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Master of Science in Water Resources Management

Programs Overview

The Water Resources Management Program (WRM) addresses sustainability and security challenges of the water sector in the GCC countries using an integrated management approach; an approach that considers the physical (quantity, quality) aspects, as well as social, economic, environmental, and governance aspects of the water management system. The Hydrogeology Program (HYG) addresses the engineering and technical aspects for sustainable management of conventional water resources in the GCC countries; it emphasizes groundwater resources quantitative and qualitative characterization, development, and protection. Both programs emphasize the application of modern decision support and technological tools, including simulation modeling, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, (RS), Database (DB) and Management Information System (MIS), in the assessment, development, management and planning of water resources.


The WRM and the HYG programs aspire to undertake their role as regional graduate programs in contributing to solving development issues faced by the GCC countries through innovation and effectiveness of its education and research programs and aspire to gain an international reputation and status as a center of excellence for water studies in arid regions.


The WRM program and the HYG program aim to be an exemplary regional Gulf program spreading the culture of knowledge and focusing on regional imperatives for the GCC countries in the field of water resources management, and to contribute meaningfully to the efforts of the GCC countries in achieving sustainable and efficient water resources management systems as an input to sustainable development in the region through education, applied research, and training.  

Program Objectives

Water Resources Management Program

  1. Advancement of specialists in water resources management and planning through Higher Diploma, Masters, and Ph.D. degree programs.
  2. Capacity building and enhancement of skills of those interested in the field of sustainable development and conservation of conventional and non-conventional water resources in arid regions through specialized training courses and making its regular courses available to GCC professionals under continuing education.
  3. Conducting research and collaborating with national, regional, and international institutes and organizations to solve the problems and constraints facing conservation and development of water resources in arid zones.

Hydrogeology Program

  1. Preparation of specialists in hydrogeology and groundwater resources management and planning through Higher Diploma and Master's Degree programs.
  2. Capacity building and enhancement of skills of the GCC professionals working in groundwater development and management through the provision of specialized short training courses and workshops, as well as making its regular courses available to GCC professionals under continuing education.
  3. Conducting research activities and collaborating with national, regional, and international research institutes, universities, and organizations to address the problems and constraints facing the development and management of groundwater in the region.

Learning Outcome

Water Resources Management Program

The program is designed to develop the professional capacity and research capability of water professionals in the GCC countries to be competent water resources managers who are:

  • Well-versed in the state-of-the-art methodologies of water resources assessment, development, management, and planning.
  • Familiar with the multi-disciplinary approach to water resources planning and management, and have enhanced knowledge in collecting, processing, and using water resources data for water resources planning and management.
  • Able to use modern technologies and applications, such as dynamic simulation of the water system, MIS, GIS, and RS, to improve their performance in terms of speed scope and depth of analysis to guide the planning and management of the water sector.

​Hydrogeology Program

The program is designed to graduate professionally competent groundwater resources personnel and managers who are:

  • Able to apply state-of-the-art methodologies and engineering principles in the assessment, development, management, and planning of renewable and nonrenewable groundwater resources.
  • Knowledgeable of the principles of integrated groundwater resources management and protection strategies and familiar with the multi-disciplinary nature of groundwater management, including social, economic, institutional, legislative, and political aspects that need to be taken into consideration when managing these resources and addressing critical issues such as abstraction rights and tariffs.
  • Able to use modern technological tools, including simulation modeling, GIS, RS, DB, and DSS in the assessment, development, management and planning of groundwater resources.

Program Outline

Students study a minimum of 28 credit hours inclusive of four credit hours for a diploma project to earn a Higher Diploma degree, and a minimum of 34 credit hours and prepare a master thesis equivalent to 8 credit hours for the Master's degree. Students can take up to 9 credit hours of specialized courses from other programs to serve his Master's thesis research upon the recommendation of the academic supervisor and approval of the NRE Department Council.  Students are expected to earn their degrees with one year for the Higher Diploma degree and two academic years for the Master's degree. Full-time students must register for a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester and a maximum of 12. In exceptional cases, the number of credit hours can be increased to 15 if added courses have a lab or fieldwork.

Furthermore, the Department of NRE offers a post-graduate "United Nations University Diploma in Integrated Water Resources Management." The professional diploma is conducted in a mixed-mode (face-to-face and distance learning) and lasts for one year. Applicants awarded the UNU IWRM Diploma with good standing can enter directly to the MSc. degree.

