River Studies & Leadership Certificate

Program Overview

We are excited to offer the River Studies and Leadership Certificate (RSLC) in partnership with the River Management Society. The River Studies and Leadership Certificate requirements include the completion of river-focused coursework and a river-related professional project to provide the foundation of knowledge, skills and experience in river-based science, policy, conservation, education, and recreation for undergraduate students who aspire to be river professionals. As an RSLC student, you will work with restoration-focused faculty and professionals to gain the skills needed to address the challenges facing our nation's rivers.

How to Apply

The River Studies & Leadership Certificate is awarded through River Management Society. This certificate is something you can highlight on your résumé, and it will not appear on your USU transcript as a credential. Because of this, to apply you must:

  1. Set up a meeting with USU’s RSLC Advisor, Dominique Shore, dominique.shore@usu.edu
  2. Complete RMS's application form or fill the form out in your meeting with Dominique

Program Requirements

The River Studies and Leadership Certificate (RSLC) is an interdisciplinary program requiring a total of 6 courses. The core curriculum includes a course in river science, geographic information systems (GIS), policy and river field experience. You will choose an emphasis in one of three areas: river science, river-based policy, or river-based education, recreation and tourism. RSLC students demonstrate “real-world” application of their knowledge and skills through professional experience or an internship with a river project. The River Studies and Leadership Certificate program is structured as follows:

Core Courses (4 courses)

Geographic Information Systems (1 course)

  • GEOG 2800: Introduction to Geographic Information Sciences -OR-
  • WATS 4930: Advanced GIS and Spatial Analysis

River Science (1 course)

  • WATS 3700: Fundamentals of Watershed Science -OR-
  • WATS 3100: Fish Diversity and Conservation & WATS 3110: Fish Diversity and Conservation Lab

River Policy (1 course)

  • ENVS 3010: Fundamentals of Natural Resource and Environmental Policy -OR-
  • APEC 3012: Introduction to Natural Resources and Regional Economics

Swiftwater Rescue

USU Outdoor Programs offers Swiftwater Rescue (SRT-1) in partnership with the Swiftwater Safety Institute. This course can be can be taken for credit (PE 1507 - Swiftwater Safety), but taking the course for credit is not required for the River Studies & Leadership Certificate.

Emphasis Courses (2 courses)

Students must take at least two courses from ONE of the following emphasis areas.

  • WATS 3600 - Geomorphology
  • WATS 4110 - Biogeochemistry: Tracking Environmental Processes and Change
  • WATS 4490 - Small Watershed Hydrology
  • WATS 5200 - Fish Habitats
  • WATS 5550 - Freshwater Invertebrates
  • ENVS 4000 - Human Dimensions in Natural Resource Management
  • WATS 4530 - Water Quality and Pollution
  • WATS 4650 - Principles of Fishery Management
  • WATS 5300 - Principles of Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration
  • WATS 5340 - Management and Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems Capstone I
  • WATS 5350 - Management and Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems Capstone II
  • ENVS 2340 - Natural Resources and Society
  • ENVS 3300 - Fundamentals of Recreation Resources Management
  • ENVS 4130 - Recreation Policy & Planning
  • ENVS 4500 - Wildland Recreation Behavior
  • ENVS 4600 - Natural Resource Interpretation
  • ENVS 4700 - Communicating Sustainability

Professional Experience Requirement

In order to enable students to become effective leaders and river professionals, one of the requirements of the River Studies and Leadership Certificate is that “learning must be applied in a professional context”.  This requirement may be met through a credit-earning internship, paid internship, paid professional experience, independent study or course-related professional experience.  The experience must encompass a minimum of 90 hours of work (or 2 credit-hours) and will be reviewed and approved by the River Studies and Leadership Certificate Committee to certify the adequacy of the experience for the professional experience program requirement.  Students with relevant, recent professional or internship experience may request that those experiences be used to fulfill this requirement.

Students are required to either present aspects of their work at an RMS Symposium or sponsored conference, or write and article for the RMS Journal about their experiences

Contact Information
Program Coordinator: Dominique Shore
Department Head: Patrick Belmont
Location: BNR169
Email: dominique.shore@usu.edu
Link to River Management Society