River Studies & Leadership Certificate

The confluence of education and action

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 to lead the next generation of river-related decision-making.

Launch your river career

FLC partners with the nationally acclaimed River Management Society (RMS) for this certificate. In addition to coursework knowledge, you’ll gain access to important avenues for your career with opportunities like:

  • Presenting at the RMS Symposium or write an article for the RMS newsletter
  • Free RMS membership and registration at the RMS Symposium
Gigi Richard, Former 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."

How to apply

River Management Society logo

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

  1. Set up a meeting with FLC’s RSLC Advisor, Cynthia Dott, dott_c@fortlewis.edu
  2. Complete RMS's application form or fill the form out in your meeting
  • 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 or perform 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.

Your career path

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 or wildlife biologist
  • Hydrologist