Water Resources Program

MSC05 3110
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Physical Location:
1915 Roma Avenue NE
Economics Building Room 1048

Phone: (505) 277-7759
Fax: (505) 277-5226

The Master of Water Resources Curriculum

Note: There are occasional changes to the approved course list. The most recent list will be available in the current year Program Guidelines.


The MWR degree prerequisites are:

Hydroscience (HS) Concentration

  • Calculus I (Math 180 or 162L), Calculus II (Math 181 or 163L), and Statistics (Stat 145). Note: Math 162L and 163L are highly recommended.
  • Introductory Microeconomics (Economics 106) or Intermediate Microeconomics I  (Economics 300)
  • Three semesters of introductory (or higher) science courses (UNM 100-level) from at least two different disciplines

Policy/Management (PM) Concentration

  • Calculus I (Math 180 or 162L) and Statistics (Stat 145)
  • Introductory Microeconomics I (Economics 106) or Intermediate Microeconomics I (Economics 300)
  • Two semesters of introductory (or higher) science courses (UNM 100-level)
  • One introductory or higher course in: sociology (Sociology 101); political science (Political Science 110); or psychology (Psychology 105). Note: a student entering with a degree in one of the above must take a course in one of the remaining two disciplines.

Students entering the MWR program with deficiencies in the prerequisites must take them as soon as possible. They must be taken for a letter grade, not Pass/Fail or CR/NC. A student who takes the prerequisite courses as an MWR student must receive a grade no lower than B in each course.

Note that students applying to the MWR degree program may be admitted with one missing prerequisite.

Degree Requirements

The MWR degree is recognized by the Office of Graduate Studies as a Plan II (non-thesis) degree. There are two concentrations: 1) Hydroscience (HS); and 2) Policy/Management (PM). Concentrations will appear on student transcripts once the Student Information System (SIS) is implemented. Thirty-nine (39) credits are required for the degree. Three (3) of these are WR 598 - Professional Project; the remaining 36 credits are distributed as follows:

1) All Students

All students must take WR 571, WR 572, and WR 573, plus 3 credits of WR 598 - Professional Project (note: you can take as many credits of WR 598 as you want, but only 3 count towards the degree) which total 15 credits. The remaining courses are taken from three different groups (“distribution requirements”); the distribution of courses taken from these groups depends upon her/his concentration.

1) MWR-HS concentration. 15 credits from Group I, with at least one course from each category; 6 credits from Group II, from two different categories; 3 credits from Group III (total: 24 credits).


2) MWR- PM concentration 6 credits from Group I with courses from two different categories; 15 credits from GroupII, with at least one course in any 3 of the 4 categories; 3 credits from Group III (total: 24 credits)

Water Resources Course Categories

Courses for the MWR program are divided into three groups and, within each group, further subdivided into categories. The courses listed below are not all-inclusive, as courses are continually being added and deleted. Students seeking to substitute other courses, such as Problems, Topics, or other courses, must consult with the Director and his/her Advisor before taking them.  Course titles and descriptions can be viewed in the online catalog (registrar.unm.edu/) or on departmental web pages. Note that current policy precludes acceptance of any 300-level courses for credit towards the MWR degree.

Group I: HS Courses (3 categories)

  • Hydrology and Hydraulics (WR 576, E&PS 562, 572, 580, 581L; Civil Engineering 442, 540, 541, 542, 543, 544, 545, 549)
  • Ecosystems, Environment, Health, and Water Quality (Biology 502, 507L, 558, 535, 495 or 514; E&PS 515, 558; Civil Engineering 531, 532, 534, 536, or 537L; Environmental Science 530; Public Health 502)
  • Climatology (E&PS 522, 536, 570)

Group II: PM Courses (4 categories)

  • Law (Law 547, 554)
  • Economics (Economics 541, 542, 543, 544)
  • Policy, Administration and Management (Geography 513, 562; CRP 527, 524, 564, 577; Public Administration AD 500, 521, 524, 525, 544, 546, 577; Political Science 470, 475; Public Health 501, etc.)
  • Sociology, Communication, and Culture (CRP 569, 574; American Studies 523, 524, 525; C&J 554)

Group III: Utilities Courses (3 categories)

These are courses that are either modeling courses nor classifiable as HS or PM courses but are applicable to a variety of water issues, whether scientific, engineering, economic, social, legal, etc.

