Study a Water MSc at Cranfield

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 water supply and sanitation projects and programmes in any part of the world, particularly in low and middle income countries.

Overview

  • Start dateFull-time: October. Part-time: October
  • 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
  • CampusCranfield campus

Course details

The modules include lectures, tutorials, practicals, simulations and workshops 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.

Water course structure diagram

Course delivery

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

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. 

Recent examples:

Individual project

Students select the individual project in consultation with the thesis project coordinators. 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 such as WaterAid, Oxfam and Excellent Development and are based in low and middle income countries.

Modules

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reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons.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 compulsory and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.


Course modules

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

Public Health, Hygiene and Sanitation

Module Leader
  • Professor Sean Tyrrel
Aim

    Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 requires that governments ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

    As future workers in this sector, this module will equip you with a technical understanding of sanitation technologies and water and wastewater treatment processes. You will also learn a critical appreciation of their applicability within different scenarios and contexts. This technical competence must be deployed with due consideration to the benefits of improved services and a cleaner environment including public health improvement, quality of life, convenience, dignity and personal safety. The vital importance of human behaviour and behaviour change must also be considered within the context of hygiene, ending unsanitary practices such as open defecation, and the creation of demand and willingness to pay for a more sanitary environment.

    This module is 20 credits.

Syllabus
    • Pathogen Exposure and Disease.
    • 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.
    • Water Safety Plans.
    • Health and hygiene: 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, container-based sanitation, faecal sludge management.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Identify the principal transmission routes of water and excreta-related diseases.
  • Describe different water quality parameters and how they are measured.
  • Evaluate the basic principles of drinking water and wastewater treatment and how these can be used at different scales including household, community and municipal.
  • Assess how different treatment technologies might be applicable in different contexts.
  • Design a basic sanitation and hygiene programme for taking into account behavioural and technical dimensions.

Water, Society and Development

Module Leader
  • Dr Paul Hutchings
Aim

    This module will evaluate the socio-economic, behavioural and political enablers and barriers to the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene services across urban and rural resources constrain contexts. It will teach you to locate the provision of WASH within broader processes of societal change and development, providing you with a theoretical underpinning in development theory and a critical understanding of key developmental concepts and strategies. Analysing the need, demand and supply of WASH services across urban and rural contexts you will compare and contrast the service delivery challenges and provide an introduction to appropriate financing, management and governance strategies for each. The module will also equip you with relevant tools and methodologies for the management and implementation of WASH interventions and provide you with an introduction to social research methods and design.

    This module is 20 credits.
Syllabus
    • Global, human, critical and comparative development theory.
    • WASH and societal development.
    • Assessing need, demand and supply across urban, peri-urban and rural contexts.
    • Urban and peri-urban WASH service delivery: financing, management and governance.
    • Rural WASH service delivery: financing, management and governance.
    • Project management for development: needs assessments, intervention design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
    • Social research: paradigms, methods and design.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Critically discuss the major bodies of development theory and related developmental concepts.  
  • Evaluate the need, demand and supply for water, sanitation and hygiene services across urban, peri-urban and rural contexts.
  • Compare and contrast different management models for water, sanitation and hygiene services, understanding strengths and weaknesses in different contexts.
  • Identify and calculate the principle costs for water, sanitation and hygiene services using basic accountancy.
  • Apply relevant development programming tools (e.g. logical frameworks) to design, implement, monitor and evaluate WASH development interventions.

Water Resource Engineering

Module Leader
  • Dr Alison Parker
Aim

    As a water management professional you will 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 needs to be underpinned by an understanding of rainfall, evapotranspiration, runoff, groundwater recharge, groundwater storage, and groundwater movement. This module aims to provide you with the theoretical basis for the design of water resources capture and distribution systems, together with comprehensive practical experience. The focus will be on rural areas of lower-income countries.

     This module is 20 credits.
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.
      • 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.
      • Mud rotary, cable percussion and manual drilling techniques including record keeping (logging).
      • Exploration and investigation techniques available for groundwater studies.
      • Post-drilling activities - borehole development, test pumping, water quality sampling and testing.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Describe the basic hydraulic principles of static and moving water.
    • Design piped water distribution systems, specifying appropriate pipe sizes, materials, and pumps configuration.
    • Conceptualise the occurrence and movement of groundwater and evaluate groundwater flow problems.
    • Design a borehole from a set of site data, including supervising a borehole drilling rig and understand the necessary post-drilling activities.
    • Evaluate the working principles and requirements of small-scale water supply technologies, including handpumps and rainwater harvesting systems at household and community level.

    Resilience, Shocks and Emergencies

    Module Leader
    • Dr Heather Smith
    Aim

      The combined pressures of climate change, population growth and urbanisation create a demand for transformation in the relationship between development and resilience. As proposed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Sendai Framework, there is a need to embed resilience within public, private and community planning so to support sustainable services and livelihoods in this era of rapid change. While there is no widely accepted definition, the concept of resilience implies both long-term thinking, to better anticipate and plan for emerging challenges, and the ability to deal with near-term (and potentially unexpected) shocks and disruptions. Achieving this ambition creates significant challenges for water, wastewater/sanitation and hygiene in terms of how to supply growing populations (in planned and/or unplanned settlements); how to plan new, and manage ageing, infrastructure; how to interact with the natural environment; and how to deal with the increasing frequency and severity of disruptive events and the growing uncertainty surrounding them. This module will examine these challenges and provide you with the skills to identify, contextualise and evaluate different management strategies and approaches. 

