Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering MSc (Eng)

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:2 (hons) in an engineering, public health or international development-related subject.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
UK fees
£13,750 (Total)
International fees
£31,000 (Total)

Course overview

A propped photograph, showing two hand in blue gloves holding a test tube with yellow liquid in, above a set of lab tubes.

As we’ve seen in recent years, safely managed water, sanitation and hygiene services couldn’t be more pertinent than they are today. Without these, the spread of disease can be rife — contributing significantly to the global burden of morbidity and mortality. That’s why the demand for qualified experts in this area to help contribute to solving this global challenge is ever-growing. If you’re looking for a truly rewarding and diverse career that could help save people's lives, this course will equip you with the skills you’ll need to pursue it.

Our Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering MSc degree will provide you with an in-depth knowledge of how to deliver effective modern water supply, sanitation and other public health interventions in urban and rural areas in low-income and transitional economies.

The programme has a strong focus on developing practical and policy skills, whilst addressing the critical future challenges of climate change, population growth and urbanisation. You’ll develop your understanding of technical interventions in water supply, sanitation and solid waste management.

This course is run in conjunction with the Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development, one of the UK’s preeminent public health research centres, and is informed by the work in our Water, Public Health and Environmental Engineering Group, giving you a unique insight into the most critical challenges and latest innovations in this sector.

This means that, once you graduate, you’ll be fully equipped with the topical and relevant knowledge and skills to identify and deliver investments that will have major benefits for health and development.

Why study at Leeds:

  • This Masters degree is accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators.
  • Our globally-renowned research conducted right here in our School feeds directly into the course, shaping your learning with the latest thinking in water, sanitation and health.
  • Advance your knowledge and skills in critical areas sought after in industry such as project management in WASH, engineering for public health and water supply and sanitation management.
  • Conduct your own individual research project as part of your course and gain industry experience in researching and delivering a project that focuses on a real-world problem and allows you to explore your specific interests.
  • Access research-grade equipment and specialist facilities including our public health laboratories, a class II microbiology laboratory and specialist software you’ll need throughout the course.
  • Experience excellent practical and theoretical teaching delivered by a programme team who have close working links with a number of key institutions in the field of international development, including UNICEF, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, WaterAid, World Vision, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the African Development Bank.
  • Enhance your career prospects and become part of our successful alumni who have pursued careers in related positions, working for reputable organisations like WaterAid.
  • Master the most up-to-date practices and techniques recognised in industry on a course that has been directly informed and advised by the Industrial Advisory Committee and the Institution of Civil Engineers.


Joint Board of Moderators

Accreditation is the assurance that a university course meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students.

This course is professionally accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) on behalf of the Engineering Council. The JBM represents the five main professional bodies in the UK registering Civil Engineers, including The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), The Permanent Way Institution (PWI), The Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE), and The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT).

This Masters degree is accredited as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) for candidates who have already acquired a partial CEng-accredited undergraduate first degree* See www.jbm.org.uk for further information.

*It should be noted that candidates completing the MSc who hold an underpinning accredited IEng degree or a non-accredited bachelor degree will need to apply for an academic assessment to determine whether they will meet the educational base for CEng registration.

This course is also accredited by EUR-ACE, the European quality label for engineering degree programmes at bachelor and Masters level.

Course details

A series of core modules that run throughout the year will develop your knowledge in a wide range of topics.

You’ll gain an understanding of the wider issues surrounding public health around the world and how they impact on policy and practice, as well as current debates around the complex topics of health, equity and development understand how health policy is shaped and planned.

At the same time, you’ll be introduced to the principles and practice of public health engineering to bridge the gap between theory, policy and practice, and explore key technologies in water supply, sanitation, wastewater and solid waste management. You’ll also consider engineering responses to complex emergencies, especially regarding the provision of water supply, sanitary services and shelter.

You’ll build your knowledge of technical issues in water resources and solid waste management, as well as natural wastewater treatment.

Project work

Working with your supervisor, you’ll complete an independent research or design-based project during the summer months at the end of the programme to demonstrate the knowledge and skills you’ve gained.

A proportion of projects are formally linked to industry and may include spending time at the collaborator’s site over the summer.


The course also includes fieldwork, including a guided tour of a Yorkshire Water water treatment plant to expose all students to large-scale waterworks. Many of our dissertation projects provide the opportunity for students to conduct international fieldwork to study global water, sanitation and health engineering issues. Recently, students have conducted research in East and Southern Africa.

