Watershed Management Graduate Certificate

A. 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.

An oversight committee comprised of faculty from participating colleges and departments will administer this program. The oversight committee chair (or a proxy) will sign the certificate application and the course requirement checksheet at least six months prior to graduation. The Graduate School will have responsibility for issuing certificates to the students. The committee will decide questions concerning the course requirements and appeals for course substitutions. Contact information for the WSMC program chair and committee members is available below.

B. Identification of Watershed Management Graduate Certification Program Admission and Completion Requirements.

Students who wish to complete the WSMC Certificate Program must:

  1. Go to the Graduate School web site > Academics > Forms > Enrollment > Application- Certificate, fill out and print the generic Certificate Application form preferably during the semester you take your first course in the certificate program.
  2. Go to the Graduate School web site > Academics > Graduate Catalog > Certificate Programs and then choose Watershed Management certificate (WSMC) program. This will take you the Virginia Water Resources Research Center web site.   Information about the Graduate Certificate and the course requirements checksheet are available on the VWRRC website.
  3. Discuss a course plan with your academic advisor and Dr. Kevin McGuire, the program coordinator, to be sure that you will meet the certificate requirements. Complete and sign the generic Certificate Application.
  4. Take the signed generic certificate application form to Dr. Kevin McGuire, (VWRRC, 210 Cheatham Hall), and get his signature or a proxy signature (e.g., the Director of the VWRRC), and return the generic Certificate Application form to the Graduate School.
  5. After you have completed the 11-12 hours of courses required, take the course requirements checksheet to Dr. McGuire (VWRRC) for signature. Bring a copy of your transcript for verification purposes.
  6. 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.
  7. 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, which you will have already submitted, 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).
  8. Course substitutions: see step 4 below.

C. Course Requirements

  1. Courses: one 3-credit required core course in Watershed Management with a planning emphasis (UAP 5134G Land Use and Environment: Planning and Policy or UAP/NR 5414 Natural Resources Planning), one 3-credit course from the Watershed Science concentration area, and two courses (2-3 credits ea.) from the Watershed Analysis concentration area.  UAP 5134G is an interdisciplinary course in applied environmental science, planning, and policy, focusing on the use of the land, its effects on water and ecological resources, and methods of land analysis and management to mitigate those impacts. This core course emphasizes the major areas of watershed management with special emphasis on planning and policy.
  2. Non-degree-seeking students and degree–seeking students must complete the minimum of 11 credit hours from the course requirements checksheet.
  3. Degree-seeking students must attain an average GPA of 3.0 or above courses.
  4. The oversight committee must approve course substitutions. Obtain and complete a course substitution form.  Note: the coordinator (Dr. McGuire) will have to send an update to the Graduate School notifying them of any approved substitutions.  Please check that all substitutions were submitted to the Graduate School prior to completing the Application For Certificate Conferral.

D. Oversight Committee and Departments

  • Dean Bork, LAR
  • Darrell Bosch, AAEC
  • W. Lee Daniels, CSES
  • W. Cully Hession, BSE
  • Erich Hester, CEE
  • Kevin McGuire (coordinator), VWRRC/FOR
  • Donald Orth, FWS
  • Steve Hankey, UAP
  • Stephen Schoenholtz, VWRRC/FOR
  • Madeline Schreiber, GEOS
  • Cayelan Carey, BIOL
  • Michael Mortimer, NR (NCR)

E. Checksheet

Click here for the WSMC checksheet.

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