​Outline of Courses

NRE Core Courses

Course CodeCourse TitleCredit Hours
GS 500Islamic Culture0
GSTS 501Computer Applications0
GSTS 502English Language0
GSTS 510Scientific Writing1
GSTS 520Research Methods2


WRM & HYD Programs Specialized Courses

Course CodeCourse TitleCredit Hours
NRE 520Environmental Impact Assessment2
NRE 521Water Resources Development & Management in Arid Regions2
NRE 620Natural Resources and Environmental Economics2
NREWR 510Seminar1
NREWR 520Quantitative Analysis2
NREWR 530Design of Irrigation and Drainage Systems3
NREWR 531Water Resources Planning and Management3
NREWR 532Urban Water Management3
NREWR 533Management of Irrigation and Drainage Systems3
NREWR 534Water Quality Management3
NREWR 535Integrated Water Resources Management
NREWR 5*9/6*9Lab, field and case studies-
NREWR 540Diploma Project4
NREWR 680M.Sc. Thesis8
NREHG 520Integrated Groundwater Management2
NREHG 530Quantitative Hydrogeology3
NREHG 531Groundwater Flow and Transport Modeling3
NREHG 532Hydrochemistry and Groundwater Pollution3
NREHG 5*9/6*9Lab, field and case studies-
NREHG 540Diploma Project4
NREHG 680M.Sc. Thesis8


WRM & HYD Elective Courses         

Course CodeCourse TitleCredit Hours
GEOGR 531Geographic Information System3
GEOGR 532Remote Sensing3
GEOGR 521Geostatistics Analysis2
NREES 534Urban Environment Systems3
NREES 631Water, Environment, and Ecosystem3


Note: NREWR 5*9/6*9 and NREHG 5*9/6*9 Lab, Field, and Case Studies. The * represents from 1 to maximum 4 credit hours. It can be registered as NREWR 519 to NREWR 549, and NREWR 619 to NREWR 649. Similarly, for the NREHG.

​Method of Assessments

Summative and formative assessments evaluate students' learning and skills acquisition and academic achievement during the defined instructional period.

Admissions Requirements

WRM and HYD programs enroll graduates from the scientific fields of Engineering, Earth Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Environmental Sciences, and Environmental Management. Applicants from other disciplines can be considered if they have professional working experience in the water sector with scientific credentials or research backgrounds with the approval of the academic committee.

General Requirements

  • The applicant must be a citizen of one of the GCC countries. Applicants from other Arab countries, who are residents of any country, can apply and might be accepted in available positions.
  • Applicants from GCC countries should submit their nomination from Ministries of Education in his/her country. Citizens of other Arab countries, who are residents of any GCC country, can submit their applications directly to the admission office at AGU.
  • The applicant has to meet all the department's requirements and pass any tests and interviews that the academic program requires. Applicants must pass a medical exam and submit a certificate of decent behavior from a relevant authority in their country.

Academic Requirements

Diploma and MSc. degrees

Applicants must have obtained their undergraduate studies from an AGU recognized academic institution. The applicant's Grade Point Average (GPA) should be 2.0 or more on a scale of 4.0 or the equivalent of "good" to apply for a diploma degree. To apply directly to the MSc. program, the applicant must have a GPA of 3.0 or more on a scale of 4.0 or the equivalent of "very good." Obtaining a GPA is 3.0 or more in the WRM, and HYG Diploma degrees entitle students to enter the Master's degree. Applicants awarded the UNU IWRM Diploma with an 80% score can apply directly to the MSc.

​Graduation Requirements

  1. The general requirements for graduation are to complete a minimum of 28 credit hours for Diploma; and 34 credit hours course work and a Master's thesis.
  2. The equivalent of at least two semesters of full-time residency is required.

