Graduate Program

Degree Offered

  • Master of Water Resources (M.W.R.)
    Concentrations: Hydroscience; Policy and Management.

The Water Resources Program (WRP) offers the Master of Water Resources (M.W.R.) degree, an interdisciplinary professional degree designed to prepare students for careers in water resources. Applicants to the program must have a basic proficiency in at least one water-related discipline (defined rather broadly) such as engineering, sociology, management, public administration, environmental studies, economics, law, chemistry, planning, political science, geology, geography and biology, among others–or professional experience in the water field. The goal of the M.W.R. degree program is to expand and deepen students’ knowledge of their primary disciplines and provide them with an integrated perspective on the importance of water in socio-economic and environmental contexts, improve their capacity for critical thinking and develop their technical and communication skills. UNM’s location in the Southwest means that there is a focus on arid region water issues; however, the M.W.R. degree is designed to provide its students a firm grounding in water resources that is applicable to any region.

The M.W.R. degree is obtained by taking a sequence of courses in one of two concentrations: Hydroscience, or Policy and Management. The degree requirements consist of 39 credit hours: 36 credit hours of coursework plus 3 credit hours for a professional project. The Hydroscience concentration is designed primarily for students with technical orientation in the physical and biological sciences and engineering. This concentration leads to further expertise in the technical aspects of water resources management. The Policy and Management concentration is intended for students with interests in the social and economic sciences, administration, public policy, and planning. This concentration develops the student’s skills in the administrative, economic, and socio-political aspects of water resources management. The curriculum for each concentration is flexible, enabling a student to design a course of study that achieves his/her career objectives with guidance from his/her advisor and graduate committee.

The Water Resources Program faculty is drawn from five schools (Architecture and Planning, Engineering, Law, Medicine, and Public Administration) and from the College of Arts and Sciences. The Program is administered by a Program Committee drawn from the faculty and a Director, who functions as a Department Chair.

Dual Degree Program

Master of Water Resources and Master of Community and Regional Planning: The Water Resources Program and the Community and Regional Planning department in the School of Architecture offer a Dual Degree Program leading to the M.W.R. and the Master of Community and Regional Planning (M.C.R.P.). See the Graduate and Professional Dual Degree Programs section of this Catalog.

Admission Requirements

The admissions requirements for the M.W.R. program are as follows:

1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university;
2. A grade point average of at least 3.0 out of 4.0 for the last two years of undergraduate work (A student with a grade point average below 3.0 may be admitted if his/her experience/qualifications indicate likely success in the program);
3. Three references from individuals qualified to assess the applicant’s academic and/or professional qualifications. At least one individual must be a current/former professor;
4. Current curriculum vitae/resume;
5. Successful completion (grades of "C" or better) of the following courses. These can be taken at other institutions; UNM equivalent courses are listed in parentheses;

Hydroscience Concentration:

  • Calculus I (MATH 162 or 180); Calculus II (MATH 163 or 181); and Statistics (STAT 145). Note: MATH 162 and 163 are highly recommended.
  • Introductory Microeconomics (ECON 106) or Intermediate Microeconomics I (ECON **300).
  • Three introductory (or higher) science courses (UNM 100-level) from at least two different disciplines.

Policy and Management Concentration:

  • Calculus I (MATH 162 or 180) and Statistics (STAT 145).
  • Introductory Microeconomics (ECON 106) or Intermediate Microeconomics I (ECON **300). Note: ECON **300 is highly recommended.
  • Two introductory (or higher) science courses (UNM 100-level), which may be from two different disciplines.
  • One introductory or higher course in: sociology (SOC 101); or political science (POLS 110); or psychology (PSY 105). Note: a student entering with a major or minor in one of the above must take a course in one of the remaining two disciplines.

5. A one- to two-page letter of intent describing the student’s interests in water resources, experience in the field, objectives and future plans. This document is helpful in assessing the applicant’s aptitude for the program and in assigning a temporary advisor.

Normally, applicants must satisfy the prerequisites before they can be admitted to the program, however, students with exceptional qualifications may be admitted if they are missing one prerequisite. Applicants missing more than two prerequisites may not be admitted. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for admission.