  • GIS (C E 547; Geography 559, 587L, 588L)
  • Methods (Statisitcs 538, 539; Economics504; E&PS 533; Political Science 581)
  • Modeling (E&PS 557L; Economics 540; Modeling the Environment  - usually CRP 570)

    WR 590 - Internship can substitute for a Group I, II, or III course, depending upon the nature of the internship.

    Students taking 400-level courses should ensure that these courses are available for graduate credit and, if so, that they are registered for graduate credit (see the instructor). 400-level courses available for graduate credit are marked with an asterisk in the UNM Catalog. Dual-listed (400/500) courses must be taken as the 500 number to receive graduate credit.

    A flow chart depicting the sequence of events in moving through the MWR degree program is included as an appendix and is on the WR web site.


    The following list of courses is not exhaustive.  New courses are continuously being developed and existing courses deleted.  Indeed, other courses may be suitable for a student’s program of study.  If you are interested in taking a course not listed here, contact the Director and your advisor.

    Main-campus course descriptions and prerequisites are available at registrar.unm.edu/ (click on “Catalog”). Semester schedules are also at the previous URL (click on “Schedule of Classes”). School of Law courses and schedules are at lawschool.unm.edu/curriculum/upperclass/index.php. Detailed syllabi may be available on departmental or instructor homepages.

    If you wish detailed information on a certain course, contact the instructor or visit the department’s WWW site. Note that some of the courses listed below may have prerequisites beyond those required for the MWR degree. It is up to the student to satisfy these, or seek the instructor’s permission to take the course.

    Group I: Suggested Hydroscience Courses

    Listed by category and, within a category, by department or program. The number of credit hours for each course is shown in parentheses; “AOA” means “also offered as”.

    Hydrology and Hydraulics

    Water Resources
    576 Physical Hydrology (AOA E&PS 576) (3)
    Earth and Planetary Sciences
    562 Hydrogeology (3)
    572 Subsurface Fate and Transport Processes (3)
    576 Physical Hydrology (AOA WR 576) (3)
    580 Advanced Hydrogeology  (3)
    581L Geomorphology and Surficial Geology (4)
    Civil Engineering
    442 Hydraulic Engineering and Hydrology (3)
    541 Groundwater Engineering (3)
    542 Intermediate Hydrology (3)
    543 Introduction to Groundwater and Contaminant Transport Modeling (3)
    544 Water Resources Engineering (3)
    545 Open Channel Hydraulics (3)
    549 Vadose Zone Hydrology (3)

    Ecosystems, Environment, Health, and Water Quality category
    495 Limnology (3)
    496L Limnology  Laboratory (1)
    507L Bosque Biology (3)
    514 Ecosystem Studies (3)
    535 Freshwater Ecosystems  (AOA E&PS 535)  (3)
    558 Geomicrobiology (AOA E&PS 558) (3)
    Civil Engineering
    531 Physical-Chemical Water and Wastewater Treatment (3)
    532 Advanced Physical-Chemical Water and Wastewater Treatment (3)
    534 Environmental Engineering Chemistry (3)
    536 Biological Wastewater Treatment (3)
    537L Aqueous Environmental Chemistry and Analysis (3)
    Earth and Planetary Sciences
    515 Geochemistry of Natural Waters (3)
    535 Freshwater Ecosystems (AOA Biology 535) (3)
    558 Geomicrobiology (AOA Biology 558) (3)
    Environmental Science
    530 Advanced Environmental Science (3)
    Public Health
    502 Epidemiologic Methods I (3)
    Climatology category
    Earth and Planetary Sciences
    522 Hydrometeorology of the Southwestern USA
    536 Climate Dynamics (3)
    570 Physical Climatology (AOA Geography 570)  (3)
    570 Physical Climatology (AOA E&PS 570) (3)

