Water Science and Policy Graduate Program

A Message from the Director


Water is a valuable resource that is critical for the health, vitality, and long-term sustainability of all natural ecosystems. For humans, water plays an essential role in food and energy production, transportation, and recreation.

Worldwide, however, water resources are at a risk. Unsustainable population growth, land-use changes, pollution, and global climate change all threaten the distribution, quantity, and quality of the water on which all life depends.

Protecting and preserving our water resources requires that we take a “big picture” approach that addresses where water comes from, where it goes, how it travels, how it is used by living things, what’s in it, and how to remediate problems and develop policies to protect water.

The interdisciplinary program in Water Science & Policy educates students to address the complex challenges that we face today; to develop solutions that are socially acceptable, economically viable, and environmentally sustainable; and to be true stewards of our environment.

We invite you to join us in our endeavors to ensure that all of Earth’s inhabitants, now and into the future, have adequate supplies of clean, healthy water.

Dr. Shreeram Inamdar
Professor of Watershed Hydrology and Biogeochemistry

By choosing to study Water Science & Policy at the University of Delaware, you will be embarking on an exciting intellectual journey that will challenge you to synthesize knowledge from a number of different fields. No matter what aspect of water you choose as your research focus, you’ll be encouraged to look at how it intertwines with other natural and human aspects of water quality and quantity.

Our Curriculum

Doctoral Programs | Master's Program | Special Features

Our interdisciplinary program capitalizes on existing strengths of University of Delaware faculty from many departments across four colleges:

As a student in the program, you may be advised by any of the faculty affiliated with the program. Upon completing the program, your degree will be granted by the college in which your adviser is housed.

The Water Science & Policy Program offers three degree options:

  • A Ph.D. with a water science concentration (36 credits),
  • A Ph.D. with a water policy concentration (36 credits), and
  • A Master of Science with thesis (30 credits)

For both the Ph.D. and the M.S. degrees, you must take courses across five categories, which include the following:

  • Physical science
  • Chemical/biological science
  • Policy
  • Research methods
  • Statistics and analysis

Doctoral Programs

The distribution of the total 36 credits for the water science and the water policy concentration areas is provided below.

Master’s Program

If you choose the master’s degree option, you will select 24 credits of coursework in consultation with your adviser, with at least three credits from each of the five categories above. With adviser approval, you may substitute directed research in lieu of one course in categories a, b, or c. The balance of the required 30 credits is in thesis work.

Special Features

  • The University of Delaware offers superb laboratory, informatics, library, environmental sensing and shared core instrumentation facilities.
  • Delaware is ideally located near government agencies and NGOs in Washington, DC, and New York.
  • The faculty solicited input from their own graduate students in developing the program.
  • The program especially encourages student interaction with water professionals in research institutions, government agencies, environmental organizations and industry that will enrich the educational experience and provide professional opportunities. Some of the agencies include
    • Stroud Water Research Center
    • US Geological Survey
    • US Fish & Wildlife Service
    • Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control
    • Chesapeake Bay Program
    • World Health Organization

Potential Career Paths

Students graduating from the Water Science and Policy program can pursue numerous exciting, water-related career opportunities with academia, national research laboratories (e.g., Oak Ridge National Lab, Pacific Northwest National Lab), federal agencies (e.g., Environmental Protection Agency, US Geological Survey, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Natural Resource Conservation Service, US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, US Forest Service), state agencies associated with environmental issues (Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control), private consulting companies (CH2M HILL, Ecology & Environment), nongovernmental and nonprofit agencies (Conservation International, World Resources Institute), and numerous international agencies (e.g., International Water Management Institute, World Agroforestry Center).

The following faculty are available to advise graduate students in the Water Science & Policy program:


Shreeram Inamdar. Hydrology and biogeochemistry of watersheds; Climate and landuse change impacts on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems; Watershed management.


Jeremy Firestone. Energy policy, International and domestic ocean, coastal, and environmental law governance.

Paul Imhoff. Transport of fluids and contaminants in multiphase systems; mass transfer processes in soil, groundwater, surface water, and in landfills; mathematical modeling.

