Water Resources Engineering

Master of Science in Civil & Environmental Engineering

River dam in beautiful grassy scenic area

Investigate applied and theoretical problems and develop more sustainable uses of water resources with a Water Resources Engineering master’s program from UW–Madison.


Is this program right for you?

The Water Resources Engineering master’s program from the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison teaches you the scientific and engineering skills to evaluate, plan, and operate water resource and environmental systems.

Our program takes just one year to complete and focuses on a systems-based approach to managing water resources for societal benefit. You learn principles of water movement through the environment and understand how to best utilize it for municipal and industrial uses, agriculture, and natural ecosystems. You also solve practical problems in hydrology; fluid mechanics; environmental flows in rivers, lake, and coastal environments; and water resource management.

Build the expertise to analyze and design systems that control all aspects of the distribution of water to meet the needs of humans and improve natural resource management. You also analyze and solve scientific and engineering questions through field methods, laboratory experiments, remote-sensing techniques, numerical and statistical modeling, and analytic approaches.

With an MS in Water Resources Engineering, you develop strong quantitative skills in modeling, systems thinking, and sustainability science. Graduate ready to succeed in consulting firms, federal and state laboratories and agencies, and municipal and county governments—and place yourself at the forefront of rapidly developing and world-changing innovations.

Is this program right for you?

The Water Resources Engineering master’s program from the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison teaches you the scientific and engineering skills to evaluate, plan, and operate water resource and environmental systems.

Our program takes just one year to complete and focuses on a systems-based approach to managing water resources for societal benefit. You learn principles of water movement through the environment and understand how to best utilize it for municipal and industrial uses, agriculture, and natural ecosystems. You also solve practical problems in hydrology; fluid mechanics; environmental flows in rivers, lake, and coastal environments; and water resource management.

Build the expertise to analyze and design systems that control all aspects of the distribution of water to meet the needs of humans and improve natural resource management. You also analyze and solve scientific and engineering questions through field methods, laboratory experiments, remote-sensing techniques, numerical and statistical modeling, and analytic approaches.

With an MS in Water Resources Engineering, you develop strong quantitative skills in modeling, systems thinking, and sustainability science. Graduate ready to succeed in consulting firms, federal and state laboratories and agencies, and municipal and county governments—and place yourself at the forefront of rapidly developing and world-changing innovations.

Admissions Requirements

All applicants must:

  • Meet the Graduate School minimum requirements.
  • Have a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited civil and environmental engineering program or from a recognized international institution.
  • Non-native English speakers must have a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 580 (paper) or 92 (internet). For score reporting, use UW–Madison institution code 1846.

To apply:

  • Online application.
  • Supplemental application section required by the Civil & Environmental Engineering program.
  • Statement of purpose including your technical areas of interest, coursework emphasis, research experience, professional goals, faculty members you are interested in working with, and any other items relevant to your qualifications for graduate school.
  • Three letters of recommendation.

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Online Engineering Data Analytics Info Session

February 10
UW–Madison Engineering Professional Development Program Director Dr. Andrea Strzelec will present information and answer questions about enrolling and participating in this valuable online degree program.
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Online Engineering Management Info Session

February 11
UW–Madison Engineering Professional Development Program Director Susan Ottmann will present information and answer questions about enrolling and participating in this valuable online masters degree program.
Register for Webinar

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Program Highlights

  • The Water Resources Engineering master’s degree is accelerated, so you graduate in just 1 year.
  • With more than $12.8 million in annual research expenditures, nearly 100 patents, and 13 startups, our faculty and students are at the forefront of scientific discovery and real-world translation.
  • Our flexible curriculum allows you to customize your degree program to fit your personal objectives.

University of Wisconsin–Madison ranked Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs (#11) and Best Engineering Grad Schools (#22) by U.S. News & World Report.

How You'll Learn

  • Twelve months of full-time study on campus to earn your degree.
  • Courses begin in fall semester only.
  • Take 18 credits from the approved list of specialized courses; up to six credits of advanced independent study; one or two credits in a graduate student seminar; and up to six credits from a second discipline based on your career interests and faculty advisement.

Sample Curriculum

  • Hydrology
  • Hydraulic Engineering
  • Open Channel Hydraulics
  • Groundwater Hydraulics
  • Hydrologic Design
  • Water Resources Systems Analysis
  • Air Pollution Effects, Measurement and Control
  • Design of Wastewater Treatment Plants
  • Solid and Hazardous Waste Engineering
  • Water Treatment Plant Design
  • Environmental Systems Optimization
  • Water Chemistry
  • Coastal Engineering
  • Integrated Waterfront Planning and Engineering
  • Hydroclimatology for Water Resources
  • Environmental Fluid Mechanic
  • Hazardous Waste Management
  • Advanced Topics in Hydrology: CUAHSI Specialized Online Hydrology Courses
  • Microbiology of Waterborne Pathogens and Indicator Organisms
  • Chemistry of Natural Waters
  • Special Problems
  • Environmental Geochemistry
  • Environmental Chemical Kinetics
  • Statistical Modelling of Hydrologic Systems
  • Biological Principles of Environmental Engineering
  • Chemical Principles of Environmental Engineering
  • Energy Principles of Environmental Engineering
  • Unsaturated Soil Geoengineering
  • Environmental Engineering: Biological Treatment Processes
  • Environmental Engineering: Physical/Chemical Treatment Processes
  • Introduction to Applied Geophysics
  • Hydrogeology
  • Contaminant Hydrogeology
  • Groundwater Flow Modeling
  • Advanced Topics in Hydrology: Hydroecology

Ready to learn more about Water Resources Engineering?
View the UW-Madison Guide

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Our friendly, knowledgeable enrollment coaches are here to answer your questions. Contact an enrollment coach to:

  • Learn how to make this program work with your life/schedule
  • Verify credit transfers
  • Get help with your application
  • Determine if financial aid is available

Visit with our coaches on campus or at an upcoming student fair in your area. Search student fairs & events

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