Master of Water Security

The Master of Water Security is a joint initiative between GIWS and the School of Environment and Sustainability. The program is the first of its kind in North America.

The MWS is a cross-disciplinary, project-based and professional-style program that is completed in 12 months of full time study. Graduates are prepared to address complex water problems, with training in science, engineering and policy analysis enabling them to investigate water security issues of regional, national and international significance. Graduates are ready to pursue careers as water scientists, managers and policy-makers with the necessary expertise needed to tackle the complex and multidisciplinary water problems facing us now, and in the future.

To learn more about the program and to apply, visit the Graduate Students program website.

NSERC CREATE for Water Security

Interdisciplinary graduate training in water security is a new initiative funded through NSERC's Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Program. The NSERC CREATE for Water Security is designed to provide exceptional graduate students and postdoctoral researchers with an opportunity to learn and understand the integration of science, engineering and policy analysis to address current and future challenges in managing complex and uncertain water systems. Our research and training model expands interactions across disciplines without diluting disciplinary credentials, blurs the line between research and practice and builds personal and professional skills.

The CREATE for Water Security provides students with access to additional training and networking opportunities through short-courses, internships, and professional development courses. Students studying with affiliated CREATE for Water Security researchers are eligible to apply and receive scholarships to become a CREATE for Water Security scholar.

For more information, visit the CREATE website.


The University of Saskatchewan offers many courses that help students examine water-related topics from a variety of research angles. The following is a listing of water-related courses that apply to the work of the Global Institute for Water Security.

Please note: For an official listing of available courses individuals should refer to the University Course Calendar. For course specific questions, contact the academic department listed.

Seminar that investigates the latest in water security research nationally and internationally. Developing awareness and understanding for major concepts in water security and helping students understand what constitutes world class research.

The course is part of our annual Breakthroughs in Lecture Series that is open to the public and feature a different international water research expert each week. Seminars are streamed live and are also archived to our GIWS YouTube Channel.

This course will explore issues related to water resource sustainability from physical, chemical, biological, socio-economic and technological perspectives. Current threats to water resources in terms of water availability, water quality, and ecosystem services will be examined, and evolving methods to manage water resources more sustainably will be discussed.

Current issues in land reclamation and remediation are examined. The impact of human activity in a variety of environments is examined and strategies for reclamation and remediation are investigated. Biophysical factors are the emphasis of the course, however the context of social and economic issues are incorporated.

This course provides graduate students with a set of modelling skills to solve a range of water-related environmental problems. The models help us to think through physical processes and interpret observations. Students will learn to critically assess modelling studies as will be needed throughout their careers.

This course will teach students the fundamentals of biophysical science as applied in riverine settings. It will begin by examining physical and biological processes that naturally occur in rivers, then layer on top of that understanding the influence of climatic variables (ice and evaporation) and human influences (river channel modification and contaminant loading).

This course exposes students to the management of water resources in cold regions, both through western science and Traditional knowledge. It focuses on the following components of the hydrological cycle: river ice, snow and permafrost. Real exampes from consulting services will also be included as in-class activities.

This course will help the student develop a fundamental understanding of the climate system, and the potential environmental and social consequences of climate change. Students will also gain a broad knowledge of climate change, climate change impacts in the water cycle, arctic hydrology and how it is related to sea level rising.

This course is an introduction to the principles of stable isotope chemistry as applied to environmental research in the hydrosphere and biosphere, focusing on the use of stable isotope investigative tools in a variety of ecological situations.

This course will focus on developing an understanding of natural resource and environmental challenges using economic theory. A series of natural resource and environmental issues will be studied with existing and proposed policy measures analyzed using an economic framework.

This course will explore issues related to water resource sustainability from physical, chemical, biological, socio-economic and technological perspectives. Current threats to water resources in terms of water availability, water quality, and ecosystem services will be examined, and evolving methods to manage water resources more sustainably will be discussed.

