Water sustainability has emerged as perhaps the most critical natural resource issue in the western United States as well as in other semi-arid regions around the world. More recently, even wet regions have come to face similar problems of water scarcity and conflict, due to growing demands and competition for water.
To meet the demands imposed by water scarcity, the University of Arizona offers a Master of Science in Water, Society and Policy (WSP). The purpose of this degree is to provide opportunities for students to pursue professionally oriented study in a multi-disciplinary degree program that focuses on water science, society, and policy. The WSP degree combines graduate coursework in social sciences, policy and hydrology with professional skill-development activities. Students are exposed to human and environmental processes as they affect water and watersheds. They gain familiarity with quantitative and qualitative techniques for observation, monitoring, and modeling of processes relevant to the management of water from regional to global scales. They develop skills to communicate with decision makers; conduct and understand scientific research; write cogent research reports, proposals, and policy evaluations; and make effective public presentations.
Graduates of the program are able to understand the basic principles of hydrology, management, law, and policy and are able to contribute to making informed decisions regarding water resources.
The School of Natural Resources and the Environment is a world leader in pursuing science that informs how environmental change impacts arid and semi-arid systems and how best to adapt to environmental challenges. We are a cohort of students, faculty, and staff who take great pride in our focus on problem-driven research, teaching, and extension encompassing all aspects of environmental stewardship. Our research answers important questions about how ecosystems respond under environmental or human pressures. We develop strategies to help mitigate the effects of these pressures, helping to create and maintain healthy and sustainable ecological systems.
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
University of Arizona - Main - Tucson
For applicants whose native language is not English please go to this link to find the most current test requirements https://grad.arizona.edu/admissions/requirements/international-applicants#english-proficiency
GRE is not required.
SNRE's MS WSP program is a part of the WICHE Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP), a program that allows out-of-state students from participating states to pay in-state tution*. This program can substantially offset the cost of attending graduate school if you are unable to find adequate funding to cover your tution expenses. The WSP program is the only SNRE program eligible for the WRGP, and unfortunately, Natural Resources students are not eligible. Students will need to provide proof of residency in participating states which include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, The CNMI, Guam, Hawaiʻi, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming. Please contact the graduate coordinator for more information.
Additional funding resources:
Some tuition and registration scholarships; some graduate fellowships; some Research Assisantships
*Natural Resources students in SNRE are not eligible for the WRGP tution rates.
Applications are accepted on a year-round basis (rolling admissions), but should be at least 2 months in advance of your intended start date.
March 1st for Fall international applicants.
August 1st deadline for Spring international applicants.
International applicants may be considered for conditional admission to this program at the department's discretion.
ETS Major Field Code(s) for this program:
Policy Core Courses 9 units
Science Core Courses 3-4 units
In addition to the Policy and Science Core courses, the following seminar and project courses are required.
Water, Society and Policy Seminar 2 units
Master's Project 6 units
AREC 575 - Economic Evaluation of Water and Environmental Policy, 3 units
ENVS 596B - Water Policy in Arizona and Semi-arid Regions, 3 units
GEOG 596I - Comparative and International Water Policy, 3 units
GEOG 596J - Water Management and Policy, 3 units
GEOG 696O - Adaptation & Resilience in Water Resources Systems, 3 units
GEOG 696R – International Environmental Policy and Governance, 3 units
LAW 669 - Environmental Law, 3-4 units
LAW 641 – Water Law, 3 units
RNR 540 - Climate Change Adaptation, 3 units
HWRS 517A – Fundamentals of Water Quality, 3 units
HWRS 573 - Hydrology for Water Resources Management, 3 units
WSM 552 - Dryland Ecohydrology and Vegetation Dynamics, 4 units
WSM 560A - Watershed Hydrology, 4 units
WSM 568 - Wildland Water Quality, 3 units
*Policy and Science Core classes may be taken as electives if they are not chosen for the core
ARC 561A – Water Efficiency in Built Environments, 3 units
AREC 579 – Economics of Water Management and Policy, 3 units
ARL 642 - Use and Management of Arid Lands, 3 units
ENVS 554 - Water Harvesting, 3 units
ENVS 574 - Aquatic Plants and the Environment, 3 units
GEOG 596M - Global Change Research and Decision Making, 3 units
LAW 603J - Sustainability and Environmental Policy, 2-3 units
LAW 625B - The Colorado River in American History, 2 units
LAW 696I - International Environmental Law, 2-3 units
PA 503 - Politics, Policy and Public Management, 3 units
PA 555 – Statistics for Public Policy II, 3 units
PA 582 - Managing to Collaborate on Environmental and Natural Resources Conflicts, 3 units
PA 584—Environmental Management, 3 units
RNR 503—Applications of Geographic Information Systems, 3 units
RNR 517 - Geographic Information Systems for Natural and Social Sciences, 3 units
RNR 522 - Resource Mapping Using Unmanned Aircraft Systems, 3 units
RNR 580 - Natural Resources Policy and Law, 3 units
RNR 585 – The Economic and Social Connections to Natural Resources, 3 units
WFSC 571 - Stream Ecology, 3 units
WSM 562 - Watershed Management, 4 units
Students are required to complete a major project for the MS WSP degree. The topic of the project will be selected during the first year of study by the student in consultation with their advisor. It should focus on a water policy issue of importance, ideally in a semi-arid environment.
Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook for students who are pursuing this program of study.
|Application Acceptance Rate||75%|
|Med. Time-to-degree (years)||n/a|
|Enrollment Percent Male||50%|
|Enrollment Percent Female||50%|
|Enrollment Percent International||12.5%|
|Enrollment Percent URM||25%|