The deadline for Fall 2024 Professional MS program has passed. It is not too late for the certificate program — a good way to see what the program is all about with minimum commitment. Certificate credit can be applied to a full Professional Master’s degree.

The Water Engineering & Management (WE&M) Professional Master’s Program provides early and mid-career professionals with skills in communication, leadership, management, utility finance and governance, specific to the water industry. This unique program is designed for working professionals.

WE&M provides the tools you need to produce results and solve increasingly complex problems in the water profession. Courses are taught by senior water professionals from across the country and delivered on campus with live-streamed or recorded options available, allowing working professionals from around the world to earn credentials while continuing to put the learning into practice in their work.

Students are early and mid-career professionals working for utilities, consulting firms, government and regulatory agencies, looking to advance their careers in the water industry. With faculty of senior water professionals from across the country, including those from utilities, consulting firms, and global professional organizations, students gain an opportunity to network and learn through real work case studies.

Specific course requirements for the Water Engineering & Management (WE&M) Professional Master’s Program are detailed below. 

Pre-requisites vary depending on the enrollment option above. Generally, it is expected that prospective students will have a Bachelor’s degree and an understanding of the water profession.

For acceptance into the Professional master’s of science degree, students must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, natural science, or mathematics from a college or university of recognized standing and an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better.

Students without an engineering degree will be considered on an individual basis but must have completed or successfully complete courses in math, statistics, chemistry, and fluid mechanics.

All deficiencies must be completed before a graduate degree is awarded. Additionally, four letters of recommendation from qualified referees and a statement of purpose describing your academic/career goals and interests is required as part of the application process.


For a master’s of science degree in Civil Engineering, with an emphasis in water engineering and management, students have the option of three plans. Plan I includes a written thesis, with reduced course work. Plans IIa and IIb focus on coursework, with an option of including up to 2 semesters of independent study for a report. A vast majority of PMP students use plans IIa and IIb.


  • Plan I (Thesis Option): This plan requires 24 hours of course credits and 6 hours of thesis credits. This is pursued under the direct supervision of a research advisor, and student must formally defend the thesis.
  • Plan IIa (Coursework Option): This plan requires 30 credits. Thirty credits can be obtained with 10, 3 hour-credit courses. This plan has a wider variety of coursework.
  • Plan IIb (Report Option): This plan requires 30 credits, but up to 6 hours of independent study may be included towards to 30-credit requirement. The independent study requires a report completed under the guidance of a faculty member.


Master's Courses



Environmental Engineering Core Courses



WEM Core Courses



Public Affairs (CU-Denver) Electives



Civil Engineering Electives



Thesis or Independent Study Report







Students enrolled in the professional MS program are required to take the following three three-credit (3) core courses:


  • CVEN 5564 Water Profession: Communication and Utility Finance: Develops and improves the skills and tools needed for graduate students and young professionals in the water profession. This course covers communication techniques and considerations with stakeholders, both internal and external to your organization. The second half of the course focuses on understanding utility finance such as: reading financial statements, financial planning, capital improvement plans, and rate setting.
  • CVEN 5574 Water Utility Management: Current Issues and Future Challenges: Develops the skills and tools for graduate students and young professionals to work in the water profession. Focuses on management, leadership, communication and utility finances in the new water profession era. The course focuses on using workshops to uncover future technology challenges, future regulatory challenges, and using leadership and communication to ensure ethics and governance in meeting current and future challenges.
  • CVEN 5584 Water Profession: Leadership and Management: Develops the skills and tools for graduate students and young professionals to work in the water profession. Focuses on Emotional Intelligence, leadership skills, management skills, and interpersonal communication skills useful to advance careers in the water profession.

The water Engineering and Management Program prides itself on delivering a “real-world” curriculum that students can immediately apply to their current water profession jobs. Graduates of the WE&M Program will be able to apply their knowledge of the water profession and its various subsectors, organizations, and working disciplines to:


  1. Describe the water profession and its impact in the world;
  2. Identify different types of water industry business models and organizations, explain their roles, general organizational structures, and key factors that drive their business success or failure;
  3. Articulate clearly how return on investment and stakeholder interests drive effective tactical and strategic business decisions, and explain how and why business decisions may differ from technical and functional decisions;
  4. Explain basic financial concepts, interpret key financial statements, and perform business unit or project level economic and financial analyses;
  5. Articulate the importance of process and project management, and explain the basic concepts and tools;
  6. Describe the role of the water professional in educating the public and other stakeholders about water issues;
  7. Work effectively in functionally and culturally diverse teams to achieve tangible, practical results;
  8. Recognize medium- and long-term career opportunities, identify career development processes and influencers, articulate personal success factors and challenges, and develop a personal career plan;
  9. Apply the highest ethical standards and best business practices at all times.

To correlate this learning to company (current or future) expectations, WE&M has developed a competency model comprised of four areas: Core Competencies, Business Acumen, Leading and Managing, and Water Industry Knowledge. Within each of these areas are several competencies that detail expectations of WE&M graduates.

This is designed to integrate the competency expectations of a new WE&M graduate into corporate career development or succession planning processes for Senior Manager levels. Prospective or current students can use this model to get manager approval to attend the PMP or Certificate Program. Many students also find this useful for supporting tuition reimbursement needs. See your current company policy regarding tuition reimbursement.

Download the Competency Model Here

WEP Core Competencies

If you need more information, please contact the Program Director Dick Kuchenrither.

Costs vary depending on whether you are a Colorado resident and how many credits you take each semester.  Visit this page for up-to-date information on tuition and fees.

Calvin FarrThis program has been extremely valuable to me. There are a number of challenges we have to tackle and this program has helped me maneuver through many of the gray areas utility leaders face today. As I lead Richmond’s Public Utilities, the program’s subject matter that still sticks with me is the importance of self-awareness, leadership and management perspectives, financial management and the impacts of rate setting, workforce development, balancing regulatory compliance pressures, and building a culture of collaboration, accountability, and high performance. I strongly recommend this program for all aspiring utility leaders.

Calvin Farr, Jr., PE, 2018 WE&M Graduate, Director of Public Utilities for Richmond, VA

This program turns every day engineering theory, data and calculations into tangible and practical activities and shared real life job experiences. In a few short weeks, you get to talk with and learn from water professionals with amazing backgrounds and water sector histories. You grow your network with these new colleagues and those you meet in class and remotely from across the country and sometimes even overseas. It is a very small investment of yourself that reaps incredible value add to your professional portfolio.

Karen L. Pallansch, WE&M Lecturer, CEO of Alexandria Renew Enterprises