This course will provide an understanding of the processes that control the movement of chemical contaminants in the environment. Local and global methods for chemical regulation/management will be addressed in the context of society and economics. The use of modeling to predict the environmental fate/effects of contaminants will be presented.

Builds on the concepts studied in CE 225 Fluid Mechanics. Introduces the concepts of potential flow, dimensional analysis, boundary layer development, incompressible flow in pressure conduits, flow past objects, steady flow in open channels and hydraulic transients.

Basic hydrological processes such as precipitation, evapotranspiration, runoff, infiltration, interception, and depression storage are introduced. Engineering applications such as streamflow and storm hydrographs, flood routing, hydrologic analyses and design, and watershed simulation are covered.

Fundamental topics in the discipline of sanitary/environmental engineering are introduced. Topics include the design of municipal water distribution and wastewater collection systems; an introduction to water chemistry and water quality assessment; and design of physical and chemical treatment processes as they apply to water and wastewater treatment. A brief overview of storm water collection systems is also presented.

This course introduces additional topics in the discipline of sanitary/environmental engineering. It builds upon previously introduced principles of chemistry, fluid mechanics and fundamentals of sanitary/environmental engineering. Topics covered include design of lime soda ash softening in drinking water treatment; design of biological wastewater treatment systems; and sludge and residual solids management in water and wastewater treatment. An introduction to tertiary wastewater treatment and wastewater disposal issues is also presented.

A design course in which the basics of fluid mechanics (hydrostatics, continuity, energy and momentum) are applied to hydraulic design. The concrete gravity dam and spillway structures are used to introduce the basic aspects of hydraulic structure design with respect to forces and hydraulic analysis, including the important topic of energy dissipation. Other structures, such as those used for flood control, irrigation, hydropower, navigation, water supply, land and highway drainage, wildfowl habitat preservation, and water-based recreation, are also considered.

This course builds on and supplements various aspects of other hydrotechnical courses, especially those related to hydrology. The course focuses on three major parts of water resources engineering practice. Part I deals with watershed analysis and simulation, including use of state-of-the art software, and the effects of urbanization on watershed runoff, including the design of street drainage systems and detention ponds. It also covers determination of peak discharges for hydrologic design. Part II deals with water use and its associated analysis, including irrigation, drought management and hydropower. Part III deals with water excess management and flood damage mitigation. Several aspects of the course include consideration of economics as a decision-making tool, notably those aspects dealing with drought and flood management.

Water quality aspects of rivers and lakes and implications of waste water input are discussed. Topics include surface water quality parameters, point and non point source input characteristics, water quality measurements, mixing and self-purification processes, water quality modelling methods.

Consists of two major parts; the first one focuses on modelling hydrologic processes and prediction of hydrologic events using artificial neural networks (ANNs). The second part of the course focuses on presenting the concept of system dynamics and its applications in the field of hydrologic modelling. Case studies of watershed modelling, water balance, and environmental analysis will be discussed within an object-oriented simulation environment. Although environment and water resources-related applications will be dominant, the scope of the methodologies and models introduced during the course will be broad enough to benefit other students from different disciplines across campus.

Analysis, design and control of channels, canals, and rivers, with erodible boundaries. Topics include initiation of sediment movement, transport processes, sediment transport equations, scour and deposition. Regime Theory for canals and rivers, other river development equations, channel roughness, control of rivers and effects of these controls, movable bed models. Term papers on a topic chosen by the student may be required.

Aquifer characterization; Mapping flow in regional systems; Groundwater in the hydrologic cycle; Principles of hydraulic testing; Groundwater as a resource; Stress, strain and pore fluids; Heat transport in groundwater systems.

Ordinary and partial differential equations as they relate to chemical engineering processes. Laplace transforms for ordinary differential equations. Analytic and numerical solutions to partial differential equations. An emphasis will be placed on the development of mathematical models for chemical engineering systems.

Designed to provide students with fundamental information regarding air and water pollution problems. Procedures for the design of air pollution control systems and wastewater treatment plants are covered. Regulation and legislation associated with air and water pollutions are discussed.

