Over one billion people in the developing world remain without access to drinking water, and more than double this number are still lacking access to basic sanitation. Study the planning, implementation and management of water supply and sanitation projects worldwide.

Water theme movie capture

At a glance

  • Start dateFull-time: October. Part-time: throughout the year
  • DurationOne year full-time, two-three years part-time
  • DeliveryTaught modules MSc 40%, PgDip 66.6%, Group project (dissertation for part-time students) MSc 20%, PgDip 33.3%, Individual project MSc 40%.
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typeFull-time / Part-time

Who is it for?

This course is ideal for graduates who wish to progress their career in the planning, implementation and management of sustainable water supply and sanitation projects to low income countries.  The course comprises of assessed modules, group projects and an individual project. The modules include lectures and tutorials with an emphasis on analysis of real problems, with practical field work to reinforce learning.

Why this course?

Although much progress has been made over the last three decades, still more than one billion people lack access to a safe, reliable and affordable water supply; and more than twice that number still lack access to basic sanitation. This course provides the essential skills and knowledge required to plan and implement, with communities, water supply and sanitation projects and programmes worldwide, particularly in less developed countries.

On successful completion of this option students will be able to:

  • design and implement appropriate and sustainable solutions to water supply and sanitation for small, rural communities in particular in developing countries, with due regard to the technical, social and institutional constraints imposed by the surrounding environment
  • assess water supply and sanitation needs for communities in villages and refugee camps
  • plan and implement water source evaluation and development programmes, including low-cost well drilling
  • facilitate community participation and management projects and programmes
  • design, cost and implement small sustainable water distribution, storage and treatment systems
  • evaluate the health impacts of community water supply and sanitation systems.

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:

  • Anglian Water
  • CARE International
  • CIWEM
  • Environment Agency
  • Institute of Water
  • Jacobs
  • Mott MacDonald
  • OFWAT
  • Pumpaid
  • Practical Action
  • Richard Hill, Independent Consultant
  • Sembcorp Utilities Services.

Your teaching team

You will be taught by our internationally renowned research and academic staff with skills in natural and social sciences and engineering, all of whom have extensive experience of solving real-life water management problems. Many staff are actively involved in the preparation and evaluation of water supply and sanitation programmes in developing countries on behalf of non-governmental and international organisations. They successfully combine professional experience with high-quality teaching and research skills. Most are members of the Higher Education Academy.

External lecturers:

  • Jakob Kisker (WSUP)
  • Veronica Di Bella (IMC Worldwide)
  • Dr Foyeke Tolani, Visiting Teaching Fellow in Behavioural Change and Hygiene (Oxfam GB)
  • Ian Ross, Visiting Teaching Fellow in Sustainable WASH Services (Oxford Policy Management)
  • Sean Furey, Visiting Teaching Fellow in Appropriate WASH Technology (SKAT, Switzerland)
  • Colin Payne, Home Office (HM Gov)
  • Jenny Lamb (Oxfam)
  • Daniel Burbidge (Hydrologist, Environment Agency)
  • Steven Baker (Technical Specialist Hydrometry and Telemetry, Environment Agency)
  • Toby Gould (Independent Consultant in Emergency WASH)
  • Dr Richard Franceys (Independent Consultant in WASH financing)


Accreditation

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

Course details

The modules include lectures and tutorials, and are assessed through appropriate assignments. There is an emphasis on analysis of real problems, with practical field work, including a week of drilling, to reinforce learning.

Group project

The group project provides students with the opportunity to take responsibility for a consultancy-type project, while working under academic supervision. Success is dependent on the integration of various activities and working within agreed objectives, deadlines and budgets. 

Individual project

Students select the individual project in consultation with the Course Director. The individual project provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to carry out independent research, think and work in an original way, contribute to knowledge, and overcome genuine problems in water management. Many of the projects are supported by external organisations and are based in low-income countries.

Assessment

Taught modules MSc 40%, PgDip 66.6%, Group project (dissertation for part-time students) MSc 20%, PgDip 33.3%, Individual project MSc 40%.

