About the Certificate

The Certificate in Water Conflict Management and Transformation


Contact Information

Lynette de Silva, Program Co-Director
Program in Water Conflict Management and Transformation
Oregon State University
College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
104 Wilkinson Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331
E-mail: [email protected]

The Certificate Program in Water Conflict Management and Transformation was established in fall 2008, and in spring 2010, we began offering a minor. To date, over one hundred students have graduated with the certificate, and two students have earned a minor in Water Conflict Management and Transformation. The Certificate Program is open and developed for students and water resources professionals alike. 

In fact, to be awarded a certificate or a minor requires the same number of credits (18 credits), however the guidelines differ slightly. Only those working towards an advanced degree can earn a minor, while all candidates can earn a certificate. And of course, in the case of the certificate, one actually does receive a certificate to hang on the wall!

Besides the traditional on campus classes, students can work towards the certificate online, as a stand-alone graduate credential. Those taking online classes do so through OSU-Extended Campus Program, which offers part-time, evening, and weekend professional non-residents, the opportunity to participate in the certificate program while continuing with their careers and family commitments.

Hoping to positively impact the environment, the ecosystem and our lives, students and professional come to this program from all walks of life.  And after graduating, employment destinations have included: Water For People (Rwanda); Tribal foundations (Idaho); promotions within the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Oregon); and public and private mediation services (Colorado and Oregon, respectively).

The certificate program invites instructors, students, and professionals from across the state, the country and internationally to participate in case-based, interactive course and fieldwork in a multicultural and multidisciplinary learning environment. This 18-credit graduate certificate provides in-depth skills-building training to enhance personal and institutional capacity in water governance issues and strategies across distinct and overlapping contexts: Water Governance, Water and Ecosystems, Water and Society, and Water and Economics (Figure 1).

Venn diagram showing how Water & Society, Water & Economics, and Water & Ecosystems comprise Water Governance
Figure 1: Overall programmatic framework

A highlight of the certificate program is a capstone course (Water Conflict Management and Transformation) coupled with an intersession practicum working with watershed councils, landowners, and agencies in Northeast Oregon; and a guided and critiqued project in which two teams take on, for example, the roles of Jordan and Israel to negotiate a treaty for water resource allocation in a simulated water negotiation. These techniques will hone student skills, understanding and thought development. Students will also take part in fieldwork in a watershed or basin at risk of, or in, water conflict. Read about the 2007 practicum, in the article entitled "Outside looking in: OSU students get a taste of community-based restoration in the Grande Ronde Watershed."

It is expected that candidates entering the certificate program will already have a Bachelor's Degree and will enroll in the university, either into a graduate degree program or into the certificate program. All the courses listed in the certificate program are offered at OSU, and some are offered as online courses through OSU Extended Campus. As such, distant students also have an opportunity to successfully complete the entire program online.

See the Curriculum for the Certificate in Water Conflict Management and Transformation.

For admissions to the program, additional information can be found on the Admission Requirements page.

Last Updated: March 11, 2015