An introduction to the principles and practice of sampling and analysis of soils and related environmental materials. This course involves hands-on exercises on field soil and sediment sampling, sample handling, basic laboratory techniques and safety, selected laboratory analyses relevant to environmental science, and basic statistical analysis of data. For this course there will be costs in addition to tuition fees.

Essential physical concepts and processes (transport and storage of matter and energy) in the environment are introduced through applications and case-studies. Case studies include water cycles, natural and human-induced climate change, and the impact of human activity (industrial and agricultural) on the environment. Practicums are in the form of tutorials. Students will develop the essential ability to solve practical environmental problems through this course.

Focuses on soils as an integrator of a broad range of environmental processes and as a critical component in human induced environmental change. Major topics include the influence of the environment on soil formation and the physical, chemical, and microbial/biochemical soil processes of relevance to environmental science.

Contaminant transport; regional groundwater flow; petroleum hydrogeology; fluid migration in basins; surface-water groundwater interaction; introduction to groundwater modelling.

The geographic distribution of hydrologic processes in Canada is examined. The types of processes and their rates of operation are related to regional physical environments.

An examination of the elements of weather and climate including the composition and thermal structure of the atmosphere; radiation and energy balances; global circulation; air masses; fronts and atmospheric disturbances; and climates of the world.

Earth Processes and Natural Hazards: A Canadian Perspective. This interdisciplinary course explores the earth and atmospheric processes that are responsible for landform development and natural hazards, the regions in Canada most susceptible to natural disasters, and current developments in hazard forecasting and monitoring techniques. Students will explore through case studies the impacts of natural disasters on Canadian landscapes and people. Lastly, the course explores ways to lessen the impacts of natural disasters through risk perception, assessment, and preparedness, and mitigation strategies.

Processes responsible for the spatial variability of available water resources are introduced and investigated analytically. Topics covered will provide an explanation of the pattern of precipitation, evaporation, infiltration, snowmelt and stream flow.

Groundwater is the largest source of readily accessible freshwater. This course provides a rigorous understanding of subsurface hydrological processes and covers fundamentals of subsurface flow and transport, emphasizing the role of groundwater and soil water in the hydrological cycle, and groundwater-surface water interactions.

Examines the role of continental and alpine glaciation in shaping Canadian landscapes throughout the Quaternary period. Topics include glaciology and glacier flow, glacial processes and landforms, Milankovitch cycles and Quaternary ice sheet dynamics in North America, and glacio-eustasy and glacio-isostasy.

Examines the physical principles governing hydrological processes. Topics covered include precipitation, interception, snow accumulation, snowmelt, evaporation, infiltration, groundwater movement, flood and drought frequency analysis and stream flow. Lectures and tutorials with hydrology instrumentation will be supplemented by problem solving assignments and an essay.

This course presents the quantitative relationships that encapsulate our understanding of hydrological processes most relevant to western and northern Canada. Three principal themes are explored: (1) the physical concepts and major conceptual and practical challenges in hydrology; (2) surface-atmosphere water and energy exchange; and (3) water movement over the landscape.

A seminar course designed to explore recent developments in hydrology. Topics to be covered at the discretion of the instructor.

An overview of geochemical theory and problem-solving techniques used by Earth Scientists to elucidate Earth system processes. Topics of discussion will include the origin of elements, stable and radiogenic isotopes, geochronology, thermodynamics, trace element partitioning in mineral fluid systems, weathering and aqueous geochemistry.

Explores the record of climate variations preserved in recent earth materials, and the influence of these variations on contemporary societies. The focus will be on extreme periods, e.g., Pleistocene deglaciation, the Younger Dryas, 8.2ka event, Piorra Oscillation, Roman Warm Period, Dark Ages, Medieval Optimum, Little Ice Age, and 20th century warming.

An overview of theory and applications of stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry including the use of isotopes as geotracers, geochronometers and geothermometers.

