Water Policy Certificate

About the Water Policy Certificate  

Water is a fundamental theme in the Western United States and other arid regions around the world. More recently, even wet areas have come to face similar problems of water scarcity and conflict, due to growing demands and competition for water. How people use and manage water is the core concern of water policy. Although the scientific and technical aspects of water issues are essential, the social and political elements are now a more significant challenge.  

The University of Arizona has responded to the growing interest in water policy by establishing a new Graduate Certificate in Water Policy. The Certificate builds on the world-renowned expertise of University of Arizona faculty and programs.   

The University of Arizona Graduate Certificate in Water Policy is for working professionals who want to build their expertise in water policy and University of Arizona students enrolled in a graduate degree program.  

Apply to the Program 

Contact Us

Have questions and want to learn more about the Water Policy Certificate? Contact our Faculty Coordinator below:  

Dr. Carl Bauer 
Email: cjbauer@arizona.edu  
Phone: (520) 621-1917  

Program Requirements  

To earn the Water Policy Certificate, students must complete a 12-unit program of study that includes core courses and thematic courses. Much of the course-work emphasizes local and regional water policy issues in Arizona and the Southwestern US. However, students can also focus on broader national and international affairs.   

Core courses focus on fundamental aspects of water law, policy, and economics. Thematic courses include a wide variety of specific topics and disciplines so that students can customize a program to meet their particular interests. Each student must have their courses approved by the Faculty Coordinator.  

Core Courses  

AREC 575 (also ARL 575, ECON 575, GEOG 575, HWR 575, RNR 575) - Economic Evaluation of Water and Environmental Policy (3 units) Fall. Theory and application of economic concepts needed to evaluate water and environmental laws and policies, including benefit-cost analysis, externalities, public goods and valuation methodologies. Case studies include federal, state, tribal and international water and environmental policies. Professor: Bonnie Colby (Course Website: AREC 575)  

GEOG/LAW 596I – Comparative and International Water Policy (3 units) Spring. This course examines major issues in comparative and international water policy, including water markets, privatization, dams and river basin management, environmental flows, social equity, and water governance. The course is interdisciplinary and builds on law, geography, political economy, and institutional economics. Professor: Carl Bauer  

LAW 641 - Water Law (3 units) Fall. Emphasis on state and federal laws that govern rights to surface and ground water throughout the country; additional understandings developed around social, political, economic and environmental aspects that intersect with water law doctrines. Professor: Robert Glennon 

PA 581 (also POL 581, HWR 581, RNR 581) - Environmental Policy (3 units) Spring. Emphasis on the interactions among science, decision making, policy, and property rights in relation to natural resource dilemmas. Special attention paid to community-based management. Case studies are drawn from water, forestry, fisheries, and grazing lands. Professor: Edella Schlager  

SWES 596B(also GEOG 596B, HWR 596B, LAW 596B, PLNN 596B) - Arizona Water Policy (3 units) Spring. This course focuses on current Arizona water policy from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Through readings, research, discussion and presentations, the student is exposed to current water resource issues facing Arizona and other parts of the West and policies to address them. Professor: Sharon Megdal  

Thematic Courses   

ABE 555 (also C E 555) - Soil and Water Resources Engineering (3 units) Fall. Introduction to soil and water relationships, irrigation systems, irrigation water supply, and irrigation management; basic designs. Professor: Muluneh Yitayew  

AREC 576 (also HWR 576, ECON 576, RNR 576) - Natural Resource Law and Economics (3 units) Spring. Advanced economic and legal analysis of environmental and natural resource policies. Professor: Dennis C. Cory (Course Website: AREC 576)  

ARL 565 (also GEOG 565) - Physical Aspects of Arid Lands (3 units) Fall. Interdisciplinary course covering the physical aspects of arid lands, including geology, geomorphology, climate, hydrology, and landscape ecology. Time-space interrelationships of environmental systems are also covered. Professor: Stuart Marsh  

CE 523 (also ARL 523, HWR 523) - Hydrology (3 units) Fall. Discussion and analysis of major topics of the hydrologic cycle and their interrelationship, such as rainfall, infiltration, evaporation, and runoff. Statistical and probabilistic methods in water supply and flood hydrology. Professor: Kevin Lansey  

CPH 518 (also SWES 518) - Introduction to Human Health Risk Assessment (3 units) Spring. The purpose of this course is to enhance the students’ knowledge and skills related to environmental risk assessment, including hazard assessment, exposure assessment, toxicity assessment, and risk characterization. Professor: Kelly Reynolds  

CPH 553 (also PCOL 553) - Toxicology and Chemical Exposures (3 units) Fall. Covers the fundamentals of toxicology and the derivation of regulatory limits and guidelines. Evaluates the impact of specific chemicals and chemical classes on organ systems and the diseases resulting from exposure. Professor: Jeffrey Burgess  

GC 597A (also ANTH 597A) - Global Change Workshop (3 units) Fall, Spring. Integrative experience for natural and social science students with focus on local and regional consequences of global change. Professor: Timothy Finan  

GEOG 596J - Water Management and Policy (3 units) Fall, Spring. Management and policy challenges driven by surface water and groundwater scarcity will be assessed for the Southwest US, Mexico, and globally. Critical review of institutions coupled with assessment of emerging management systems will lead to consideration of policy alternatives. Professor: Christopher Scott  

GEOG 696J - Water Resources Geography: Specific Topics (3 units) Fall. Professors: Connie Woodhouse, Carl Bauer, Christopher Scott  

HWR 500 (also PLNN 500) - Ecosystemology for Urban Planning (3 units) Fall. Introduction to conceptual tools used in complex ecosystems, particularly cities and urban areas; integration of human residents with larger natural systems (human ecology); environmental impact assessment (EIA) and statement (EIS). Water resource planning and impact on regional ecosystems; technical, legal, ethical dimensions of water transfer. Professor: M.D. Bradley  

HWR 515 (also GEOG 515) - Introduction to Water Resources Policy (3 units) Spring. Water resources policy including the identification of regional problems of water use, the elements of water planning, water rights, and a consideration of institutional structures and processes.  

