About the Water Resources Program

The Water Resources Program (WRP) offers the Master of Water Resources (MWR) degree, an interdisciplinary professional graduate degree designed to prepare students for careers in water resources management and related fields. The WRP also participates with the Department of Community and Regional Planning at UNM in offering a dual graduate degree in Community and Regional Planning and Water Resources.  


The mission of the Water Resources Program is… “ to become a regionally prominent center of expertise on water-related issues and training for environmental professionals, promoting fair, healthy and sustainable solutions to the challenges of water use in New Mexico and the southwestern U.S." 

Academic Program Review, 2019


This broad vision of the water resources program emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of the MWR degree, and the inherent links to sustainability issues. 

The University of New Mexico's location in the southwestern United States means that there is a natural emphasis on aridland water issues; however, the MWR degree is designed to provide its students a firm grounding in water resources that is applicable globally. This MWR degree is generally directed towards students wishing to further develop their qualifications and expertise in the practice of water resources management. Therefore, although it does include considerable exposure to research topics and methods in this area, its principal orientation is towards practice rather than research. The program seeks to expand and deepen students' knowledge of their primary disciplines, provide them with an integrated perspective on water in nature and society, improve their capacity to think critically and synthetically, and develop their technical and communications skills.

The MWR degree is obtained by following one of two tracks: the Hydroscience (HS) track or the Policy/Management (PM) track. Each track consists of 39 semester credits: 36 credits of coursework plus 3 credits for a Professional Project. The curriculum for each track is flexible, enabling a student, with guidance from their advisor and committee, to design a course of study to support their career goals.

  • The HS track is designed primarily for students with technical interests (e.g., biology, chemistry, earth/environmental sciences, physical geography, engineering) who wish to complement their primary discipline by obtaining expertise in the scientific and/or engineering aspects of water resources and its management. Students without technical backgrounds may select this track but may need to take remedial HS classes to prepare for graduate-level coursework. 
  • The PM track is designed for students with interests in policy (e.g., political science, economics, public administration/management, law, community planning, public health) who wish to emphasize aspects of water associated with water economics, policy, administration, management, and planning. 

All students also take three semesters of core water resources courses:

  • A policy-oriented look at contemporary issues in water management (WR 571)
  • A modeling course, using the Goldsim software platform to develop an understanding of hydrologic and economic dynamic simulations (WR 572)
  • A field methods course focused on watershed assessment and monitoring techniques and analysis (WR 573)

⇒For more information, head to the Program Guidelines.