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Professional Doctorate in Water and Sanitation for Development - MSc

About This Professional Doctorate

Course Description

Although much progress has been made over the last three decades, still more than one billion people lack access to a safe, reliable and affordable water supply; and more than twice that number still lack access to basic sanitation. This course provides the essential skills and knowledge required to plan and implement, with communities, water supply and sanitation projects and programmes worldwide, particularly in less developed countries.

Why this course?

On successful completion of this option students will be able to:

  • design and implement appropriate and sustainable solutions to water supply and sanitation for small, rural communities in particular in developing countries, with due regard to the technical, social and institutional constraints imposed by the surrounding environment
  • assess water supply and sanitation needs for communities in villages and refugee camps
  • plan and implement water source evaluation and development programmes, including low-cost well drilling
  • facilitate community participation and management projects and programmes
  • design, cost and implement small sustainable water distribution, storage and treatment systems
  • evaluate the health impacts of community water supply and sanitation systems.

Graduate destinations

We recognise the importance of identifying a clear career path when deciding to study for a postgraduate degree. Here at Cranfield you will receive full support in creating an effective career strategy from our dedicated careers service. Whether you are looking to secure your first role in the Water sector or you want to take your career to the next level, our careers service is tailored to you and your career goals.

Our courses are based on cutting edge research, so you can be sure that they are relevant in today’s employment market.

Cranfield graduates leave with the skills to make an immediate contribution in the international water industry, and many enjoy long-term careers in diverse roles such as consultants, managers, engineers, sanitation specialists and project managers. Some of our graduates went on to work in sanitation development with non-governmental organisations, emergency relief agencies, UN and similar international bodies such as UNICEF, Water Aid, HEEALS and Pure Water for the World. The course also provides an ideal grounding for research positions and PhD programmes.

Informed by Industry

Our courses are designed to meet the training needs of industry and have a strong input from experts in their sector. These include:

  • Anglian Water
  • CARE International
  • Environment Agency    
  • Institute of Water
  • Jacobs
  • Mott MacDonald
  • Pumpaid
  • Practical Action
  • Richard Hill, Independent Consultant
  • Sembcorp Utilities Services.


This degree has been accredited by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

Course details

The modules include lectures and tutorials, and are assessed through appropriate assignments. There is an emphasis on analysis of real problems, with practical field work, including a week of drilling, to reinforce learning.

Group project

The group project provides students with the opportunity to take responsibility for a consultancy-type project, while working under academic supervision. Success is dependent on the integration of various activities and working within agreed objectives, deadlines and budgets. 

Individual project

Students select the individual project in consultation with the Course Director. The individual project provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to carry out independent research, think and work in an original way, contribute to knowledge, and overcome genuine problems in water management. Many of the projects are supported by external organisations and are based in low-income countries.


Taught modules MSc 40%, PgDip 66.6%, Group project (dissertation for part-time students) MSc 20%, PgDip 33.3%, Individual project MSc 40%.

Visit the Water and Sanitation for Development - MSc page on the Cranfield University website for more details!

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Entry Requirements

Suitable for graduates who wish to work in the planning, implementation and management of sustainable water supply and sanitation projects with rural and urban communities in low and middle-income countries. The part-time option allows practitioners to extend their professional development within their current employment. Candidates must possess, or be expected to achieve, a 1st or 2nd class UK Honours degree in a relevant discipline such as engineering, environmental science, geography, development studies, earth science or related subjects, or the international equivalent of these UK qualifications.

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