MESM Specialization: WRM


Faculty Advisors: Naomi Tague (MESM 2017) and Arturo Keller(MESM 2018)

Specialization Description

Managing water resources involves ensuring reliable quantities of water of acceptable quality, while simultaneously maintaining or restoring the ecological functioning of water bodies that supply these amenities. Beyond its direct importance as a resource, water is central to many environmental problems. To solve these problems, professionals must deeply understand connections between the atmosphere, surface and ground water, rivers, and the processes that generate, transport, store and/or transform chemicals and aquatics about which society is concerned. Professionals need a strong background in hydrologic processes, and knowledge of biogeochemical processes in the watershed and receiving water bodies, and economics of natural resources, as well policies, laws and regulations that pertain to water resources and their stewardship. Given the spatial nature of these processes, a WRM professional needs to be familiar with GIS tools, remote sensing, spatial data analysis and modeling. The WRM specialization advisor will work with you, one-on-one, to determine which courses best fit your training and career trajectory.

Course Work

MESM students are required to take a minimum of 36 units of electives in their primary specialization. Students who pursue two specializations must meet the 36-unit requirement for each specialization. Some electives may count toward more than one specialization. Most courses associated with this specialization are offered every year. If the course is marked with an asterisk (*), it will be offered every other year.

WRM students should take at least 8 units or more of courses on water supply and/or water quality.


Water Supply

Water Quality

*ESM 234: (Large) River Systems ESM 222:

Fate & Transport of Pollutants

*ESM 235: (Small) Watershed Analysis ESM 223:

Mgmt. of Soil & Groundwater Quality

ESM 226:

Groundwater Management

ESM 224:

Sustainable Watershed Quality Mgmt.


WRM students should take at least 8 units or more of courses in additional science.

*ESM 213:


*ESM 214: Bioremediation
ESM 233 River Restoration
ESM 236: The Mountain Snowpack
*ESM 237: Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation
Earth 269: Tracer Hydrology
EEMB 217: Flow and Aquatic Ecosystems
EEMB 248: Ecology of Running Waters
EEMB 253: Ecology of Lakes and Wetlands
Geog 209: Pedology (Soil Science)

WRM students should take at least 8 units or more of courses in resource economics or policy.

ESM 225: Water Policy
ESM 242: Natural Resource Economics and Policy
ESM 243: Environmental Policy Analysis
ESM 245: Cost-Benefit Analysis and Non-market Valuation
ESM 248: Environmental Institutions
ESM 285: Environmental Markets

WRM students should take at least 8 units or more of technical courses.

ESM 232: Environmental Modeling
ESM 244: Advanced Data Analysis
ESM 263: GIS
*ESM 266: Remote Sensing
ESM 296: Adv. Topics in Environmental Management: Informatics
Geog 276: Geographical Time Series Analysis
Geog 277: Spatial Environmental Modeling
Geog: 278: Geostatistical Modeling of Spatial Data

The following Geography (Geog) courses are often included in programs of study for WRM students.

Geog 208: Water Resources Systems Analysis
Geog 242: Land Use — Land Cover Change
Geog 246: Earth System Science: Advanced Hydrologic Modeling
Geog 253: Global Warming: Causes and Consequences

To broaden perspectives in water resources management, WRM students may consider some of the following Bren classes, among others.

*ESM 215 Landscape Ecology
*ESM 219 Microbial Processes in the Environment
ESM 229: Economics and Policy of Climate Change
ESM 273: Life Cycle Assessment
ESM 275: Principles and Practice of Environmental Planning
ESM 282: Industrial Ecology
The following variable topic courses may also provide curriculum opportunities of value for WRM students
ESM 293: Advanced Special Topics in Energy and Climate
ESM 294: Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Law
ESM 297: Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Policy

ESM 296

Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Management

ESM 299: Advanced Special Topics in Enviromental Science
ESM 430: Workshops in Environmental Science and Mangement
ESM 595A-Z: Seminars/Group Studies in Environmental Science & Management
The following communication courses also provide opportunities of value for WRM students.
ESM 437: Writing for Environmental Professionals
ESM 440: Advanced Environmental Communication