Certificate in Water Policy Offered

Dec. 12, 2007

 Graduate students and working water professionals wanting to broaden and enhance their water policy expertise will be able to enroll in the recently approved University of Arizona’s Graduate Certificate in Water Policy. Earning the certificate requires taking 12 units or four UA graduate courses. Scheduling flexibility is a key to the program, with students able to complete work from one semester to two years. This is to accommodate the different schedules of graduate students and working professionals, the two groups served by the program.

The way it now works is that UA graduate students interested in water issues pursue traditional academic degrees in various UA programs including environmental sciences, social sciences, engineering and law, each program offering a particular focus on water.

Carl Bauer, Water Resources Research Center associate director and certificate program director, says some of these students might want more exposure to water policy. “They might want to round out and deepen their understanding of policy to complement their work in some more established fields.”  The interdisciplinary certificate program will provide a water policy grounding to students in these varied disciplines.

Also targeted as students for the policy certificate are working, on-the-job water professionals. Bauer says, “These are people working in the world who have at least a bachelor’s degree and maybe more but want the opportunity to get deeper into policy issues.”

He says, “Many water managers have scientific or engineering backgrounds without the academic work in policy-related studies. They now deal with policy because of their professional activities. Some realize they need more training in the policy area.”

Certificate scheduling has been arranged to accommodate working professionals’ on-the-job commitments. The four-course certificate program can be completed in one semester during a short professional sabbatical or courses could be taken over time to fit educational release programs in government and industry. Organizations could use the certificate as a way to provide on-the-job training and educational opportunities to promote career growth.

UA units and departments offering certificate course work include the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, College of Law, Department of Geography and Regional Development, School of Public Administration and Policy, and Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science.

Bauer says the certificate program is helping fill a UA need for water policy or water management instruction. He says, “The UA does not currently offer a water policy or water management degree. We have a lot of faculty expertise in these areas and interested students can find classes in various departments around campus, but there is not a degree that brings this together and says ‘water policy’ in the title.”

Bauer says the water policy certificate may be the first step toward establishing such a degree. He says, “The university is moving in the direction of a more structured program to strengthen and consolidate water management and policy as a major area of expertise. This is a first step. It will help to institutionalize our expertise in the policy and social science aspects of water. ”

The water policy certificate program has been approved effective summer 2007 and began operating in the fall. Contact Carl Bauer for additional information. (cbauer@email.arizona.edu)