Water Resources Center
Water Resources Science Graduate Program

The University of Minnesota Water Resources Center (WRC) administers the WRS Graduate Program. The Water Resources Center is affiliated with the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and University of Minnesota Extension.

WRS Application & Admission


Thank you for your interest in the Water Resources Science (WRS) graduate program. Please note: All materials, including transcripts, must be submitted electronically through the ApplyYourself application system. Admission decisions are communicated to applicants using this system.

Please indicate on your application if you would like to be considered for the Twin Cities, Duluth, or both campuses.


  • A bachelor's degree in a physical, chemical, biological or environmental science or engineering program is preferred.
  • A grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is preferred.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are needed for admission. When taking the GRE use University of Minnesota institution code R6874. No department code is needed.
  • Students whose native language is not English are usually required to submit scores from one of the following English proficiency examinations: TOEFL – 550 paper based or 79 internet based; IELTS – 6.5; MELAB – 80.

Additional Recommended Experience

  • At least two courses each in calculus, chemistry, and physics, and one course in the biological sciences.
  • Computer-literacy (i.e. knowledge of basic computing skills)
  • Competency in statistics (often a 5000-level statistics course is taken as a supporting program course)
  • Stronger preparation in certain subjects is expected for students intending to focus in some areas of the program. For example, students wishing to focus on quantitative hydrology should have a math background that includes differential equations.
The academic background of entering students is reviewed by a faculty admissions committee and the Director of Graduate Studies, who may recommend additional coursework for students deemed admissible but having deficiencies in specific subjects. Students who do not have a master's degree in a related subject are admitted to the M.S. program first, even if their long-term goal is a Ph.D. degree.

Acceptance to the program is based on a competitive weighing of credentials in conjunction with an available advisor and funding. Because individual faculty make the final selection of their graduate students, we strongly encourage that you communicate directly with those faculty members whose research interests match your own.  We admit an applicant only if a faculty member has agreed to advise that individual ahead of time.  This means that sometimes very strong applicants are denied admission simply because there isn't a match with a faculty advisor who has an opening for a new graduate student. Some faculty are agreeable to advise an unfunded student on an M.S. Plan B project. Applicants are encouraged to contact WRS faculty prior to applying.

Application Process


December 15 is the application deadline for fullest consideration for fellowships and graduate assistantships for the following fall semester. Please note that in general we admit graduate students for fall semester. Occasionally, applicants are considered for spring semester.


All application materials must be submitted directly to the ApplyYourself admissions system. We cannot review your application until all of the required materials listed below are submitted successfully.

REQUIRED: Submission of the following indicates a complete application file


Where to submit:

How to submit:


Electronically via ApplyYourself

Required fields:

Personal Information, Application Information, Educational Background, Languages, Awards & Activities, Employment/Residence Information, Financial Support, Applicant Statement #1 - Personal Statement & #2 - Diversity Statement, and recommendations.

In your Personal Statement, include your general and specific research interests, career goals, faculty you are interested in working with, and identify faculty you have been in contact with.

Click here to access the online application instructions.

Application Fee

Electronically via ApplyYourself

Click here for more information about fees.


Electronically via ApplyYourself

Unofficial transcripts or academic records should be uploaded directly to the online application. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. Please do not mail in paper copies of your transcripts, there is no need for official transcripts or academic records for initial review.

If you are admitted, the University will then request official copies of this material.

Click here for more information about transcripts and credentials.

GRE Scores

Electronically via ApplyYourself

When taking the GRE exam by computer, use code 6874 for the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. No department code is needed. Our program does not require any GRE Subject Tests. If you already have your scores, send a copy of them electronically to wrs@umn.edu. Unofficial copies will be accepted for initial review; however, official copies must still be sent to the Graduate School.

Click here for more information about the GRE.

3 Letters of

Electronically via ApplyYourself

Acceptable recommendations will come from current or former professors who can assess your potential for graduate work. Other recommenders, such as employers, are also acceptable. Paper copies are not accepted.
Recommenders should address the following points:

  • Your academic aptitude and past record;
  • The capacity in which they know you -- as teacher, research advisor, work supervisor, etc.
  • Their prognosis for your ability to succeed in graduate-level coursework and research.

Resume or CV

Electronically via ApplyYourself

List your research projects, teaching positions you have held, courses you have taught and their level, publications, reports, presentations, and relevant awards or honors.

Additional Information for WRS Assistantships

Electronically via ApplyYourself

Click here to complete Additional Information for Water Resources Assistantships (.docx) form and upload it to the Graduate Program Additional Application in the Program Supplementary Information section in ApplyYourself.

English Language test scores
(TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)
Electronically via ApplyYourselfClick here for more information about TOEFL Scores.

WRS does not require document uploads for the Writing Sample, Description of Research/Work Experience or Other Credentials. If you have any additional questions, please contact:

Toni Wheeler
WRS Coordinator
Phone: (612) 624-7456
E-mail: wrs@umn.edu