Study a Water MSc at Cranfield

Water is under increasing pressure from demographic and climatic changes. Treatment processes play a key role in delivering safe, reliable supplies of water to households, industry and agriculture, and in safeguarding the quality of water. This course equips graduates with the skills to solve practical problems, communicate effectively and work successfully making them highly sought after by industry and government.
Study Water at Cranfield video

At a glance

  • Start dateFull-time: October. Part-time: October
  • DurationOne year full-time, two-three years part-time
  • DeliveryTaught modules 40%, Group projects 20%, Individual project 40%
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typeFull-time / Part-time

Who is it for?

The Water and Wastewater Engineering course is ideal for individuals who want to make a real difference to delivering reliable water supplies, or to maintaining and enhancing river and ground water quality.

Well-educated, skilled and experienced graduates are required to operate and manage vital water and wastewater treatment services. The demand for such graduates is already high and will only increase over coming years as environmental standards for water quality increase, and pressures on our water supplies continue to grow.

Your career

The Cranfield Water Sciences Institute's links to industry, underpinned by the reputation of its courses, enable successful students to secure positions and develop their careers in UK water companies, utilities across Europe, the major international engineering consultancies, major engineering and service contractors, and government agencies.  

The Centre is recognised internationally as a centre of excellence for postgraduate courses. It is the UK's largest academic group specialising in process technologies, engineering and policy for water quality improvement, and is a member of British Water.

Industry practitioners teach alongside a wide-range of subject specialists. In addition, group and individual thesis projects are supported by sponsoring companies, and prizes are awarded annually to recognise success. Graduates also go on to academic research.

Former students are invited to join the Centre's Alumni Association which offers excellent networking opportunities throughout the world.

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.

Learn about career opportunities with a postgraduate degree in water.

Why this course?

The Water and Wastewater Engineering course aims to develop: 

  • Water and wastewater treatment scientists, technologists and engineers with the skills to solve practical problems, communicate effectively and work successfully both in teams and individually
  • High quality graduates trained and qualified to work in all areas of water and wastewater treatment and management enabling them to provide a valuable contribution to the UK and global water sectors
  • Understanding of water and wastewater systems through innovative teaching, achieved by blending theory, application and practice.

Demand for Cranfield graduates has grown steadily as the education provided has become recognised as excellent, producing graduates able to step into a range of positions and make an immediate and real contribution to the effectiveness of water sector businesses and organisations. Graduates from these programmes are highly sought after by industry and government.

Pascal Ochs

It made me more sure I want to work in water and wastewater. I'm going to do a PhD with Cranfield and the company sponsoring my MSc thesis.

Pascal Ochs, Current student

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
  • Chartered Institute of Water and Environment Management
  • Health Protection Agency
  • Highview Power Storage
  • Nomura Code Securities
  • Astrium Geo-information Services
  • Environment Agency
  • Landscape Science Consultancy
  • ERM
  • GIGL
  • WRG
  • WRc PLC
  • Enviros
  • Golder
  • Unilever
  • Neales Waste
  • Natural England
  • National Trust
  • Trucost
  • SLR Consulting
  • FWAG
  • RSPB

Your teaching team

The Cranfield Water Sciences Institute is recognised internationally as a centre of excellence for postgraduate courses. It is the UK's largest academic group specialising in process technologies, engineering and policy for water quality improvement, and is a member of British Water and the International Water Association. Industry practitioners teach alongside leading academics, ensuring you are exposed to cutting-edge tools, techniques and innovations.

External experts from industry, environmental agencies and the third sector are also invited throughout the course to share their experiences and knowledge.

