Water and Environmental Engineering MSc

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Why Surrey?

This fully accredited MSc programme from the Centre for Environmental and Health Engineering 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.

Programme overview

This 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.

Many graduates from the programme go on to work for consultancies, water utilities, contractors, relief agencies, regulatory bodies and international organisations.

Graduates from the programme also 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.

Programme structure

This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time students must study at least two taught technical modules per academic year. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation project.

Example module listing

The following modules 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.

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. Download our distance learning PDF to learn more.

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.

Educational aims of the programme

The programme aims to provide graduates with:

  • A comprehensive and robust understanding of key areas of water and environmental engineering 
  • Skills that will enable students to explore, critically assess and evaluate problems and produce systematic and coherent solutions integrating core engineering science with practical applications both independently and within a team structure
  • An understanding of how this knowledge can be articulated around sustainable development practices
  • A sound base for enhanced communication skills both oral and written
  • A pathway that will prepare graduates for successful careers in the field including, where appropriate, progression to Chartered Engineer status

Programme learning outcomes

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

Knowledge and understanding

Following completion of the programme, students should have knowledge of:

  • The fundamental principles underpinning the key topics covered in the subject area
  • Investigation and research techniques which provide a sound base for critical evaluation, selection and use of a wide range of scientific, technical and management processes relevant to the field
  • The multidisciplinary nature of the subject area and its underlying principles and the importance of developing integrated approaches to solving complex problems
  • The importance of identifying emerging trends to existing knowledge structures and theoretical frameworks and propose new alternative application and methodological approaches relevant to the student’ s research interests
  • Management, organisation and communication skills including problem definition, project and experimental design, time management, decision making processes, independent and team work, knowledge transfer via written and oral presentations

Intellectual/cognitive skills

Following completion of the programme, students should have:

  • An integrated and multidisciplinary approach to solving complex problems using professional judgment taking into consideration the engineering, economic, social and environmental impacts
  • The ability to critically evaluate outcomes and accurately assess and report on own/others work with justification and relate them to existing knowledge structures and methodologies
  • The ability to formulate, conduct and write-up a systematic and coherent research programme topic demonstrating in-depth knowledge and high level of problem solving skills

Professional practical skills

Following completion of the programme, students should have the skills to undertake:

  • Critical review of the scientific literature for effective justification and support of results and decisions
  • Acquisition of the necessary skills to collect as well as generate data via laboratory experiments or computer-based programmes
  • Critical analysis of results/recommendations and their presentation in a concise and logical manner
  • Preparation of technical reports and presentation of work to an informed audience
  • Awareness of difficulties and ethical issues likely to arise in professional practice and an ability to formulate solutions in dialogue with peers, industry professionals, institutional professionals and others

Key/transferable skills

Following completion of the programme, students should have the skills to conduct:

  • Critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of complex information and data
  • Communication and knowledge transfer through oral presentations and written reports
  • Selection and use of appropriate advanced research methods
  • Integrated and multidisciplinary approach to problem solving
  • Time and resource management
  • Effective use of a range of communication and technology tools aimed at different audiences
  • Effective learning and working, both independently and as a part of a team

Global opportunities

We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.

Learn more about opportunities that might be available for this particular programme by using our student exchanges search tool.

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: To be confirmed
  • Part-time: To be confirmed
  • Distance-learning: To be confirmed

Start date:

Feb 2017, Sep 2017

Entry Requirements

Applicants should possess a minimum of 2:2 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

IELTS 6.5 overall, 6.0 in each component (or equivalent)

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 Feb 2017 £8,000 £18,000
Part-time Feb 2017 £900* £2,000*
Distance-learning Feb 2017 £900* £2,000*
Full-time Sep 2017 £9,500 £19,000
Part-time Sep 2017 £1,100* £2,200*
Distance-learning Sep 2017 £1,100* £2,200*

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/2018 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


The Surrey International Scholarship for Excellence

For all (with the exception of MBA) postgraduate taught courses starting in September 2017 within the Surrey Business School and the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management we are offering all applicants who hold a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent the opportunity to be awarded between £2,000 and £4,000 through the Surrey International Scholarship for Excellence Scheme. Download a flyer or read more for eligibility and to apply.

For more details

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

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.

Our alumni