Core modules

Surface and Groundwater Hydrology

Module Leader
  • Holman, Professor Ian I.P.
Aim

    This subject concentrates on the quantification of surface and groundwater hydrological processes. An understanding of rainfall, evapotranspiration, runoff, groundwater recharge, groundwater storage, and groundwater movement is essential for those involved in the science, engineering or management of the water environment. This module provides a conceptual and quantitative understanding of hydrology and the basic principles of hydraulics as a basis for later applied studies of water quality, water engineering, and water management.

Syllabus
    • The hydrological cycle and the influence of man.
    • Basics of hydraulics: SI Units, properties of fluids, basic mechanics. Hydrostatics: Pressure, pressure measurement, pressure and forces on submerged surfaces. Fluids in motion: Types of flow. Continuity, energy and momentum equations and their applications. Behaviour of a real fluid.
    • Precipitation, measurement of precipitation amount and intensity, spatial analysis. Interception and depression storage. Evapotranspiration, Penman approach, actual evapotranspiration. Runoff processes; overland flow, interflow, base flow.
    • Discharge measurement; velocity area methods. Structures; hydraulic principles of weirs & flumes. Stage measurement. Rating curves and other methods.
    • Groundwater: Aquifer properties (transmissivity, storage coefficient, significance); recharge, groundwater movement including flow lines and equipotentials, natural flow, flow to wells; conduct and analysis of pumping tests including limitations and assumptions.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Understand and apply the basic hydraulic principles of static and moving water.
  • Measure point and estimate areal rainfall. Estimate potential evapotranspiration from weather data and understand the relationship between actual and potential evapotranspiration.
  • Differentiate between various runoff processes and identify the conditions under which each are important.
  • Select and apply appropriate flow measurement techniques for different types of watercourses.
  • Describe and conceptualise the occurrence and movement of groundwater and apply Darcy’s Law to simple groundwater flow problems.
  • Design and carry out groundwater pumping tests, and analyse the resulting data.

Water and Wastewater Treatment for Development

Module Leader
  • Andrew McLeod
Syllabus
    • Water Quality & Public Health
    • Drinking Water, Chemicals & Health
    • Water Treatment Principles
    • Water Treatment Challenges
    • Advanced Technologies in Water Treatment for Development
    • Community Considerations for Appropriate Water Treatment
    • Introduction to Wastewater Treatment
    • Low Energy Wastewater Treatment
    • Advanced Technologies in Wastewater Treatment for Development
    • Resource Recovery from WS&S Technologies – Nutrients & Water
    • Resource Recovery from WS&S Technologies – Energy
    • Appropriate Technology Selection
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Describe different water quality parameters and how they are measured.
  • Describe the basic principles of drinking water treatment and how these can be used at different scales including, household, community and municipal.
  • Evaluate simple methods of wastewater treatment and how these are being applied to treating conventional waterborne sewage as well as in faecal sludge management.
  • Assess how different treatment technologies might be applicable in different contexts.

Communities and Development

Module Leader
  • Mr Paul Hutchings
Aim

    Development must be understood both as a general social phenomenon, the result of complex processes of change that are going on around us every day, and as a goal or desired outcome: the sustained improvements in human wellbeing that programmes of guided change seek to bring about in a particular place. It is widely-recognised that development projects in poor countries are only likely to have a sustained and beneficial impact if the target communities themselves have a major role in their planning, design, management and monitoring. Development workers need to have a good understanding of the various factors that impact development at the community level, as well as a clear understanding of current paradigms of sustainable development. This unit addresses both the general issues of community-based development through water, sanitation and hygiene interventions, and specific aspects of the development of water, sanitation and hygiene within communities. It will also equip participants with relevant tools for the implementation of interventions at community level.

