Water Engineering MSc

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Special Features
  • Teaching & Assessment
  • Employability
  • Fees
  • Entry Criteria

About the Course

Civil Engineering addresses key challenges associated with infrastructure. There is a global shortage of qualified civil engineers, especially at the graduate/junior engineer career stage. This shortage is expected to increase significantly when the current economic crisis ends. This MSc will help redress this imbalance, providing graduates with an advanced knowledge and skills base, with particular strengths in aspects of water engineering.

Problems associated with water resources, access, distribution and quality have been identified as being amongst the most important global issues for the coming fifty years by a variety of bodies including the United Nations, World Bank and ICE. These problems reflect growing populations, raised expectations and the impact of climate change. Water quality issues and water scarcity are increasingly becoming a major issue due to increasing population, economic growth and climate change. Recent figures indicate that 1.1 billion people, worldwide, do not have access to clean drinking water, while 2.6 billion do not have adequate sanitation (WHO/UNICEF 2005).

Currently we are mid-way through the UN’s 'Water for Life' International Decade, with a Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people without access to adequate water infrastructure by 2015. Although significant progress has been achieved, continued improvement towards the target, and maintaining new and existing water supply and sanitation infrastructure requires a much greater pool of qualified engineers than is currently available. Even in developed countries, water resources are under significant pressure as a result of demand for increasing volumes of clean water, with a growing usage of unsustainable sources.

Episodes when there is too much water also present an increasing challenge. Major flood events, such as the 2010 floods in Pakistan, directly affect millions. Water-related risks, including fluvial, pluvial and coastal flooding, drought, and groundwater changes are being given an increasingly high priority by local, regional and national governments. Current budgetary pressures mean that solutions have to be appropriate, efficient and innovative.

The Worshipful Company of Water Conservators bursary is available for students on this course.

Special note for the academic year 2014/15 only: £8,000 will be available in the Water bursary fund for awarding to one or more successful students. There shall also be an equipment allowance of £2,000 to fund student project work and to allow travel to relevant international conference events to disseminate this work.

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This course is designed for both recent graduates and more experienced engineers who wish to update and enhance their knowledge and understanding. Our MSc is unique in providing specialist knowledge on the critical sub-topics of desalination systems, building water services engineering, industrial waste water management, and water in health care.

The programme will demonstrate the links between theory and practice by including input from our industrial partners and through site visits. Generic modules in financial and project management will underpin specialist modules focusing on Water Engineering topics. Students’ skills in gathering and understanding complex information from a variety of sources (including engineering, scientific and socio-economic information) will be developed in an advanced research methods module. Issues relating to risk and health and safety will be introduced in the research methods module and built on in the more specialist modules.


Admissions and Course Enquiries
Web: Admissions Enquiries Information
Tel (before application): +44 (0)1895 265370 (College Marketing Office)
Tel (after application): +44 (0)1895 265265 (Admissions Office)
Contact Admissions or Course Enquiries Online

Course Director: Dr Evina Katsou

Email: sed-pg-admissions@brunel.ac.uk
Phone: +44(0)1895 266634


Course Content

The primary aim of this programme is to create master’s degree graduates with qualities and transferable skills for demanding employment in the Water Engineering sector. The graduates will have the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development and acquiring new skills at the highest level.

Specific aims are as follows:

  • To provide education at postgraduate level in Civil Engineering.
  • To develop the versatility and depth to deal with new, complex and unusual challenges across a range of Water Engineering issues, drawing on an understanding of all aspects of water engineering principles.
  • To develop imagination, initiative and creativity to enable graduates to follow a successful engineering career with national and international companies and organisations.
  • To provide a pathway that will prepare graduates for successful careers including, where appropriate, progression to Chartered Engineer status.

The programme will provide opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

A) Knowledge and Understanding of:

  • The principles of Water Engineering, including fluid mechanics, hydrology, and sustainable design
  • Specialist areas that impact on the successful application of water engineering knowledge projects, eg sustainable construction management, financial management and risk analysis
  • The interplay between Engineering and sustainability in complex real-world situations.

B) At the Cognitive Level students will be able to:

  • Select, use and evaluate appropriate investigative techniques.
  • Assemble and critically analyse relevant primary and secondary data.
  • Recognise and assess the problems and critically evaluate solutions to challenges in managing Water Engineering projects.
  • Evaluate the environmental and financial sustainability of current and potential Civil Engineering activities.

C) In terms of Personal/Transferable skills, students will be able to:

  • Define and organise a substantial advanced investigation.
  • Select and employ appropriate advanced research methods.
  • Organise technical information into a concise, coherent document.
  • Effectively employ a variety of communication styles aimed at different audiences.
  • Plan, manage, evaluate and orally-presented personal projects.
  • Work as part of, and lead, a team.


Each taught module will count for 15 credits, approximating to 150 learning hours. The Master’s programme can be taken full time, over 12 months. The first eight months of the full time course will include eight taught modules. For the final four months, students will complete a dissertation counting for 60 credits.

  • Sustainable Construction, Management and Professional Development
  • Water Infrastructure Engineering
  • Risk & Financial Management
  • Hydrology & Hydraulics
  • Water Treatment Engineering
  • Water Process Engineering
  • Research Methods

Special Features

Students can make the most of laboratory facilities which are extensive, modern and well equipped. We have recently made a major investment in our Joseph Bazalgette Laboratories which includes hydraulic testing laboratory equipment and facilities such as our open channel flow flumes.

