Open Menu Close Menu Open Search Close Search

Incoming WSSS students join an interdisciplinary cohort of students from across Tufts' graduate schools. All students take one common course and participate in joint activities, such as planning the annual Tufts Water Day each spring. Additionally, students customize their certificate by choosing to pursue one of two tracks: practicum track or research track.

The WSSS curriculum can be completed in as little as two semesters. Students who are studying at Tufts for longer than one year are encouraged to participate for the entirety of their degree, whatever their program length, in order to benefit from the most engagement.

Curriculum image

*Elective courses: Students are permitted to complete their elective courses at any point during their time at Tufts


Common Course: Take one course as a WSSS cohort. This year-long course is structured into two semesters:

  • 1st Semester (Fall): The fall semester part of the course (1 credit) consists of a weekly seminar covering an array of introductory water topics. Seminar participants include the entire WSSS cohort as well as students from other water-focused graduate degree programs at Tufts, such as Sustainable Water Management. Students participate in structured discussions with lectures and complete related deliverables. Students also plan ahead for the spring semester, forming practicum groups or developing research ideas for their chosen track. Students participating in WSSS over more than one year may participate in the fall seminar in multiple years on a no-credit basis once the seminar has been taken for credit once.


  • 2nd Semester (Spring): The spring semester part of the course (2 credits) has two sections, a practicum track and a research track, and students may select the track of their choice. Each section cohort meets weekly with a Tufts instructor.
    • Practicum Track: In the practicum track, students form small groups of 3-5 students to work on a specific project of mutual interest. Students will work with a Tufts instructor and will service the need of an external client in a client-consultant model. Students may pursue a practicum project through a course outside of WSSS if the project meets minimum requirements (some courses have been pre-approved, please consult with a WSSS administrator if you wish to pursue this option).
    • Research Track: In the research track, students will participate in a research methods experience led by a Tufts instructor. Students will learn about water research methods and will be encouraged to apply this knowledge in individual or group research projects they may pursue inside or outside of the WSSS program. Students may pursue a research methods course outside of WSSS if the course meets minimum requirements (some courses have been pre-approved, please consult with a WSSS administrator if you wish to pursue this option).


Elective Courses: Take at least two courses from two different themes in the approved courses list. Courses from across schools/departments are offered within each theme such that students may select water-focused courses from inside or outside of their own school/department offerings. *Students are permitted to complete these elective courses at any point during their time at Tufts. Additionally, students may petition for courses not on the approved course list to count towards this requirement.


Tufts Water Day: All students are required to participate in the planning of an end of term exposition and celebration of graduate student water research and projects at Tufts. This event is the annual Tufts Water Day, hosted by Tufts Institute of the Environment. WSSS students, and other Tufts students interested in water research form a student advisory committee and meet regularly during the spring semester to inform the content of the event. All students are also required to make a final presentation about their practicum or research track experience at the event. The Tufts community as well as practicum clients and regional water stakeholders are among the event’s invited guests.