Syllabus
    • Key Concepts in Development
    • Community Management of WASH
    • Sustainability in WASH
    • Multiple-Use Services
    • Behavioural Change
    • Institutional Change
    • Quantitative and Qualitative Social Research Methods
    • Theory of Change & Logical Frameworks.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Critically discuss the concepts of development, community and community development, and evaluate how these shape the WASH sector
  • Identify and explain historical and emerging trends in the practices and policies of rural water supply and sanitation in low and middle income countries
  • Appreciate the complexities of "getting things done" in development, especially at the community level (knowing our limits!)
  • Learn about and apply relevant tools and methodologies (i.e. LogFrames, Behavioural Change Frameworks, Sustainability Frameworks, Political Economy Analysis) that can (sometimes) help "get things done" in development
  • Develop an understanding of quantitative and qualitative social research methods that can be used to monitor and evaluate WASH development interventions.

Health, Hygiene and Sanitation

Module Leader
  • Tyrrel, Dr Sean S.F.
Aim

    A wholesome water supply and good sanitation are essential for a healthy life. Poor sanitation is a significant cause of the diseases which millions in low-income countries / communities suffer from. Promoting hygienic behaviour and sanitary excreta management techniques and technology is an important component of proactive public health development. This module explores the links between water, excreta related behaviour and health and the related technologies that are appropriate in low and middle income communities.

Syllabus
    • Health: classification of water- and excreta-related disease; relationship between water, sanitation and related disease; risk behaviours in relation to water-and excreta-related disease; hygiene evaluation and promotion.
    • On-site excreta disposal systems: Why they are not used, benefits of their use, pit latrines, VIP latrines, pour-flush latrines, composting latrines, septic tanks, soakage systems, ecological sanitation.
    • Urban sanitation: Conventional and low-cost sewerage, faecal sludge management.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Identify the principal transmission routes of water and excreta-related diseases
  • Critically assess the disease risks associated with water and excreta-related behaviours
  • Design a basic programme for hygiene evaluation and promotion
  • Select, design and evaluate sanitation systems for a specific situations.

Innovation for Sustainable Cities

Module Leader
  • Parker, Dr Alison A.
Syllabus
    • Latest technologies in urban sanitation and solid waste management
    • Pro poor service delivery within water utilities
    • Strategies for payments and reporting on WASH services
    • SUDS
    • Water reuse
    • Water-energy-food nexus
    • Complex systems
    • Circular economy
    • Climate proofing WASH services
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Evaluate new technologies and approaches that are currently being piloted in cities for water, sanitation, drainage and solid waste management, including how these services are paid for and reported on.
  • Outline governance structures for water and sanitation for the poor in cities
  • Describe the water-energy-food nexus as it applies to cities.
  • Describe novel economic approaches to sustainable cities including complex systems and the circular economy.
  • Explain how climate change might impact the provision of water and sanitation in cities.

Water Source Engineering

Module Leader
Aim

    Water management professionals need knowledge of the design, construction and management of water sources for domestic and small-scale agricultural use, including the engineering of water pumps and piped distribution systems.

Syllabus
    • Water treatment principles and challenges
    • Water sources: rainwater harvesting; surface water storage with earth dams; protected springs – principles, practices; wells and boreholes.
    • Gravity and pumped pipe systems for water conveyance: - hydraulic principles, design practices.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Design piped water distribution systems in rural areas of lower-income countries, specifying appropriate pipe sizes and materials, and pumps configuration when necessary
  • Differentiate the exploration and investigation techniques available for groundwater studies.
  • Plan the design features of protected springs and infiltration galleries, and carry out detailed design of wells and boreholes.
  • Propose sites for on-stream and off-stream water storage stuctures; produce outline designs for small earth embankment dams; and identify basic construction techniques and maintenance tasks.
  • Describe the working principles and requirements of selected handpumps.

Management and Governance for Water and Sanitation

Module Leader
  • Mr Paul Hutchings
Aim

    This module is focused upon delivering improved water and sanitation to the poor with a focus on services to the urban poor dwelling in slums and informal settlements. To that aim, it introduces participants to the theory and practice of financing & management approaches in supplying water and sanitation, focussing upon the role of cost-reflective pricing targeted subsidies, to ensure financial and service sustainability for all. There is a strong emphasis on understanding costs through conventional accounting approaches to support transparency and participation. Appropriate governance structures, particularly the role of public, private and community management systems along with economic regulation, to support viable public private community partnerships for universal service, are also investigated.

