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.

Study Water at Cranfield video

Why this course?

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.

Graduate destinations

We recognise the importance of identifying a clear career path when deciding to study for a postgraduate degree.  Here at Cranfield you will receive full support in creating an effective career strategy from our dedicated careers service. Whether you are looking to secure your first role in the Water sector or you want to take your career to the next level, our careers service is tailored to you and your career goals.

Our courses are based on cutting edge research, so you can be sure that they are relevant in today’s employment market.

Cranfield graduates leave with the skills to make an immediate contribution in the international water industry, and many enjoy long-term careers in diverse roles such as consultants, managers, engineers, sanitation specialists and project managers. Some of our graduates went on to work in 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.

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.

At a glance

Start date Full-time: October. Part-time: throughout the year

Duration One year full-time, two-three years part-time

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

Qualification MSc, PgDip, PgCert

Study type Full-time / Part-time


Accreditation

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

CIWEM logo

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%.

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Surface and Groundwater Hydrology

Module Leader
  • Professor Ian Holman
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
  • Dr Francis Hassard
Aim

    Ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all is a headline topic within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These set aspirational targets to be accomplished by 2030, including: adequate access to sanitation and ending open defecation; substantially increasing water-use efficiency; halving the discharge of untreated wastewater; expanding capacity and support for water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies. However, inadequate technical translation between high and low income contexts and insufficient bridging of the gap between pilot and commercial processes remain primary obstacles to the successful implementation of established and emerging technologies that could aid the delivery of the SDGs.

    As future workers in this sector, students should be equipped with a technical understanding of water and wastewater treatment processes but also a critical appreciation of their applicability within different scenarios and contexts. This module addresses this need by providing the technical principles of water and wastewater treatment (established and emerging), both for the processes themselves and for critical monitoring of water quality. This will be complemented by a visit to the Cranfield University wastewater works and a Technology Applicability Framework (TAF) workshop, which will provide a structured methodology to assess the suitability of different processes within specified scenarios.  

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 reuse, as well as how these are applied to conventional waterborne sewage as well as in faecal sludge management.
  • Assess how different treatment technologies might be applicable in different contexts.

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 urban poor in lower-income countries. To that aim, it introduces participants to the theory and practice of management and appropriate governance strategies, particularly the role of public, private and community management systems along with economic regulation, to support viable services in resource poor urban and rural situations. It focuses on examining how the best-practice approaches shape or contrast to the decision-making that is found in the real-world sector, where political, cultural and social biases often distort decision-making processes. The overall aim is to equip participants with the relevant knowledge and tools to one day become effective and realistic managers of, and advisors to, WASH service providers in lower-income contexts. 

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)

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

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 kind of goal or desired outcome: the sustained improvements in human wellbeing that programmes of guided change seek to bring about in a particular place. Students of development need to have a good understanding of the current paradigms of development, and the various factors that impact development inventions at a policy, programmatic and community level. This unit addresses these issues with reference to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions, especially within rural contexts, providing a critical overview of the historic and emerging trends in the WASH sector. It will also equip participants with relevant tools and methodologies for the management and implementation of WASH development interventions. 

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
  • Explain the complexities of "getting things done" in development, especially at the community level (knowing our limits!)
  • Apply relevant tools and methodologies (e.g.. LogFrames, Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks ) that can (sometimes) help "get things done" in development
  • Apply quantitative and qualitative social research methods that can be used to monitor and evaluate WASH development interventions. 

Water Source Engineering

Module Leader
Aim

    Water management professionals need detailed knowledge of the design, construction and management of water sources for domestic and small-scale agricultural use, as well as of the engineering of water pumps, open channel and piped distribution systems. This module aims at providing the students with the theoretical basis for the design of water resources capture and distribution systems with a focus on rural areas of lower-income countries.

Syllabus
    • Water sources: surface water abstraction; rainwater harvesting; surface water storage; protected springs – principles and practices; wells and boreholes.
    • Open channel and 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 open channel and piped water distribution systems in rural areas of lower-income countries, specifying appropriate pipe sizes,materials, and pumps configuration
  • 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
  • Design rainwater harvesting systems at household and community level

Water in Cities

Module Leader
  • Dr Heather Smith
Aim

    There is growing recognition that, as a result of rapid urbanisation, many of the key global challenges in water management will be faced by cities. The UN recently predicted that nearly all of the global population growth from 2016 to 2030 will be absorbed by cities, creating about 1.1 billion new urbanites. This creates significant challenges for urban areas in terms of how to supply a growing population (in planned and/or unplanned settlements), how to manage ageing infrastructure, how to recover resources from wastewater, and how to interact with the natural environment. This module will examine these challenges and provide students with the skills to identify, contextualise and evaluate different urban water management technologies and approaches.

