The confluence of education and action

River Studies & Leadership Certificate

FLC students rafting along the San Juan River

Gain the knowledge, skills, and experience in river-based science, policy, conservation, education, and recreation to launch your career journey as a river professional. With the completion of river-focused coursework and a 40-hour project, you’ll graduate with the skills you’ll need to lead the next generation of river-related decision making.

Launch your river career

We offer this certificate program in partnership with the nationally acclaimed River Management Society (RMS). In addition to the coursework that makes the River Studies & Leadership Certificate, you’ll gain access to important avenues into your career.

  • Present at the RMS Symposium or write an article for the RMS newsletter
  • Free RMS membership and registration at the RMS Symposium
Gigi Richard, Director of the Four Corners Water Center and instructor of Geosciences

"This unique certificate gives students hands-on experience and fits perfectly with FLC’s experiential learning focus, natural resource courses, and programs like the Four Corners Water Center and Fort Lewis on the Water."

Get started on your certificate

River Management Society logo

The River Studies & Leadership Certificate is awarded through River Management Society, not FLC, so rather than appear on your transcript as an FLC credential, this certificate is something you'll mention on your résumé. Additionally, this means you apply for it through a different process than you would an FLC certificate.

To apply

  1. Email FLC’s RSLC Advisor, Gigi Richard, to arrange a meeting in which you'll discuss your plan:
  2. You may begin with a draft outline of the courses you'd like to take by completing RMS's application form, or you can fill the form out in your meeting.


If you have questions, contact FLC’s RSLC Advisor, Gigi Richard.

Additional information

  • Core courses
  • Emphasis areas
  • Professional Experience Requirement
Core courses

You are required to take the following four courses:

  • GIS - GEOG 310 Introduction to Computer Mapping and GIS (4 cr)
  • BIO 435 Advanced Topics in Ecology: River Ecology (3 cr) or BIO 437 Adv Topics with lab: River Ecology (with lab) (4 cr)
  • PS 420 Water Politics: An Uphill Flow to Money (3 cr)
  • AE 231 Swiftwater Rescue (1 cr)
Emphasis areas

Choose which emphasis most aligns with your interests or goals. Then choose two courses from that emphasis area.

River science emphasis

We encourage you to take one special topics science course with a river or water focus OR perform a 3-credit independent study or research project with a river or water focus AND take one course from the following list:

  • BIO 245 – Issues in Ecology (4 cr)
  • BIO 250 – Ecology of the Southwest (4 cr)
  • BIO 377 – Ecological Methods (4      cr)
  • ENGR 301 – Environmental Principles (3 cr)
  • ENGR 425 – Hydraulics and Hydrology (3 cr)
  • GEOL 435 – Groundwater Geology (3 cr)
  • GEOL 323 – Geomorphology (4 cr)

River-based policy and management emphasis 

We encourage you to take one special topics course in the social sciences with a river or water focus orperform a 3-credit independent study or research project with a river or water focus and take one course from the following list:

  • ECON 335 – Environment/Resource Economics (3 cr)
  • ENVS 393 – Advanced Topics in Environmental Studies (3 cr)
  • HIST 181 – US/SW Environmental History (3 cr) 
  • HIST 313 – Wilderness in America (3 cr)
  • HIST 323 America’s National Parks 
  • PHIL 252 – Environmental Ethics (3 cr)
  • SOC 311 – Ecology and Society Field School (5 cr)
  • SOC 331 Environmental Sociology
  • SOC 384 Special Topics: Water Justice

River-based recreation, education, and tourism emphasis

  • AE 131 - Paddling Fundamentals (3 cr)
  • AE 331 – Advanced Paddling (3 cr)
  • AE 360 or AE 361 -- Adventure Education special topics course with river focus (3 cr)
Professional Experience Requirement

Choose one of the following:

  • Work in a credit-earning internship, paid internship, paid professional experience, independent study or course-related professional experience for a minimum of 90 hours of work (or 2 credit-hours)
  • Share a river studies project with the RMS community by either presenting at the annual RMS Symposium or publishing an article in the quarterly RMS Journal.

The view downstream

FLC students paddling inflatable kayaks on the San Juan River

Add this certificate to your degree and rig your boat to launch on a rewarding career. You’ll gain the knowledge, skills, experience, and connections to support you in a variety of fields related to river systems.

Imagine yourself as a:

  • River ranger
  • Environmental educator
  • Natural resource specialist
  • Land law examiner
  • Biologist
  • Hydrologist
  • Wildlife biologist