Although we recruit a large number of highly qualified students to our undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees each year, we don’t forget that you are an individual. From the beginning of your time here, you are allocated a personal tutor who will guide you through academic and pastoral issues.

The College is 'research intensive'. This means that most academics are actively involved in cutting-edge research. Much of this research is undertaken with collaborators outside the University, including construction companies, water utilities, and other leading industrial firms. We work with universities in China, Poland, Egypt, Turkey, Italy, Denmark and Japan. This research is fed directly into our courses, providing a challenging investigative culture and ensuring that you are exposed to up-to-date and relevant material throughout your time at Brunel.

We have excellent links with business and industry in the UK and overseas. This means:

  • Degrees are designed to meet the needs of industry and the market place.
  • The latest developments in the commercial world feed into your course.
  • You have greater choice and quality of professional placements.
  • We have more contacts to help you find a job when you graduate.


This course has been designed in close consultation with industry and is accredited as a designated 'technical' MSc degree by the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) for entry year 2012. There has been a recent reaccreditation visit by the professional body, and we expect to be notified in due course of accreditation for the 2013 cohort and beyond. The JBM is made up of Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, and the Institute of Highway Engineers respectively.

  1. This means this course  provides Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer who holds a CEng accredited first degree (full JBM listing of accredited degrees).
  2. As a designated ‘technical’ MSc, it will also allow suitable holders of an IEng accredited first degree to meet the educational base for a Chartered Engineer.

Facts and Figures

Brunel's College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences is one of the largest of its kind in the UK, with over 150 academics and a substantial and high quality pool of technical and administrative staff. As a result, we have excellent resources to support your time here as a student.

Teaching and Learning

Our Philosophy

The ethos of Water Engineering at Brunel stems from the initial formation of the University as a technological institution in the mid-1960s.

Our philosophy is to underpin theoretical aspects of the subject with hands-on experience in applying water engineering techniques. Although you may move on to project management and supervision roles, we feel it important that your knowledge is firmly based on an understanding of how things are done. To this end, industrial partners will provide guest lectures on specialist topics.

In addition to teaching, water engineering staff are active researchers. This keeps us at the cutting edge of developments and, we hope, allows us to pass on our enthusiasm for the subject.


Contact between students and academic staff is relatively high at around 20 hours per week to assist you in adjusting to university life. As the course progresses the number of contact hours is steadily reduced as you undertake more project-based work.

How will I be taught?


These provide a broad overview of the main concepts and ideas you need to understand and give you a framework on which to expand your knowledge by private study.


Practicals are generally two- or three-hour sessions in which you can practise your observational and analytical skills, and develop a deeper understanding of theoretical concepts.

Design Studios

In a studio you will work on individual and group projects with guidance from members of staff. You may be required to produce a design or develop a solution to an engineering problem. These sessions allow you to develop your intellectual ability and practice your teamwork skills.

Site visits

Learning from real-world examples in an important part of the course.  You will visit sites featuring a range of water engineering approaches and asked to evaluate what you see.


On registration for the course you will be allocated a personal tutor who will be available to provide academic and pastoral support during your time at university. You will get one-to-one supervision on all project work.


Several methods of assessment are employed on the course. There are written examinations and coursework. You will undertake projects, assignments, essays, laboratory work and short tests.

Project work is commonplace and is usually completed in groups to imitate the everyday experience in an engineering firm, where specialists must pool their talents to design a solution to a problem.

In this situation you can develop your management and leadership skills and ensure that all members of the group deliver their best. Group members share the mark gained, so it is up to each individual to get the most out of everyone else.


This course allow practitioners in relevant technical and engineering based subject areas to both broaden their knowledge and understanding of all aspects of water engineering (which they may not be quite familiar with), and also to specialise further in this discipline.

It also allows practising water engineers to build upon both the basic and advanced theory that underpins their discipline. It is anticipated that since this course is geared for UK and overseas water engineering practitioners, it will enhance all participants’ career prospects.

In terms of the UK, participants would be attracted to the type of work carried out by specialist water and environmental consultants, government agencies, drainage boards of local authorities, and large scale civil engineering firms working in this field.

In terms of the overseas participants, it would enhance their skills base to work with international construction companies with specialist divisions in the water and environmental field, large local civil engineering firms, and also with their own domestic water utility set-ups.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2015/6 entry

UK/EU students: £8,000 full-time

International students: £16,500 full-time

Information on the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators bursary.

Special note for the academic year 2014/15 only: £8,000 will be available in the Water bursary fund for awarding to one or more successful students. There shall also be an equipment allowance of £2,000 to fund student project work and to allow travel to relevant international conference events to disseminate this work.

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students.

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).

Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.

Entry Requirements 2015/6

A UK first or second class Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification in an engineering, science or technology discipline. Other qualifications and subjects (including but not limited to mathematics, computer sciences, architecture, environmental sciences) will be considered with a minimum 3 years of relevant work experience and assessed on an individual basis.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6 (min 5.5 in all areas) 
  • Pearson: 51 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 60% (min 55% in all areas)

“Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements. However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accept a range of other language courses. We also have a range of Pre-sessional English language courses, for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a range of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.”

Page last updated: Thursday 04 June 2015