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Water Resources Science & Management Certificate

Water is an important resource for maintaining the health and integrity of our natural and social systems.  Sustainable water management requires an understanding of the water system and the impacts our decisions about water have on populations, economies, and ecosystems.

Who should pursue this certificate?

This certificate is a 15-credit undergraduate program open to students from all colleges and disciplines who are interested in freshwater resources.

Through this program, students will develop an interdisciplinary understanding of the physical, social, and cultural drivers that shape how water is managed within the larger environmental and human landscape.  Those completing this certificate will emerge with the breadth of knowledge required to think critically about water issues.

Students earning this certificate will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the interdisciplinary and often co-evolving science and policy advances for addressing freshwater issues.
  • Utilize fundamentals of the physical sciences to broadly understand the hydrologic cycle and how human management of water influences this cycle.
  • Display knowledge of the social, legal, and institutional environment surrounding water resources and management.
  • Broaden their professional and social networks to enhance their disciplinary understanding of water and water management.

Admission Requirements

  • Undergraduate students from any department or college will be eligible to participate in this certificate program and must apply with the Registrar.
  • Other applicants must meet the existing admission standards for non-degree seeking students.
  • Students can apply during any phase of their training, as long as they will have sufficient time to meet all of the requirements.

Certificate Requirements

Undergraduate students are expected to:

  • Complete coursework within a core curriculum of freshwater-related classes spanning four major themes: 1) Subsurface and Surface Hydrology, 2) Water Chemistry/ Ecology/ Biology, 3) Water Methods & Analysis, and 4) Water Policy & Management.
  • Complete a set of Experiential Requirements

If you are interested in the WRSM Certificate and would like to be notified when Experiential Events are taking place and receive other water-related notifications, please fill out the form to be added to our list-serv. 


Awarding the Certificate

At the beginning of the semester the student intends to graduate, students MUST:

  1. Apply for the certificate using MyWSU and Student Center. This will notify the Registrar’s Office to confer the certificate.
  2. Email Alecia Hoene so she can complete the appropriate certification forms.

At the end of the semester, students meeting all certificate requirements will be assessed a one-time certificate processing fee by the Registrar’s Office.


Course Requirements

All undergraduate students participating in this certificate program will be required to complete a minimum of 15 credit hours by taking at least one course from each of the following four water cluster areas.  A list of available courses can be found at:

Some courses represent a hybrid of two or more cluster areas- while they may be listed under more than one cluster area, a class will not count towards two cluster areas simultaneously.  Students must take a different course in each cluster area.  Additionally, the classes chosen by the student must represent at least two different academic units.

A minimum grade of 2.0 will need to be achieved for the course to count as progress towards completing the certificate, and a minimum grade of 3.0 must be maintained for the program.

Experiential Requirements

In addition to a course component, students pursuing this certificate would be required to attend three water-related activities hosted by the Certificate Program.

Experiential Activities:

Required activities:
• Water Meeting and Social (held Fall and Spring semesters)
• WRC Invited Lecture Event (held Fall and Spring semester)

Other activities (Use this WRSM Experiential Req Form to record and submit your chosen activity):
• Attend a water-related field trip (e.g., Palouse Falls, Lower Granite Dam, Irrigation District Tour, letter from instructor required)
Attend a water-related educational event (record of attendance required)
Water Documentary Screening + Discussion (selection to be approved by Committee)
• Water-related internship (through the PNNL-WRC SULI Program or other water-related internship opportunity; 135 hrs (3 credits) required)
Other activities as advertised by the WRC or Certificate Program

To stay updated on activities being offered that can count towards this portion of the certificate, please register for our listserv using this form or view our events calendar at:

Certificate Program Contact Information

This certificate is housed in the  WSU School of the Environment and managed with support from the State of Washington Water Research Center  to deliver an interdisciplinary overview of water resources science and management.  Questions about the certificate program should be directed to the Certificate Committee Chair (