WRM track

Water Resources Management

The WRM program provides a core understanding of the natural science shaping the water cycle as well as the social contexts and processes that drive changes in water availability and use. WRM is one of eight available concentrations in the two-year residential Master of Environmental Management (MEM) program.  

Our Vision

Because water is local, every place has a unique set of water management challenges. Our foremost goal is to equip students with the fundamental concepts and analytical tools needed to approach any water problem. Students enjoy a small class size and a low student-faculty ratio as they build this core foundation and develop additional skills and topic-specific expertise relevant to their interests and career goals.

Pedro Gochicoa Takes His Water Knowledge to Latin America

The Curriculum

Our curriculum provides a strong basis in the physical, chemical and ecological sciences across systems including watersheds, wetlands, streams, lakes, groundwater and coastal waters. In addition, students gain an understanding of the economic, legal and financial factors that drive real-world water management decisions and develop a robust skill set in key analytical techniques relevant to water resource management. To complement this core curriculum, you’ll work with your faculty advisor to choose coursework within an area of specialization aligned with your specific career aspirations. 

Your Future

The Nicholas School’s dedicated Career Center has helped our graduates pursue fulfilling positions as analysts, consultants, water utility managers, corporate sustainability advisors, entrepreneurs and more. Employers include government agencies, public water utilities, consulting firms, international corporations, government agencies, fuel and resource extraction companies, research centers and non-profit organizations. 



Find out if our program is right for you. Feel free to contact us with questions.  
•  Full Program Description
•  Prerequisites & Required Courses
•  How to Apply


Welcome to the family! Here are some resources to get you started. 

•   Before You Arrive
•   When You Arrive
•   Student Advising
•   Curriculum Planning Spreadsheet
•   Master’s Projects

  • WRM - Martin

    Martin Doyle, Professor of River Systems Science and Policy

    “Ensuring water availability and sustainability will be one of the grand challenges of the 21st century for governments, companies and individuals. We aim to equip the next generation with the knowledge and skills to rise to that challenge.”

  • WRM Alum

    Naomi Tsurumi, MEM’02 Water & Air Resources, Environmental Specialist, City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services

    "The knowledge I gained in classes such as hydrology, wetlands, and soil science is fundamental to my work in watershed restoration. The Nicholas School gave me information on the science behind watershed function and tools to find creative ways to help restore these functions in an urban setting.”



“Each year, there is a drought or a flood somewhere in the United States, and many droughts and floods around the world. The changing landscape of water availability poses challenges to local communities and multi-national corporations alike, and this has been brought home by the 2015 drought in California along with the simultaneous floods in Texas. Ensuring water availability and sustainability will be one of the grand challenges of the 21st century for governments, companies and individuals.”

Martin Doyle
WRM Program Chair
Professor of River Systems Science and Policy
(919) 613-8026

Curt Richardson
WRM Program Acting Chair
Professor of Resource Ecology
(919) 613-8006

participating faculty