Will ask whether contemporary water systems embody principles that will allow them to adapt and function in a changing climate, a rapidly evolving economy, a changing settlement system, and new lifestyles. The format will include lectures, class discussion, jigsaw readings in which students read separate material and then teach content to peers, guest lecturers, documentaries, and Web-based content. Students will develop a collaborative, interdisciplinary framework for evaluating sustainable water governance. Each student will use this framework to evaluate climate adaptation policy in the water sector in a major world city.

This seminar will offer students an overview of the fundamentals of Canadian water law as well as a brief outline of the intersection of international and domestic legal water regimes. The first half of the course will explore freshwater quality and quantity problems in Canada and provide students with an understanding of the context and legal framework of Canadian water governance regimes that play out at municipal, provincial and federal levels, including Nunavut and the territories and on the international level. The second half of the seminar will be structured around student presentations of their research papers in progress. Students’ research topics will be selected based on individual student interests in consultation with the instructor. The instructor will provide background readings to the class to support the presentation section of the course.

Combines theoretical and experimental elements aimed at providing understanding of the fundamental soil physical properties and processes, as well as the ability to solve practical problems related to agricultural and environmental problems. Topics include a discussion of the solid, liquid, and gaseous phases of the soil and the interactions between the phases, the movement of water, chemicals, air, and heat in soils, and the effects of these on plant growth and the environment. The laboratory involves the measurement of selected properties and their interpretation.

Introduction to the ecology of lakes. The biological, chemical and physical properties of lakes are examined at lake and watershed levels. Theoretical and applied topics, including human impacts (e.g., eutrophication, climate change, ultraviolet radiation, contaminants, and angling) are examined. Laboratories and field trips provide training in limnological techniques.

The biology of fishes including their morphological diversity, physiology, behaviour and ecology, and their management and utilization.

Identification of aquatic insects, discussions of current literature, field trips, collections, and laboratory work.

An introduction to the principles of ecological toxicology, including: population modeling, experimental design and interpretation of field studies, and contaminant impact assessment on populations, communities and ecosystems. Computer laboratory exercises will be used to model populations and ecosystems and analyze changes in populations and communities resulting from contaminant impacts.

A review of current ecological and environmental topics concerning inland waters.

Sustainable irrigation projects require management of irrigation water for profitable crop production without negatively altering the soil or depleting the source water resource. Water management topics discussed pertain to irrigation in the western Canadian prairie setting. Techniques of applying irrigation water to the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum to increase productivity and profitability are evaluated. Examples range from totally enclosed environments of greenhouses to the extra water in addition to natural precipitation of field crops. An appreciation is developed that irrigation projects increase regional growth and prosperity while operating within the bounds of societal control and regulation. Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to organize sustainable irrigation projects, choose the irrigation equipment required and recommend how to operate it.

Engineering and hydrologic principles are applied to design of modern irrigation and drainage systems. Soil-plant-water relationships important to understanding water needs are emphasized.

Land degradation and associated management practices within land bioresource systems are studied. Emphasis is placed upon prairie agricultural systems, with examples within other systems (e.g. forestry, wetlands) also considered. Major topics include wind and water erosion, soil compaction, soil carbon change, acidification, sodic soils, salinization, and desertification.

Will present a comprehensive overview of the technical aspects of predicting, monitoring, and evaluating the effects of toxic substances in aquatic systems. The class will cover levels of organization from sub-cellular to ecosystem. It is designed as an in-depth coverage of Aquatic Toxicology for students pursuing graduate degrees in the aquatic sciences. Students will be exposed to materials which will be useful in setting exposure standards and assessing hazards to aquatic ecosystems due to point or non-point releases of toxic substances.

Provides theoretical background and hands-on experience in methods and techniques typically applied by toxicology professionals in academia, industry, and government. It is a modular course that covers a broad spectrum of procedures, ranging from proper handling of field equipment to biological test methods and analytical processing of samples.