Water and Environmental Engineering MSc

Surrey's Centre for Environmental and Health Engineering (CEHE) is a well-established multidisciplinary postgraduate centre with an international reputation for excellence in water and environmental engineering. It is part of a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre and an invited member of the UNICEF WASH Cluster Group of Relief Agencies.

Why Surrey?

Our MSc programme, delivered within CEHE, is highly popular and relevant to the needs of future engineers, scientists and professionals in the environmental health, water, pollution control, waste management and environmental sectors – so if you are keen to explore these career tracks, our course is for you.

Programme overview

The Centre for Environmental and Health Engineering (CEHE) is a well-established multidisciplinary postgraduate centre with an international reputation for excellence in water and environmental engineering. It is part of a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre and an invited member of the UNICEF WASH Cluster Group of Relief Agencies. In 2011, the University of Surrey received the Queen’s Anniversary Award for the outstanding teaching and research in water and sanitation taking place in CEHE.

The MSc programme is highly popular and relevant to the needs of future engineers, scientists and professionals in the environmental health, water, wastewater, pollution control, waste management and environmental sectors.

Water and Environmental Engineering MSc attracts UK and overseas graduates who wish to take advantage of the considerable global interest in water, wastewater, sanitation and waste to develop their careers before working for consultancies, water utilities, contractors, relief agencies, regulatory bodies and international organisations. Students have the potential to progress to relevant specialist PhD or EngD research programmes in the field.

In the past, scholarship students have been accepted from a range of schemes, including Foreign Office and British Council Chevening, World Bank, Commonwealth, Thames Water, Commonwealth Shared Scholarships and the Royal Academy of Engineering, together with students from numerous overseas national schemes.

Why not explore some of our past and present student profiles, including Alex Salter, Ian Sandle, Evangelos Alexakis and Mina Giagia.

Module overview

Compulsory modules

Environmental Health

This module provides key concepts in environmental health as they apply to water quality management and control of water-related diseases.

Water Treatment

This module details key issues relating to raw water sources, water treatment, distribution systems, water quality and reservoirs, advances in chemical treatment and performance.

Applied Chemistry and Microbiology

This module develops an understanding of water chemistry, microbiology and chemical processes associated with water and wastewater treatment.

Wastewater Treatment and Sewerage

This module provides an understanding of the roles of preliminary, primary, secondary and tertiary wastewater treatment processes, and also includes sewerage design and construction methods.

Pollution Control and Waste Management

This module details both conventional and advanced treatment processes for industrial pollution. An emphasis is also placed on waste treatment and disposal  and contaminated land remediation.

Optional modules

Groundwater Control

This module develops a comprehensive understanding of the geological context of groundwater and a range of contaminants and pollutants which may influence groundwater quality, together with a knowledge of numerical and physical modelling techniques.

Regulation and Management

This module provides a systematic understanding and critical awareness of effective planning for the management of water resources and water supply. The legal and scientific basis of regulations and standards is detailed.

Water Resources Management and Hydraulic Modelling

This module provides a detailed appreciation of hydrological processes. It also provides a knowledge of the theoretical background of mathematical models and the associated numerical techniques. A detailed understanding of simulation techniques will be gained through case studies.

European Study Tour

This module seeks both to develop a conceptual understanding of, and provide a basis for, the critical evaluation of approaches adopted by Dutch or German organisations to water abstraction and treatment for potable supply. You will develop a systematic understanding and critical awareness of a range of approaches to interactions within the water cycle.


The MSc dissertation will require you to conduct research and/or display the ability to critically evaluate evidence. Dissertation projects could be based on original laboratory experimentation, field testing, pilot plant work or literature review.

Modules and credits

All compulsory and optional modules are worth 15 credits. The dissertation project is worth 60 credits.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning will normally be achieved by a combination of formal lectures, coursework, demonstrations and site visits, except in the case of the European Study Tour and the dissertation modules. In all other modules, assessment will be by a combination of examinations and continuous assessment. Coursework can involve individual or group projects.

Each module will be examined separately. Where appropriate, there will be a written examination for a module at the end of each semester.

Water and Environmental Engineering lectures are delivered primarily by staff from the Centre for Environmental Health and Engineering (CEHE) and visiting lecturers with national or international reputations in the topic area.

