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Interdisciplinary MS Program in Water Resources



The academic program of study undertaken by the candidate must be designed to enhance the students background and expertise through formal graduate level course work in the areas of: (1) technical hydrology, (2) natural resources economics and/or law, and (3) water quality and a seminar. To ensure a minimum multidisciplinary character, the course program must contain:

  1. Nine hours of course work with at least three hours from each of the aforementioned areas;
  2. At least six of those credit hours must be from outside the student's sponsoring department; 
  3. A one-credit hour seminar on water resources organized through the Department of Renewable Resources;
  4. Only Plan A masters degree programs, which require the writing of a thesis in the water resources area, are acceptable for the water resources degree option.

A. Technical Hydrology (3 credits)



Hydrology (3)

Analysis of elements of the hydrologic cycle and design with emphasis on precipitation, evapotranspiration, infiltration, runoff and groundwater. Precipitation/Runoff relationships, routing methods, flood prediction, groundwater yield and drawdown in unconfined and confined aquifers, unsteady well behavior, and method of images are also introduced.  

Prerequisite: CE 3300.



Environmental Transport Processes (3)

Designed for graduate students and engineering seniors interested in the principles of mass transport and their application to environmental systems. Deals with the hydrodynamics of mixing and transport, as well as the interaction of mixing and various reaction rate processes. Applications include water and wastewater treatment, groundwater pollution, and transport and mixing in rivers, lakes and reservoirs.  

Prerequisite: MATH 2310 and ES 2330.



Hazardous Waste Site Remediation (3)

The contamination of soil, air, and groundwater by improper disposal of hazardous wastes is covered. Control and cleanup of contaminated groundwater plumes, treatment of polluted soils and soil gases is emphasized. Case studies are extensively used.

Prerequisite: CE 3400 and consent of instructor.



Ground Water Hydrology (3)

Laws governing the movement, recharge, and production of underground water with special emphasis on techniques and methods for analysis and modeling for development of groundwater resources.  

Prerequisite: CE 4800.



Soil Erosion and Conservation (3)

Physical principles of soil erosion by wind and water, computer simulations of erosion, selection and design of erosion control practices and structures.

Prerequisite: CE 4300, CE 4800.



Water Resources Engineering (3)

Study in water resource planning and design and problem solving applying engineering principles and procedures. Western United States water problems are emphasized, including user completion, reallocation, consumptive use, water development, conservation, conveyance losses, and return flows.  

Prerequisite: CE 3300.



Advanced Hydrology (3)

Advanced hydrologic analysis of floods, sediment, water utilization, flow routing, and the application of special hydrologic problems.

Prerequisite: CE 3300 and CE 4800.



Management of Major River Basins (3)

Examines geography of water resources, including distribution, water as a resource and water as a hazard to humans. Focuses on water management case studies on the scale of major river basins in North America and elsewhere in the world.

Prerequisites: GEOG 4040 and junior standing.



Groundwater Flow and Solute Transport Modeling (3)

Ye Zhang
Taught by Ye Zhang
Faculty Bio

Movement of groundwater and the dissolved solute is responsible for a variety of environmental, engineering, and geological processes of interest. Presents an overview of the analyses of groundwater flow and solute transport using numerical modeling. The principles of the Finite Difference Method are introduced.  

Dual listed with GEOL 4030. Prerequisites: MATH 2205, GEOL 5444.



Topics in Geophysics (1-3)

Andy Parsekian
Taught by Andy Parsekian
Faculty Bio

Seminar style course with focus on building your abilities  to  analyze  scientific  publications,  critically evaluate scientific arguments and gain a broad perspective on the state-of-the-science of hydrogeophysics.

Prerequisite: graduate standing in geology and geophysics and permission of instructor.



Inverse Theory (3)

Po Chen
Taught by Po Chen
Faculty Bio

Inverse theory is about learning the techniques to invert data for an acceptable model. The simplest example is least-squares fitting of a line. Covers inversion of both over and under-determined inverse problems, regularization techniques, bayesian theroy, along with probabilistic viewpoints.

Prerequisites: graduate standing in geology and geophysics; linear algebra, MATLAB programming.



Mechanics of Sediment Transport, Erosion and Deposition (4)

Taught by Brandon McElroy



Advanced Tectonics and Sedimentation (3)

Brandon McElroy
Brandon McElroy
Faculty Bio

Lectures, seminars, and field observations on the relations between tectonism and the sedimentary record. Topics include a review of plate tectonic theory, characteristics of major types of sedimentary basins, techniques for evaluating tectonic activity from evidence in the sedimentary record and large-scale tectonosedimentary elements.



Geohydrology (3)

Discusses principles governing occurrence, movement and extraction of water in subsurface geologic environment. Once required weekend field trip in September.

