Sea water and waves on Portsmouth coastline

Mode of Study

Full-time, Part-time


1 year full-time (September start), 16 months full-time (January start), 2 years part-time (September start), 28 months part-time (January start)

Start date

September 2023, January 2024


Solve problems in water pollution, sanitation and climate change with environmental science and civil engineering in this MSc Water and Environmental Engineering.

You’ll explore the ways water and environmental systems function, how human activity affects these systems, and – most importantly – how new and existing interventions can be used to reduce and remediate these effects.

You’ll focus on sustainability and environmental technology design, as you work with academics recognised by industry, research funders, and the Research Excellence Framework. Your projects could align to the needs of industrial partners, such as Southern Water, or to ongoing research in University projects such as Revolution Plastics.

While you study, you’ll have access to facilities including the Environmental Technology Field Station and Hydraulics Labs, where you’ll apply current methods to industry-standard technology, and develop the professional skills to secure a role in the water and environmental engineering sector.


This course accepts UK, EU and international students.

Course highlights

  • Work on some of the most pressing issues of our time – including microplastics, carbon neutrality, water resource security, water pollution
  • Graduate with the skills to address key environmental issues, such as UN Sustainable Development Goals SDG6 (Clean Water & Sanitation), SDG13 (Climate Action), and SDG14 (Life Below Water)
  • Design and deliver research projects in partnership with industrial partners, and showcase your ability to engage with the water and environmental engineering sector
  • Apply current analytical techniques in our environmental technology facilities and laboratories, including our Environmental Technology Field Station at Petersfield Wastewater Treatment Works
  • Sign up for free student membership of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM)
  • Work with teaching staff who bring academic expertise and a track record of innovation and collaboration with the water and environmental engineering industry

What you'll study on this MSc Water and Environmental Engineering degree course

Modules studied

All modules on this MSc Water and Environmental Engineering degree are core.

What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Explain climate change & decarbonisation in the context of the built environment
  • Show an advanced understanding of the impacts of climate change in the built environment
  • Use advanced tools to determine the impact of decarbonisation within environmental engineering
  • Analyse a range of climate related impacts to infrastructure and review methods to mitigate these
  • Critically evaluate the transition to a net zero carbon world through academic literature reviews

Explore this module

What you'll do

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Plan, investigate, execute and manage an in-depth design study for a water and environmental engineering project as part of an integrated team
  • Conduct preliminary engineering on water and environmental engineering, social, and economic issues inherent in a complex project, as part of a team
  • Conduct detailed design on a specific Environmental Engineering aspect of the project, including all aspects of design and project management, i.e. professional standard calculations, drawings and costing and construction scheduling
  • Defend the design as part of a team to professional engineers drawn from industry and academia, using design drawings as the primary means of communication but other props and models too

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What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Evaluate the life cycle analysis and environmental impact assessment as applied to Civil Engineering projects.
  • Predict fate of pollutants and processes causing contamination of water, land and air.
  • Propose remedial measures to mitigate environmental degradation.
  • Critically evaluate current practice in assessing sustainable urban drainage schemes.
  • Design and model basic water supply pipe network using water distribution system modeling software package.
  • Prepare technical reports on laboratory findings.

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What you'll do

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Plan and propose suitable waste management and land remediation strategies for various scenarios
  • Critically evaluate the conceptual framework of all key areas of waste management, such as waste handling and treatment systems
  • Propose remedial techniques to mitigate environmental degradation caused by various sources of pollutants
  • Analyse a range of pollutants and toxic elements using traditional and advanced materials analysis tools and techniques
  • Prepare a technical report on laboratory testing

Explore this module

What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Critique the development of water and wastewater engineering as a discipline and what challenges it faces.
  • Apply standard design approaches and guidelines to conventional water and wastewater treatment processes.
  • Analyse water and wastewater samples for key contaminants and consider their sources and treatment requirements.
  • Evaluate existing, new and emerging water and wastewater technologies and approaches against requirements for water quality, quantity, and environmental protection.

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What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Use advanced tools to assess water demand in a range of environments and time scales
  • Show an advanced understanding of the hydrological cycle, to quantify the flows of water involved
  • Critically evaluate surface water using advanced methods to quantify rivers and reservoirs
  • Undertake advanced engineering analysis of groundwater flows depending on hydrological constraints
  • Explain the specialist engineering aspects of desalinisation

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What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Appraise and evaluate key research tools and techniques
  • Organise library searches effectively to identify key source material and review such material to establish a well-informed context for the project and appropriate justification for the topic
  • Assemble a viable research methodology, recognising the quantitative and/or qualitative elements that are generic to such methodologies. Classify, analyse and develop the facts, principles and theories relevant to the project and apply them so as to present and justify an innovative solution or design, often in areas where information and practice are undeveloped
  • Recognise and discuss any ethical considerations presented by the proposed project and formulate transparent procedures to protect participants and environments
  • Analyse and synthesise the data collected to draw appropriate qualified conclusions linked to objectives set within research design
  • Organise and plan work independently on a topic over an extended time frame and report progress regularly and effectively to a supervisor

Explore this module

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.


