River Studies & Leadership Certificate

You can chart your path as a river professional!
Get started by earning a River Studies and Leadership Certificate.


Fishing the Nooksack River - Scott Willison

WWU is partnering with the River Management Society to offer the River Studies and Leadership Certificate (RSLC), awarded upon completion of river-focused coursework and a river-related professional project. The RMS is a national organization whose mission is to support professionals who study, protect and manage North America's rivers.

The River Studies and Leadership Certificate offers a foundation of knowledge, skills and experience in river-based science, policy, conservation, education, and recreation for undergraduate students who aspire to be river professionals.

As an RSLC student, you'll collaborate with your faculty advisory to design and complete a personalized academic program that provides a strong basis for addressing real world challenges facing our nation's rivers. RSLC requirements include core courses, an emphasis area, and hands-on river-related experience via an internship, professional employment or independent study.


Note: Students responsible for completing required prerequisites

Core Courses

One approved course in each of the following: Geographic Information Systems, River Science, River Policy and Swiftwater Rescue.

Emphasis Area

Two approved courses in one of these areas:

  • River Science
  • River-based Policy and Management
  • River-based Recreation, Education and Tourism

Professional Experience

Credit-earning internship, paid internship, paid professional experience, independent study or course-related professional experience equivalent to two (2) credit hours.

Oral/Written Presentation

Aspect of student's work presented at a River Management Society (RMS) Symposium or sponsored conference, or an article written for the RMS Journal about RSLC-related experiences.


Each RSLC student receives a one-year membership to RMS, which includes a subscription to the RMS Journal and access to national and regional chapter events such as chapter floats, workshops, and the RMS Listserv. Students also have a number of exciting opportunities for professional networking and collaboration.


Supporting materials

WWU Approved Courses

RSLC Application Form

Certificate Details

RMS Certificate Guiding Document



Rafting on the Nooksack River - Thomas O’Keefe

Dr. Tammi Laninga
Assistant Professor
Environmental Studies Department
Western Washington University
Arntzen Hall 213