Water Resource Management Graduate Degree Programs

For individuals who are interested in natural resources and water specifically, they may want to consider pursuing a graduate-level degree in water resource management.

For environmentally conscious individuals who have an interest in the natural sciences and conservation, a graduate-level degree in water resource management may be a good choice if they want to continue their education. These programs focus on exploring the ways in which water is managed in the United States as well as around the world.

General Information about Graduate Degrees in Water Resource Management

At the graduate level, degree programs in water resource management are more commonly found at the master's degree level, though there are also some doctoral programs available. Master's degree programs generally take around two years to complete and students often have the option of completing a specialization in a related topic of their choice in addition to the standard water resource management curriculum. Below we will look at some courses that are common to graduate level programs in this field.

Watershed Processes

In this course, students will gain an in-depth understanding of how various watershed systems work. They will learn how factors like hydrology, biogeochemistry, subsurface flow, evapotranspiration, infiltration, and climate affect watershed. They will also learn how to interpret data from places in which watershed is taking place to create mock watershed management systems.


Many graduate-level programs in water resource management include a course focused on some aspect of biogeochemistry and pollution. The course discusses various types of pollutants and chemicals and how they affect the natural environment, including chemical and biological processes. Students will learn about proper sampling techniques and how to analyze and interpret data samples.

Environmental Resource Policy and Politics

Courses that focus on the policy and politics involved in environmental resources are a key part of most water resource management degrees. Students in these courses will learn about current laws and policies that relate to environmental law, water resource management, and natural resources in general. They will also learn how new laws are put into place and how public policy regarding natural resources in formulated. Students may study individual laws and policies, like the Clean Water Act, policies regarding protecting wetlands, and forestry practice policies.

Water Resource Management

Degree programs in this field include a course in water resource management through which students learn about various methods of managing water. Students will study the topic from an economical, political and social standpoint and learn how different geographical areas, countries, and people groups manage water and the types of water problems that they deal with.

They will learn how the types of policies that affect water resource management are formed and what has been most effective in managing water resources. Other topics that will likely be discussed include water scarcity, flooding, and the impact of climate change.

Wetlands Ecology

In a course focused on wetlands ecology, students will learn about various wetland areas, specifically in the United States. The course will focus on how wetlands function, the unique ecosystem and structure of wetlands, and how large an area they cover. Other topics covered in this course generally include current ways in which wetlands are being regulated, policies concerning wetlands, and successful was of preserving and restoring wetlands.

Graduate Degree Programs in Water Resource Management Admission Criteria

While admission criteria vary according to the program, students who are applying to master's degree programs in water resource management will generally need to either have a bachelor's degree in a field related to policy, natural resources, management, or natural sciences or prior coursework in these areas. They should be prepared to submit GRE scores, an application, letters of recommendation, personal statement, transcripts, and resume.

Graduate degree programs in water resource management are available as both master's degrees and doctoral degrees and may be a good option for students with an interest in issues related to natural resources, conservation, and water.

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