Much consideration has been given to establishing a water graduate degree program at Penn State, the potential value of which was highlighted by both an internal task force (2013) and an external review (2014). Following the formation of the Water Council in 2018, a faculty committee was formed in January 2019, and given the charge to design and stand up such a program, specifically to be cross-college and interdisciplinary in character. That committee considered alternative programs offered at other institutions across the United States, engaged in discussions with colleagues, and issued its recommendations in January 2020. The committee assessed 22 programs at 17 universities.
The essence of the committee’s proposal is for the Water Graduate Program to take the form of a stand-alone Intercollege Graduate Degree Program (IGDP). The basic structure and design of the proposed program are summarized in this slide deck and this brief video. It should be noted that the committee recognized and discussed at great length the pros and cons of both a stand-alone IGDP and a dual title degree program. Should you have questions about those program options or other issues related to the recommended stand-alone IGDP, please refer to this FAQ or reach out to the Water Council.
The committee’s recommendations do not include program details. Interested water faculty will have the opportunity to contribute to the final program design, should it advance as recommended. In order to move ahead, we need to determine the level of support Penn State water faculty have for the proposed program and recommended structure (IGDP). To be viable, this recommended program will require significant faculty engagement who view it as an opportunity to enhance their graduate student recruiting, education, and research.