Water Processes - Advanced Professional Masters MTech


Water Processes - Advanced Professional Masters MTech

The Master of Technology - Advanced Professional Masters (MTech) qualification is an innovative model of postgraduate study combining taught Masters study, company-based research, professional development and industrial experience. It has been designed to meet industry's increasing demand for high calibre professionals by balancing the teaching of technical knowledge with the development of applied, commercially driven research capability.

The MTech Water Processes is the ideal programme for individuals who want to make a real difference to delivering reliable water supplies, or to maintaining and enhancing river and ground water quality. The UK water industry has a high demand for 'process literate' graduates who can design, engineer and manage treatment plant, equipment and associated processes. This specialist postgraduate course has been designed and developed in conjunction with key stakeholders in the water industry to provide a tailor-made solution to the skills and knowledge shortage facing the sector. The MTech programme involves students spending the majority of their time based within their sponsoring company, gaining hands-on experience whilst learning in an industrial context.

This course is suitable for science or engineering graduates keen to pursue careers within companies involved in water and wastewater treatment, process contractors, consultants, equipment manufacturers, suppliers and industrial water users; or graduates currently working in the water sector keen to extend their qualifications; or individuals with other qualifications who possess considerable relevant experience.

Course overview

Students complete a combined programme of campus and company-based study over a fixed two-year period. The course comprises eight one-week assessed modules which include lectures and tutorials, two group projects, an industrial placement report and individual research project portfolio.

Group project

The group project is a multidisciplinary team-based activity. Students are given the initial aims and objectives of the project and have to design a solution and specification for water treatment plants. The Group project is assessed by means of two reports and an oral.

Individual Project

Industrial Placement Report:

Students are required to demonstrate an understanding of the contribution of research to their professional and personal development through the industrial placement report. This also contributes towards professional development.

Individual Research Project Portfolio:

This provides students with the opportunity, whilst working under academic supervision, to develop and demonstrate independent research skills. This element of the course includes research planning, the refinement of objectives, organisation and initiative in the completion of data generation and gathering, analysis, synthesis, and the discussion and presentation of results and conclusions.


The course comprises eight one-week assessed modules which include lectures and tutorials, two group projects, an industrial placement report and individual research project portfolio.


  • Water and Wastewater Treatment Principles
    Module LeaderDr Andreas Nocker - Einsiedler - Lecturer in Drinking Water Microbiology
    • Classification, significance and concentration ranges of impurities in water and wastewater, including: suspended and dissolved solids, organic and inorganic compounds, trace contaminants and pathogens
    • Physical methods for removing particulates, including: screening and grit removal, sedimentation and filtration
    • Chemical dosing, including: precipitation; coagulation and flocculation processes (including basic concepts from colloid science); disinfection and chemical oxidation
    • Adsorption and ion exchange
    • Biological processes for wastewater treatment, both aerobic and anaerobic. Activated sludge, trickling filters and sludge digestion
    • Pumping and process control systems and strategies
    • Examples of flow sheets and unit operations used in treatment plants.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

    • Understand the nature of impurities in waters and wastewaters, their concentrations and significance
    • Understand the basic principles of conventional treatment processes
    • Select appropriate processes, depending on the nature of the impurities to be removed and the intended use of the treated water or effluent
    • Complete a flow-sheet selection assignment showing how unit processes are selected based on incoming water quality.
  • Process Science and Engineering
    • Aqueous chemistry: moles and equivalents, solubility, the behaviour of acids and bases and the concept of pH, kinetics and equilibria, surface science and electrochemistry
    • Fundamental process principles: engineering and SI units, fluid mixing and flow through porous media, mass balance, mass transfer and elementary chemical reactor theory
    • Introductory cell biology: basic microbiology and biochemistry with reference to classification and terminology, structure of biochemicals and biochemical pathways of special interest to water and wastewater processes.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

    • Understand the underlying basic biological, physical and chemical science principles and governing equations applicable to water and wastewater
    • Understand the relevant fundamental chemical engineering principles as applied to the processing of water and wastewater
    • Complete basic mathematical calculations relating primarily to water chemistry and biochemistry, engineering hydraulics and chemical engineering.
  • Biological Processes
    Module LeaderDr Ana Soares - Lecturer in Biological Processes
    • Key principles of biological processes including stoichiometry, kinetics and microbial pathways
    • The role of micro-organisms in activated sludge (aerobic processes) and digestion (anaerobic processes)
    • Application of fixed film processes including RBCs, MBBR, IFAS and trickling filters
    • Activated sludge principles, design and operation
    • Principles of oxygen transfer for suspended growth microbial processes
    • Anaerobic digestion principles, design and operation
    • Principles of heat transfer for optimum anaerobic digestion performance
    • Applications for extensive processes for wastewater treatment including reed beds
    • Biological nutrient removal including Annamox and alternative nutrient removal processes (struvite and adsorbents)
    • Advanced biological wastewater treatment including anaerobic wastewater treatment and application of biological processes for micropollutant removal
    • Laboratory session examining wastewater quality analysis.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