Syllabus
    • Institutional models for water supply and sanitation including the role of urban utilities and rural water supply options
    • Governance, sector-level change processes and the enabling support environment
    • Service delivery approaches - privatisation/Public Private Partnerships and Public Operator Partnerships
    • Introduction to the economic value of water, cost-reflective pricing and tariff principles, including understanding of basic subsidies
    • Demand responsiveness: Ability to pay and Willingness to pay
    • Decision-making for financial management: The Waterman Simulation.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Describe the economic and social drivers for the effective, equitable and efficient management of water and sanitation services
  • Explain the different institutional models for water and sanitation services, understanding strengths and weaknesses in different contexts
  • Assess the principle cost-categories for sustainable water and sanitation services, with respect to capital and recurrent costs
  • Evaluate different governance strategies for water and sanitation services, including centralisation, decentralisation and the appropriate use of regulation (or other accountability measures)
  • Evaluate decision-making regarding appropriate financial management of water utilities (via simulated game).

Emergency Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation

Module Leader
Aim

    Safe water and sanitation are often priority needs for people affected by natural disasters, or complex emergencies. Unless services are provided quickly, people are exposed to health risks with potentially severe consequences to human life.

    The required skill-set of an effective emergency responders includes the ability to identify and address existing risks and threats for the affected population as well as themselves. They need to know which data to collect within limited time and in often difficult-to-access areas, and how to prioritize needs. Efficient communication with the affected population, coordination with other responders, and effective interaction with the humanitarian response system are essential. The application of relevant standards and norms assures that people affected by disaster can not only survive, but do so within the realm their human rights.

    This unit gives an overview of emergency response realities, and intends to prepare the participant with knowledge and tools about how to effectively design and implement adequate water, sanitation and hygiene promotion in response to disasters.

Syllabus
    • Nature & type of emergency (natural and man-made disasters, rapid- and slow-onset, complex emergencies)
    • The relief “system”; refugees & IDPs, humanitarian standards e.g. SPHERE and Common Humanitarian Standards (CHS)
    • Phases of emergency (acute, post-acute, transition to development/normality)
    • Water supply – refugee camp supplies (sources & appropriate/specialist kit), non-camp situation requiring emergency distribution (tankers, bottles), rehabilitation of damaged supplies (mobilisation, communication, information requirements)
    • Water treatment in above contexts e.g. camp scale, household water treatment
    • Public health in emergencies: Excreta disposal – mainly refugee camp situation (acute versus post-acute phases); Solid waste management – hazardous materials e.g. hospital waste; Environmental sanitation – solid waste including medical wate, vector control, hygiene education/promotion
    • Disaster management: refugee camp logistics, coordination with other sectors e.g. shelter, food security, medical supplies & services, electricity.
    • Public information needs e.g. health risks, water disinfection, location of emergency centres etc.
    • Safety & security issues – acceptance, deterrence and protection. Personal, organisational and served population security. Ambushing, kidnapping, theft, mines, ongoing conflict, building collapse and natural threats, for both local population and aid workers.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Differentiate and describe the characteristics of different types of emergency situation and phases
  • Discuss the main issues surrounding logistics and management of emergency situations
  • Evaluate, select and design appropriate emergency water supply including its treatment
  • Design & establish measures to address public health issues in emergencies and minimise risks of epidemics: environmental sanitation, solid waste and vector control measures.
  • Evaluate the need for public information and coordination with other sectors to ensure basic needs are met.
  • Evaluate alternative points of view and demonstrate an ability to summarise clearly to others
  • Organise, manage and execute an assignment to achieve specified objectives within a time-frame
  • Communicate findings in a professional manner in written form.

Fees and funding

European Union students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will still have access to student funding support.

Please see the UK Government’s Department of Education press release for more information

Cranfield University welcomes applications from students from all over the world for our postgraduate programmes. The Home/EU student fees listed continue to apply to EU students.