Syllabus
    • Global challenges for urban water management
    • Legal and policy framework for urban water management
    • Complex systems
    • The future of urban water services, including innovative treatment and sanitation technologies and alternative water sources
    • Managing urban water networks and infrastructure, including integrated urban drainage and SUDS
    • Introduction to water sensitive urban design
    • Involving citizens in urban water management

Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Explain key global challenges for urban water management and their implications (including climate change, population growth, and infrastructure provision)
  • Describe the socio-political context for urban water management in cities (UK, EU, global)
  • Identify and evaluate emerging technologies and approaches in urban water management.

Emergency Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation

Module Leader
Aim

    Given the frequency of displaced populations as a consequence of conflict and the inevitable occurrence of natural disasters, there is a need for a basic knowledge in the provision of safe water supply and introduction of environmental sanitation under difficult circumstances.

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 waste, 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 and the 2018 to 2019 academic year will still have access to student funding support. Please see the UK Government’s announcement (21 April 2017).

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 £8,500
MSc Part-time £1,635 *
PgDip Full-time £6,500
PgDip Part-time £1,635 *
PgCert Full-time £3,250
PgCert Part-time £1,635 *
  • * The annual registration fee is quoted above and will be invoiced annually. An additional fee of £1,340 per module is also payable on receipt of invoice. 
  • ** Fees can be paid in full up front, or in equal annual instalments, up to a maximum of two payments per year; first payment on or before registration and the second payment six months after the course start date. Students who complete their course before the initial end date will be invoiced the outstanding fee balance and must pay in full prior to graduation.

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019.
  • 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 £19,000
MSc Part-time £19,000 **
PgDip Full-time £15,200
PgDip Part-time £15,200 **
PgCert Full-time £7,600
PgCert Part-time £11,310 **
  • * The annual registration fee is quoted above and will be invoiced annually. An additional fee of £1,340 per module is also payable on receipt of invoice. 
  • ** Fees can be paid in full up front, or in equal annual instalments, up to a maximum of two payments per year; first payment on or before registration and the second payment six months after the course start date. Students who complete their course before the initial end date will be invoiced the outstanding fee balance and must pay in full prior to graduation.

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019.
  • 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.

GREAT China Scholarship
The GREAT Cranfield University Scholarship China is jointly funded by Cranfield University and the British Council. Two scholarships of £11,000 each for Chinese students are available.

The Cranfield Water Scholarship

Cranfield University is delighted to launch the Cranfield Water Scholarship for 2018/19 has four scholarships worth £6,000 each towards tuition fees. The scholarship is open to students from Malawi and Vietnam.

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship

Students from developing countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the UK can apply for a Commonwealth Shared Scholarship which includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study, jointly supported by Cranfield University.

The Cranfield Scholarship

We have a limited number of scholarships available for candidates from around the world applying for the 2017 intake. Scholarships are awarded to applicants who show both aptitude and ability for the subject they are applying. Find out more about the Cranfield Scholarship

Postgraduate Loan from Student Finance England

A Postgraduate Loan is now available for UK and EU applicants to help you pay for your Master’s course. You can apply for a loan at GOV.UK

Santander MSc Scholarship

The Santander Scholarship at Cranfield University is worth £5,000 towards tuition fees for full-time master's courses. Check the scholarship page to find out if you are from an eligible Santander Universities programme country.

Chevening Scholarships

Chevening Scholarships are awarded to outstanding emerging leaders to pursue a one-year master’s at Cranfield university. The scholarship includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Commonwealth Scholarships for Developing Countries

Students from developing countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the UK can apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship which includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Future Finance Student Loans

Future Finance offer student loans of up to £40,000 that can cover living costs and tuition fees for all student at Cranfield University.

Erasmus+ Student Loans

This new loan scheme for EU students is offered by Future Finance and European Investment Fund and provides smart, flexible loans of up to £9,300.

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.

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. Our minimum requirements are as follows:

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.

Applicants 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.

University Disclaimer

Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the core modules and some optional modules affiliated with this programme which ran in the academic year 2017–2018. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2018 entry. All modules are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

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.

Apply Now

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.