Water Resource Engineering Graduate Programs

Mar 15, 2018

Graduate degree programs in water resource engineering are available at the master's and doctoral degree levels. Explore some of these programs and their admissions requirements and typical course topics.

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Water resource engineering degree programs are most commonly offered as Master of Science or PhD programs, but some Master of Professional Studies programs are available too. Students in the master's degree programs can usually choose a thesis or a final project option, while doctoral students are expected to complete a dissertation. Discover more about these programs and their requirements below.

Information for Graduate Degree Programs in Water Resource Engineering

Most graduate degree programs in water resource engineering offer hands-on learning experiences through labs, fieldwork and/or internship opportunities. These programs also allow students to focus their studies in various concentrations, such as water quality, groundwater, waste treatment, hydrology, risk assessment and water resources management. Although coursework varies based on these concentrations and research interests, here we discuss some of the common courses found in these programs.


Graduate degree programs in water resource engineering typically have a variety of courses in hydrology, including ones that focus on topics like watershed hydrology or engineering hydrology. In general, these courses examine different hydrologic processes, how to model these processes and management practices. Learning how to model these processes usually entails mathematical analysis, and the course may require a lab component to practice these modeling techniques.

Fluid Mechanics

Usually offered at an advanced level, students in these programs take courses in fluid mechanics to study the basic equations and laws for fluid flows. Students explore topics in free turbulent jets and wakes, control volume analysis, Bernoulli's Equation, boundary layer equations, Navier-Stokes equations and hydrostatics. These courses may also contain a lab portion to allow students to examine these topics in a hands-on way.

Water Management

Courses in water management focus on the various strategies available to help conserve and manage water resources. Students look at topics in sustainability, explore ways to minimize environmental impacts and discuss the social, economic and engineering aspects of water management. Some of these programs may include computer modeling to allow students to experiment with possible water management improvements.


Students in hydraulics courses examine the various hydraulic processes, structures and machinery. They may explore the hydraulic processes in groundwater systems, pipe networks and open-channels, as well as models for different hydraulic structures. Other topics in these courses may include model techniques, similarity laws, prototypes and models and undistorted/distorted models.

Environmental Engineering

Some courses in environmental engineering focus on the mathematical models used in combination with engineering economics, optimization procedures and other business concepts to plan and design environmental systems. Other courses in environmental engineering focus on the theory and experiments behind design and include laboratory work to explore analysis techniques using chromatography, spectroscopy, polarography and other methods. These courses typically apply these different models and analysis techniques to a range of environmental applications.

Common Entrance Requirements

Most graduate degree programs in water resource engineering expect applicants to include their official transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation and a personal statement in their application. Personal statements for these programs are usually supposed to include a student's research interests and professional goals. Some programs also ask applicants to submit a current resume or CV. Although not required, students are encouraged to contact faculty members to discuss research interests and program requirements to help determine if the school is a good fit.

Students can pursue a master's or doctoral degree in water resource engineering and tailor their studies to their own particular research and career interests through available program concentrations. These degree programs are typically comprised of lectures, research and hands-on learning experiences.

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