classes on law, government, ecology and civil engineering. Some classes may have prerequisites in economics.

Policy for Natural Resources and Environment

This course examines the role of the government in natural resources management at federal, state and local levels. Students learn about current laws and policies in a historical context. Additionally this course examines international and global institutions that regulate water resources, as well as applicable political and environmental considerations.

Public Works

This class explores the role of the engineer in planning and managing public works. Students learn to assess the needs of a community and create projects based on that analysis.

Sustainable Management for Water Resources

Students identify the limiting factors for water resources. This class discusses ways to curb unsustainable use and implement responsible solutions. This course also details the effect humans have on hydrologic ecosystems

Career Information

Associate's Degree in Water Resources

Associate's degree holders possess the theoretical knowledge and practical experience for careers as water efficiency technicians, water management technicians or water quality operators. The median annual wages reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators were $49,490 in May 2018 (www.bls.gov).

Master's Degree in Water Resource Management

Water resources management education prepares graduates for careers in conservation science, public policy, environmental policy and civil engineering. Graduates may be employed as water management specialists or water efficiency technicians. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), conservation scientists had a median annual wage of $65,320 in May 2018 (www.bls.gov). Hydrologists had a median annual wage of $82,790 in May 2018, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education

Associate's graduates can also further their education through the completion of a bachelor's degree program. Although on-campus programs are available for water resources at the bachelor's level, online programs are rare. Related areas of study at the bachelor's level include civil engineering, geosciences and environmental science.

Online degree programs in water resource management can be found at the associate's and master's levels for students interested in studying sustainable management, natural resources policy and hydrologic measurements. Graduates may be qualified to work careers as water management technicians, conservation scientists and hydrologists.

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