Course Structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Most courses consist of compulsory and optional modules. There may be some optional modules omitted below. This is because they are currently being refreshed to make sure students have the best possible experience. Before you enter each year, full details of all modules for that year will be provided.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering MSc (Eng) in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
MSc Dissertation 60
The Management of WASH Projects 15
Engineering for Public Health 15
Wastewater and Fecal Sludge Management 15
Water Resource Management 15
Water Supply 15
Solid Waste Management 15
Engineering in Emergencies - MSc 15
Key Issues in International Health 15

Learning and teaching

Our groundbreaking research feeds directly into teaching, and you’ll be taught by staff who are at the forefront of their disciplines. You’ll have regular contact with the team through lectures, seminars, tutorials, small group work and project meetings.

Throughout your studies, you’ll also benefit from a structured support system, with a personal tutor who will offer help and advice about your approach to studying and how to become adept at independent learning.

Independent study is also important to the programme, as you develop your problem-solving and research skills as well as your subject knowledge.

Active research environment

Renowned worldwide for its pioneering work in the global south, the research in our Water, Public Health and Environmental Engineering Group feeds directly into this course.

Our research considers pollutants and microorganisms in air, waste, land and water with a strong emphasis on the interrelationships between energy, sustainability, public health and environmental impact. Our work is truly interdisciplinary, bringing together a diverse group of international researchers considering engineering aspects alongside societal and economic factors.

Specialist facilities

You'll benefit from using our specialist facilities, such as our public health laboratories with separate areas for solid waste, water and wastewater, and a class II microbiology lab and clean room. We have all the specialist software you’ll need for your programme, and you’ll have access to a dedicated study suite for Masters students.

Programme team

The Programme Leader, Dr Paul Hutchings, is a lecturer in Water, Sanitation and Health and his research interests focus on studying public health and wellbeing outcomes from water, sanitation and environmental health interventions and the management of water and sanitation services.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


You’ll be assessed using a range of techniques including case studies, technical reports, presentations, in-class tests, assignments and exams.

The course involves many pieces of written work; it moves beyond engineering calculations to how Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering is embedded in policy and practice, and how it contributes to human wellbeing.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:2 (hons) in an engineering, public health or international development-related subject.

We may also consider applicants with equivalent academic or professional qualifications in a non-cognate engineering or natural science subject and applications from professionally qualified and experienced candidates. We would expect applicants to provide a statement detailing their interest and knowledge within the water, sanitation and hygiene field as part of their application.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information please contact the Admissions Team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Civil Engineering (6 weeks) and Language for Science: Civil Engineering  (10 weeks).

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Application deadlines

Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

31 July 2024 – International applicants

8 September 2024 – UK applicants

Click below to access the University’s online application system and find out more about the application process.

If you're still unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Civil Engineering

Contact us

Postgraduate Admissions Team

Email: pgcivil@leeds.ac.uk


UK: £13,750 (Total)

International: £31,000 (Total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Career opportunities

There will always be a demand for clean water and sanitation. The unique blend of civil engineering and public health policy skills you’ll learn on this course will give you a deep understanding of the most crucial areas in water, sanitation and health engineering and could open a lot of doors when it comes to career opportunities.

From public health ministries to public health departments, international development agencies to international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), there are many employers who seek the knowledge and expertise you’ll have once you graduate.

Plus, the University of Leeds is in the top 5 most targeted universities in the UK by graduate recruiters, according to High Fliers’ The Graduate Market in 2024 report.

Our graduates from this course have secured positions at companies such as:

  • Civil/Water Engineer, Jacobs
  • Water Sanitation Programme Evaluation Advisor, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Emergency Response Coordinator, WaterAid
  • Structural Designer, CSMedi
  • Engineer, Northern Region Water Board
  • Project Engineer, Northern Region Water Board
  • Director, Help for Optimism H4O
  • Production Scientist, TC BioPharm (Holdings)

Careers support

At Leeds, we help you to prepare for your future from day one. We have a wide range of careers resources — including our award-winning Employability team who are in contact with many employers around the country and advertise placements and jobs. They are also on hand to provide guidance and support, ensuring you are prepared to take your next steps after graduation and get you where you want to be.

  • Employability events — we run a full range of events including careers fairs in specialist areas and across broader industries — all with employers who are actively recruiting for roles. 
  • MyCareer system — on your course and after you graduate, you’ll have access to a dedicated careers portal where you can book appointments with our team, get information on careers and see job vacancies and upcoming events.
  • Qualified careers consultants — gain guidance, support and information to help you choose a career path. You’ll have access to 1-2-1 meetings and events to learn how to find employers to target, write your CV and cover letter, research before interviews and brush up on your interview skills.
  • Opportunities at Leeds — there are plenty of exciting opportunities offered by our Leeds University Union, including volunteering and over 300 clubs and societies to get involved in.

Find out more about career support.

Student profile: Alicia Eduardo Pareja

You won´t regret choosing this course at the University of Leeds because it is well organized, has outstanding staff, and has relevant modules focused on how to face the current needs related to water
Find out more about Alicia Eduardo Pareja's time at Leeds