Master's Degree in Water Resource Management

A master's degree in water resource management can lead to a career in research, engineering, or policy development. Read on to find out more about prerequisites for enrollment, core classes, and career opportunities in water resource management. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Degree Information for Master's in Water Resource Management

Most master's degree programs focusing on water resource management require a broad familiarity with science and policy. With water resource management being highly focused on the conservation of natural water resources, as well as the responsible management of water for human use, courses in the natural sciences, economics, and environmental and political policy are often essential to a thorough understanding of the field.

Research Methods in Water Resources Management

A course in research methods concerning water resource management can help prepare students to effectively gather data on important aspects within this field. Providing individuals with the instruction they need to gather accurate data, methodology is often a main component of core courses. This is important due to the fact that significant research helps lay the groundwork for new developments in technology and policy.

Research Methods in Geoscience

A course in research methods in geoscience focuses on the processes used to gather data concerning the Earth and its geology with direct applicability to water resource management. Educating students on how to gather accurate data, research method courses help ensure high standards in research. With the geology of an area playing a direct role in the flow and cycling of water, this course can prove quite valuable to properly evaluating an area's water resources.

Water Resources Seminar

Geared towards providing a broad overview of what our water resources are, as well as some typical ways people use these resources, this course can serve as a good foundation for understanding the field. Aiding in teaching individuals to think about water as a manageable and finite resource, this course can help provide perspective on the reality of water resource availability. A core course required by many master's programs, this seminar can help create a depth of context for individuals entering this field.

Socio-technical Aspects of Water

Understanding our everyday relationship with water resources is necessary for creating well-crafted plans for responsible management. An essential course for individuals entering into water resource management, understanding how to balance water consumption with conservation efforts is one of the main areas of focus within this field. Supporting human and wildlife populations living in tandem is a delicate balance, and public opinion often drives policy change. Understanding how various populations relate to water resources can help the individual learn how to better affect positive change.

Reading and Conference Journal Club

Providing an interactive course that helps prepare students to effectively communicate, this course can be particularly helpful for individuals interested in affecting policy change within the water resource management sphere. Conference classes can help simulate public meetings, preparing individuals to speak confidently on their area of study. A crucial aspect of directing policy, solid public speaking skills can make a huge difference in arguments for regulation change.

What are the prerequisites for a Master's Degree in Water Resource Management?

Master's degree programs in water resource management typically require that an individual hold a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts degree from an accredited university prior to registration in a master's program. Many programs request a GPA of 3.0 or higher and also require high GRE scores for applicants to be considered for admittance. All programs will require an application for admittance, and some programs may require letters of recommendation for applicants.

What Can I Do With My Degree?


Tasked with studying how water moves across the surface of the Earth, hydrologists help account for current water movement patterns. Providing information that allows civil engineers to anticipate water flow direction and rate, hydrologists gather data that helps plan proper placement for future infrastructure.

Conservation Scientist

This position is concerned with studying and managing natural water resources. Tasked with devising plans to keep natural water resources clean, conservation scientists focus primarily on protecting the planet's resources.

Environmental Engineer

In addition to an engineering degree, a master's in water resource management can prepare you for a job in environmental engineering. Tasked with solving environmental problems, environmental engineers help create practical, sustainable solutions to issues related to natural resources.

Natural Sciences Manager

This position deals with oversight and management of the work of scientists in physics, chemistry, and biology. A master's in water resource management can better position individuals to gain a job in this field.

Agricultural Engineer

Tasked with solving environmental and other issues related to agriculture, an agricultural engineer is involved in carrying out solutions to agriculture related water issues. Along with an engineering degree, a master's in water resource management can help make individuals more competitive when negotiating for a position.

Civil Engineer

Civil engineers help create the necessary infrastructure for towns and cities. Along with a degree in engineering, a master's in water resource management can help a degree holder negotiate a better pay rate in positions related to the redirection and flow of water.

Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operator

Although declining in job growth, this position is increasing in importance. This role provides the last line of defense for ensuring wastewater is clean before it's returned to the watershed. Although a master's in water resource management is not typically required for this position, individuals holding a degree will likely be more competitive in employment options.

Urban and Regional Planner

Urban and regional planners help map out infrastructure for populated areas. Along with a master's degree from an accredited planning program, a master's degree in water resource management can increase the chances of being hired for planning projects related to water use and diversion.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Outlook (2018-2028)*
Hydrologist $79,370 7%
Conservation Scientist $61,340 3%
Environmental Engineer $87,620 5%
Natural Sciences Managers $123,860 6%
Agricultural Engineer $77,110 5%
Civil Engineer $86,640 6%
Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operator $46,780 -5%
Urban and Regional Planner $73,050 11%

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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