    Group II: Suggested Policy/Management Courses

    Listed by category and, within a category, by department or program. The number of credit hours for each course is shown in parentheses; “AOA” means “also offered as”.
    Law category
    547 Water Law (3) 
    554 Indian Water Rights (2-3)

    Economics category
    541 Sustainable Development (3)
    542 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: Survey (3)
    543 Natural Resource Economics (3)
    544 Environmental Economics (3)

    Policy, Administration, and Management category
    Community and Regional Planning
    524 Environmental Planning Methods (3)
    527 Watershed Management (3)
    564 Foundations of Natural Resources (3)
    577 Practice of Policy Development  (AOA Public Administration 577) (3)
    513 Seminar: Contemporary Issues in Water Resources (3-6)
    562 Water Resources Management (3)
    Political Science
    470 Public Policy Analysis (3)
    475 Environmental Politics (3)
    Public Administration
    500 Public Management and Policy  (3)
    521 Institutional Development and Behavior (3)
    524 Intergovernmental Administrative Problems (3)
    525 Human Resources Management in the Public Sector (3)
    544 Public Budgeting (3)
    546 Public Financial Administration (3)
    577 Practice of Policy Development  (AOA CRP 577) (3)
    Public Health
    501 Principles of Public Health (3)
    Sociology, Communication, and Culture category
    American Studies
    523 Environmental Justice (3)
    524 Environmental Conflicts in the U.S. West (3)
    525 Environmental Theory and Practice (3)
    Communication and Journalism
    554 Diffusion of Innovations (3)
    Community and Regional Planning
    569 Rural Community Development (3)
    574 Cultural Aspects of Community Development Planning  (3)

    Group III: Suggested Utilities Courses

    Listed by category and, within a category, by department or program. The number of credit hours for each course is shown in parentheses; “AOA” means “also offered as”.
    GIS category
    Civil Engineering
    547 GIS in Water Resources Engineering (3)
    559 Natural Resources and GIS (3)
    587L Intermediate Geographic Information Systems (3)
    588L Advanced Geographic Information Systems (3)
    Earth and Planetary Sciences
    555L Computational and GIS Applications in Geomorphology (3)
    Modeling category
    Community and Regional Planning
    570  Seminar - Modeling the Environment (3)
    Earth and Planetary Sciences
    557L Mathematical Modeling in the Geosciences (3)
    540 Environmental and Natural Resource Modeling (3)
    521 Environmental Modeling and Geographic Information Systems (3-6)
    Methods category
    Earth and Planetary Sciences
    533 Statistics and Data Analysis in Earth Science (3)
    504 Mathematical Tools and Economic Models (3)
    538 Biostatistical Methods I (3)
    539 Biostatistical Methods II  (3)
    Political Science
    581 Statistics for Social Research (3)

    Water Resources Internships (WR 590)

    As a professional degree program, the MWR degree recognizes the value of “real-world” experience. To that end, students may obtain three (3) semester credits by serving an internship with a government agency, private firm or similar, non-UNM organization. The topic of the internship should be consistent with the student’s concentration (HS or PM). A key element of the internship is that the student work under the mentorship of a water resources professional. It is not intended to be an “independent studies” or Problems course.

    The student must obtain advance approval from his/her Advisor (if the student has a Advisor) and the Director before the semester in which he/she intends to serve an internship. The student must submit a proposal of at least two (2) pages with the following elements:

    • where the internship will be served;
    • nature of the tasks to be performed and/or the problem to be solved;
    • how the internship will benefit the student and its relevance to the student’s concentration;
    • course requirement (concentration, group, category) it will fulfill;
    • the student’s mentor/supervisor; and
    • the deliverable.

    This proposal must be submitted to the WRP office at least one month prior to the start of the semester during which the student will serve the internship. Once approved, the student will then register for 3 credits of Internship (WR 590). Students may not take WR 590 for any reason other than serving an internship according to the above requirements.

    At the end of the semester, the student must submit a report describing the internship experience, what was accomplished, and giving recommendations for improvements.  This report should be written as a formal technical report with title page, abstract, table of contents, text, and references.  Figures, photos, and tables should be included to document the experience.  The final report should not be longer than 15 pages total.