Postgraduate study2016


Water and Waste Engineering

School of Civil and Building Engineering

Year of entry: 2016

1 year full-time

This programme is aimed at engineers or scientists intent on improving the delivery of water and sanitation services in low- and middle-income countries. It will enable you to develop your knowledge, expertise and skills in many aspects of inclusive and sustainable public health infrastructure and services.


Water and Waste Engineering

School of Civil and Building Engineering

Year of entry: 2016

1 year full-time

This programme is aimed at engineers or scientists intent on improving the delivery of water and sanitation services in low- and middle-income countries. It will enable you to develop your knowledge, expertise and skills in many aspects of inclusive and sustainable public health infrastructure and services.

Programme information

The programme is based in the School of Civil and Building Engineering’s Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC), one of the world’s leading education and research institutes of its kind.

Modules are taught by experts in a broad range of disciplines who have considerable experience of working in low- and middle- income countries. The programme includes non-technical modules that will broaden your education base opening up opportunities for you to take on managerial roles. Graduates will little or no experience, and experienced practitioners, are all invited to apply.

Classes include a mix of nationalities and past experiences, providing both a stimulating learning experience and a valuable future network.

Externally accredited, WEDC programmes are well-established, and held in high regard by practitioners and employers from both the emergency and development sectors.

Key Facts

  • Research-led teaching from international experts.  75% of the School’s research was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in the latest Government Research Excellence Framework.
  • An outstanding place to study.  The School of Civil and Building Engineering is ranked in the UK top 10 in the Guardian Good University Guide
  • Excellent graduate prospects.  Many of our graduates are employed by relief and development agencies. 
  • Professionally accredited.  The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) have accredited this programme. Students registered for this programme are eligible for free student membership of CIWEM.  The Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) has also accredited all WEDC MSc degrees as meeting requirements for Further Learning.

Careers and further study

Many WEDC students and alumni 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.


All masters students have access to our excellent laboratory facilities which include equipment for field sampling and analysis of water and wastewater, and some of the largest hydraulics equipment in the UK.  There are three dedicated water laboratory staff available to help you use our equipment who are specialists in pollutant analysis, hydraulics and running continuous trials.

Practical training includes:

  • Hand-pump maintenance using the largest single site collection of hand-pumps;
  • latrine slab construction;
  • flow measurements; and
  • water quality sampling and analysis.

Field visits are made to relevant UK facilities.

WEDC has a unique sector Resource Centre with a dedicated and skilled information officer. Over 19,000 items can be searched on a customized database allowing ready access to this collection of books, series, country files, student projects, videos, journals, maps, and manufacturers' catalogues. 

The Resource Centre also provides a dedicated quiet study space for WEDC students.  Many items including all WEDC publications and over 2500 papers presented at 37 WEDC International Conferences are available in the open access sector knowledge base. 

Scholarships / Bursaries

Bursaries are available for self-funding international students.  See the WEDC web-site for further details.

The University also offers over 100 scholarships each year to new self-financing full-time international students who are permanently resident in a county outside the European Union.  These Scholarships are to the value of 25% of the programme tuition fee and that value will be credited to the student’s tuition fee account. You can apply for one of these scholarships once you have received an offer for a place on this programme. 

To find out more and apply visit our fees and financial support pages

How you will learn

The programme comprises both compulsory core modules and optional modules which may be selected.  A group case study module draws together material from across the programme and develops team working skills.  The individual research project and dissertation (frequently linked to specific needs of an agency) of between 75 and 150 pages in length concludes the programme. To support your learning you will have access to our comprehensive facilities including laboratories, hand-pumps, and a dedicated Resource Centre.


For most modules, students are assessed by one item of coursework (two items for foundation modules) and an in-class test.  The Group Project module is assessed on the basis of written documents and spoken presentations, including an individual component for the module mark.  The individual Research Dissertation is assessed on the basis of a written dissertation, and this module includes an oral when a student discusses their submitted dissertation with their supervisor and a second member of academic staff.

Entry qualifications

Upper second class (2.1) degree, or above, in an engineering or scientific discipline. Successful completion of the Postgraduate Certificate stage (i.e. the first four modules of this MSc programme) may be considered as an alternative qualification, permitting transfer to the MSc programme.

IELTS overall 6.5 with not less than 6.0 in the individual Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking test

Further information is available on the University’s English Language Requirements page for International Students

Programme modules

Core modules

Water and Waste Engineering Principles

The aim of this module is for you to to understand the range of suitable technologies for water supply and engineering management of liquid and solid wastes in low- and middle-income countries.

Management of Water and Sanitation

This module introduces the principles, concepts and key issues of managing sustainable water and environmental sanitation services for low-income consumers in developing countries.

Water Utilities Management

The aim of this module is to better enable participants to plan for and manage urban water and sanitation services in developing countries.

Data Collection, Analysis and Research

This module introduces the principles and approaches for doing research and studies on infrastructure and services in low- and middle-income countries and to prepare students to undertake the research dissertation module.

Group Project

The aim of this module is for you to work within a group to understand the necessary inter-relationships between different components of the programme of study; to consolidate and integrate material contained in earlier taught modules; and to learn how to work as part of a team.

Research Dissertation

This module aims to provide you with experience of the process and methodology of research by defining and studying (on an individual basis) a complex problem in a specialised area relating to your degree.

Optional Modules (choose 3)

Water Source Development

This module covers the occurrence, location, exploration, exploitation and pollution of groundwater and surface water sources.

Wastewater Treatment

The aim of this module is for you to understand the various stages, and unit operation and process options, for treatment of wastewaters, particularly in low- and middle-income countries; and to understand the principles for planning and design of wastewater treatment facilities, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

Integrated Water Resources Management

The aim of this module is for participants to understand the concepts used in integrated planning and management of water resources in low and middle-income countries.

Small-scale Water Supply and Sanitation

This module includes important aspects of the design, construction, operation and manintenance of small-scale water supplies and on-site sanitation options for low-income rural and urban communities.

Solid Waste Management

This module will introduce you to the available and possible options in solid waste management for low and middle income countries, and allow you to become familiar with the key issues for low income countries.

Water Distribution and Drainage Systems

The aim of this module is for the student to understand the most important aspects of how to design, construct and maintain piped water distribution, drainage and sewerage systems.

Short Project

The aim of this module is for you to undertake extended study of a subject of your own choosing, which is related to your Postgraduate Programme, to enable you to conduct an independent review and analysis to understand state of art issues or a topic.

Apply now

The best way to apply for admission to a taught or research programme is online. This helps us to process your application quickly.

Your application must be supported by documentary evidence of entry qualifications, including English language, academic transcripts and references.

You are strongly advised to send your documents, including transcripts and references, as soon as you make your online application – they can be submitted online.

A decision about your application cannot be made until we receive your supporting documents.

For more information on the application process, take a look at our how to apply section.

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. The standard tuition fees for this course are:

Taught ProgrammesUK/EUInternational
PGT Band 3 (Laboratory-based) £6,600 £18,950

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.


A number of scholarships and bursaries are available (dependent on eligibility):

  • Student loans for master's degrees
  • Department-specific bursaries
  • Scholarships
  • Professional and Career Development Loans
  • External charities and trusts
  • Studentships
  • Research Council funding

Find out more about the support available for UK/EU students and international students.