Study Water Resources at the University of Montana
Prepare for careers in water resource management. The water resources concentration of the environmental science and sustainability degree at UM offers unique opportunities to gain hands-on experience and interact with water managers to address complex environmental challenges.
This program takes you into the mountains, rivers, and valleys of western Montana to engage in field-based research and real-world learning that will help you stand out in the job market when you graduate. You’ll also have meaningful opportunities to work with our internationally-renowned, award-winning faculty members who are recognized for their outstanding teaching as well as their cutting-edge research in environmental science and sustainability.
of Franke College graduates are employed or in graduate school
concentrations to help build your expertise
acres of land managed for faculty and student research and learning
Other degree concentrations for environmental science and sustainability at UM
What can you do with an environmental science degree?
As an environmental science major, you’ll learn how to understand the world through science and discover ways that science and innovation can solve pressing environmental problems. With a concentration in water resources, you’ll be specially prepared for careers and graduate studies related to physical hydrology, stream restoration, aquatic ecology, water policy, and other aspects of water resource management and governance. Completing this concentration will also satisfy the education requirements for the Hydrology Series (1315) and Hydrologic Technician Series (1316) civil service qualifications.
Why employers choose UM environmental science and sustainability graduates
- Extensive hands-on, field-based training that develops practical job skills.
- Specialization through concentrations that address current and emerging issues.
- Coursework that is continually updated to include the latest science and the skills that employers require.
Environmental science jobs
Graduates of UM’s bachelor’s degree in environmental science and sustainability work for local, state, and federal agencies, as well as non-governmental and private organizations here in Montana and around the world. Water resources jobs include:
- Environmental consultant
- Water planner
- Watershed organization coordinator
- Stream restoration technician
- Conservation/Environmental NGO associate
- State legislature lobbyist for water issues
- Local utility water professional
- Water regulator
- Water rights specialist
- Water quality technician
Environmental science salary
According to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hydrologists earn an average of $81,270 per year nationally (in Montana, the average salary for this occupation is $74,680). ZipRecruiter reports that watershed management salaries in the United States average $59,324.
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Beyond the classroom: Experiential learning in the environmental science and sustainability degree program
Engage in real-world learning through class field trips, immersive field courses, study abroad programs, and summer jobs and internships.
From the shores of Flathead Lake to the forests of the Swan Valley, the environmental science and sustainability major at UM offers unique opportunities to take your studies outside the classroom to study the wild and working landscapes that protect our watersheds and biodiversity.
Field experiences in the water resources program
- Get hands-on experience with various stream, groundwater, and atmospheric measurements.
- Interact with agency water managers and get first-hand experience with a range of water use conflicts and dispute resolution processes.
- Attend and participate in legislative and administrative proceedings related to water resource management at the state level.
- Conduct independent research mentored by UM environmental science water resources faculty.
Water resource management internships
In the water resources concentration, you’ll get to learn from and work with agency water managers and scientists, water researchers from all disciplines, tribal water managers and scientists, and state regulators. Your faculty mentor will work with you to find internship opportunities that are a good match for your goals and interests. Find more resources to help with internships and jobs.
Study abroad opportunities in the environmental science and sustainability degree
Study water resources and conservation issues around the globe. When you major in environmental science and sustainability at UM, you’ll be eligible for Franke Sustainability Fellowships, which fund international research and education focused on sustainability. Learn more about study abroad opportunities at the University of Montana.
Career development in the environmental science and sustainability major
The environmental science and sustainability major is an outstanding opportunity to connect with others who share a passion for the natural world, and open the door to potential careers. Our track record says it all: 97% of Franke College of Forestry and Conservation alumni are employed or in graduate school.
Student organizations for environmental science majors
Make new friends and find new adventures through UM’s Outdoor Program, which offers skills classes and trips that take you around the globe. Other student organizations you may be interested in include:
- UM Society for Ecological Restoration
- American Fisheries Association
- Climate Response Club
- Fire Club
- Student Recreation Association
- Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
- UM Whitewater Club
- UM Ski Club
Environmental science and sustainability scholarships
Get help with tuition and other education costs. Majors in environmental science and sustainability qualify for Franke College of Forestry and Conservation scholarships, which complement other scholarships and financial aid opportunities awarded at UM.
Explore classes for the water resources concentration of the environmental science and sustainability degree
The water resources concentration of the degree in environmental science includes technical training in fundamental sciences such as physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology, as well as specialized training in hydrology, water management and soil science — balanced with classes focusing on the social and policy side of water use, allocation, conservation and water resources management.