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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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;

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

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.


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