Sustainable Water Development

Sustainable Water Development 

A new generation of water professionals that are developing sustainable water solutions for communities most in need.

Food, water, and energy resources and the way they are used are central to the challenge of improving outcomes across the world. The NEW Sustainable Water Development program, based in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Iowa, is open to all undergraduate STEM majors who are motivated to create water sustainability for all.  Food, energy, and water resources will be a great challenge for all, but will face the largest barriers in resource-constrained communities. The Sustainable Water Development Graduate Program will train graduates to solve these specific problems for these specific communities

This program offers a Master of Science (MS) in two years and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in four years. All of our graduate SWD students work closely with faculty on research related to climate change, resource recovery, sustainable technology, global cycles, and ecosystem structure. 

Career Pathwa​ys

A unique part of this new program is the focus places on career training.  While there are several areas of interest, students generally navigate towards one of four career pathways - professional engineers, researchers, educators, and entrepreneurs. Training for these pathways include individualized coursework, research opportunities, and internships that are tailored toward each students career goals.  

Examples of each pathway are:


Coursework for this program is modern and interdisciplinary.  A cross section of coursework will be completed by students in policy, economics, ecology, and informatics, with an emphasis on development (technical communication, cultural competency, community engagement, and more). 

CEE:5410—Politics and Economics of the Food, Energy, Water Nexus Focuses on the relationships between food, energy, and water (feW) resources, while helping students understand current and future political and economic frameworks that will shape the feW nexus Instructors: Dave Cwiertny and Gabriele Villarini
CEE:4210—Foundations of Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology Explores the chemical and microbial processes responsible for converting biomass to liquid fuels, recovering resources from wastewater, removing pollutants from drinking water sources, controlling pollution from agribusiness, and treating industrial process waters Instructor: Greg Lefevre
CEE:5380—Fluid Flow in Natural Systems Covers the basic principles of water and sediment transport, with an emphasis on the physics of free-surface flow and understanding the concepts of controls, transitions, and gradually- and spatially-varied flow Instructor: Corey Markfort
CEE:5XXX—Watershed Ecology and Management Provides an introduction to the key concepts of ecohydraulics and gives an overview of existing watershed modeling techniques and water-quality issues in the agricultural Midwest Instructor: Antonio Arenas Amado
CEE:5XXX—Systems-level Environmental Informatics Deals with development of software systems for the acquisition, analysis, interpretation, visualization, and dissemination of environmental data observed by remote and in-situ sensors and instruments Instructor: Ibrahim Demir
CEE:6225—Communicating Science   Instructor: Michelle Scherer
CEE:5XXX—Capstone Project-Based Community Engagement Course    Instructor: Craig Just


Interesting in learning more? 

Visit our website: Sustainable Water Development website
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