Gerald Kauffman. Water supply, water quality, policy, droughts and floods; watershed planning and management.

Delphis Levia. Ecohydrology, forest biogeochemistry, snow science, field methods and instrumentation.

Holly Michael. Groundwater-surface water interaction in dynamic coastal systems; water in developing countries; geostatistical modeling.

Leah Palm-Forster. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics; Agri-environmental policy; Experimental Economics.

Amy Shober. Soil fertility and nutrient management; interactions between soil/water management and environmental quality.

Rodrigo Vargas. Ecosystem processes, greenhouse gas fluxes, ecohydrology, micrometeorology, biogeochemistry, data-mining, global environmental change.


Saleem Ali. Environmental conflict resolution.

Carmine Balascio. Hydrologic modeling; surface water quality; storm water management.

Jacob Bowman. Wildlife restoration techniques; biometry; conservation biology; habitat modeling and management.

Daniel Cha. Population dynamics of biological wastewater treatment processes; biotransformation of environmental contaminants in natural and engineered systems.

Clara Chan. Geomicrobiology, interactions between microbes and minerals.

Pei Chiu. Kinetics and mechanisms of pollutant degradation; chemical and microbial transformation processes; zero-valent iron and black carbon (biochar) for storm water and drinking water treatment.

Yu-Ping Chin. Fate of synthetic organic compounds in the natural aquatic environment, especially reactions involving dissolved organic matter.

Kyle Davis. Resident Faculty of the UD Data Science Institute. Socio-environmental impacts of the global food system at the intersection of food security, livelihoods, and global environmental change, impacts and tradeoffs of food production and solutions for sustainable, climate-smart, and equitable agricultural systems.

Tracy DeLiberty. Geographical information systems; climatology; remote sensing.

Dominic DiToro. Water quality modeling; water quality and sediment quality criteria models for organic chemicals, metals, mixtures; organic chemical and metal sorption models; statistical models.

Chin-Pao Huang. Industrial wastewater management; aquatic chemistry; soil and groundwater remediation; environmental nanomaterials and processes.

Deb Jaisi. Environmental biogeochemistry of both pristine and contaminated environments.

Yan Jin. Contaminant fate and transport; water quality technology.

Daniel Leathers. Meteorology, hydrology, water resources, climate change and variation.

David Legates. Hydroclimatology, precipitation and climate change; computational methods.

Julia Maresca. Microbial responses to environmental inputs using high-throughput sequencing, bacterial genetics and physiology.

Brandon McFadden. Perceptions of food; establishment and management of food and agribusiness enterprises.

Kent Messer. Environmental conservation; provision of public goods; behavioral response to risk.

Pinki Mondal. Resident Faculty of the UD Data Science Institute. Dynamics of coupled natural and human systems, geospatial methods for landscape-level monitoring and assessments, climate change impacts on agriculture in developing countries.

James Pizzuto. Fluvial geomorphology.

Sara Rauscher. Climate change; climate variability; climate-vegetation interactions; global and regional climate modeling

Andrea Sarzynski. Carbon footprints;urban landuse and shrinking cities; urban governance; climate change policy; renewable energy policy.

Angelia Seyfferth. Contaminant and nutrient cycling at the plant-soil interface; biogeochemistry; international agriculture; plant-uptake of contaminants and nutrients. 

A.R. Siders. Core Faculty Member of the UD Disaster Research Center. Climate change adaptation governance, decision-making, and evaluation such as managed retreat as an adaptation strategy and the social justice implications of coastal adaptation.

Donald Sparks. How metals and other contaminants bind to soils and move into water; remediation strategies for contaminated soils.

Neil Sturchio. Groundwater biogeochemistry and water-rock interactions; tracer applications of stable and radioactive isotopes; experimental studies of mineral-fluid interface processes using synchroton radiation;

Casey Taylor. How stakeholders, communities, and government institutions interact in the creation and implementation of natural resource policies and management plans, analysis of the roles played by science, trust, and collaboration in decisions surrounding wildlife management, water quality management, and energy facility siting.   

Tara Trammell. Urban ecology and forestry.  

Young-Doo Wang Energy and environmental policy; economic analysis of alternative energy options; econometric applications.

