University of Washington Launches New Floodplain Management Master’s Program

For More Information

Robert Freitag (Floodplain Management Program Director), 206-818-1175 or

Karen Fishler (MIPM Program Coordinator), 206-685-6447 or

University of Washington Launches New Floodplain Management Master’s Program

With the damages and costs of flooding increasing and recognizing the growing need for professionals trained to meet this growing challenge, the University of Washington has launched a master’s degree option in Floodplain Management. This new program, offered by the UW Department of Urban Design and Planning and administered by UW Professional & Continuing Education, is now accepting applications and will begin in summer 2015.

Preparing for and recovering from flooding is a persistent issue throughout the country – more than 22,000 communities have identified flood risk as a serious problem, and flooding is the costliest natural disaster threat in the United States. As the impacts on the built environment continue to increase, and as global climate change intensifies these effects, the demand for experienced floodplain management professionals is only going to grow.

“A lot of fields touch on flooding issues – engineering, geology, geography, planning – and this program will build on each, offering a comprehensive body of knowledge and direction in floodplain management,” said Robert Freitag, a UW instructor and director of the new program. “As communities cope with their risk, more jobs are being generated, and this program will prepare professionals to fill those positions.”

The Floodplain Management program is a specialized track in the fully online Master of Infrastructure Planning and Management at the UW. The floodplain program itself is a hybrid of online and in-person courses, with two summer sessions on the UW campus in Seattle and classes during the academic year delivered completely online. The full degree consists of 45 credits and requires seven quarters of study.

“The summer resident program allows students to really connect as a cohort and explore flood risks, opportunities and corrective strategies in-depth,” Freitag said. “Students will work on riverine and coastal issues and discuss issues one-on-one with professionals in the field. Through case studies, students can apply the concepts learned in class to the real world, and the Puget Sound region is one of the best places in the country to explore these issues. The courses during the school year offer online convenience and flexibility.”

Toward the end of the program, students will complete a capstone project that allows them to conduct in-depth research and gain hands-on experience in the field.  Students will have the opportunity to  to address actual on-the-job problems through this project.