This is a partial list of water-related courses at UMass Amherst. Please let us know which ones we are missing.

Course Number course title course description
CEE 597B Potable Water for Small and Disadvantaged Communities In this course, we will create several interdisciplinary teams of students who will work together over the semester to address problems from a specific nearby public water system. The instructors will then work with each of the student teams to begin addressing the problems at the assigned study sites.
GeoSci 687 Advanced Hydrogeology This course is focused on groundwater modeling with respect to shallow geologic formations for predictions and assessment of flow and transport in heterogeneous aquifer systems.
GeoSci 787 Hydrogeology Reading Seminar 50 min journal reading seminar that meets once per week.  Here we read and discuss recent literature in the leading water and hydrogeology journals (WRR, HP, JoH, etc).  The course will be scheduled during the first week of classes.



A quantitative account of elements of the hydrologic cycle, including precipitation, evapotranspiration, snowmelt, infiltration, and surface runoff. Basic laws from such various disciplines as physics, chemistry, meteorology, astronomy, fluid mechanics, and thermodynamics, combined into simple mathematical descriptions used in the hydrologic design process.


Open Channel Flow

A rigorous mathematical study of flow in open channels, including uniform, gradually varied, rapidly varied, tidal, and flood flows. Analytical and numerical solutions to the governing conservation equations developed with the aid of the computer, and stable channel design addressed.


Environmental Institutions & Policies

Policies and laws relating to use and conservation of water resources. Analysis of water-related governmental organizations and programs at federal, state, and local levels.


Environmental Engineering Analysis

With lab. Basic concepts of physical and chemical parameters used to measure water quality in natural aquatic systems and in treatment plants. Laboratory covers important water analysis methods, including gravimetric, volumetric, colorimetric, and alkalinity-acidity titration methods.


Surface Water Quality Modeling

Evaluation and control of water quality in streams, lakes, and estuaries. Mathematical analyses of patterns of water movement and their relation to water quality. Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) allocation design. Course website.


Subsurface Hydraulics

The transport of water through the unsaturated and saturated zone using rigorous mathematical theory, analytical and numerical solutions. Topics include hydraulic properties of soils, infiltration, confined and unconfined aquifer flow, consolidations, and well hydraulics.


Subsurface Pollution

Transport of contaminants through the unsaturated and saturated zone using rigorous mathematical theory, analytical and numerical solutions. Topics include the fate and transport of conservative and reactive contaminants in single or multiphase flow fields.


Water Resource Systems Analysis

Application of systems analysis techniques, including mathematical programming, uncertainty analysis and economic analysis, the analysis of water resource problems. Topics include water storage, supply, conveyance, treatment, control and quality management.


Water Chemistry

Chemical equilibrium principles of acids-bases, dissolution-precipitation, oxidation-reduction, and complexation applied to understanding the chemistry of surface waters, groundwaters, and water and wastewater treatment. Course website.

Envirdes 553

Resource Policy & Planning

Examination of natural resource policy formation and the planning process at the local, state, and regional levels; the role of congress, the bureaucracy, and citizens' interest in policy formation; the interplay among forces of economics, technology, ecology, and design in the determination of policy goals and planning horizons.

EnvirSci 315

Principles of Env. Toxicology & Chem

Fundamental areas of environmental science presented in an integrated, interdisciplinary sequence: 1) environmental toxicology, 2) toxins in food and the environment, 3) environmental fate and degradation of toxicants.

EnvirSci 342

Pesticides, Env & Public Policy

Current issues associated with pesticide use; includes discussion of role of pesticides in agriculture, public health, and other related areas; fate of pesticides in the environment; and public perception of pesticides. Case studies examine benefits and risks of pesticide use; environmental cancer; and role of media and public interest groups in pesticide decisions. Alternatives to current heavy reliance on chemical technology in pest control. Current and pending federal, state, and local legislation.

EnvirSci 390A

Env Soil Science

Introduction to physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil with emphasis on environmental science and natural resource applications. Soil's natural role in biome structure, nutrient cycling, water purification, and carbon storage will be explored. Processes important to soil and groundwater pollution (subsurface movement, attenuation, and remediation) will be discussed. Special attention given to wetland soil processes and the identification of hydric soils in the landscape. Some out-of-class field exercises are required.

EnvirSci 397E

ST- Env. Micro.

Comprehensive treatment of how microorganisms interact with each other and with their environment. Microbial distribution and activities in natural systems, and their importance to ecosystem function and environmental quality. Topics include unusual habitats, habitat-specific forces, microbial transformations, species diversity, population turnover, associations with higher organisms, based on microbial ecology principles. The teaching of each basic principle followed by applied and environmental case studies. Modern techniques of environmental microbiology detailed.

EnvirSci 465

Principles of Env Site Assessment

Training in the ASTM method for detecting recognized indicators of petroleum and hazardous material contamination at properties of concern to local communities. Phase I and II techniques including record file research, site reconnaissance, and subsurface investigations. Information obtained on project sites assembled into Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Reports for submission to interested municipalities.