Christopher Williams Wildlife population ecology; wildlife-habitat interaction; upland game bird ecology; waterfowl ecology.

Eric Wommack. Viral processes within natural ecosystems; viral metagenomics.

Andrew Wozniak  Organic matter geochemistry; air-sea biogeochemistry; anthropogenic impacts on air and water quality, carbon cycling and climate; marine chemistry.

Name Degree Advisor
Aaron Russell PhD Firestone
Christine Chapman MS Maresca & Imhoff
Chunlei Wang PhD Sturchio
Eva Bacmeister MS Inamdar
Fang Tan PhD Michael
Hana Agustina Mra Mra MS Kauffman
Humayoun Akram PhD Ali
Jeffrey Chang MS Levia
Johanna Hripto MS Inamdar
Joe Brown PhD Imhoff
Lauren Donati MS Holly Michael
Lingyi Wu PhD Wommack
Margaret Capooci PhD Vargas
Mary Hingst PhD Michael
Matt Ludington MS Kauffman
Mehmet Altingoz PhD Ali
Melissa Sherman MS Inamdar
Rachel Zobel PhD Inamdar
Shane Franklin PhD Jin
Zhongyuan Xu PhD Michael
Graduated Students:
Name Year graduated Degree Advisor Employment after graduation
Kate (Miller) Hutelmyer 2014 MS Kauffman Senior Coordinator, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, NJ.
Matthew Bachman 2014 MS Inamdar Water Resources Engineer/Planner, STANTEC, Sacramento, CA
Frances Bothfeld 2015 MS Seyfferth Biogeochemist, Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA).
Jennifer Egan 2015 PhD Duke Principal Scientist and Project Manager with Skelly and Loy, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
Alex Soroka 2016 MS Shober Scientist, USGS, Dover, DE
Catherine Winters 2016 MS Inamdar Environmental Analyst for NEIWPCC (New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission)
Kelsey Moxey 2016 MS Claessens Lead Environment Scientist, Maryland Environmental Service, Millersville, MD
Kristen Molfetta 2016 MS Kauffman Chief of Staff at NYC Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Wastewater Treatment
Richard Rowland 2016 MS Inamdar Water Resources Planner, DRBC, West Trenton, NJ.
Sandra Petrakis 2016 MS Vargas Chemist at Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Thomas Santangelo 2016 MS Clasessens GIS Analyst, PW Prosser Consulting, Newark, DE
Briana Diacopoulos 2017 MS Kauffman KCI Technologies, Inc. in Sparks, MD. 
Erin Johnson 2017 MS Inamdar Conservation Planner at Massachusetts Association of Conservation Districts
Alexis Cunningham 2018 MS Firestone Not available
Chelsea Krieg 2018 MS Inamdar Environmental Scientist II, Louis Berger
Daniel Warner 2018 PhD Inamdar & Vargas GIS Specialist, Delaware Geological Survey
Kaitlyn Ritchie 2018 MS Messer Research Associate at the Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory under Morgan State University in Saint Leonard, MD
Alyssa Lutgen 2019 MS Inamdar Environmental Scientist at Golder Associates in NJ
Branimir Trifunovic 2019 MS Vargas Staff Scientist II, Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc.
Grant Jiang 2019 MS Inamdar Environmental Analyst for NEIWPCC (New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission)
Jillian Young 2019 MS Kauffman Water Resources Planner for Stantec in Sacramento, CA
Nathan Sienkiewicz 2019 MS Inamdar EPA, Cincinnati
Samuel Villareal 2019 PhD Vargas Not available
Abby Evans 2020 MS Seyfferth Not available
Katie Mattern 2020 MS Inamdar Not available
Ricardo Llamas 2020 MS Vargas Not available
Evan Lewis 2021 MS Inamdar Not available
Kelly Slabicki 2021 MS Kauffman Not available
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Application process update:  Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), the program of PLSC is waiving the GRE requirement for our graduate program.  If you wish to apply without a GRE score, please enter a future GRE exam date into the application.  It need not be a legitimate exam date.  Entering a future exam date causes the system to finish your application and send it on to our review committee where it will receive full consideration.