The Lake Management Graduate Programs at SUNY Oneonta train students to become effective water resource management professionals. Our innovative program blends scientific training in aquatic biology, limnology and quantitative skills with professional training in project design, management, and reporting in a real-life setting, working with lake stakeholders directly or with established lake management professionals. For program requirements and application materials, visit SUNY Oneonta's Graduate Programs page. You can also view information about our current students and alumni.
There are two degree programs. The Master in Science in Lake Management (MS degree) and the Professional Science Master’s in Lake Management (PSM). Each is designed as a two-year full-time residential program, with a significant amount of field work occurring during the summer periods. Part time options are available for both degrees upon consultation with the lake management faculty. Both share six core courses, while the number of required credits for BIOL 695 (Lake Management Seminar) varies between the two. Successful completion of either degree qualifies the graduate for the Provisional Lake Manager (PLM) or Provisional Lake Professional (PLP) certification by the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS). With an additional 24 months of full-time experience as a lake manager, or as a professional in a related field, graduates then become eligible for full certification as a Certified Lake Manager (CLM) or Certified Lake Professional (CLP).
Students in the MS degree program choose a lake from a list of pre-selected lakes as their study system. A thesis comprised of two parts is completed.
1. A state of the lake report, which summarizes the current physical and biological conditions of the lake and its ecological functions in a traditional scientific format and
2. A comprehensive whole lake management plan for the lake stakeholders, reflecting findings from the state of the lake report and management priorities identified through Lake Stakeholder surveys, Focus Groups and/or other means of gathering information from stakeholders. Students with a long-term career plan that includes pursuit of a Ph.D. should choose this track.
A sample of MS degree progress (note: course offerings for each semester vary - consult LM faculty for course selection; graduate full-time status requires 12 credits per fall or spring semester, 9 credits for graduate assistants)
Fall semester - BIOL 690 (4 cr), BIOL 685 (4 cr.), BIOL 625 (3 cr.), BIOL 695 (2 cr.), 13 cr. total; diagnostic exam; field works starts
Spring semester – BIOL 691 (4 cr.), BIOL 678 (4 cr.), BIOL 695 (2 cr.), 10 cr. total; infrequent winter sampling until ice-out; every two weeks afterwards
1st Summer – continue field work and sample and data analysis; start writing up thesis
Fall semester – Elective coursework (4 cr.), BIOL 698 - thesis credit (1 cr.), BIOL 695 (1 cr.), 6 cr. total; start thesis revisions with committee members
2nd Summer - BIOL 698 - Thesis credit (1 cr.); finalization of outstanding requirements, if applicable.
Students in the PSM degree program participate in 8-12 weeks of intensive cooperative experience (Co-op) with an established lake manager or professional, typically in the summer between the 1st and the 2nd academic years. Learning in the Co-op is evaluated through interim progress reports, employer evaluation, exit interview, and the final report. The PSM track is designed specifically to prepare students for professional career in lake management and related fields, it is expected to serve as the terminal degree in most cases.
A sample of PSM track degree progress (note: course offering for each semester varies - consult LM faculty for course selection; graduate full-time status requires 12 credits per fall or spring semester, 9 credits for graduate assistants)