Undergraduate Minors

The School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in public and urban affairs, as well as majors and minors.

Two undergraduate majors are available:
Major in Smart and Sustainable Cities (SSC)
Major in Environmental Policy and Planning (EPP)

Four undergraduate minors are available:
Minor in Public and Urban Affairs (PUA)
Minor in Environmental Policy and Planning (EPP)
Minor in Real Estate (RE)
Minor in Watershed Management (WM)

Degree Requirements

The graduation requirements in effect at the time of graduation apply. When choosing the degree requirements information, always choose the year of your expected date of graduation. Requirements for graduation are referred to via university publications as “Checksheets”. The number of credit hours required for degree completion varies among curricula. Students must satisfactorily complete all requirements and university obligations for degree completion.

The university reserves the right to modify requirements in a degree program. However, the university will not alter degree requirements less than two years from the expected graduation year unless there is a transition plan for students already in the degree program.

Please visit the University Registrar website at http://registrar.vt.edu/graduation-multi-brief/index1.html for degree requirements.

Satisfactory Progress

University policy requires that students who are making satisfactory progress toward a degree meet minimum criteria toward the General Education (Curriculum for Liberal Education) (see “Academics“) and toward the degree in Urban Affairs and Planning.

Satisfactory progress requirements toward the B.A. in Public and Urban Affairs and B.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning can be found on the major checksheet by visiting the University Registrar website at http://registrar.vt.edu/graduation-multi-brief/index1.html.

Undergraduate Minor in Watershed Management (WM)
The Watershed Management Undergraduate Minor at Virginia Tech integrates existing programs and courses from five colleges and 10 departments at Virginia Tech to provide an interdisciplinary and substantive understanding of watershed science, policy, and decision-making.

A committee comprised of faculty members from participating colleges and the Water Center provide oversight to the program. The Water Center serves as the program host, coordinates committee meetings and facilitates program publicity and program tracking and evaluation.

For questions about the minor, please email Dr. Kevin McGuire at kevin.mcguire@vt.edu or call (540) 231-6017.

*View the current checklist on the university site to confirm

The Watershed Management Minor/Certificate is a cross-college program available to all undergraduate students in the university. Undergraduate students select from the courses below. Students must satisfy course prerequisites. With satisfactory completion of the program’s 20 hour requirements with at least a 2.0 GPA in those courses, the student will receive a printed certificate from the Virginia Water Resources Research Center. Upon graduation, the minor will be noted on the student’s transcript.
REQUIRED CORE (5 hours):
Environmental factors involved in land use planning and development, including topography, soils, geologic hazards, flooding and stormwater management, ecological features, and visual quality. Techniques used in conducting environmental land inventories and land suitability analyses. Policies and programs to protect environmental quality in land use planning and development. Pre: Junior standing. (3H,3C)

ALS 4614: Watershed Assessment, Management & Policy

1. Watershed Hydrology (choose 1 course, 3 hours)
Precipitation, soil physics, infiltration, evapotranspiration, groundwater hydrology, overland flow, open channel flow, flow routing, hydraulic analysis. Course requirements may be satisfied by taking CEE 3304 or CHE 3114 or ESM 3234 or ESM 3024 or ME 3404 prior to or concurrent with course. (3H,3C)
Erosion prediction and control; transport and fate of sediment, nutrients, and microorganisms; design of nutrient management plans, wetlands, detention facilities and other management practices for rural and urban nonpoint source pollution control. Pre: 3324. (2H,3L,3C)
Precipitation, evaporation, consumptive use, infiltration; stream flow, flood routing; statistical analysis of hydrologic data, flood and drought forecasting, risk analysis, subsurface flow, well hydraulics, introduction to urban drainage design. A grade of C- or better required in pre-requisite. Pre: 3304. (3H,3C)
Properties and processes of soil and water in forests. Emphasis on management for the delivery of ecosystem goods and services. Includes analysis and interpretation in field and laboratory. Pre: CSES 3114 or ENSC 3114 or GEOS 3614 or CSES 3134 or ENSC 3134. (2H,3L,3C)
Fundamentals of groundwater hydrology; flow through porous media, both saturated and unsaturated; flow to wells in both confined and unconfined aquifers; seepage of groundwater to canals and field drains; analysis of aquifer test data to quantify flow and storage parameters; contaminants in groundwater, basic introduction to groundwater modeling. A grade of C- or better required in pre-requisite 3304. Pre: 3304. (3H,3C)
Site characterization: surveying, channel and floodplain mapping, land use, electronic data acquisition. Techniques for measuring surface and subsurface hydrologic processes: water flow, hydrologic conductivity, precipitation, evaporation. Sampling techniques: surface water, groundwater, and soil pore water sampling. In-situ monitoring: automatic samplers, dataloggers, water quality sondes. Laboratory analyses: good laboratory practices, selection of analytical method, calibration, quality assurance/quality control. Co: 3324 or CEE 3314 or FREC 4354. (2H,3L,3C)

2. Watershed Water Quality (choose 1 course, 3 hours)
BSE 4304
BSE 4324
CEE 4354
ENT 4484

3. Watershed Ecology (choose 1 course, 3 hours)
BIO 4004
BIO/ENT 4354
CEE/BIO 4154
FOR 4374
LAR 3004

4. Watershed Geospatial Information Systems (choose 1 course, 3 hours)
BSE 4344
FOR 4214
GEOG 4084
GEOG 4354
GEOG 4384

5. Watershed Law, Policy, and Planning (choose 1 course, 3 hours)
AAEC 3314
AAEC 4304
AAEC 4344
CEE 4344
FOR 4434
LAR 3044/5044

Issues, concepts, and techniques of citizen participation in community development. Institutional frameworks and their historical precedents. Exercises developing group communications skills, public meeting facilitation, and design of community involvement programs. Pre: Senior standing required. (3H,3C)
This course examines the legal principles and policy debates involved in the regulation and protection of critical environmental resources. Specific topics vary but will likely include wetlands law and policy, endangered species habitat, open space, forestland and farmland protection, coastal zone management, and floodplain regulation and policy. (3H,3C)
UAP Faculty
SPIA Contacts

Ralph Hall, Undergraduate Program Director
201 Architecture Annex
540-231-7332 | rphall@vt.edu

Chris LaPlante, Undergraduate Advisor
209 Architecture Annex
(540) 231-3831 | chrisl@vt.edu

Myriam Lechuga, Graduate Student Coordinator
(571) 858-3102 | mlechuga@vt.edu

SPIA Locations

Washington D.C.
900 N. Glebe Rd., 6th Floor, VTRC | Arlington, VA 22203

Contact SPIA

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