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Master of Science in Natural Resources, emphasis in Water Resources

The Water Resources emphasis area is an interdisciplinary graduate degree program within the School of Natural Resources. It encompasses all fields of natural sciences represented in the School and, through collaboration, involves related expertise from throughout the University of Missouri and beyond. Participating faculty in the Water Resources emphasis area are engaged in both the scientific understanding of water resources (biological, chemical and physical) and its management, and the decision-making processes used to address competing societal values (social, economic and legal). The program has no geographic boundaries but the location of MU suggests most research will be directed to better understanding of water movement, biogeochemical cycling and biological processes of forested- agricultural and urban landscapes of the midcontinent. The lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands and subsurface waters of the region are prime areas for basic and applied research. One of the program’s major global impacts is the training of highly qualified graduate professionals that are equipped to address many of the complex contemporary water resource problems around the world.

Admission criteria

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0 in last 60 hours
  • Experience in research or management of water resources. Practical skills are strongly considered.

Minimum GRE Scores

Test Type Verbal Quantitative Analytical Writing
GRE 150 150 3.0

Minimum English Proficiency Requirements

Test Type Total Score Reading Listening Speaking Writing
TOEFL Internet -based 80 17 17 17 17
TOEFL Paper-based 550 52 52 N/A 52
IELTS Academic 6.5 6 6 6 6

Required Application Materials

For the Office of Graduate Studies

  • Completed Graduate Studies online application
  • Unofficial Transcripts- As part of the application submission process, all applicants are required to upload unofficial copies of all post-secondary transcripts to the online application. Official transcripts are only required if accepted by the academic program.  
  • Official Results of English Proficiency Exams (International applicants only)

For the Water Resources Program

All application materials must be submitted to the Graduate Studies online application system.

  • A minimum of three letters of recommendation and the accompanying evaluation sheets from people who can attest to the candidate’s scholastic and water resources related field work abilities
  • Resume or CV
  • Letter of professional goals (2 page limit), indicating education, research and career goals
  • Publications (optional)
  • GRE scores
  • TOEFL scores (when applicable)

Applicants should contact specific faculty to determine the availability potential advisors, available position(s) in the potential advisors lab and of available research assistantships prior to applying.

An applicant contemplating graduate work in water resources should have a strong background in physical sciences, including calculus, chemistry, and physics. Those considering interdisciplinary degrees should also have a background in biology, botany, zoology, ecology and other natural sciences. A background of 25 to 30 hours in physical sciences courses is desirable. Minor deficiencies may be remedied during the graduate program; major deficiencies may require preparatory coursework prior to consideration for admission.

The Water Resources graduate degree program is integrated by a set of common courses from which students can customize their Course Plans. Students and their Advisors are not restricted to those courses, but are expected to draw from the list first when developing Course Plans.

Upon successful completion of the School of Natural Resources Water Resources graduate program, students will possess strong technical skills in water resources and related sub-disciplines. Graduates will have developed a holistic understanding of the hydrologic cycle related to ecosystem processes as and the interdisciplinary background necessary to understand and address contemporary watershed management, water quality and integrated natural resources problems. Graduates will have an appreciation of the complex interactions of biophysical processes and tightly coupled socioeconomic interactions necessary to implement water resource policy. 

Admissions Contact information

Dr. Rebecca North
Graduate Emphasis Area Program Coordinator
School of Natural Resources
302 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building
Columbia, MO 65211
Water Resources website