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Watershed Management (WM)

Faculty Coordinator: Kevin McGuire

In the 21st century, challenges that relate to watershed management and the need to protect water quantity and water quality will be intensified in Virginia and the nation, owing to increased water demand, changes in land-use, and other competing interests. Management of water resources is a critical issue facing governmental agencies, as well as the private/industrial sector and citizens. Universities and colleges have a major responsibility to prepare future water and land managers to meet these challenges. Future water managers and decision makers need knowledge and training in natural science, technical assessment, economics, planning, and policy. In recent years, it has been recognized that the most effective approach of water resources is at the watershed scale with input from various stakeholders. Furthermore, there have been significant advances in understanding watershed science both in the natural and social sciences, and there is a national trend to integrate various facets of watershed studies in interdisciplinary programs.

The Watershed Management Certificate (WSMC) program integrates existing programs and courses from five colleges and ten departments at Virginia Tech to provide an interdisciplinary and substantive understanding of watershed science, policy, and decision-making. The program provides excellent opportunities for students from many disciplines to study watershed management and develop interdisciplinary skills necessary for effective professional work in this emerging field.

Virginia Tech students accepted in any graduate program category (PhD, MS, MA, Commonwealth Campus, or Non-Degree) can be admitted into the WSMC program by completing the Graduate Certificate Application. Acquiring the Certificate requires the completion of 11 credit hours. Students must complete the core class “Land Use and Environment: Planning and Policy” and choose three other courses in Watershed Science and/or Watershed Analysis.


  • Required Core Courses: Watershed Management (3 credit hours) - choose one of the courses below:
    • UAP 5134G: Land Use and Environment: Planning and Policy
    • UAP/NR 5414: Natural Resources Planning (NCR)
  • Additional Courses (8-9 credit hours)
    • Watershed Science (choose 1 courses, 3 hours):
      • BSE 5404: Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pollution
      • FREC 5354G: Advanced Forest Soils and Hydrology
      • LAR 5304G: Topics: Adcanced Landscape Architecture Technology - Hydrology
      • FIW 5534G: Advanced Wetland Ecology and Management
      • NR 5884: Watershed Science, Education & Leadership (NCR)
      • CEE  5324: Advanced Hydrology (NCR)
      • CEE 5734: Urban Hydrology and Stormwater Management
      • GEOS 5804G: Advanced Groundwater Hydrology
      • FIW 5814: Stream Habitat Management
    • Watershed Analysis (choose 2 courses, 5-6 hours):
      • BIOL 5034: Ecosystem Dynamics
      • BSE 5244: HIS in Hydrologic Analysis
      • BSE 5354: Nonpoint Source Pollution Modeling
      • CEE 5204: GIS Applications in Civil and Environmental Engineering (NCR)
      • FREC 5254: Remote Sensing of Natural Resources
      • FREC 5264: GIS Applications in Natural Resources Mangement
      • LAR 5044: Land Analysis and Site Planning
      • CSES 5854: Advanced Wetland Soils