Doctor of Philosophy in Water Science & Management


This degree program will train researchers to meet current and emerging water challenges, including:

  • Improved agricultural water use efficiency
  • The need to reduce aquifer vulnerability
  • Improved watershed management for community water supplies
  • Affordable urban and agricultural conservation measures
  • Increased economic development from use of abundant brackish groundwater
  • Greater flexibility for adapting water use patterns to drought and climate change

International students are encouraged to apply.

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Water Science and Management include all general requirements for a graduate degree as set forth in the NMSU Catalog, plus the following:

  • Possession of a master’s degree from an accredited university with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
    However, students with grade point averages between 3.0 and 3.5 will be given consideration. This degree being preparatory to
    the Water Science and Management doctorate.
  • Three letters of recommendation submitted directly from persons who know the applicant professionally, including a recommendation from the candidate’s current employer/sponsor. These letters should provide evidence of professional ability, research experience, and the potential for professional development.
  • In addition, applicants to the Ph.D. program should provide evidence of capacity for research. This could include a master’s thesis,
    a professional paper, peer reviewed manuscripts, consulting reports, or other evidence of capacity to conduct research.
  • A letter of intent or statement of purpose that addresses individual professional and personal goals related to water science and management and discusses how these goals fit within the degree programs at NMSU. It is expected that the candidate will have made contact with prospective advisor(s) at NMSU and speak to how he or she would work with said advisor(s) to advance their research and study.
  • A brief resume or curriculum vitae not to exceed five pages that summarize the candidate’s background and qualifications.

Required Courses

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Water Science and Management degree is designed to give students a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of water science and hydrology and training in methods of research. The Ph.D. degree can be earned in about 30-40 credits of formal course work beyond the Master's Degree, plus additional dissertation research credits, for a minimum total of 75 credits beyond the B.S. degree, as detailed below:

  • AEEC 575 – Advanced Water Resource Management and Policy (3 credits)
  • RGSC 518 – Watershed Methods and Management, OR SOIL 456 Irrigation and Drainage (3 credits)
  • CE 557 – Water Resources Development (3 credits)
  • GEOG 578 – Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems (4 credits) OR GEOG 588 – GIS And Water Resources (3 credits)
  • A ST 505 – Statistical Inference I OR CE 582 – Statistical Hydrology (3-4 credits)
  • Seminar – Two different departments (2 credits)
  • Electives– Electives for the relevant concentration in consultation with the student's committee (to bring total credits to a minimum of 75 credits including 18 dissertation credits)
  • Dissertation – (18 credits)


Five concentrations are offered for the Ph.D. Degree:

  • Agricultural water resources
  • Watershed, riparian, and aquatic systems
  • Water quality and treatment
  • Water economics and policy
  • Water informatics


Outline of Required Events to Complete the Ph.D. Degree

  1. Meet with graduate committee no later than second semester to outline planned coursework and to discuss planned research for thesis. This normally leads to a formal proposal being written by the student and approved by the Doctoral Committee. Doctoral Qualifying Examination Form
  2. File the Application for Admission to Candidacy Program of Study and Committee for Doctoral Students no later than after the completion of 12 credits of graduate work.
  3. File the “Doctorate of Philosophy Examination Form” with Graduate School at least 10 working days before oral Comprehensive exam.
  4. Successfully complete the written Compressive exam and pass the accompanying oral exam by the relevant deadlines for the term in which this exam is held.
  5. File the “Doctorate of Philosophy Examination Form” with Graduate School at least 10 working days before the Final Oral Dissertation Defense.
  6. Deliver the dissertation in hard or digital copy (at the discretion of the Committee Chair) to each committee member 7 business days before final exam.
  7. Successfully defend the dissertation and pass the accompanying oral exam by the relevant deadlines for the term in which this exam is held.
  8. Complete the Doctoral Dissertation Students Checklist & Procedures on the NMSU Graduate School website.
  9. Submit your approved Dissertation to ProQuest at