Special Topics


Aqueous Environmental Geochemistry

With lab. Chemical processes affecting the distribution and circulation of chemical compounds in natural waters. Geochemistry of precipitation, rivers, lakes, groundwater, and oceans; applications of thermodynamic equilibria to predicting composition of aqueous systems. Behavior of trace metals and radionuclides in near surface environments.


Organic Geochemistry Sem

Review and discussion of current literature in the field of organic geochemistry. Studies of related fields, such as analytical chemistry, environmental geochemistry, paleo-environmental reconstruction, paleoecology.


Sedimentary Geochemistry

With lab, field trip. Applications of geochemistry to the study of modern sedimentary environments and sedimentary rocks. Geochemistry of carbonates and evaporites. Use of stable isotopes in paleoenvironmental analysis. Oxidation-reduction processes and their significance for iron formations. Geochemical transformations during burial of sedimentary sequences and the formation of petroleum. Prerequisite: GEO-SCI 445 or equivalent; college chemistry recommended.


Glacial Geology

Origin and forms of glaciers; erosional and depositional processes and recognition of erosional and constructional landforms and depositional systems. Pleistocene history of New England, sea level, and isostasy. Field trips by arrangement.


Coastal Processes

Processes that govern the movement of sediment, the shaping of coastal landforms, and the geologic evolution of coastlines. Course topics include basic principles for water waves, tidal and estuarine processes, and the geomorphic development of beach and barrier systems.

GEO-SCI 560  


Earth surface processes and resulting landforms. Includes physical and chemical weathering, hillslope, fluvial, eolian, and coastal processes and their relationships to landforms. Field trips by arrangement. Prerequisites: at least 12 credits in geology, physical geography, or related fields; first-year courses in physics and chemistry recommended.


Natural Hazards

Natural hazards as interaction of extreme geophysical events and the spatial organization of human activities. Topics include earthquakes, floods, drought, landslides, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Policy and economic implications of hazards, risk assessment, hazard mapping. Some prior experience of scientific subjects recommended.


Advanced Hydrogeology

Advanced groundwater hydrology and contaminant hydrogeology. Includes the application of field techniques, analysis of field data, and use of analytical and numerical models in the investigation of groundwater problems. Introduction to Visual MODFLOW and other groundwater models, including development of conceptual models from geologic data, laying out grids handling boundaries, sources and sinks, transience, calibration and sensitivity.

NRC 260

Fish and Water Conservation

Overview of the biological, sociological, historical, and economic factors that influence the use and conservation of our nation's fisheries resources.

NRC 528

Forest & Wetland Hydrology

Hydrologic structure and function of forest, wetland, and agricultural ecosystems. Changes in water flow and quality associated with land and resource use. Management approaches to prevent or reverse adverse environmental impacts.


Global Change Ecology

As a species, humans have a remarkable footprint on global ecosystems. We change land cover, alter water and nutrient cycling, introduce non-native species, harvest natural resources, and change the global climate. This class will explore the impacts of these changes on a variety of ecosystems, as well as consider how natural resource management can improve ecological resistance and resilience to change.


Environmental Law

This course addresses how the federal government has responded to various environmental problems, examining a variety of regulatory approaches. The course explains the development of environmental regulation from its origin in the common law to our present system of complex environmental statutes, regulations and policies, and the agencies that implement them. It is a survey course that will provide a broad, practical understanding of federal environmental laws, focusing on: hazardous substances, air pollution, water rights and allocation, water pollution, natural resource management, biodiversity, environmental review, constitutional takings, and environmental justice. Through these selected topics, students will learn about environmental values that animate policy and legal decisions, and the people and resources they affect.


Land Use & Watershed Mgmt.

Covers the principles and processes that define and govern the interactions between activities on the land and conditions in streams, lakes, and estuaries. Examines the streamflow and water quality effects of specific land uses—forest management, agriculture, and urban development—as well as mixed uses and cumulative effects at the landscape scale.


Inorganic Cont. in Soil, Water & Sediment

Physical, chemical, and biological factors affecting the fate and transport of inorganic contaminants (including heavy metals) in soil, water and sediment. Sources, chemistry, pedogenic and geochemical behavior of these contaminants and methods used for their analysis. Risk assessment, and remediation technologies, options, and goals.


Contaminant Fate & Transport in Aqu. Syst

Contaminant fate and transport models provide a framework to understand the behavior of contaminants in the aquatic environment that provide answers to public health questions with respect to potential exposures to contaminants such as chemicals or microbial pathogens.


Risk Assessment & Mgmt.

This course provides an introduction to the field of multi-media (e.g. air, water, soil, food) environmental health risk assessment and how society incorporates risk assessment findings into regulations and policy.


Environ. Econ

Economics of environmental problems, including air, water, and land pollution. Emphasis on analyzing the individual incentive patterns that lead to pollution, and cost-effective regulatory structures that can reduce it. Includes domestic and international issues.


Environ. & Resource Econ.

Economics of environmental quality and natural resource management; theory of externalities, public goods, and resource extraction. Benefit-cost analyses of natural resource use and preservation of unique resources.