Program Faculty

  • Waleed K. Zubari, Professor of Water Resources
  • Alaa A. El-Sadek, Professor of Water Resources
  • Ahmed O. El-Kholei, Professor of Urban Planning
  • Sabah S. Al-Jenaid, Associate Professor of GIS and Environment
  • Abdelhadi A. Mohammed, Associate Professor of Water-Soil-Plant Relationships


  • NREHG 520 Integrated Groundwater Resources Management (2Cr) (220): Major issues and challenges for sustainable groundwater management in the GCC countries, Legislation, Stakeholder participation, economic and financial instruments, groundwater and climate change, information management and communication.
  • NREHG 530 Quantitative Hydrogeology (3Cr) (321): Hydrologic Cycle components and their quantitative calculation, Groundwater, Characterization of the groundwater system.
  • NREHG 531 Groundwater Flow and Contaminant Transport Modeling (3Cr) (321): Principles of groundwater hydrology, Groundwater flow modeling (analytical and numerical), initial and boundary conditions, representation of sources/sinks, sources of groundwater pollution, attenuation mechanism, modeling of contaminant transport in groundwater.
  • NREHG 532 Hydrochemistry and Groundwater Pollution (3Cr) (321): Water chemistry, physical and chemical properties of water, water use standards, sources and types of groundwater pollution, data collection methods, graphical representation of water variables and its application in the identification of pollution sources, attenuation mechanisms of pollutants transport in groundwater and the unsaturated zone, analytical solutions for simulation pollutants transports in groundwater, seawater intrusion, design of quality monitoring networks and data collection strategies, remediation techniques.
  • NREWR 5*9 Lab, Field, and Case Studies (* = 1 to 4Cr): Students may work on specific environmental problems/issues of particular interest to him/her, or in a specific field not covered by existing courses.
  • NREWR 510 Seminar (1Cr) (110): A student may research or investigate a topic and exchange results with other students through the presentations, reports, and discussions under the supervision of a faculty member.
  • NREWR 520 Environmental Impact Assessment (2Cr) (211): Overview of EIA, legal and institutional arrangements, public participation, screening, scoping, impact analysis, mitigation and impact assessment, reporting, review of EIA quality, decision-making, implementation, and follow-up. 
  • NREWR 521 Project Management (2Cr) (211): framework, quantitative methods, scope, time, cost, and quality; human resources, communication, risk, procurement, integration, and professional responsibility.
  • NREWR 530 Design of Irrigation and Drainage Systems (3Cr) (321): Design and implementation of irrigation schemes, Application of operation and management models for irrigation water management, optimization of productivity, and environmental protection, Design of horizontal and vertical drainage and water collection systems.
  • NREWR 531 Water Resources Planning and Management (3Cr) (321): Water Resources Systems Analysis, planning concepts within the framework of IWRM, Consideration of social, economic, financial, and environmental aspects, the planning process, situation analysis and modeling, Decision Support Systems.
  • NREWR 532 Urban Water Management (3Cr) (320): Urbanization, water-related MDGs; urban water supply and wastewater systems; WSS and health; Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM); urban water demands analyses, modeling, and management; artificial recharge of groundwater using urban treated wastewater; application of management models for the urban water system.
  • NREWR 533 Management of Irrigation and Drainage Systems (3Cr) (321): plant-soil-water relation under arid environment, Analytical and empirical methods for estimating soil moisture distribution under unsaturated and saturated zones, Integrated irrigation demand management measures, Simulation modeling, management of subsurface drainage system, Drainage water impact on the public health and the environment and monitoring measures. Reuse of drainage water in the irrigation sector, Stakeholder participation in the management of drainage system, Operation, and management of drainage systems through the application of drainage models.
  • NREWR 534 Water Quality Management (3Cr) (321): Types and sources of pollution; Physical/chemical and biological/bacteriological water characteristics and physicochemical processes; monitoring; measurement methods and data quality assurance represent; Water legislation; Risk assessment of anthropogenic pressures and impacts; Water quality monitoring; Water cleanup and treatment; Pollution risk assessment, monitoring strategy, Integrated basin management concepts; modeling water quality.
  • NREWR 535 Integrated Water Resources Management (3Cr) (321): Introduction to IWRM; water transfer; terrestrial ecosystem; aquatic ecosystem; aquatic ecosystem health and impact assessment; water use; wastewater; governance and community-based approach; organizational infrastructure and management; applying IWRM principles.   
  • NREWR 6*9 Lab, Field, and Case Studies (* = 1 to 4Cr): Students may work on specific environmental problems/issues of particular interest to him/her, or in a specific field not covered by existing courses.
  • NREWR 680 Master Thesis (8Cr):  A student is expected to spend a total of 128 hours engaged in specified learning and assessment activities in the field of water resources. By the end of work, the student is expected to present a thesis that reflects a thorough understanding and analysis of the chosen topic using scientific methodologies.