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Water Resources Science & Management Undergraduate 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.

Important Updates & Information

The Fall 2023 WRSM Certificate Meeting is TBD

Please check back for the meeting date.


WRSM Certificate Listserv

Join the WRSM listserv for updates and to learn about opportunities to fulfill your experiential requirements.  You can subscribe here. Please find the list name “wrsm_undergrad” from the pull-down menu. You must confirm your subscription, so watch for a confirmation email.

Certificate Requirements

Certificate requirements are outlined in the catalog and include the following:

    • Complete 15 credits of coursework within a core curriculum of freshwater-related classes spanning four major themes (one course per theme):
        1. Subsurface and Surface Hydrology
        2. Water Chemistry / Ecology / Biology
        3. Water Methods & Analysis
        4. Water Policy & Management
    • Complete a set of Experiential Requirements

Water Research Center Events Calendar

To find seminars that may count towards your experiential requirement, you can check out the WRC events calendar.

Course Requirements

A list of available courses can be found in the course catalog.

Some courses may be listed under more than one cluster area.  Classes cannot 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.

Students can seek approval to take classes that are not included in the course list but have a freshwater focus and fall within one of the four cluster areas.  To discuss alternative classes please email before you enroll in the course.

Experiential Requirements

In addition to the course component, students must complete three water-related activities.

Required activities:

1.  Attend Water Meeting and Social. These are held Fall and Spring semesters.  They are in-person and virtual for Global Campus students.

2.  Attend a Water Seminar and Summarize the Experience (in-person or virtual). Students must attend one freshwater research seminar and submit the required documentation to meet this requirement.

Seminar requirements:

      • It must be a research talk and be freshwater focused;
      • The lecture must be outside of your regular classes – a class lecture does not count; and
      • It can be from within or outside of WSU.  Seminars are posted on the WRC events calendar or you can find other opportunities.

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):

    • Work with the Water Research Center to learn about water research projects and develop outreach materials (e.g., articles, story maps, podcasts, etc.).
    • Attend a water-related field trip or volunteer opportunity (e.g., stream clean-ups, irrigation district tour). A letter from the instructor or event leader is required.  Please use the WRSM Experiential Req Form to document your participation.
    • Attend a water-related educational event and submit a reflection.  A record of attendance and one page reflection is required.
    • View a water documentary and submit a reflection. Please include movie title, date of viewing, and a one page reflection on the film.
    • Complete a water-related internship through the PNNL-WRC SULI Program or other water-related internship opportunity. 135 hours (3 credits) is required for this activity.
    • Other activities of your choosing. Please contact to get approval before you do the activity.

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.

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.

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