Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Water Resources Science Minor

Water Resources Center
Graduate School
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Water Resources Science, 193 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Avenue, St. Paul MN 55108 (612-624-7456; fax: 612-625-1263)
  • Program Type: Graduate minor related to major
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2022
  • Length of program in credits (master's): 9
  • Length of program in credits (doctoral): 12
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • University of Minnesota Duluth
This cross-campus interdisciplinary program provides comprehensive training in water resources science, with integration across scientific disciplines. A structured interdisciplinary graduate curriculum is offered. The program includes a set of core courses plus electives in the following areas of interest: aquatic biology, environmental chemistry, hydrologic science, limnology, water management technology, water policy, water quality, and watershed science and management. A Limnology and Oceanography track is also offered. Approximately 80 courses offered within 15 other graduate programs are available to students majoring in water resources science. The goal of the program is to produce scientists with strong technical skills in disciplines relevant to water resources and a broad understanding of 1) the hydrologic cycle and associated ecosystems, 2) the interconnectedness of the sciences involved in managing aquatic resources, and 3) the interplay between the biophysical sciences and social sciences in developing and implementing public policies related to water. Students in the program develop the breadth of scientific knowledge appropriate to understand the complicated aquatic ecosystems and watersheds on which they will work, as well as social dimensions of the topic, including the public policy and legal frameworks in which water resources are protected and managed. The program involves faculty from the following departments on the Twin Cities campus: Applied Economics; Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering; Civil Engineering; Earth Sciences; Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior; Entomology; Environmental and Occupational Health; Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology; Forest Resources; Geography; Horticultural Science; Plant Biology; and Soil, Water, and Climate. It also involves faculty from the following departments on the Duluth campus: Biology; Chemical Engineering; Chemistry; Civil Engineering; Geography; Geological Sciences; and Physics; as well as the Large Lakes Observatory and the Natural Resources Research Institute in Duluth.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.00.
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
Required Course
WRS 5101 - Water Policy (3.0 cr)
Master's students must take at least 6 credits, and doctoral students must take at least 9 credits from the following list of electives.
Take 6 - 9 credit(s) from the following:
· BBE 8513 - Hydrologic Modeling of Small Watersheds (3.0 cr)
· CEGE 4501 - Hydrologic Design (4.0 cr)
· CEGE 5541 - Environmental Water Chemistry (3.0 cr)
· EEB 5601 - Limnology (3.0 cr)
· ESCI 4401 - Aqueous Environmental Geochemistry (3.0 cr)
· ESCI 4702 - General Hydrogeology (4.0 cr)
· FNRM 5114 - Hydrology and Watershed Management (3.0 cr)
· FNRM 5153 - Forest Hydrology & Watershed Biogeochemistry (3.0 cr)
· LAAS 5311 - Soil Chemistry and Mineralogy (3.0 cr)
· PUBH 6190 - Environmental Chemistry (3.0 cr)
Program Sub-plans
Students are required to complete one of the following sub-plans.
Students may not complete the program with more than one sub-plan.
More program views..
· Graduate School

View future requirement(s):
· Fall 2022

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WRS 5101 - Water Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: PA 5723/WRS 5101
Typically offered: Every Spring
Socio-cultural, legal, and economic forces that affect use of water resources by individuals/institutions. Historical trends in water policy, resulting water laws in the United States. Institutional structures whereby water resources are managed at federal, state, and local levels.
BBE 8513 - Hydrologic Modeling of Small Watersheds
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Prerequisites: [3012 or CEGE 3502], hydrology course
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Study/representation of hydrologic processes by mathematical models. Stochastic meteorological variables, infiltration, overland flow, return flow, evapotranspiration, channel flows. Approaches for model calibration/evaluation. prereq: [3012 or CEGE 3502], hydrology course
CEGE 4501 - Hydrologic Design
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Hydrologic cycle: precipitation, evaporation, infiltration runoff. Flood routing through rivers and reservoirs. Statistical analysis of hydrologic data and estimation of design flows. Open channel flow, flow through conduits. Detention basin design, hydraulic structure sizing, estimation of risk of flooding. prereq: CEGE 3502
CEGE 5541 - Environmental Water Chemistry
Credits: 3.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Introduction to water chemistry. Physical chemical principles, geochemical processes controlling chemical composition of waters, behavior of contaminants that affect the suitability of water for beneficial uses. prereq: CEGE 3501, Chem 1061, Chem 1062, upper division CSE or grad student or instructor consent
EEB 5601 - Limnology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Advanced introduction to description/analysis of interaction of physical, chemical, and biological factors that control functioning of life in lakes and other freshwater aquatic environments. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
ESCI 4401 - Aqueous Environmental Geochemistry
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: ESci 4401/ESci 8401
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
General principles of solution chemistry applied to geology. Solution-mineral equilibria. Redox processes in natural waters. Geochemistry of hydrothermal fluids. Environmental geochemistry.
ESCI 4702 - General Hydrogeology
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Theory of groundwater geology, hydrologic cycle, watershed hydrology, Darcy's law, governing equations of groundwater motion, flow net analysis, analog models, groundwater resource evaluation/development. Applied analysis of steady and transient equations of groundwater motion and chemical transport. Chemistry of natural waters. prereq: [concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in CHEM 1062, concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in CHEM 1066, MATH 1271, PHYS 1201] or instr consent
FNRM 5114 - Hydrology and Watershed Management
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: FNRM 3114/FNRM 5114
Typically offered: Every Fall
Hydrologic cycle and water processes in upland/riparian systems. Applications of hydrological concepts to evaluate impacts of forest and land management activities on water yield, streamflow, groundwater erosion, sedimentation, and water quality. Concepts, principles, and applications of riparian/watershed management. Regional/national/global examples. Forest ecosystems.
FNRM 5153 - Forest Hydrology & Watershed Biogeochemistry
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
This rigorous course examines hydrology and biogeochemical cycling in forested watersheds. Topics include role of forests in hydrologic processes (precipitation, runoff generation, and streamflow) and exports (sediment, carbon, and nitrogen). Readings from primary literature, active discussion participation, research/review paper. prereq: [Basic hydrology course, one course in ecology, and one course in chemistry [upper div or grad student]] or instr consent
LAAS 5311 - Soil Chemistry and Mineralogy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Structural chemistry, origin/identification of crystalline soil clay minerals. Structure of soil organic matter. Chemical processes in soil: solubility, adsorption/desorption, ion exchange, oxidation/reduction, acidity, alkalinity. Solution of problems related to environmental degradation, plant nutrition, and soil genesis. prereq: [[Chem 1022 or equiv], Phys 1102, grad] or instr consent
PUBH 6190 - Environmental Chemistry
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Overview air, water, and soil chemistry. Pertinent environmental problems. Human/ecological multimedia exposures to chemicals in the environment. prereq: One course each in [gen chem, org chem] or instr consent