HWR 520 - Water Resources Management, Planning, and Rights: A Policy Approach (3 units) Spring. An introduction to basic concepts and issues of water resources management and administration, emphasizing water law and rights, water resources planning, institutional and organizational arrangements, and policy processes such as adjudication and rule-making. Professor: M.D. Bradley  

HWR 543 - Environmental Risk and Economic Analysis in Water Resources (3 units) Fall. Environmental risk analysis, environmental economics, and quantitative benefit-cost-risk planning and regulation applied to water resources. Professor: Don R. Davis  

LAW 625 - American Legal History (The Colorado River) (2 units) Spring. The focus of this course is the Colorado River. After examining the geology of the Grand Canyon and the use made of the River and its resources by Native peoples, the class examines the exploration of the Colorado River and its canyons by John Wesley Powell and other early European explorers. The main theme of the course is the important role that the water of the Colorado River has played in the Southwest. Professor: Robert Glennon  

LAW 669 - Environmental Law (3 units) Fall. A survey course covering major environmental statutes and common law doctrines. Topics include the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, CERCLA, regulatory takings, standing in environmental cases, the law of nuisance, and the public trust doctrine. Professor: Kirsten Engel 

LAW 696I - International Environmental Law (2-3 units) Fall. This course analyzes the expanding framework of and the legal process leading to international regulation of the human environment, including regional and international regulation of air and water pollution and the protection of marine mammals and endangered species; the relationship between environmental and trade issues; protection of the "global commons"; conflicts between protecting the environment and economic development; enforcement of international environmental obligations by the United States and other nations; and regional regulation of environmental matters, including the NAFTA and the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation.

PLN 559 (also GEOG 559) - Land Use and Growth Controls (3 units) Spring. Current planning and legal issues dealing with regulation of growth, the sequence of growth, and the limiting of growth are analyzed. Issues of equity in controlling land use are also explored. Professor: Barbara Becker  

RNR 580 - Natural Resources Policy and Law (3 units) Spring. This course examines the natural resource and environmental policy formulation process, the participants in that process and the policies themselves. The course emphasizes public policy as it applies to federal lands. However, the principles apply to state lands and policies as well. Professor: JE de Steiguer  

RNR 585 - Natural Resources Economics and Planning (3 units) Spring. This course examines methods for planning and decision-making in the management of renewable natural resources on public lands. The course topics are: economic welfare and market failure, cost-benefit analysis, market and non-market valuation, linear programming, input-output analysis, multi-criteria decision methods, and timber harvest scheduling. The renewable natural resources considered are water, timber, wildlife, wilderness, fisheries, range and recreation. Professor: JE de Steiguer.  

SWES 544 (also WSM 544) - Applied Environmental Law (3 units) Fall. A guided journey through real world environmental law; US legal system, major environmental laws-criminal and civil; common marketplace problems and solutions; high profile cases; essential professional skills.  

SWES 571 - Stream Ecology (3 units) Description: This course will examine the structure and function of stream ecosystems with emphasis on the interaction of physical and biotic elements of streams in arid regions. We will examine the role of natural and anthropogenic stressors in shaping aquatic assemblages in streams. Quantification of impairment of stream structure and function requires a thorough understanding of fundamental ecological concepts of natural streams; this will be a major focus. Also, students will learn to use current methods to assess stream condition and signs of impairment. Graduate-level requirements include additional essay questions on exams and graduate student must meet with the instructors to discuss selected research articles. Presentations will be longer than undergraduates. Identical to: WFSC 571. Instructors: William Matter and David Walker  

WFSC 555R - Fishery Management (3 units) Description: Methods and concepts pertaining to fishery investigations and management; application of principles for enhancement of fisheries and aquatic habitats. Graduate-level requirements include a report on a current issue in management and a report on a research issue, plus several discussion meetings.  

WFSC 541 -- Limnology (4 units) Description: Study of lakes and streams; biological characteristics, as related to physical, chemical, geological, and historical processes operating on fresh waters. Graduate-level requirements include a report that synthesizes literature on a research issue of current concern, an in-class presentation and several discussion meetings. Identical to: ECOL 541. Instructor: Willam Matter  

WSM 552 - Dryland ecohydrology and vegetation dynamics (3 units) Overview of ecological and hydrological interrelationships and associated vegetation dynamics for water-limited, dryland ecosystems. Identical to: ECOL 452, HWR 452, RNR 452. Instructor: David Breshears  

WSM 562 - Watershed Management (3 units) Spring. Evaluating hydrologic impacts of management activities on watersheds to include silviculture, range, mining, and recreation use. Professor: D. Phillip Guertin  

WSM 568 - Wildland Water Quality (3 units) Spring. Introduction to water quality and its influences in natural environments. Interactions with land management and relationships to the larger issues of environmental quality.