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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.


Our Spring 2023 WRSM Meeting will be held on March 2, 2023 at 4:30pm in CUE 319.

Please consider joining our wrsm listserv for (mostly) monthly updates about the certificate and opportunities to fulfill your experiential requirements.  You can subscribe here, our list name is “wrsm_undergrad” (Note: you must confirm your subscription so watch for an email that provides instructions!)

To find WRC Lectures that count towards your experiential requirement, you can check out our events calendar:  You can also email us to see if another research talk you find online might count.


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 15 credits of 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.  You can view the approved coursework here.
  • 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 join our list-serv here (list name “wrsm_undergrad”. You must confirm your subscription so watch for an email that provides instructions!). 

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.

SInce the list of coursework is constantly being updated, we are also flexible about adding/approving new or other existing courses that have a freshwater focus and would fall within one of the four cluster areas.  To discuss additions, please email (


Experiential Requirements

In addition to a course component, students pursuing this certificate would be required to complete three water-related activities.

Experiential Activities:

Required activities:

  1. Water Meeting and Social (held Fall and Spring semesters)
  2. WRC Water Lecture Event (in-person or virtual)
    Students must attend one freshwater research seminar and submit the required documentation to meet this requirement.

    1. Seminar opportunities- We will post relevant seminars on our events calendar that you can attend for credit, but you are also welcome to seek out other seminars too.  If you choose to find one on your own, the requirements for what counts are as follows:
      1. It must be a research talk and be freshwater focused,
      2. The lecture must be outside of your regular classes- a class lecture does not count,
      3. It can be from within or outside of WSU.
    2. Seminar documentation-  Please submit a 250-500 word summary of the talk you attended (in your own words), along with the title, presenter’s name, date of the event, and whether it was in-person or virtual.  Please email this documentation to
  3. Other activities (suggestions below):
    • Attend a water-related field trip or volunteer opportunity (e.g., Stream clean-ups, Irrigation District Tour, etc.: letter from instructor/event leader required- use the WRSM Experiential Req Form to document your participation)
    Attend a water-related educational event (record of attendance required and 1pg reflection required)
    Water Documentary Viewing + Reflection- some good suggestions can be found here (movie title, date of viewing, and 1pg reflection required).
    • 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 or of your choosing (please confirm with to make sure it will count before you do it!)

To stay updated on activities being offered that can count towards this portion of the certificate, please register for our listserv here (list name “wrsm_undergrad”, note that you must confirm your subscription so watch for an email that provides instructions!) 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 (