Environmental Technology Field Station

Conduct tests and analyse samples currently in the ecosystem in a fully-operational waterworks in nearby Petersfield complete with microbiology and environmental chemistry labs.

Aerial view of the environmental technology field station
Explore Station

Environmental Technology Laboratory

This lab hosts all the facilities you need to conduct simple water tests for biochemical oxygen demand to suspended solids, nutrient analysis, pH and conductivity.

A laboratory worker handling test tubes
Learn more

Hydraulics Laboratory

The Hydraulics Laboratory helps civil engineering students investigate all aspects of open channel flow; from flow over weirs to hydraulic jumps.

Technology Facilities; 31st May 2019
Read more

Careers and opportunities

Careers this Master's prepares you for

There’s a growing call for workers who’ve mastered environmental and sustainable issues, responding to pressures such as legislation, Extinction Rebellion or the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

As a graduate of this degree, you’ll be able to answer this call as an innovative engineer, or by acting at the interface of water and environmental policy on protection and remediation. You’ll be able to demonstrate to employers that you understand the issues faced by an environmentally conscious business, that you’ll be able to apply your knowledge to solving the issues, and that you have the design skills to deliver the solution. 

You’ll also have practised your teamworking and communication skills, which are transferable to any area or career, and would be well placed to consider further research opportunities.

9 reasons to do a Master's

    Graduates of this course could go on to roles in organisations such as:

    • Government
    • Water utilities
    • Engineering firms and consultancies
    • Regulatory bodies in environmental and water regulation, treatment, and technological innovation

    Career planning

    During your course you'll have expert careers advice from our Careers and Employability Centre, your tutors and our Student Placements and Employability Centre. You can access support from our Careers and Employability Centre for up to 5 years after you graduate.

    Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

    Career support

    You'll benefit from:

    • Networking events
    • Applied projects with companies such as IBM, Boeing and Hampshire County Council
    • 1-to-1 appointments  
    • CV and cover letter advice
    • Interview preparation and practice
    • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
    • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
    • Support starting your own business

    Learn more about your career support

    How you'll spend your time

    We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

    We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

    It is our expectation that all international students will join us here on campus in Portsmouth.

    Course structure

    The duration of this Master's degree depends whether you study full-time or part-time, and whether you start in September or January: 

    • If you start the course in September, it'll take 12 months (full-time) or 24 months (part-time)
    • If you start the course in January, it'll take 16 months (full-time) or 28 months (part-time)

    You can expect:

    • 12 hours of teaching time every week (6 hours part-time). We aim to keep your taught classes within two days of the week (one day part-time), so you will have time for self-guided study or work experience each week.
    • 12 hours of independent study each week (6 hours part time).

    In the last 3 months of the course you'll be focusing on your final dissertation project.


    Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

    You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree, but the majority of your teaching time will be in-person and face-to-face.

    Teaching methods on this course involve a blended approach, including:

    • independent learning strategies
    • lectures
    • interactive classroom sessions
    • practical sessions
    • fieldwork
    • groupwork

    You'll access online content and further reading through the university’s Virtual Learning Environment, and learn to apply self-directed management skills to your dissertation and group design projects.


    You'll be assessed through:

    • examinations
    • laboratory reports
    • group design projects
    • dissertation

    You'll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark. You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

    Full details of assessment can be found in the modules in the 'What you'll study' section.

    Teaching staff

    These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course:

    John Williams

    I'm the Professor of Environmental Technology at Portsmouth, and the Director of the Environmental Technology Field Station, a unique testing lab facility based at Petersfield wastewater treatment works. My research mainly focuses on water quality in wastewater treatment, sustainable drainage, and low impact technologies, particularly those based on natural processes and wetland plants.

    Read more about John

    Peter Cruddas

    I'm Senior Lecturer in Water and Environmental Engineering at the University of Portsmouth, and course leader for the MSc Water and Environmental Engineering. My research interests are in resource recovery - water, energy, and minerals - from wastewater streams, technology implementation for improved WASH access in developing countries, and how that technology interacts with the social and economic issues present in the sector. I'm currently working with the EC Interreg project NEREUS.