Dual listed with GEOL 4444. Prerequisite: MATH 2205.



Fluvial Geomorphology (3)

Examines rivers and river related landforms. Investigates the physical processes by which water transports and deposits sediment to generate landforms ranging in scale from hillslope rills to continental drainage systems. Emphasizes surface water hydrology, erosion, sedimentation, channel morphology, and the influences of climate change and human activities on fluvial systems.  

Dual listed with GEOG 4450. Prerequisite: GEOG 3010 or GEOL 2100 or 2150.



Remote Sensing of Rivers (4)

Explores the application of remote sensing data and techniques to the study of river systems and introduces the physical principles that enable various channel attributes to be inferred from different types of image data. A series of computer-based exercises illustrate methods for characterizing river form and behavior via remote sensing.



Numerical Methods in Ground Water Geology I (3)

Numerical solution of ground water flow equations with emphasis on steady state and elementary time dependent finite difference techniques.

Prerequisites: GEOL 4444 or 5444, competence in FORTRAN programming.



Advanced Geohydrology (3)

Aquifer performance and testing, ground water basin development and management, conjunctive use of ground and surface water, and regional water resource investigations.  

Prerequisite: GEOL 4444 or 5444.



Watershed Management (3)

Scott Miller
Taught by Scott Miller
Faculty Bio

Studies hydrological cycle with specific emphasis on the role of vegetation in hydrologic processes such as interception, surface detention storage, infiltration, percolation, run-off and water quality. Utilization of watersheds and vegetation manipulation practices to modify these hydrologic processes.  

Prerequisite: LIFE 1001 or 1010. (Normally offered spring semester).



Water Resources Seminar (1)

Objective is to develop interaction among students from the various water resource disciplines to enhance their perspectives on how water problems are addressed within an interdisciplinary environment.

Prerequisite: graduate status.



Stream Habitat Management (3)



Wildland Hydrology (3)

Scott Miller
Taught by Scott Miller
Faculty Bio

Teaches essential and unique characteristics of hydrologic cycle as occurs on range and forest lands, concentrating on quantification of these processes and storages.  

Cross listed with ENR 5285. Dual listed with REWM 4285. Prerequisite: graduate standing and University Studies QA.



Spatial Hydrology (1-4)

Scott Miller
Taught by Scott Miller
Faculty Bio

Focuses on spatially distributed hydrologic modeling and the use of GIS in watershed hydrology.

Prerequisite: graduate standing.



Modeling Flow Transport in Soil and Groundwater Systems (4)

Mathematical models will be formulated and applied to simulate water flow and chemical transport in soil and groundwater systems. Soil spatial variability and heterogeneity will be considered in the modeling processes. Using and comparing models, students will obtain the capability to transfer a physical problem to a mathematical model, to use numerical methods, such as the finite element method, to solve the mathematical problem, and to correctly interpret the numerical outputs. Students will develop and program numerical solutions for select problems and will utilize existing codes for modeling a variety of comprehensive problems.  

Cross listed with MATH 5110.

B. Law & Natural Resource Economics(3 credits)



Natural Resources Law and Policy (3)

Legal and economic examination of laws intended to resolve environmental conflicts. Surveys economic rationales both for private property and government intervention in environmental disputes; content of selected environmental laws in the U.S.; and basic principles of environmental mediation. Prerequisites: AGEC 1020, ECON 1020 or equivalent and 3 hours of business law or agricultural law; or consent of instructor.

(Offered fall semester of even-numbered years)



Water Resource Economics (3)

Presents principles and procedures appropriate to water resource allocation and development decisions. Studies agricultural, recreational, industrial and other uses of water. Includes a field trip.

Prerequisite: AGEC 1020 or equivalent; QB course, WB course; senior standing. (Offered fall semester of even-numbered years)



Advanced Natural Resources Economics (3)

An in-depth treatment of theoretical issues, quantitative techniques, and institutional arrangements in the natural resource field. Topics include welfare economics, property rights, market failure and externalities, and benefit cost analysis.  

Prerequisites: ECON 3010 and 3020, STAT 2050 and MATH 2350.



Environmental Economics (3)

The study of economic issues involved in development and maintenance of human environment. Problems of resource allocation, social cost, pollution (water and air) and policy issues involved in these areas. Major emphasis is directed toward evaluating welfare implications of these environmental issues. Prerequisites: ECON 3020 and junior standing.

(Offered based on sufficient demand and resources)



Natural Resources Economics (3)

A study of the economic issues associated with renewable and nonrenewable resources. Special emphasis is directed toward hard rock minerals, fossil fuels, fisheries and forestry resources. Issues of optimal extraction and depletion, effect of alternative market structures, and role of uncertainty are addressed with regard to efficient management and allocation of these resources.