Admission Deadlines

November 15 Spring semester
July 15 Fall semester

The deadlines for international applicants are August 1 and March 1 for the spring and fall semesters respectively. Prospective students are advised to apply as early as possible as available slots may be filled prior to the published deadlines.

Master of Water Resources

  • Concentrations: Hydroscience; Policy and Management.

Curriculum Requirements

A student selects a concentration in either Hydroscience or Policy and Management. This selection should be made before the student completes 12 credit hours of coursework.

39 credit hours are required: 36 credit hours of formal coursework, and 3 credit hours for a professional project. The credit hours are distributed as follows:

  1. 12 credit hours in the Water Resources interdisciplinary core courses: WR 571, WR 572, WR 573.
  2. 15 credit hours from courses in the student’s concentration.
  3. 6 credit hours of courses in the other concentration.
  4. 3 credit hours from the Utilities Group courses.
  5. 3 credit hours of WR 598 Professional Project. The student can take more than 3 credit hours of WR 598, but only 3 credit hours may count towards the degree.

Courses are subdivided into three groups; suggested courses are listed below. A complete list of suitable courses is maintained in the Water Resources Program office and on the Water Resources Program Web site and is updated periodically.

Note: Students without suitable undergraduate coursework may be required to take remedial courses for no graduate credit. Individual courses listed below may have prerequisites in excess of the M.W.R. prerequisites. No 300-level courses for graduate credit may apply to the M.W.R. degree, except CE **335.
Note: WR 590 Internship can substitute for a Group I or II course, depending upon the nature of the internship. See the Director for details.

Concentration in Hydroscience

  • 15 credit hours from Group I: Hydroscience, with at least one course from each category;
  • 6 credit hours from Group II: Policy and Management, from two different categories;
  • 3 credit hours from Group III: Utilities courses.

Concentration in Policy and Management

  • 15 credit hours from Group II: Policy and Management, with at least one course in any three of the four categories;
  • 6 credit hours from Group I: Hydroscience, from two different categories;
  • 3 credit hours from Group III: Utilities courses.

Group I: Hydroscience 

  • Hydrology and Hydraulics: CE *442, 540, 541, 542, 545, 549; EPS 562, 576, 581L; WR 576.
  • Ecosystems, Environment, Health, and Water Quality: BIOL *495, 502, 514, 558; CE **335, 531, 534, 536; ENVS 530L; EPS 515, 558; PH 502, 506.
  • Climatology: EPS 522, 536.

Group II: Policy and Management 

  • Law: LAW 547, 554.
  • Economics: ECON *442, 542, 544.
  • Policy, Administration and Management: CRP 527, 577; GEOG 514, 561, 562, 563; PADM 500, 574; PH 501.
  • Sociology, Communication and Culture: AMST 523; CRP 569.

Group III: Utilities Courses

These are courses related to modeling or mapping that are applicable to investigations and management of water resource issues.

  • Geographic Information Systems: CE 547; GEOG 587L, 588L.
  • Methods: ECON *407, 504, 545; POLS 581; STAT 527, 528.
  • Modeling: ECON 540, 543.

Professional Project

Each student must complete a 3 credit hour professional project. The student selects the topic in consultation with his/her advisor and committee and conducts the work under their guidance. The student must present the results of his/her work in an open forum and successfully defend the project before an advisory committee. This defense functions as the Master’s examination. Examples and guidelines for preparation of the professional project report are available from the Water Resources Program office, the Water Resources Program Web site, and the Program Guidelines.


WR 551-552. Problems. (1-3 to a maximum of 6 Δ)

WR 571. Water Resources I - Contemporary Issues. (4)

WR 572. Water Resources II - Models. (4)

WR 573. Water Resources III - Field Problems. (4)

WR 576. Physical Hydrology. (3)

WR 590. Internship. (3)

WR 595. Topics in Water Resources. (1-4 to a maximum of 9 Δ)

WR 598. Professional Project. (1-3, no limit Δ)

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