    Read more about Peter

    Steve Mitchell

    I'm Associate Head (Curriculum) for the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, and undertake research in estuarine sediment transport processes including advancing understanding of the turbidity maximum and temporal and spatial evolution of vertical salinity gradients. I am interested in tidal energy and associated structures, and their environmental impacts, using numerical modelling.

    Read more about Steve

    Keiron Roberts


    i'm a senior lecturer in sustainability and the built environment, working on renewable energy potential with the Innovate UK funded Isle of Wight Energy Autonomous Community project, and on plastic waste reduction with the University Revolution Plastics initiative. I'm also researching solid waste management, wastewater engineering and management.

    Read more about Keiron

    Muhammad Ali

    I'm a senior lecturer at Portsmouth with research interests in sustainable construction materials, geo-environmental engineering, and waste and resource management 

    Read more about Muhammad

    Term dates

    September start

    The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project/dissertation.

    January start

    Courses that start in January have the same amount of teaching as September-start courses, but they normally run over a longer time period.

    January-start courses normally run between 14–18 months, beginning in January and ending in the spring / summer of the following year. There are breaks at Christmas, Easter and in the summer. In the last few months you’ll be writing your project / dissertation.

    See key dates

    Joining us as an international student

    Graduation Class of 2021

    Joining us as an international student

    You'll feel at home in our international community and our diverse city. You'll be joining over 5,000 international students from more than 150 countries who are studying with us.

    Learn more about international student life and how we can help you with visas, applications, arrival and settling in. 

    Information for international students

    Supporting your learning

    Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

    Types of support

    Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

    As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

    You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study in one-on-one and group sessions.

    They can help you:

    • master the mathematics skills you need to excel on your course
    • understand engineering principles and how to apply them in any engineering discipline
    • solve computing problems relevant to your course
    • develop your knowledge of computer programming concepts and methods relevant to your course
    • understand and use assignment feedback

    All our labs and practical spaces are staffed by qualified laboratory support staff. They’ll support you in scheduled lab sessions and can give you one-to-one help when you do practical research projects.

    As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

    ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

    • academic writing
    • note taking
    • time management
    • critical thinking
    • presentation skills
    • referencing
    • working in groups
    • revision, memory and exam techniques

    If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

    Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

    You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

    If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

    They'll help you to:

    • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
    • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
    • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
    • liaise with external services

    Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

    The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

    The Maths Cafe offers advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your mathematics skills at a workshop or use our online resources.

    If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

    Course costs and funding

    Tuition fees (September 2023 start)

    • Full time: £9,900
    • Part time: £4,950 per year

    (including Transition Scholarship)

    • Full-time: £9,900
    • Part-time: £4,950 per year
    • Full time: £19,200
    • Part time: £9,600 per year

    University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

    Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

    You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

    Funding your studies

    Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

    If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

    If you're a UK student who achieved a first in your undergraduate degree you may be eligible for a £3,000 University of Portsmouth scholarship.

    Loans, scholarships and bursaries

    Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.

    A male postgraduate student smiling, standing in a workshop.
    Explore funding

    Funding for international students

    Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.

    international business students
    Discover your options

    Fees and funding for Master's courses

    Discover how you can fund your Master's study at Portsmouth – including loans, scholarships and bursaries – and read our guidance on topics like how to budget, and how to get support if you're disabled or have dependents.

    Explore funding

    Additional costs

    These course-related costs aren't included in the tuition fees, so you'll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. Additional costs could include:

    • Accommodation: Accommodation options and costs can be found on our accommodation pages.
    • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
    • General costs: such photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
    • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

    Read more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

    Entry requirements​


    This course accepts UK, EU and international students.

    September 2023 / January 2024 start

    • A second-class honours degree in a relevant subject, or equivalent.

    Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

    Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

    If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, you’ll need to show you meet the UK entry requirements listed above.

    To find out if your non-UK degree or other qualification is accepted, please visit our page for your country and view the UK equivalent of your qualification. 

    • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 (or equivalent) with no component score below 5.5.

    You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

    • you have a UK degree
    • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
    • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

    Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

    If you do not meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

    How to apply

    Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us.

    There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start date in September, as long as there are places available. If you wait until September to apply, you may find that the course is full.

    If you're applying as an international student, remember that you'll need to leave plenty of time to get your visa organised.

    You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. International students and current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

    Extra information for international students

    If you're an international student, you can apply directly to us using the same application form as UK students.

    You could also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

    If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

    Ready to apply?

    Standard applications

    Start this course in September 2023

    Apply now (Full-time)

    Apply now (Part-time)

    Start this course in January 2024

    Apply now (Full-time)

    Apply now (Part-time)

    I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

    If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2021, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

    • a shorter application form to complete
    • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
    • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

    Learn more about fast track

    After you apply

    Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

    You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

    Learn more about how we assess your application.

    Admissions terms and conditions

    When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.