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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental SciencePostgraduate study

MSc Water Resources Management

Highly skilled water scientists and engineers are vital for the conservation and enhancement of our aquatic environment, both locally and globally. This MSc will provide you with the ability to assess the potential and existing impacts on the water environment from industrial practices, abstraction and agriculture. You will explore the scientific and engineering management of our aquatic resources and gain an in-depth understanding of freshwater ecosystems, visit river restoration sites and examine the state of fisheries. This programme provides you with a dynamic education, where innovative lecturers teach you the professional skills to follow a rewarding career as a water-focused environmental scientist.

Introducing your course

The MSc Water Resources Management is one of the specialist degree titles available within our Environment and Sustainability Programme Suite. The Suite is managed by the School of Geography and Environmental Science within the Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences, but draws on contributions from across the university. The degree will provide you with a flexible set of coherent module choices that prepare you for employment in the environmental sector. Taught by research-active, world-class academic experts from multidisciplinary backgrounds, the programme will equip you with applied skills as well as specialised problem-solving and critical thinking skills, for tackling environmental management and sustainability issues. Typical careers are in the public, private and third sectors as well as national and international agencies.

The aims of the programme are to:

  • provide you with a thorough understanding of the functioning and management of the environment, based on firm interdisciplinary foundations
  • give you the opportunity to develop specialist knowledge and understanding in a chosen area of the environmental and sustainability sciences, whilst maintaining a broader view of the environment on an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary basis
  • provide you with knowledge and understanding of the interactions between environment and society
  • enable you to undertake a substantial research project during your year of study
  • produce graduates who can think critically about the environment in the contemporary world and are able to pursue independent study in the subject with enthusiasm
  • provide opportunities to recognise and develop the key skills necessary for graduates to be capable of reaching their full potentials and play a full role in society including careers in environmental and other professions, industry and commerce
  • provide an education suitable for a wide variety of careers in the environment, with a view to employment following graduation.

View the programme specification for this course for 2020/21 entrants

View the programme specification for this course for 2021/22 entrants

To Apply

You can apply for this course through the University of Southampton's online postgraduate application system. For more background and detailed information, visit how to apply.

The deadline for applications is the 31st July each year.

Programme Structure

The academic year for students on the MSc course is divided into three parts: two semesters of taught modules (which are a mix of compulsory and optional topics) followed by a period of self-directed study for the Advanced Research Project over the summer. We encourage you to conduct your research projects with external organisations and potential employers. A special feature of the programme is the replacement of the traditional dissertation with the MSc Research Project written as a journal article (7000 word limit). This is a challenging, real-world exercise and very rewarding for students whose work is of sufficient standard to be submitted to a real journal for potential to be published. Your MSc Research Project is completed during the summer vacation and is submitted towards the middle of September for full-time students.

Key Facts

The Environment and Sustainability Programme Suite is unique in the field-based/applied nature of its consistent MSc degree programmes. Students will be trained in the field (in research locations across the south of England as well as with the opportunity to conduct fieldwork overseas on some pathways), in data analysis methods, and in analytical skills to understand and evaluate the challenges of our time. Students will work with stakeholders on complex problems to ensure that they are fully aware of the challenges of working in the environment and sustainability sectors.
Other highlights of the programme include:

  • An optional, two-week residential field course in a developing country
  • Opportunities to work directly with a leading sustainability institute, including competitive opportunities for consultancy-based dissertation, for example through the GeoData Institute
  • Visits to leading environment and sustainability initiatives such as Thames Barrier 2100
  • Visits to industries leading in environment and sustainability
  • Opportunity to receive professional RGS-IBG accredited CPD training through the GeoData Institute (awarded ‘Provider status’ from the RGS for all of its current GIS courses, and accredited by the Association of Geographic Information, the professional body for the discipline). Additional costs apply.
  • Independent project work that may be conducted in the UK or overseas (subject to Risk Assessments), leading to the production of a journal article with the potential for publication.
Students doing electric fishing training in the New Forest
Students doing electric fishing training in the New Forest

Typical entry requirements

General requirements

An upper second-class honours degree or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University in Environmental Sciences, Geography, Zoology, Oceanography, Biology, Geology or Physics.