MSc Full-time £7,800
MSc Part-time £1,500 *
PgDip Full-time £6,000
PgDip Part-time £1,500 *
PgCert Full-time £3,000
PgCert Part-time £1,500 *
  • * The annual registration fee is quoted above and will be invoiced annually. An additional fee of £1,230 per module is also payable on receipt of invoice. 
  • ** Students will be offered the option of paying the full fee up front, or in a maximum of two payments per year; first instalment on receipt of invoice and the second instalment six months later.  

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018.
  • 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.

For further information regarding tuition fees, please refer to our fee notes.

MSc Full-time £17,500
MSc Part-time £17,500 **
PgDip Full-time £14,500
PgDip Part-time £14,500 **
PgCert Full-time £10,380
PgCert Part-time £7,000 **
  • * The annual registration fee is quoted above and will be invoiced annually. An additional fee of £1,230 per module is also payable on receipt of invoice. 
  • ** Students will be offered the option of paying the full fee up front, or in a maximum of two payments per year; first instalment on receipt of invoice and the second instalment six months later.  

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018.
  • 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.

For further information regarding tuition fees, please refer to our fee notes.

Funding Opportunities

To help students in finding and securing appropriate funding we have created a funding finder where you can search for suitable sources of funding by filtering the results to suit your needs. Visit the funding finder.

The Lorch MSc Student Bursary

The Lorch Foundation is an educational trust supporting Cranfield students with bursaries of up to £5,000. Applicants should possess a minimum 2:1 UK Honours degree (or equivalent) in Engineering or Physical Sciences or related discipline.

Prestige Scholarship

The Prestige Scholarship provides funding of up to £11,000 to cover up to £9,000 fees and a potential contribution to living expenses. This scholarship has been designed to attract exceptional candidates to Cranfield University so we welcome applications from UK or EU graduates with a first-class honours undergraduate degree. Prestige Scholarships are available for all MSc courses in the Water, Energy and Environment themes.

Merit MSc Bursary

The Merit MSc Bursary provides funding of up to £5,000 towards tuition fees. Applicants should be UK or EU graduates with a first class honours, 2:1 honours or in exceptional circumstances 2:2 honours undergraduate degree in a relevant subject. Merit MSc Bursaries are available for all MSc courses in the Water, Energy and Environment themes.

International MSc Bursary

The International MSc Bursary provides funding of up to £5,000 towards tuition fees. Applicants should be from outside the EU with a first class honours or upper second class honours undergraduate degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. International MSc Bursaries are available for all MSc courses in the Water, Energy and Environment themes.

Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme

The Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS) is a funding programme providing affordable tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time UK/EU students studying technology-based MSc courses.

Conacyt (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia)

Cranfield offers competitive scholarships for Mexican students in conjunction with Conacyt (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia) in science, technology and engineering.

Marshal Papworth Scholarships

Marshal Papworth provide opportunities for students from developing countries to gain the agricultural and horticultural skills needed to achieve a sustainable future for themselves and their communities

Entry requirements

Suitable for graduates who wish to work in the planning, implementation and management of sustainable water supply and sanitation projects with rural and urban communities in low and middle-income countries. The part-time option allows practitioners to extend their professional development within their current employment.  Candidates must possess, or be expected to achieve, a 1st or 2nd class UK Honours degree in a relevant discipline such as engineering, environmental science, geography, development studies, earth science or related subjects, or the international equivalent of these UK qualifications.

Students requiring a Tier 4 General Student visa to study in the UK may need to apply for an ATAS certificate to study this course.

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.

International students who do not already meet the English language entry requirement for their chosen Cranfield course can apply to attend one of our Presessional English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses. We offer Winter/Spring and Summer programmes each year to offer holders.

Your career

Takes you on to a wide-range of exciting career possibilities in water and sanitation development with non-governmental organisations, emergency relief agencies, UN and similar international bodies. The course also provides an ideal grounding for research positions and PhD programmes.

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I would recommend this MSc offered by Cranfield University and I am grateful to the European Partnership programme for allowing such a wonderful programme.

Lucas Cornet,

Applying

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

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