      This module is 20 credits.
    Syllabus
      • Global challenges and future trends for water and wastewater management.
      • Resilience: conceptual underpinning and current understandings and applications in water and wastewater sectors.
      • The future of water and wastewater services in a changing world, including innovative treatment and sanitation technologies and alternative water sources.
      • Introduction to integrated planning frameworks for water and wastewater services water sensitive design.
      • Involving citizens in water management.
      • Nature & type of shocks (natural and man-made disasters, rapid- and slow-onset, complex emergencies), and phases of emergencies (acute, post-acute, transition to development/normality).
      • Disaster/emergency response: sheltering displaced people, protecting public health (water supply and sanitation), coordination with other sectors and between stakeholders (humanitarian, public authorities).
      • Introduction to frameworks for humanitarian response and relief (e.g. SPHERE and Common Humanitarian Standards).
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Explain key global challenges for water, wastewater/sanitation and hygiene management and their implications for long-term planning at community, city and regional scales (including climate change, population growth, and infrastructure provision).
    • Critically discuss the concept of resilience and describe how it can be operationalised within public, private and community WASH systems at different scales.
    • Differentiate and describe the characteristics and phases of different types of disruptions, shocks and emergency situations that impact on WASH systems.
    • Identify and discuss the main issues surrounding responses to shocks and emergencies in different contexts, including relationships between key actors (national, municipal, humanitarian), logistics and longer-term management.
    • Evaluate, select and design appropriate strategies (tools, technologies, management approaches) to help enhance resilience and respond effectively to shocks and emergencies.

    Why this course?

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

    • Plan and design water sources in rural areas of lower-income countries, so the quality and quantity of water available is sustained
    • Evaluate water resource management methods
    • Plan and design sanitation facilities in lower-income countries and appraise different management methods
    • Explain different management and finance models for water, sanitation and hygiene services and evaluate how these might ensure access for the poorest.
    • Assess how water, sanitation and hygiene services might vary in different contexts, specifically rural, urban and emergencies.
    • Critically evaluate water, sanitation and hygiene programmes, research and technologies.
    Water splash

    Cranfield is well known in the international NGO sector. My studies helped me gain the knowledge needed to work for WASH NGOs and Cranfield has introduced me to some professionals in the WASH industry.

    Micki Johns, Alumni, Community Water and Sanitation MSc, 2017

    Graduate destinations

    Water and Sanitation for Development students are found at leading WASH institutions across the world. Previous students have gone on to jobs within other prestigious institutions including:

    UNICEF, WaterAid, Mott MacDonald, McKinsey, Concern, Itad, Programme Solidarité Eau (pS-Eau) and many more.

    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. This course is 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. 

    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 water and sanitation development with non-governmental organisations, emergency relief agencies, UN and similar international bodies such as UNICEF, Water Aid, CAFOD and SOIL. Graduates are also going on to work with global private sector organisations such as Mott MacDonald and Mckinsey & Company as well as take positions in government roles. The course also provides an ideal grounding for research positions and PhD programmes.

    Cranfield Careers Service

    Our Careers Service can help you find the job you want after leaving Cranfield. We will work with you to identify suitable opportunities and support you in the job application process for up to three years after graduation.We have been providing Masters level training for over 20 years. Our strong reputation and links with potential employers provide you with outstanding opportunities to secure interesting jobs and develop successful careers. The increasing interest in sustainability and corporate and social responsibility has also enhanced the career prospects of our graduates.

    Watch Ranj Rihal from Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies at Cranfield Careers fair.

    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:

    • CARE International
    • CIWEM
    • Mott MacDonald
    • Oxfam
    • Practical Action
    • Skat
    • Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor
    • OFWAT
    • Anglian Water
    • Environment Agency
    • Institute of Water
    • Jacobs

    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. As well as external contributors from the WASH sector, our regular external lecturers include: Toby Gould (Independent Consultant in Emergency WASH) Sean Furey, Visiting Teaching Fellow in Appropriate WASH Technology (SKAT, Switzerland) Dr Foyeke Tolani, Visiting Teaching Fellow in Behavioural Change and Hygiene (Oxfam GB) Dr Richard Franceys (Independent Consultant in WASH financing) Ian Ross, Visiting Teaching Fellow in Sustainable WASH Services (Oxford Policy Management)

    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 and middle income countries.  The course comprises assessed modules, group projects and an individual project. The modules include lectures, tutorials, practicals, simulations and workshops with an emphasis on analysis of real problems, with practical field work to reinforce learning.

    Find out how Cranfield alumnus Sean Furey has used his Cranfield Water and Sanitation for Development MSc since graduating.

    Accreditation

    The MSc of this course is accredited by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

    CIWEM logo

    How to apply

    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.