  • Mohan Gunaratnam, MGML Ltd, UK (consultancy services) - WWTP, Hydraulics
  • Peter Pridham, Aeration and Mixing, UK, Hydraulics module
  • Ana Luis, EPAL, Portugal – Risk module
  • Bob Breach, independent water quality and environmental consultant, UK – Risk module
  • David Owen, Yorkshire Water, UK – Risk module
  • Pete Pearce, Farmiloe Fisher Environment Ltd, UK- Biological Processes
  • Adrian Oehmen, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal – Biological Processes
  • Robbert Kleerebenzem, Delft University, Netherlands – Biological Processes
  • Bob Markall, Consultant – Chemical Processes
  • Marie Raffin, Thames Water, UK – Water Reuse

Accreditation

These MSc, PgDip and PgCert degrees are accredited by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

CIWEM logo

Course details

This course comprises eight taught modules, a group project and an individual project.  The modules included lectures and tutorials, and are assessed through practical work, written examinations, case studies, essays, presentations and tests.  These provide the 'tools' required for the group and individual projects.

Group project

The group project is an applied multidisciplinary team-based activity. It provides students with the opportunity, whilst working in teams under academic supervision, to apply principles taught during modules whilst taking responsibility for project tasks. Success is dependent on the integration of various activities, working within agreed objectives, deadlines and budgets. Students submit project reports and present their findings to representatives from industry. This develops professional practice in communication skills for technical and business areas of process development. Part-time students complete a single design project individually in a field of their choice.

Recent group projects include: 

Individual project

Students select their individual project in consultation with their Course Director. This provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate independent research ability working within agreed objectives, deadlines and budgets. The project is sponsored by industry and usually includes a four month placement with the sponsoring company. Placements have been offered by all ten of the UK water utilities, the leading two French utilities, as well as multinational companies and SMEs operating in the water sector. Part-time students usually undertake their individual project with their employer.

Assessment

Taught modules 40%, Group projects 20%, Individual project 40%

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 compulsory modules and (where applicable) some elective 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.

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

Water and Wastewater Treatment Principles

Module Leader
  • Dr Jitka MacAdam
Aim

    To acquire general knowledge of the conventional unit operations employed in water and wastewater treatment, including the scientific engineering principles on which they are based. 

Syllabus
    • 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 module a student should be able to:

  • Examine the nature of impurities in waters and wastewaters, their concentrations and significance
  • Explain 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.
  • Design a flow-sheet showing how unit processes are selected based on incoming water quality.  

Process Science and Engineering

Module Leader
  • Dr Marc Pidou
Aim

    To acquire and, through completing tutorials, demonstrate knowledge of the basic principles of water chemistry, physics, microbiology and chemical engineering as applied to the treatment of water and wastewater.

    This module follows a flipped classroom approach, wherein students access key content prior to class time and then use face-to-face class time with staff (through lectures, tutorials and group discussion) to work on the application of acquired knowledge as well as confirming their understanding of background material.

Syllabus
    • Basic algebra and units;
    • Aqueous chemistry: moles and equivalents, solubility, the behaviour of acids and bases and the concept of pH, kinetics and equilibria;
    • Fundamentals of flow: conservation of energy, fluid flow through pipes and channels;
    • Reactors – plug flow and continuous stirred tank;
    • Kinetics – chemical and biochemical;
    • Mass balance;
    • Mass transfer.


Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of algebraic manipulations,
  • Apply the underlying basic physics principles to fluid flow,
  • Apply the relevant fundamental engineering principles of mass balance, mass transfer and reactors,
  • Apply chemical and biochemical kinetics principles,
  • Identify and apply governing equations for processing data relating to the above.

Hydraulics and Pumping Systems

Aim

    To provide the foundation in hydraulics and an understanding of pumping systems with reference to water and wastewater treatment flow sheets.

Syllabus
    • principles of channel flows, weirs and flumes
    • hydraulic profiling
    • flow distribution, divisions and combination
    • flow through hydraulic structures and unit process
    • time varying flows   through treatment works
    • pump-system calculations
    • principles and sizing of pumps
    • sludge pumping systems
    • pumping station design
    • pump maintenance.
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Calculate hydraulic profile through pipes and channel flow
  • Design flow division and combination devices
  • Explain the effects of flow variations through pipes, channels and water treatment works
  • Select and size appropriate pumps for different applications.