    • Identify the range of conventional and advanced biological treatment processes for the treatment of bulk organics, nutrients and micropollutants
    • Understand the underlying biological principles on which the processes are based, and be able to apply these principles to unit process design and operation
    • Select appropriate processes for specific applications, and have some knowledge of practical design considerations
    • Execute and asses laboratory work for wastewater quality analysis (FT and PT).
  • Risk Management and Reliability Engineering
    Module LeaderDr Alireza Daneshkhah - Research Fellow in Applied Statistics

    This module explores risks from the strategic to operational level and both quantitative and qualitative
    tools and techniques. It does this by exploring:

    • Drivers for risk management in the utility sector - why manage risk?
    • Corporate risk management structures, tools and techniques
    • Basic probability and statistics
    • The reliability, availability and maintenance of unit processes
    • Risk analysis tools and techniques
    • Assets, risk management and public health protection
    • Regulatory risk assessments in support of environmental permits
    • Communicating risk, building stakeholder confidence
    • Risk governance in the utility sector towards high reliability organisations.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

    • Summarise the context of risk governance in the utility sector and explain organisational structures for risk management; relate these to corporate objectives, eg. licence to operate
    • Exemplify strategic, tactical and operational risk in the water, wastewater or waste sector
    • Identify and select from key risk analysis tools and techniques appropriate to a range risk problem under study; be confident about the rules for selecting risk techniques
    • Undertake reliability analysis calculations, understanding and calculating mean times to failure
    • Identify critical control points and devise risk management strategies for managing risks to and from engineered systems; relate these to the development of water safety plans 
    • Devise risk governance structures and debate key risk management competencies for individuals, organisations and specialists; recognise core features of a risk mature organisation
    • Scope out and critically evaluate environmental risk assessments in the context of regulatory permitting sitting, operations and discharge.
  • Chemical Processes
    Module LeaderDr Emma Goslan - Lecturer in Water Chemistry
    • Key principles of chemical processes including kinetics, thermodynamics, solubility and fate
    • The role of solubility in chemical processes including precipitation, scaling and corrosion
    • Adsorption of organics by activated carbon. Kinetics and equilibria. Batch and column operation. Biological effects. Carbon regeneration. Applications
    • Ion exchange resins. Ion selectivity. Column operation. Regeneration of resins, co-flow and counter-flow
    • Applications, including demineralisation, water softening, removal of nitrate and heavy metals
    • Coagulation science and application in water and wastewater treatment. Role of floc formation and growth
    • Oxidation of trace: chlorine, ozone, hydrogen peroxide and other oxidants. Principle of advanced oxidation processes
    • Disinfection principles and key issues: formation of by-products
    • UV irradiation: applications for low and medium pressure lamps
    • The selection of chemical processes for specific contaminant removal.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

    • Identify the range of conventional and advanced water and wastewater treatment processes for the removal of dissolved impurities (including toxic metals and trace organics) and the inactivation of pathogenic organisms
    • Understand the underlying chemical principles on which the processes are based, and be able to apply these principles to unit process design and operation
    • Select appropriate processes for specific applications, and have some knowledge of practical design considerations
    • Execute and asses laboratory work examining disinfection by-products (FT).
  • Physical Processes
    Module LeaderDr Peter Jarvis - Senior Lecturer
    • Introduction to physical processes principles relevant to understanding the design, operation and fault diagnostic of the range of physical processes encountered in water and wastewater treatment
    • Modern screening designs: bar racks, fine screens, rotating drums, moving belts. Removal, disposal of retained solids
    • Clarification processes including sedimentation, high rate systems, dissolved air flotation and their applications
    • Filtration design and practice including backwashing, filter floors, factors governing media selection and application in water and wastewater treatment
    • Membrane processes including materials, configuration, design and operation of porous membrane systems
    • Sludge processes including source characterisation, theory and practice
    • Key problem particles: algae, NOM and wastewater. Covering their characteristics and how they impact on the selection and operation of physical processes.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module the student should be able to:

    • Understand the fundamental physical phenomena governing solid-liquid separation processes
    • Understand the factors affecting the selection, design and operation of conventional and innovative physical separation processes
    • Design and specify appropriate operating conditions for unit processes for physical separation as applied to water and wastewater treatment
    • Execute and assess laboratory work examining physical processes used in the solid-liquid separation sector.
  • Hydraulics and Pumping Systems
    Module LeaderDr Peter Jarvis - Senior Lecturer
    • Principles of channel flows, weir and flumes
    • Hydraulic profiling
    • Flow distribution, divisions and combination
    • Flow through hydraulic structures and unit process
    • Time varying flows through treatment works
    • Pump system calculation
    • Principles and sizing of pumps
    • Sludge pumping systems
    • Pumping station design
    • Pump maintenance.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module the student should be able to:

    • Calculate hydraulic profile through a treatment works
    • Design flow division and combination devices
    • Understand the effects of flow variations through a treatment works
    • Select and size appropriate pumps for different applications.
  • Water reuse and resource recovery
    Module LeaderDr Heather Smith - Academic Fellow
    • Technologies for large-scale water reuse
    • Technologies for small-scale water reuse
    • Opportunities for resource recovery (nutrients and energy)
    • Governance issues and public engagement
    • Risk assessment and management
    • Large-scale water reuse for potable uses (e.g. aquifer recharge, reservoir augmentation)
    • Large-scale water reuse for non-potable uses (e.g. irrigation, industrial processes, domestic uses)
    • Small-scale water reuse (e.g. building-level greywater reuse).
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module the student should be able to:

    • Describe their understanding of the theoretical aspects of water reuse and resource recovery in the context of sustainable water management
    • Describe their understanding of the socio-political context for water reuse and resource recovery, including the relevant policy environment and issues of public perception
    • Identify and evaluate opportunities for water reuse and resource recovery in wastewater treatment systems
    • Identify, summarise and evaluate technological options for water reuse and resource recovery
    • Devise a complete water reuse and/or resource recovery scheme, and summarise its key components, including significant costs, key associated risks, and potential risk mitigation measures.


Taught modules - 20%
Group Project - 10%
Industrial Placement Report - 5%
Individual Project - 65%

Start date, duration and location

Start date: October

Duration: Two years full-time

Teaching location: Cranfield


The course is designed to ensure the maximum opportunity for students to be industrially focused. Students undertaking the award will complete an extended period of career development through research in industry with their sponsoring company whilst developing their technical knowledge and professional practice record to achieve professional accreditation and chartered status.

Video: Cranfield students explain why they chose this course

Accreditation and partnerships

This degree has been accredited by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

Informed by industry

Our courses are designed to meet the training needs of industry and have a strong input from experts in their sector. These include:

  • P A Consulting
  • Joint Research Centre, Ispra
  • Adas
  • Cresswell Associates
  • Chartered Institute of Waste Management
  • Geospatial Insight
  • Oakdene Hollins
  • Golder
  • Astrium Geo-information Services
  • Unilever
  • Landscape Science Consultancy
  • WRc PLC
  • FWAG
  • RSPB
  • ERM
  • GIGL
  • WRG
  • Environment Agency
  • Chartered Institute of Water and Environment Management
  • Enviros
  • Health Protection Agency
  • Neales Waste
  • Natural England
  • National Trust
  • Trucost
  • SLR Consulting
  • Highview Power Storage
  • Nomura Code Securities

Your teaching team

The Centre for Water Science at Cranfield University is recognised internationally as a centre of excellence. It is the UK’s largest postgraduate group specialising in process technologies, engineering and policy for water quality improvement. Industry practitioners teach alongside a wide-range of subject specialists.

Facilities and resources

The School of Energy, Environment and Agrifood operates facilities and associated equipment which are often unique to Cranfield. Students on programmes associated with the Centre for Water Science benefit from this infrastructure which includes:

  • the on-site sewage treatment works, with its own dedicated pilot-plant hall
  • state-of-the-art clean water, fermentation, microbiology, wastewater and water chemistry laboratories
  • a containerised laboratory also operates at one of the University's halls of residence where grey water treatment pilot plants are stationed.

Students on the MTech programme usually have access to facilities and equipment operated by their sponsor in addition to the infrastructure extant at Cranfield.

Entry Requirements

A first or second class UK Honours degree in a relevant science, engineering or related discipline, or the international equivalent of these UK qualifications. Other relevant qualifications, together with significant experience, may be considered.

English Language

If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification. The minimum standard expected from a number of accepted courses are as follows:

IELTS - 6.5

TOEFL - 92 

Pearson PTE Academic - 65

Cambridge English Scale - 180

Cambridge English: Advanced - C

Cambridge English: Proficiency - C

In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

Students requiring a Tier 4 (General) visa must ensure they can meet the English language requirements set out by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and we recommend booking a IELTS for UKVI test.


Home EU Student Fees

MTech Full-time - £18,000 *

Overseas Fees

MTech Full-time - £35,000 *


This is the total fee payable with a structured payment plan as follows; equal annual payments split over the 2 year duration of the course. First payment is due at registration, further payments are due on the anniversary of registration.

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A deposit may be payable, depending on your course.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged and can be found below.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.


Funding opportunities exist, including industrial sponsorship, School bursaries and a number of general external schemes.  For the majority of part-time students sponsorship is organised by their employers. We recommend you discuss this with your company in the first instance.

Application Process

Online application form. UK students are normally expected to attend an interview and financial support is best discussed at that time. Overseas and EU students may be interviewed by telephone.

Career opportunities

Successful students will secure positions within their sponsoring company, making an ongoing contribution to its operating performance, with graduates developing the potential to progress to senior positions in industry.