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Water Resources Management, M.S. University of Wisconsin - Madison



Course info


The water resources management (WRM) program is an interdisciplinary graduate program leading to a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in water resources management. The program addresses the complex, interdisciplinary aspects of managing water resources by helping students integrate the biological and physical sciences (which identify and assess problems) with engineering (which defines technological alternatives) as well as law and the social sciences (which assess needs and potential for institutional response). Through the WRM program, a student gains breadth in relevant planning and management areas while developing depth in an area specialty.

The water resources management degree is designed to prepare students for employment as water resources management professionals. Rather than conduct individual research projects, WRM students participate in a summer group practicum workshop with a water resources management focus. Students who wish to add individual research credentials to their records frequently arrange to complete a second, simultaneous master's program in one of the university's traditional departments. Those interested primarily in individual research may wish to consider the Nelson Institute's environment and resources program as an alternative. The WRM program does not offer a doctoral degree.

Any person who attended an accredited institution and earned an undergraduate degree there in the biological sciences, earth sciences, economics, education, engineering, history, journalism, landscape architecture, law, mathematics, physical science, political science, urban and regional planning, or other suitable field may apply for admission to the WRM program.

Two tracks are available. All applicants should apply for the regular 45-credit track, which provides depth in an area specialty in addition to breadth in resource management and planning. The alternate track (30 to 44 credits) is for those who have at least three years of pertinent professional experience or for those advanced students who already have a related master's degree prior to entering the program. Either such candidate may appeal for the alternate track based on their background. The alternate track, also known as the reduced-credit track, can be pursued with the consultation of one's faculty advisory committee once that candidate is enrolled in the program. The candidate's advisory committee and the program chairperson make the final determination as to whether or not the alternate track is appropriate. No thesis is required for either track, but every WRM student must complete the 2-credit spring planning seminar and the associated 4-credit summer group practicum workshop.

Learning outcomes

  • Expand their knowledge of the physical, chemical, biological, and social sciences and learn how to apply this knowledge to the management of water resources.
  • Understand water resource decision-making at governance levels from local to national.
  • Use a wide range of analytical tools to sustainably manage water resources.
  • Participate in as well as lead interdisciplinary teams.
  • Orally and in writing communicate to stakeholders the findings and recommendations of interdisciplinary projects.
  • Have an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.

Course options

Here are the different ways in which you can study Water Resources Management, M.S..

Full Time (M.S.: 45 credit hours; M.S.: Reduced-Credit Track: 30–44 credit hours)

Tuition fees

$25,506.00 (18,69,574) per year


21 Jan, 02 Sep


Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

122 Science Hall,

550 North Park Street,



53706, United States

Entry requirement for international students

International applicants must have a degree comparable to a regionally accredited U.S. bachelor’s degree.

English Language Requirement

Minimum TOEFL requirement: 92 internet (iBT); 580 paper-based test (PBT)

Minimum IELTS requirement: 7.0

* Please check with your chosen school for the exact entry requirements for your programme.

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