Risk Management and Reliability Engineering

Module Leader
  • Dr Jitka MacAdam
Aim

    Risk management has become the central function of a utility manager.  Utilities provide essential public health and environmental protection services to society and those working in the sector need to be versed with the context, tools and requirements of good risk governance – meaning the analysis, management, communication and human/organisational processes for managing risk and opportunity.  This module equips technologists with the skills to commission, appraise and review risk assessments within the utility sector, specifically for water, wastewater and solid waste unit processes and their assets.  It will introduce the management and governance of risk within the utility sector – technical, managerial and human factors.

Syllabus
    • The 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 module a student should be able to:

  • summarise the context of risk governance in the utility sector and explain organisational structures for risk management; relating these to corporate objectives, e.g. the licence to operate.
  • exemplify strategic, tactical and operational risks in the water, wastewater or waste sector and their significance for a modern water utility;
  • identify and select from key risk tools and techniques appropriate to a range risk problems under study; be confident about the rules for selecting risk techniques and what level of decision support they can realistically provide.
  • 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; relating these to the development of water safety plans – the key process for ensuring preventative risk management in the sector
  • devise risk governance structures and debate risk management competencies for individuals, organisations and specialists; recognising 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 Leader
  • Dr Emma Goslan
Aim

    To gain an understanding of the design principles, practice and operational experience of conventional and advanced chemical treatment processes.

Syllabus
    • 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 module a 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.
  • Explain 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 laboratory work linked to the practical application of chemical treatment processes in drinking water treatment  (FT/PT)

Physical Processes

Module Leader
  • Professor Peter Jarvis
Aim

    To understand and implement the design principles, practice and operational experience of conventional and novel physical separation processes used in water and wastewater treatment processes.

Syllabus
    • 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.
    • Practical session on physical characteristics of water/wastewater treatment systems.

Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Understand and use the fundamental physical phenomena governing solid-liquid separation processes
  • Determine 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
  • Carry out practical sessions on physical processes.

Biological Processes

Module Leader
  • Dr Ana Soares
Aim

    To gain an understanding of the design principles, practice and operation of conventional and advanced biological treatment processes.

Syllabus
    • Key principles of biological processes including kinetics and microbial pathways. 
    • The role of microorganisms in aerobic processes (e.g. activated sludge) and anaerobic processes (e.g. digestion).  
    • Principles and 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 a student should be able to:

  • Identify the range of conventional and advanced biological treatment processes for the treatment of bulk organics, nutrients and micropollutants.
  • Explain the underlying biological principles on which the processes are based, and be able to apply these principles to unit process design and operation.
  • Execute and assess laboratory work for wastewater quality analysis (FT and PT)

Water Reuse and Resource Recovery

Module Leader
  • Dr Heather Smith
Aim

    Increasing water stress in many areas of the world is focusing attention on the need to implement more efficient water use practices and make the most of waters of different qualities. The drivers for more sustainable water management also provide incentives for materials recovery and energy efficient processes.  Hence, the recycling / reuse of wastewater and the recovery of its inherent resources is an increasingly important issue for water service providers, regulators and water users. This module delivers a holistic picture of water reuse, covering relevant technical, economic, and socio-political challenges. To illustrate these challenges, we draw on real world examples of schemes from around the world. The module provides attendees with the skills needed to critically assess water reuse challenges, as well as evaluate options and design appropriate solutions within the context of sustainable water management. This module follows a flipped classroom approach, wherein students access key content prior to class time and then use face-to-face class time with staff (through seminars and group discussion) to work on the application of acquired knowledge as well as confirming their understanding of background material. 

Syllabus

    Topics

    • Technologies for large-scale water reuse
    • Technologies for small-scale water reuse
    • Opportunities for resource recovery (nutrients and energy)
    • Public engagement
    • Governance and risk management
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a 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. 

Fees and funding

European Union students applying for university places in 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.
  • 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.
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.
  • 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

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.

Anglian Water Bursary

The Cranfield Water Science Institute in partnership with Anglian Water is offering this opportunity for a UK or EU student to receive a full-fee bursary and £10,000 annually for living costs to study the MSc Water and Wastewater Engineering part-time over 2 years. 

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.

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 (CPLS)

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.

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. 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.

Applying

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.


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