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Water-Energy Nexus


According to a recent report from the US Department of Energy (DOE), better understanding of the relationship between water availability and energy production (water-energy nexus) and its susceptibility to climate change is a matter of national security. This report was issued after severe droughts affected more than 1/3 of the US and the loss of available water constrained the ability of many power plants to function.

It is hard to image not having access to clean water or power – growing population, urbanization, shrinking resources, and increasing standards of living are threatening these indispensable assets even within developed countries. While clean water is the most important factor, access to power is an imperative component of having a safe, productive, and comfortable society. The goal of this certificate program is to understand the critical interaction between water and energy along with related topics including biological and physical-chemical treatment processes, carbon and energy footprint analysis, and sustainable energy systems in order to guide future improvements and technical innovations to mitigate future issues with these critical resources.

Who Should Enroll

This program is designed for professionals already employed in the workforce and those new to the subject matter who wish to expand their career opportunities and grow professionally by increasing their knowledge of the water-energy nexus and preparing them to make a difference as the world struggles with these key issues.

Professionals in the field of water and wastewater engineering who are interested in the energy intensity, usage, efficiency, and waste of the water treatment processes would benefit from this program including:

  • Consultants who are or are planning to work on energy-related projects and want to deepen their knowledge of theoretical and practical aspects of energy efficiency and optimization in the water sector
  • Utility personnel interested in understanding and curbing energy waste in water treatment and in a deeper understanding of energy-related aspects of their current processes and operation
  • Researchers who want to extend their knowledge related to treatment energy consumption and power demand dynamics
  • Regulators who intend to expand their knowledge of energy intensity and power demand efficiency of their treatment processes

To accommodate the busy schedules of these professionals, some courses in this program will be taught in the evenings.

Career Insight

Occupational summary for natural sciences managers in the US. Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Intl.

Annual Job Openings
Projected Growth
Median Salary
(Highly experienced workers can earn up to $230k)

Program Benefits

  • Gain insights into water and wastewater processes, industrial energy theory, energy tariff structures, and their practical implications on water and wastewater treatment operation and costs
  • Understanding the impacts of water and wastewater treatment processes on energy and economics
  • Understanding how process layout, plant operations, and process control can impact energy and treatment economics
  • Quantify the energy and carbon footprint of water and wastewater treatment processes

Course Schedule

The schedule for these courses is available at the UCI websoc website. If the schedule for the courses is unavailable, please check again at a later date as the websoc site is updated by the graduate department.

Required Courses

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Applied Dynamic Modeling for Wastewater Treatment Plant Efficiency (3.00 Units)

Course schedules are subject to change. Individual courses may be taken without enrolling in the full program.

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Academic Calendar

Event Summer 2022 Fall 2022 Winter 2023 Spring 2023
Registration Begins (after 2pm PT) Apr 21 Jul 14 Oct 20 Jan 19
Courses Begin* (week of) Jun 20 Sep 19 Jan 3 Mar 27
Courses End* (week of) Sep 6 Dec 12 Mar 13 Jun 5
Parking Permits Expire Sep 30 Dec 31 Mar 31 Jun 30
Administrative Holidays Jun 20, Jul 4, Sep 5 Nov 11, Nov 24-25, Dec 23, Dec 26, Dec 30, Jan 2 Jan 16, Feb 20 Mar 31, May 29

*Actual dates may vary by program.


Certificate Eligibility and Requirements

Learn How To Earn Your Certificate A certificate is awarded upon completion of 4 required courses, 15 units (150 hours): Applied Dynamic Modeling for Wastewater Treatment Plant Efficiency, Carbon and Energy Footprint Analysis, Sustainable Energy Systems, and Physical-Chemical Treatment Processes with a grade of “B” or higher in each course. Students may enter the program at any time. However, some courses may require prerequisites. To become an official candidate in the program, students pursuing the certificate must submit a Declaration of Candidacy with a non-refundable $125 application fee. Students are encouraged to declare candidacy as soon as possible, but no later than after the third course in the program. To receive the digital certificate after completing all program requirements, students must submit a Request for Certificate. All requirements must be completed within 5 years after the student enrolls in his/her first course. Students not pursuing a certificate are welcome to take as many individual courses as they wish, space providing.

How to Enroll

For the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters:
Students should obtain the Concurrent Enrollment Form and complete sections 1, 2, and 5. Once these sections have been completed, submit the form to the address below.

Postal Mail
Attn: Engineering and Sciences
UCI Division of Continuing Education
510 E Peltason Dr.
Irvine, CA 92697

Once your completed form is received, you will be contacted by a representative from UCI Division of Continuing Education for submission of supplementary documents if needed. Completed forms are not accepted via email, please submit via fax (949) 824-1220 or postal mail. Please submit original forms only (photocopies will not be accepted).


  • Each on-ground course in the program costs $1,201.00
  • Course ENGRCEE X499 online cost $725
  • Declaration of Candidacy Fee $125
  • Below are possible additional costs not included in course fees
    • Parking
    • Textbooks

Dates & Deadlines

Quarter terms will be posted as they become available. Please note courses within the program are only offered in the Winter, Spring, and Fall quarters.

*Note to new students: Enrollment forms and supplementary documents will only be accepted during the enrollment periods for each quarter.

Advisory Committee

  • Sunny Jiang, Ph.D., Professor Civil and Environmental Engineering; Professor (Joint Appointment) Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UC Irvine School of Engineering
  • Lory Larson, Consulting Engineer, Southern California Edison
  • Jim Mihelcic, Ph.D., Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of South Florida College of Engineering Coenraad Pretorius, Senior Environmental Engineer at CDM Smith
  • Diego Rosso, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Associate Professor (Joint Appointment), Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; Director, Water-Energy Nexus Center, UC Irvine School of Engineering
  • Stephanie Shamblin Gray, Water Engineer at HDR Reza Sobhani , Ph.D., Consultant, Orange County Sanitation District
  • Mike Stenstrom, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, UCLA

English Proficiency Requirement
All certificate programs at UCI Division of Continuing Education (classroom and online formats) require professional-level English language proficiency in listening and note-taking, reading comprehension and vocabulary, written expression, and oral presentation.