International Water and Sanitation Engineering MSc

Entry requirements:
2:1 +
1 year
up to 4 years
Start date:
October 2018
UK/EU fees:
International fees:



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Our International Water and Sanitation Engineering MSc programme designed to develop careers in delivering water and environmental sanitation infrastructure for low- and middle-income countries.

The programme is managed by the Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) in the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering.

For further details about the centre can be found on the website.

WEDC programmes are well-established, and held in high regard by practitioners and employers from both international development and emergency sectors. Modules are taught by experts in a broad range of disciplines who have considerable experience of working in low- and middle- income countries.

Loughborough attracts and appoints outstanding academics, many of whom are expert leaders in their fields. By studying our International Water and Sanitation Engineering programme, you will benefit from working alongside specialists who are enthusiastic about their subjects and at the forefront of current research. Visit the WEDC website for details of the WEDC staff team

This programme is designed to: 

  • provide the multidisciplinary knowledge and skills to assess, design, implement and operate water and environmental sanitation infrastructure, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries
  • develop a critical approach to the global principles and local practice of sustainable public health infrastructure for all levels of consumers
  • equip students with appropriate expertise and skills for relevant work in water and sanitation engineering for low- and middle-income countries
  • encourage critical analysis through in-depth study of one specialist topic

What makes this programme different?

WEDC programmes are both externally accredited and highly regarded by sector employers. The structure of the programmes suits the needs of international students, and/or those who may be returning to study. There are introductory modules, and continuous and varied means of assessment enable students to monitor their progress.

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) have accredited all WEDC's postgraduate MSc, Diploma and Certificate programmes. Participants registered on one of these programmes at Loughborough are eligible for free student membership of CIWEM.

Field visits are made to relevant UK facilities.


The School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering has excellent laboratory facilities which include equipment for field sampling, analysis of water and wastewater, and hydraulics experiments. Three dedicated water laboratory staff are specialists in pollutant analysis, hydraulics and continuous trials. 

Other outdoor facilities for student practical exercises during the programmes include the largest single site collection of handpumps used for maintenance training. Other practical activities include latrine slab construction; flow measurements; and water quality sampling and analysis.

Who should study this programme?

This programme is for graduate engineers and scientists who wish to develop careers in delivering water and environmental sanitation infrastructure for low- and middle-income countries.

Entry Requirements

An honours degree (2:1 or above) or equivalent overseas qualification in a science or engineering discipline.

Entry requirements for the Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma are as above. Alternatively entry to the PGCert may be considered depending on alternative qualification and relevant experience, on a case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

All applicants for admission to Loughborough University must have a qualification in English Language before they can be admitted to any course or programme, whether their first language is English or not. Find out more here. 
IELTS: overall 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component.

What you'll study

The modules on our International Water and Sanitation Engineering MSc are designed to develop your understanding of important aspects of sustainable public health infrastructure and services for all levels of consumers, and equip you with appropriate expertise and skills for work in low- and middle-income countries.


Modules are taught by WEDC teaching staff all of whom have extensive experience working in low- and middle-income countries. They draw upon their field experience to explain how current theoretical approaches can be practically and realistically applied to address the challenges in relevant low- and middle-income working contexts.

  • Management of Water and Environmental Sanitation Infrastructure
  • Assessing Water Quality and Quantity
  • Rural Water Supply Engineering
  • Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation for Research and Engineering Practice
  • Household and Communal Sanitation Engineering
  • Appropriate Water Treatment and Distribution 
  • Appropriate Sewerage and Sewage Treatment
  • Research Dissertation

plus select one of the following optional modules

  • Disaster Risk Management
  • Humanitarian Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion


How you'll study

Field trips
Independent study

Your personal and professional development

The School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering is committed to helping you develop the skills and attributes you need to progress successfully in your chosen career.

Graduate destinations

Graduates have gone on to work for international NGOs (MSF, Oxfam, SCF, GOAL, WaterAid, etc.) and agencies (such as UNICEF), or national governments.

Graduate job titles include Sanitation Technical Manager, Water and Sanitation Consultant, Project Manager, Environmental Engineering Consultant and Civil Engineering Specialist.

Your personal development

Knowledge and understanding

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • international and local initiatives and institutions that promote water and sanitation for all
  • the links between water and environmental sanitation infrastructure (including water resource management, water treatment and supply, excreta, wastewater, stormwater and solid waste treatment and disposal), hygiene behaviour, health and socio-economic development
  • the key issues in relation to environmental and social impact, equity, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and replicability in planning and managing sustainable water and environmental sanitation infrastructure
  • the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to the delivery of public health engineering and ways to integrate technical, social, economic and environmental considerations in project planning, design, implementation, operation, maintenance and evaluation
  • the planning, selection, design, construction and sustainable operation and maintenance of appropriate water and environmental sanitation technologies
  • the range of management, social, institutional, economic and environmental issues that ensure the sustainability of water and environmental sanitation infrastructure
  • effective qualitative and quantitative data collection, analysis and dissemination

Skills and other attributes

Subject-specific cognitive skills

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to: 

  • critique past and current programmes to deliver water and environmental sanitation infrastructure to unserved populations globally
  • assess the needs of socially excluded groups and individuals within target populations
  • integrate and evaluate users’ water and environmental sanitation needs and demands based on conflicting and limited information
  • analyse institutional, social, economic, environmental and technical constraints and compare possible solutions
  • develop appropriate sustainable technical options to meet users’ needs and demands for different service levels of water and environmental sanitation infrastructure
  • investigate relevant emerging challenges facing the sector

Subject-specific practical skills

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

  • categorize different socio-economic contexts and physical/ natural contexts
  • select suitable laboratory tests and field surveys relating to the natural environment, social conditions, economic performance and physical condition of infrastructure
  • choose appropriate methods to review, validate, analyse, interpret and communicate dissimilar data sets using appropriate methods
  • calculate key design parameters for various elements of appropriate water and environmental sanitation infrastructure

Generic skills 

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to: 

  • find and evaluate a variety of existing sources of data, information and knowledge where the quality and quantity of publications is limited
  • listen to and record a range of views, especially from socially excluded or vulnerable groups
  • distinguish the strengths and weaknesses of working both as a member or leader of a team and as an individual
  • communicate effectively in writing, verbally and visually to disseminate quantitative and qualitative information and propose solutions
  • demonstrate flexible working with the constraints of limited time, resources and information by initiating, planning, organising and prioritising activities in an ethical manner
  • demonstrate appropriate selection and use of IT

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.