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Water Science

The Water Science Program at SCC is one of only a few programs of its kind in the United States with direct ties to the United States Geological Survey. Earning the AAS in Water Science provides hands-on experience in the field learning how to measure water flow, collect samples, complete field surveys, analyze and report water quality conditions, and learn about aquatic life and their ecosystems to help improve fish habitat. Additional coursework and training in GIS, water and wastewater operations, and career networking are also part of the degree in preparation for a career in local, state and federal agencies, tribes, and private industry.

Earning the one-year certificate in Water & Wastewater Operations provides foundational general education along with training on specific topics within these fields to help prepare for the Washington State Operator in Training (OIT) exams. Working industry professionals are brought in as adjunct faculty to teach classes providing current and relevant subject matter.

Earning the one-year certificate in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) provides up to date training using the latest GIS software versions combined with practical applications and a cap stone project working with a community partners on real world projects. The GIS certificate is embedded within the Water Science AAS degree.

Students completing the Water Science degree can earn a BA or BS degree in Geosciences at Eastern Washington University in 2 years under a 2+2 direct transfer agreement.

  1. Install, operate and maintain instruments used in stream gaging and discharge measurement.
  2. Collect samples, complete field surveys, analyze, and report water quality parameters in the field and laboratory using standard chemical, biological, physical, and field survey techniques commonly utilized in water resource studies.
  3. Collect, recognize and identify aquatic organisms from invertebrate insects to fish species, relating what is found to the habitat and aquatic ecosystem conditions.
  4. Install, operate, and maintain instruments used in collecting hydro-meteorological measurements.
  5. Set up monitoring plans and schedules to collect, measure, analyze and report ground water levels and water quality parameters.
  6. Be familiar with restoration practices used to improve fish habitat and water quality, including techniques to stabilize slopes, recover degraded lakes and stream courses.
  7. Utilize, interpret and analyze maps and aerial photographs in the characterization and management of water resources, including through the use of geographic information systems (GIS).
  8. Operate a hand compass, level, global positioning systems (GPS) and electronic instruments in determining slopes, running traverses, locating ownership boundaries, and determining locations.
  9. Work safely in a variety of adverse conditions and environments.
  10. Have knowledge and understanding of Federal and State laws that pertain to water and the aquatic environment including a good working knowledge of water rights laws.
  11. Use the computer as a tool for solving water resources problems.
  12. Record, report, analyze and store data gathered according to established protocol.
  13. Write technical reports and give presentations.
  14. Demonstrate human relationship skills and professional behavior needed for successful job performance.

Breaking Ground on Your Pathway


Math placement is not required for this program.
English placement is not required for this program.

Plan Your Courses

Meet with our counselors to customize this plan just for you. You can also search the quarterly schedule for class days and times.

Program Map for


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Total Program Credits: 30

Program Courses

First Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
ENVS 220
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems for Natural Resources   1
Natural Resources Mathematical Applications   2
Basic Computer Applications in Natural Resources   3
Total Credits

Second Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
Maps and Aerial Photo Interpretation   5
Applications in Geographic Information Systems   4
Total Credits

Third Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
ENVS 231
Applied Research in Geographic Information Systems  
ENVS 235
Applied Research in Watershed Restoration   5
Water Science Electives   6
Total Credits
Intro to Env Science  
ENVS 211
Weather and Climate  
ENVS 232
Applied Research in Hydrology  
ENVS 233
Applied Research in Water Quality  
ENVS 234
Applied Research in Water/Wastewater Operations  
ENVS 235
Applied Research in Watershed Restoration  
Intro to Water and Wastewater  
Differential Leveling  
Hydrologic Measurement  
1 ENVS 220 must be completed with a 2.0 or higher.
2 NATRS 112 (or MATH 96 or higher) must be completed with a 2.0.
3 Prerequisite can be met by demonstrated proficiency, CIS 110 or similar basic computing course, or a combination of courses approved by the instructional dean.
4 NATRS 221 must be completed with a 2.0 or higher.
5 May be substituted with Water Science Electives or similar course approved by the instructional dean.
6 Elective may be taken during any quarter
Costs for completing a degree or certificate can vary. For more information about costs, visit our How Much Does it Cost? page.

Water Science

Students completing the Water Science Progream will have specialized training in:

Certificate in Water and Wastewater 

Students completing the Certificate in Water and Wastewater will have specialized training in:

Additional Information

Customized options to accommodate online and remote students are available.  We also have a streamlined program for students with bachelor’s degrees. If you already have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university (regardless of your major), you can get through the program quicker while still learning:

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