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Graduate Certificate in River Science and Engineering

Can you envision yourself working to solve some of the critical issues associated with river systems? Does your job involve stream restoration, bank stabilization or flood risk reduction? Located near the banks of the lower Mississippi River, Tulane University is uniquely suited to offer programs that address river science and engineering. At the same time, the US Army Corps of Engineers has gained immense practical experience as it has discharged its broad responsibilities for the management and operation of river systems across the United States since the birth of our country.

In an effort to combine this wealth of knowledge and experience, Tulane University and the US Army Corps of Engineers (through the Engineering Research and Develop Center’s Graduate Institute) have teamed up to offer a group of courses which will explore many river science and engineering topics for university students and practicing water managers.

Courses are offered in a hybrid distance learning format – self-directed modules are assigned, followed by a topical weekly webinar which can be attended in person, online, or by watching the recording. The webinar is used for class discussions, the review of case studies, laboratory demonstrations, student presentations, and even live-streamed field work. Students from any location can participate, as long as they have access to the internet. Significant efforts are made to accommodate the schedules of working students, thus making the program well-suited to full-time employees working to enhance their knowledge and skills. The introductory course (RCSE 6800 - Introduction to River Science) is a prerequisite for more advanced courses in river mechanics, stream restoration, numerical modeling, and riverine field data collection that can lead to a Certificate in River in River Science and Engineering from the new Tulane River-Coastal Science and Engineering Department.

Currently offered classes include:

  • RCSE 6660 Special Topics Rivers and Estuaries (Spring)
  • RCSE 6800 Introduction to River Science (offered every Fall and Spring)
  • RCSE 6810 River and Stream Restoration (Fall)
  • RCSE 6820 River-Coastal Hydrologic and Hydraulic Modeling (Fall)
  • RCSE 6830 River Mechanics and Management (Spring)
  • RCSE 6840 Methods in River Sampling (Spring)
  • RCSE 6900 Independent Study in River-Coastal Science and Engineering (Fall and Spring)

More detailed descriptions of the courses may be found on the program fact sheet.

What is a Graduate Certificate?

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, certificates are the fastest-growing form of post-secondary credentials.

A graduate certificate is a short program focused on a particular topic, in this case river science and engineering. Within this Department, the certificate requires the completion of 15 hours of specified graduate course work. The certificate program has been fully accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The certificate may be a stand-alone educational accomplishment which allows students to gain considerable knowledge about river systems that will be immediately applicable to current or future employment, or it may be “stacked” into a future graduate degree at Tulane. Both Masters and Ph.D. degrees in River Science and Engineering are under development within the Department.

What should you do if you are interested in the program? If you would like to ask more questions or receive more information, please use the Inquiry Form. If you are ready to apply, please click on the “Apply Now” button below.  After your application has been reviewed, you will be notified of acceptance into the program, and granted non-degree Tulane graduate student status.  You will also be provided with information on how to access the Tulane online registration website when the course registration period opens.



Most successful applicants for the program will be have an undergraduate degree in a field of science or engineering. However, students in other fields who have a keen interest in rivers may seek special permission to enter the program from the Department Chairman, Dr. Mead Allison at meadallison@tulane.edu.

Normal Tulane Graduate School 4+1 program tuition costs apply for students that are already enrolled as full-time graduate or undergraduate students at Tulane, that is, $1525.00 per credit hour plus a $133.50 Academic Service fee or $4708.50 per course. Government employees interested in the program may be eligible for a significant scholarship discount in the cost of tuition. Government employees should follow the training regulations appropriate to their agency, and not complete registration until permissions have been granted.

If you have additional question about the program, feel free to contact the Program Director, Dr. Barb Kleiss at bkleiss@tulane.edu.