Prerequisite: ECON 3020 and junior standing. (Offered based on sufficient demand and resources)



Advanced Resource & Environmental Economics (3)

An analysis of resource development projects and environmental change. Included are cost-effectiveness analysis and other quantitative techniques used in evaluating resource projects and public policy issues concerning the environment.  

Prerequisite: ECON 3020, 4400 or consent of instructor.



Environmental Law (3)

Provides an overview of the broad field of environmental law, with an emphasis on the major federal environmental statutes such as the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and statutes regulating both hazardous wastes and toxic chemicals in commerce. In considering these various statutes, we consider both their substantive requirements and their conceptual approaches to environmental protection. Touches briefly on issues such as the role of states in implementing these national laws, various approaches to enforcement of these laws, common-law doctrines relevant to environmental protection, and economic aspects of environmental law.



Water Rights (3)

A study of the allocation and reallocation of water resources with particular emphasis on prior appropriation systems in the Western United States. Riparian systems and groundwater management are also addressed, along with interstate conflicts, federal water rights, federal-state relations, and the effect of environmental laws on water allocation and the exercise of water rights.

C. Water Quality (3 credits)



Ecosystems Analysis (4)



Environmental Engineering Chemistry (3)



Design of Water Treatment Facilities (3)

A theoretical and practical design course for treatment of municipal wastewaters. Major areas of emphasis include waste characterization and physical, chemical and biological unit processes.

Prerequisite: CE 3400.



Advanced Biological Wastewater Treatment (3)

Theory and practice of advanced biological treatment processes for municipal and industrial wastewaters, sludges, groundwater bioremediation and solid waste. Emphasis is on fundamental principles applied to the design and control of existing processes and the development of innovative systems.  

Cross listed with CHE/ENVE 5410. Prerequisites: consent of instructor.



Advanced Physical/Chemical Water Treatment Processes (3)

A study of physical and chemical processes for treatment of water and waste water.  

Cross listed with ENVE 5450. Prerequisite: CE 4400.



Geochemistry (3)

Discusses chemical evolution of the Earth and details of chemical thermodynamics, phase rule chemistry, equilibrium reactions and reaction kinetics as applied to geology.

Prerequisites: GEOL 2010, CHEM 1020, MATH 2200, 2205. (Normally offered spring semester)



Geochemical Modeling (3)

Modeling of geochemical processes in fluid-rock systems of the Earth's crust. Emphasizes development and application of conceptual models as well as quantitative numerical models. Reinforces and expands fundamental skills in aqueous and fluid-rock geochemistry to better understand geochemical processes and solve problems in fluid-rock systems.  

Prerequisite: GEOL 4777/5777 or GEOL 5610 or GEOL 4490.



Geochemistry of Natural Waters (3)

Physical chemistry of solutions applied to natural waters. Chemistry of rock weathering, controls on major, minor, and trace element contents of natural waters. Problems of introduced pollutants.

Dual listed with GEOL 4777. Prerequisites: GEOL 2010, MATH 2205, and CHEM 1030.



Watershed Water Quality Management (3)

Studies watershed processes controlling water quality. Examines impacts of land use activities such as agriculture production, livestock grazing and mineral and natural gas extraction on surface water and ground water quality. Emphasis is placed on water quality modeling and management.

Dual listed with REWM 4710. Prerequisites: CHEM 1000.



Chemistry of the Soil Environment (4)

Evaluation of the chemical and physical properties and reactions that occur in the soil environment. Fundamental principles of soil mineralogy, organic matter, and equilibrium chemistry as they relate to soil chemical reactions, plant nutrient availability, and pedogenetic processes will be emphasized.

Dual listed with SOIL 4130. Prerequisite: MATH 1400, CHEM 1030 or CHEM 1060 and SOIL 2010.



Limnology (3)

Studies ecology of inland waters; biological, chemical and physical features on lakes and streams.  

Prerequisites: LIFE 1010, 2400 and one year of chemistry or consent of instructor. (Offered fall semester)

D. Water Resources Seminar (3 credits)



Seminar in Water Resources (1)

Objective is to develop interaction among students from the various water resource disciplines to enhance their perspectives on how water problems are addressed within an interdisciplinary environment.  

Prerequisite: graduate status.


The purpose of the water resources seminar is to foster interaction with students and professors regarding the different types of water resources research being conducted throughout the campus. Each student in the water resources interdisciplinary major program will be required to complete this course once during their graduate program.

The department head signs the individual students graduate Program of Study form prior to submittal to the Graduate School to help insure conformance to the above criteria and in order for the water resources cross-disciplinary major to be approved. The Graduate School will confirm conformance.

Contact Us

WRESE Program Chair, Scott Miller

Dept 3354

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-4274


1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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