About the course
The global shortage of qualified civil engineers includes specialists in water engineering and this MSc programme helps redress this imbalance by providing graduates with an advanced knowledge and skill base to equip them for senior industry roles.
Brunel’s MSc in Water Engineering is unique in providing specialist knowledge on the critical sub-topics of water and wastewater management and engineering, desalination systems, building water services engineering, industrial waste water management, and water in health care.
The programme demonstrates the links between theory and practice by including input from our industrial partners and through site visits. This is a key aspect for establishing a competitive and high added value course that provides adequate links with industry.
Features of the course include:
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 specialist modules.
Generic modules in financial and project management will underpin specialist modules focusing on water engineering topics.
Real problem-solving examples – starting from basic principles, to the identified problem, the solution, the implementation process and was implemented and the end result.
Real case studies – demonstrating how environmental and economic sustainability is considered within civil engineering, particularly in water resources management.
Problems associated with water resources, access, distribution and quality are amongst the most important global issues in this century. Water quality and scarcity issues are being exacerbated by rising populations, economic growth and climate change*.
Brunel's programme in Water Engineering aims to develop world class and leading edge experts on water sustainability who are able to tackle the industry’s complex challenges at a senior level. During the programme you will also learn about the development and application of models that estimate the carbon and water footprint within the energy and food sector.
The MSc is delivered by experienced industry professionals who bring significant practical experience to the course – and the University’s complete suite of engineering facilities and world-class research experience are set up for development and engineering of advanced systems, testing a variety of processes, designs and software tools.
*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 (source: WHO/UNICEF 2005).
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. 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:
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, e.g. sustainable construction management, financial management and risk analysis.
- The interplay between engineering and sustainability in complex, real-world situations.
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.
Personal and transferable skills that students develop will allow them 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 eight taught modules. For the final four months, students will complete a dissertation counting for 60 credits. Modules cover:
Sustainable Project Management
GIS and Data Analysis
Water Infrastructure Engineering
Risk and Financial Management
Hydrology & Hydraulics
Water Treatment Engineering
Water Process Engineering
Civil Engineering Dissertation
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 at Brunel 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.
How many hours of study are involved?
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.
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.
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.
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' – most of our 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.
Strong industry links
We have excellent links with business and industry in the UK and overseas. This means:
Your degree is designed to meet the needs of industry and the marketplace.
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.
The Royal Academy of Engineering - UK’s national academy for engineering has appointed senior industrial engineers as visiting professors at Brunel University London.
The Visting Professors Scheme provides financial support for experienced industrial engineers to deliver face-to-face teaching and mentoring at a host of institutions. Our engineering undergraduates will benefit from an enhanced understanding of the role of engineering and the way it is practised, along with its challenges and demands.
Women in Engineering and Computing Programme
Brunel’s Women in Engineering and Computing mentoring scheme provides our female students with invaluable help and support from their industry mentors.
This course has been designed in close consultation with the industry and is accredited as a designated 'technical' MSc degree by the Join Board of Moderators (JBM). The JBM is made up of Institution of Highways and Transport and the Institution of Highway Engineeres 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.