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MSU's Virtual Watershed Program
An Internet-based Academic Credit or Professional Certificate Program in Watershed Management

Watershed management necessitates an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving, with law, policy, community development and resource economics issues contributing as much to solutions as engineering, biology, hydrology and chemistry. An effective watershed manager must understand the science behind water resources management and have skills in public relations, policy-making, and program evaluation.

Three key concepts of the watershed approach are:


Partnerships with stakeholders affected by resource management decisions;


A geographic focus for management activities and;


Management techniques based on strong science and data.

Michigan State University has a unique opportunity to meet this education/information and ongoing service role required in the watershed planning area. Expertise in natural resources, land, aquatic systems and community development, and the land use policy and law perspectives exists among several departments. Multiple authors from various departments were tapped to create all course contents, resulting in a dynamic, team creation.

Course Offerings

The Institute of Water Research and the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University is currently offering a series of Internet-based courses leading to undergraduate credit, graduate credit or a professional certificate. Those individuals who complete all four courses (3-credits each) will receive a Professional Certificate in Watershed Management. Courses need not be taken in any particular order, however, concepts do build upon each other from one module to the next. Whether you are a professional or a student, this program is an opportunity for you to update your skills to meet the challenges of resource management under the watershed approach framework.

All of our Virtual Watershed courses are delivered entirely via the Internet. We communicate primarily through email, Webtalk, and weekly homework exercises.

Please click on the following links to learn more about each specific course.

Module 1: Watershed Concepts
Module 2: Building and Implementing Watershed Management Plans
Module 3: Watershed Assessments & Tools
Module 4: Legal, Financial and Institutional Frameworks for Watershed Management

Complete all 4 modules and receive a Professional Certificate of Completion and this beautiful plaque!

MSU is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution