Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Watershed Management
Virginia Water Resources Research Center (0444) 210-B Cheatham Hall 310 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Contact this Certificate
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
Kevin McGuire:

Certificate Overview

In the 21st century, challenges that relate to watershed management and the need to protect water quantity and water quality will be intensified in Virginia and the nation, owing to increased water demand, changes in land-use, and other competing interests. Management of water resources is a critical issue facing governmental agencies, as well as the private/industrial sector and citizens. Universities and colleges have a major responsibility to prepare future water and land managers to meet these challenges. Future water managers and decision makers need knowledge and training in natural science, technical assessment, economics, planning, and policy. In recent years, it has been recognized that the most effective approach to management of water resources is at the watershed scale with input from various stakeholders. Furthermore, there have been significant advances in understanding watershed science both in the natural and social sciences, and there is a national trend to integrate various facets of watershed studies in interdisciplinary programs. The Watershed Management Certificate (WSMC) program at the graduate level integrates existing programs and courses from five colleges and ten departments at Virginia Tech to provide an interdisciplinary and substantive understanding of watershed science, policy, and decision-making. The program provides excellent opportunities for students from many disciplines to study watershed management and develop interdisciplinary skills necessary for effective professional work in this emerging field. The program is designed to prepare Virginia Tech graduates for critical future tasks and will be a strong incentive for others who consider enrollment at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg.
How to Apply:
Fill out the online application for participation in the certificate program.
Upon processing of the application, you will be contacted
with information about the submission of additional
required materials. Thank you for your interest.

Admission Requirements

Virginia Tech students accepted in any graduate program category: PhD, MS, MA, Commonwealth Campus, or Non-Degree can be admitted into the WSMC program by completing the Graduate Certificate Application, and completing a plan for taking courses required on the course checklist below. Students should meet with an academic adviser familiar with the classes on the list below and submit the application form to Dr. Kevin McGuire for the Certificate Program Approval signature no less than six months prior to completion of coursework.

After completing the 11-12 hours of courses required, take the course requirements checksheet (available on the WSMC webpage: to Dr. McGuire for signature. Students should bring a copy of their transcript for verification purposes.  Submit the signed course requirements checksheet to Dr. McGuire no less than six months prior to completion of course requirements, or as soon as possible to meet the Graduate School deadlines. Transfer credits are not permitted.

Upon successful completion of certificate requirements, an Application For Certificate Conferral must be signed by the department and submitted by the Application for Degree deadline in the term in which the certificate will be awarded.  The Graduate School will then check to see that courses listed on the Certificate Application form were satisfactorily taken (i.e., grades for certificate courses must be “C” or higher and the overall certificate GPA must be 3.0 or higher).

Course Requirements

A. Required Core Course: Watershed Management (3 credit hours):                 

Choose one of the courses below:                         

UAP   5134G Land Use and Environment: Planning and Policy                   

UAP/NR 5414 Natural Resources Planning (NCR)                                  


B. Additional Courses (8-9 credit hours):                         

1. Watershed Science (choose 1 course, 3 hours):                                   

BSE    5404 Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pollution                               

FREC    5354G Advanced Forest Soils and Hydrology                                

LAR    5304G Topics: Advanced Landscape Architecture Technology - Hydrology                

FIW     5534G Advanced Wetland Ecology and Management                             

NR      5884 Watershed Science, Education & Leadership (NCR)                                  

CEE    5324 Advanced Hydrology (NCR)                             

CEE    5734 Urban Hydrology and Stormwater Management                  

GEOS 5804G Advanced Groundwater Hydrology                        

FIW    5814 Stream Habitat Management                           


2. Watershed Analysis (choose 2 courses, 5-6 hours):                                        

BIOL 5034 Ecosystem Dynamics                  

BSE   5244 GIS in Hydrologic Analysis                                

BSE   5354 Nonpoint Source Pollution Modeling                         

CEE   5204 GIS Applications in Civil and Environmental Engineering (NCR)                

FREC   5254 Remote Sensing of Natural Resources            

FREC   5264 GIS Applications in Natural Resources Management                               

LAR   5044 Land Analysis and Site Planning                                  

CSES 5854 Advanced Wetland Soils