8-Week Online IWRM Course

Global impacts on water resources are increasing. Addressing these impacts depends on the ability o​​f professionals to make knowledgeable and sustainable management decisions.

For any questions or additional information, please contact iwrmonlinecourse.faes [at] mcgill.ca

Course dates for Fall 2023

Monday September 25, 2023 – Monday November 20, 2023

About the course

Overview and objectives

This online certification course takes a holistic look at water resources management at the watershed and sub-watershed level with a specific focus on watershed planning techniques, adaptive management strategies, capacity building approaches, water governance, and water business risk assessment to strengthen integrated water resources management capacities globally.

This program uses a web-based system and a comprehensive text book developed specifically for this program. Using a web-based system allows participants to communicate with each other and access from a home and/or workplace computer. This method of delivery offers a flexible learning approach that can be easily accommodated into almost any work schedule. Participants spend an average of 8 hours per week on the course.

You will have readings to complete and you will be participating in online discussions moderated by the instructors.

The objectives of this course are to:

  • Improve water resources management through the implementation of effective integrated management tools and techniques.
  • Strengthen the principles of governance, planning, adaptive management and capacity building in local, regional and transboundary water resources regimes.
  • Provide participants with the competencies to develop skills and knowledge required for urgent needs in the water resources sector.

Who can apply?

This course is geared toward

  • Water resources professionals
  • Recent graduates
  • Students with a background in geography, engineering, social sciences, environmental studies, business, or a relevant field


Fees (Fall 2023)

$1,450 (Canadian dollars, includes all applicable taxes).

Application and registration

Application deadline: June 1, 2023 to September 21, 2023

Applicants to this course are asked to submit the following documentation:

  • a CV or other documentation which outlines your educational background and professional experience
  • a motivation letter for enrolling in the course

Once we have assessed your suitability, we will inform you to proceed with your registration.

Course fees must be paid in full, when you complete your online registration.

Registration deadline: June 8, 2023 to September 24, 2023

Cancellation policy

For cancellations submitted within thirty (30) days of the date of registration, a refund will be issued, less a $100 administration fee.

No refunds can be made after the course start date of September 25, 2023.

  • No refund will be issued after thirty (30) days from the date of registration, however suitable participation substitution is permitted.
  • All requests must be submitted in writing to iwrmonlinecourse.faes [at] mcgill.ca
  • The Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences reserves the right to cancel the course up to five (5) days prior to its start.



Dr. Mohammadreza Alizadeh is a postdoctoral researcher with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT and the Department of Bioresource Engineering at McGill University. He holds a Ph.D. in Bioresource Engineering from McGill University, as well as B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Shiraz University, Iran. Dr. Alizadeh’s primary research objective is to address critical global warming and environmental change issues by bridging the gap between climatology, hydrology, remote sensing, and machine learning.  His expertise includes developing Integrated modeling and decision support systems, systems thinking, and the dynamic coupling of socio-economic and hydrological models. He has applied these skills and methods to develop robust and adaptive water resource planning and management strategies in the face of deep uncertainty and changing climatic conditions.

Joel Zacharias Harms

Course evaluation

In addition to the course readings and participation in the online discussions, you will analyse the current state of a watershed and make recommendations on future priorities, governance, and methods of management. The recommendations you develop to improve the watershed's current state will be based on the modules taught in this program. This assignment enables participants to apply the knowledge they are developing onto a relevant and real-world situation. The assignment is due at the end of the course. There is no final exam.

After course completion

Upon successful completion of the program, a letter of attestation of completion and a certificate of completion from the Department of Bioresource Engineering, McGill University will be issued.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take the course while working full time?

Yes, the course is designed so that you can fit it around your work schedule. There are no live lectures; instead you have readings that you complete during your own time, and you are asked to participate in online discussions that the instructors moderate on a regular basis. Typically, participants spend around 8 hours per week on the course.

Who takes the course?

A wide range of people from across the world take the course, including students, engineers, biologists, development workers, communication and advocacy specialists, government workers, and policy analysts, as well as people looking to change career direction or explore their interest in water resources management.

I don’t have a background in water resources management; can I still apply?

Yes, the modules are designed to gradually introduce the concepts to all participants. The instructors are always available to answer queries and clarify any issues via the online discussion forum. Participants with no previous background in water resources management have successfully completed the course in the past.

I have extensive experience in water-related work; is the course suitable for me?

Yes, the course is designed to be both accessible for beginners and of value to experts in the water sector. The readings introduce the concepts gradually but include detailed information and case studies. The online discussion forum and course assignment both provide the opportunity to share ideas and explore the issues in considerable depth with other participants and the instructors.

What topics are covered in the course, and how are the topics delivered?

We cover a range of topics, new ideas, and methods including principles of integrated water resources management; water resources planning; developing a watershed management plan; history and principles of adaptive management; adaptive capacity and governance; social learning; water law, policy and ethics; and water risks for business. The topics are delivered in modules consisting of chapters from the e-textbook that was written specifically for this course.

What work will I be required to complete?

In addition to the course readings and participation in the online discussions, you will evaluate the current state of a watershed and develop management recommendations to improve the current state of the watershed. This assignment gives you the opportunity to apply the knowledge you are developing onto a relevant and real-world situation. The assignment is due at the end of the course. There is no final exam.

Is there funding available?

Unfortunately, there is no funding available at this time.  Please check with your employer or national organizations for funding oppourtunities.

When does registration open, and when does the course begin?

Registration usually opens in May of each year. The course usually begins at the end of September.

Do I need to attend McGill in person?

No, the course is offered entirely online.


Course developers

Jan Adamowski is a Professor in the Department of Bioresource Engineering at McGill University. He came to McGill University in 2009 after working as a Post-Doctoral Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA. His main areas of research are water resources management, participatory socio-hydrological modeling, artificial intelligence applications in hydrology, sustainable agriculture, and food and water security. At McGill, he is the Lillian and David M. Stewart Scholar in Water Resources, Director of the Integrated Water Resources Management Program, and the Associate Director of the Brace Centre for Water Resources Management.

Murray Clamen is a registered professional engineer with extensive experience in international water resource studies and environmental assessments. He is the past Secretary of the Canadian Section of the International Joint Commission (IJC). His career has included experience in the private sector with consulting engineering and research firms in Québec and British Columbia and a total of 33 years in the Federal Public Service; 30 years with the IJC, and three with Environment Canada. Dr Clamen is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Bioresource Engineering at McGill University.

Eduardo Ganem Cuenca was a Project Manager in the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at McGill University. His projects included several research contracts and grants in agricultural water management and food security. He was also in charge of developing and implementing professional development programs within the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to create ongoing learning opportunities in the environmental, agricultural, and water sectors. He holds an MSc in integrated water resources management, and currently works at McGill University

Wietske Medema is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at McGill University. After working for four years in Sri Lanka, involved in water and environmental projects in the areas of institutional development, capacity building and multi-stakeholder participation, she completed a PhD at Cranfield University in the UK. Dr. Medema's research at McGill focuses on achieving sustainable water resources management policy and practice through multi-stakeholder collaboration and social learning processes.

Kate Reilly was a PhD student at McGill University, focusing on implementation of environmental flow policies for ecosystem restoration and provision of ecosystem services. She holds an MSc in integrated water resources management, and has professional experience in European consulting firms, specializing in analysis of biodiversity policies, water quality and hydroecology. She currently works for the European Union.

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