A first class honours degree or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University and/or interview are normally required for applicants with an Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering or Mathematics degree.

Applications are assessed on an individual basis and we encourage candidates with alternative qualifications plus relevant experience in the environmental sector to apply. Students holding qualifications in non-Science or non-Engineering based subjects areas are normally only eligible to apply for the MSc Integrated Environmental Studies (from the five Environmental Science MSc courses available).

English language

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate that they have sufficient command of English to undertake the course, for example, through an overall IELTS test score of 6.5 (with a minimum of 6 in every component) or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.


Selection process

Intake: 50-60 across all Environmental Management and Sustainability pathways

Average applications per place: 6

All individuals are selected and treated on their relative merits and abilities in line with the University's Equal Opportunities Policy. The University of Southampton welcomes applications from disabled students. We have extensive experience of supporting students with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions including sensory loss, mobility issues, mental health needs, long terms health conditions, autistic spectrum disorders and any specific learning difficulty. Applications from disabled applicants will be considered in the same way as any other application and a decision will be made that is based upon the candidate's academic merit and potential.

If you have a disability or health condition and would like to discuss your requirements please contact Enabling Services to discuss your academic and other support needs.

Email: or tel: +44 (0)23 8059 7726.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Typical course content

In the first semester, you are required to complete three compulsory modules, and select one other from a wide range of choices. In the second semester, you take two compulsory modules, and select two further optional modules. The range of modules available in both semester is broad and can be tailored to suit your specific interests within this area of expertise. You will also be required to complete the MSc Research Project.

Year 1

Part 1 (the taught programme) of the MSc Water Resources Management is made up of 60 ECTS/120 CATS points. Taught sessions take place over two semesters, running approximately from October to January and then from February to May each academic year. Full-time students must take 30 ECTS/60 CATS points in Semester 1 and 30 ECTS/60 CATS points in Semester 2.

Semester One
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

You must choose three or four modules from the following list:

Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

You must choose two or three modules from the following list:

Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Semester Two

Part 2 consists of the MSc Research Project worth 30 ECTS/60 CATS points, making a total of 90 ECTS/180 CATS points for the MSc overall.

Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Tuition fees

List of tuition fees for this course and it's variations
Course TitleAwardYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternational
Water Resources ManagementMSc 2020Full-time£9,250£23,136
Water Resources ManagementMSc 2020Part-time£4,625£11,568
View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

EquipmentApproved calculators: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentDesign equipment and materials: Standard construction/modelling materials will be provided where appropriate, unless otherwise specified in a module profile. For customisation of designs/models calling for material other than standard construction/ modelling materials, students will bear the costs of such alternatives.
ClothingField course clothing: You will need to wear suitable clothing when attending field courses, e.g. waterproofs, walking boots. You can purchase these from any source.
Printing and copyingIn some cases, coursework and/or projects may be submitted electronically. Where it is not possible to submit electronically students will be liable for printing costs, which are detailed in the individual module profile.
OtherOptional visits: Some modules may include additional optional visits. You will normally be expected to cover the cost of travel and admission, unless otherwise specified in the module profile.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

A wide variety of teaching and learning methods are employed in the Environment and Sustainability Programme Suite including lectures, seminars, case studies, field exercises, problem-based learning and activities with external organisations. Several modules involve group exercises where you learn not only about the subject but also how to operate as an effective team, managing your time and assigning roles efficiently. Whatever your background, your prior knowledge is a valuable resource to others and we strongly encourage a participatory and interactive approach to learning.

Study locations

Waterfront Campus

NOCS (National Oceanography Centre Southampton)

Ocean and Earth Sciences is based at the world-renowed National Oceano...Find out more

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