Graduate Course Programs

The WRES Program has been a world-leading program in education and research for over half a century. The Graduate Program is quite flexible, to accomodate a wide variety of student interests and backgrounds. The program of study for each student is formulated through consultation with a graduate advisor in the area of the student’s major interests. There is no required set of courses at either the M.S. or Ph.D. level. However, M.S. students who do not elect to write a thesis are strongly encouraged to complete a special topics course, in which the students work individually with a faculty member on a problem of mutual interest.

Generally, Master’s degree recipients are prepared to undertake responsible employment with regulatory and advisory agencies, industries, and consulting organizations concerned with water resources problems. The objective of the doctoral program is to provide qualified individuals with the fundamental background required for careers in teaching and research, and for related positions involving research, development, and advanced management and planning in consulting organizations, industry, and government agencies. Cooperation with various departments and programs in the University provides a coordinated approach to the solution of complex engineering problems.

General Research Areas

In order to provide a basic structure for program planning, four general research areas can be identified:

Hydrology — the analysis, development, and application of physical and mathematical relationships related to the distribution of water on and under the earth’s land surfaces as well as in the atmosphere.

Hydraulics — the study of fluid mechanics principles and their application to the design of riverine, urban and coastal structures, and the analysis of environmental flow systems.

Water Resources Systems — the development and analysis of economic, optimization, organization, policy and criteria for the planning, design, operation, and management of water resources systems.

Groundwater — the analysis, development, and application of physical and mathematical principles relating to flow and transport phenomena in groundwater systems.


There are four areas of study within WRES that can be informally identified as described in the Introduction. The Civil and Environmental Engineering courses which are directly related to these are listed on the Courses page. These courses could be part of either an M.S. or Ph.D. degree program.