Lake Management (M.S.)

Lake Management students preparing to go out on a lake on a boat.
Lake Management students riding in a canoe on a lake.

Program Overview

SUNY Oneonta's M.S. in Lake Management curriculum trains 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.

The program takes full advantage of the natural resources and infrastructure at SUNY Oneonta’s Biological Field Station near Cooperstown, NY, and a newly renovated science building on campus. Degree recipients who previously completed a typical bachelor’s degree in natural sciences will likely satisfy the education requirements (a minimum of 44 college credits distributed among the five lake management-related disciplines) to apply for certification as a Lake Management Trainee (LMT) by the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS).

Program Options

PSM Logo

There are two tracks: the Master in Science in Lake Management (MS degree/thesis track) 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 tracks upon consultation with the lake management faculty. Both share six core courses, while the number of required credits for BIOL 5108 (Lake Management Seminar) varies between the two.

Thesis Option

The M.S. in Lake Management Thesis Option was established to prepare students for careers in agency and industry requiring significant research background and those interested in doctoral studies at university centers. In this track, students focus on a lake in need of management and develop a scientifically rigorous research thesis that is presented in written and oral forms to the SUNY Oneonta community.

As of Fall 2020 it is now required that one of the letters of recommendation must be from a member of the SUNY Oneonta faculty willing to serve as the thesis advisor.

Professional Science Master's Track

The M.S. in Lake Management PSM Option is designed to offer a career-focused program in 3 – 4 semesters. It is ideal for students interested in the most direct route to workforce eligibility. In this track, students take the required coursework in the first year, and then engage in a cooperative experience with an employer identified by the student. This track helps students gain valuable practical lake management skills while also providing connections to businesses in the field.

Start of Term


Delivery Method

In person, Cooperstown, NY

Application Deadline

Rolling: Apply Anytime

Number of Credits 32


Degree Requirements



Admission Criteria

  1. Submit a completed application and the non-refundable fee.
  2. Submit an official transcript of an earned Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college in a functionally related area.
  3. Have achieved an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in the major field.
  4. Submit three letters of recommendation.
    • Thesis track applicants - one letter must be from a member of the SUNY Oneonta biology faculty willing to serve as Graduate Advisor.

Back to top