Teaching hours

Each module corresponds to 150 hours of work, which includes 30 hours of lectures.

Facilities and resources

Laboratories and pilot plants

In recent years, CEHE has benefited from investment in new equipment in both the small centre facility, which primarily supports fieldwork, and a larger, more extensively equipped microbiology and chemistry laboratory. The laboratories are equipped with recently acquired state-of-the-art analytical equipment including ICP-OES, GC/MS, TOC, Ion Chromatograph, Particle Counter, water quality loggers, Delagua kits and so on, available for fieldwork.

A water and wastewater research pilot plant is located at Thames Water’s Shalford and Godalming Water Treatment Works, just a few kilometres away from the University campus. Over the years, many MSc dissertation projects have been completed at this facility, most of them to assist in the development or testing of relief agency systems.

A parallel wastewater research pilot plant has recently been established, again with the support of Thames Water, at Godalming Sewage Treatment Works.

Library facilities

The University library is currently resourced for books, journals and electronic resources, as the postgraduate programme in Water and Environmental Engineering has been well established over the last decade. The programme draws on science, engineering and other areas of knowledge, and the overall diversity of academic groups within the University ensures that there are library resources to answer most needs. The provision of British Standards online has reduced the copyright requirements and the quantity of photocopying required. Passwords are available from the library web pages for all other electronic resources.

CEHE resource centre

Provision is made within CEHE to access a limited range of textbooks, previously completed MSc dissertations, a selected range of journals and software mounted on PCs in the Catchment Modelling Laboratory or available on CD.

Professional Institution resources

Library and learning resources are available at the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management and other appropriate professional bodies.

All categories of members of the professional institutions are allowed to borrow books from the institution libraries by post, and in some cases to access other services online.


There are suitable computing facilities available both within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences and through central university facilities.

Teaching rooms

Teaching is primarily in flat floor teaching rooms, although there are occasions when formal lecture theatre facilities are used. All of the usual academic support materials and systems are available and pre-printed notes are distributed during every lecture.

Modes of study

Apart from the usual full-time mode, there are also part-time options. The majority of Bridge, Geotechnical and Structural Engineering modules can be studied by distance learning through the use of an interactive web-based e-learning platform (SurreyLearn).

Distance learning

This programme can be studied via distance learning, which allows a high level of flexibility and enables you to study alongside other commitments you may have. Full information about our distance learning programme can be found in the following document: distance-learning-civil-engineering-2015.pdf

Professional recognition

These courses have been accredited by The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), the Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) and The Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT).

MSc Water and Environmental Engineering (technical) (1 year FT, 2-5 year PT and DL)

This degree is accredited as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) for candidates who have already acquired a partial CEng accredited undergraduate first degree. See www.jbm.org.uk for further information.

Further Learning Programme (for candidates with IEng approved HND/HNC/FdEng/FdSci)

This programme is approved as meeting the Further Learning requirements for an Incorporated Engineer for candidates who have an IEng approved first qualification. See www.jbm.org.uk for details of approved qualifications.

Institute of Highway Engineers
Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation
 Institution of Civil Engineers
The Institution of Structural Engineers
European Accreditation of Engineering Programmes

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Dr Sabeha Ouki

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:



Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: 12 months
  • Part-time: 60 months
  • Distance-learning: 60 months

Start date:

Sep 2016, Feb 2017

Entry Requirements

Applicants should possess a minimum of 60 per cent in an honours degree in civil engineering or equivalent in any appropriate engineering or science-related degree. Candidates with suitable qualifications and relevant experience in engineering, science or technology are also welcome to apply.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2016 £8,000 £18,000
Part-time Sep 2016 £900* £2,000*
Distance-learning Sep 2016 £900* £2,000*
Full-time Feb 2017 £8,000 £18,000
Part-time Feb 2017 £900* £2,000*
Distance-learning Feb 2017 £900* £2,000*

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2016/2017 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes


Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees. Learn more.

For more details

GREAT Surrey Scholarships India

For for all postgraduate taught courses starting in February 2017 within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, the University is offering graduates from India the opportunity to apply for one of three scholarships worth £5,000 through the GREAT Scholarships - India programme. 

For more details

Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

Find out more


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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