Students enrolled in this degree will be broadly trained to undertake life-long careers in water resources system design, and will have the option to focus on groundwater, surface water, or watershed engineering. Students will be required to take a minimum of 12 (M.S.) or 15 (Ph.D.) credits of graduate level engineering courses, and at least 6 (M.S.) or 9 (Ph.D.) credits of water science courses to support the engineering analysis. Water science courses may be selected from non-engineering departments across the campus, and are required to provide the students with the scientific context to understand the non-quantitative aspects of water resource systems. Students completing the WRE degree program will meet the coursework requirements to attain Professional Hydrologist certification through the American Institute of Hydrology (AIH). Prior to graduation, all students in WRE will be required to show competence in mathematics to the level of applied differential equations (MTH 256), have a year of calculus-based physics and chemistry at the undergraduate level.

Students graduating from the WRE degree program will have three sets of requirements.

  1. Entrance Requirements: All students entering the WRE degree program will be required to show basic competence in chemistry, physics, mathematics to integral calculus, and advanced competence (upper-division) in one science or engineering field.
  2. Program Requirements: Students will complete a standard MS (45 cr.) or PhD (108 cr.) program based in water resources engineering but allowing for significant coursework in another field.
  3. Exit Requirements: Students graduating from the program must show that they have a total of 37 cr. of water-related coursework based on the American Institute of Hydrology (AIH) standards. Up to 22 credits of this may be met by coursework taken elsewhere, including as an undergraduate, though it is expected that many of the requirements will be met by OSU coursework.

Required courses within each WRE focus area are identified in the core curriculum course list. Students would also be expected to include fundamentals of earth science (from geosciences, atmospheric sciences, or soil science).

See WRE Checklist for program requirements and the WRE PhD Handbook or WRE MS Handbook (Last updated 04/10/2017).


Faculty of the WRE program have discussed licensure examination options for our students with the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying (OSBEELS). Currently, graduates of the WRE program who entered from non-ABET accredited programs are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, as stipulated in Oregon statute 820-010-0227. WRE students may apply to sit for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, and their chances for accepted applications will be increased (though not guaranteed) if they comply with the criteria listed below:

  1. A total of 96 credit hours
  2. 32 hours of engineering related technical course work - including at least six of the following nine subjects: Differential Equations, Physics, Statistics, Statics, Dynamics, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Electrical Fundamentals, and Strength of Materials. Some of these courses are already required for the WRE degree (e.g. Diff Eq and Physics) while others are not. Further, while some of the courses (e.g. Fluid Mechanics) may be taken as graduate classes in order to satisfy WRE degree requirements, some classes are only offered at the undergraduate level (e.g. statics, dynamics, etc.) and will not count towards the WRE degree. Thus, meeting these requirements for the FE exam could represent a substantially greater course load for some students. It will be up to the student and their adviser to confirm that the educational qualifications have been met. OSBEELS will not provide assistance in auditing individual degree plans for compliance with educational qualifications for the FE exam.
  3. All required coursework must be completed within 4 months of sitting for the exam.

Students entering the WRE program from ABET-accredited undergraduate engineering programs are already able to sit for the FE Exam.