This programme is delivered in close collaboration with our advisory board of representatives from the water industry, and provides fundamental and applied training in the science and management of freshwater environments. Combining hydrology, geomorphology, biogeochemistry and ecology, the degree is designed to produce outstanding scientists capable of developing interdisciplinary solutions to priority water resource and catchment issues. It involves fieldwork at our research sites including the near-natural Tagliamento River in Italy and heavily impacted rivers within London and the south-east of England.* PgDip and PgCert versions of this course are also available.

This programme:

  • facilitates networking within the water and environmental sectors
  • develops core understanding of freshwater environmental systems and the key policy and legal frameworks that underpin their management
  • provides hands-on training in flood estimation and inundation modelling using industry-standard software
  • develops skills and knowledge in the monitoring and management of pollutants, nutrient levels and greenhouse gas emissions in aquatic systems
  • provides training in river assessment methods
  • develops your skills and knowledge in the theory and practice of river restoration
  • develops transferable skills in field and lab methods, project management, statistical analysis, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and the use of remotely sensed data, report writing, problem solving and presenting
  • allows you to follow in the footsteps of our graduates who have secured positions in the water and environmental sectors including Jacobs, Halcrow Group, JBA Consulting, River Trusts, Thames Water, Environment Agency, Parish Geomorphic and ESIS Inc.

Study Details:

MSc 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time

Module Details:


Core module:

  • Individual Research Project (60 credits), usually in collaboration with a partner organisation

Compulsory modules:

  • Biogeosciences and Ecosystem Services (15 credits)
  • Catchment Science in Practice (30 credits)
  • Desk Study (15 credits)
  • Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis (15 credits)
  • Flood Risk Management and Modelling (15 credits)
  • Physical Modelling of Fluvial Processes (15 credits)
  • River Assessment and Restoration (15 credits)

Programme Funding

Worshipful Company of Water Conservators bursary: a bursary of up to £4,000 is available from the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators

Walter Oldershaw Award: eight awards (£3,000 each) are available across all masters degrees offered by the School of Geography

Queen Mary Alumni Loyalty Award: all graduates of QMUL are awarded a £1,000 bursary

Postgraduate Loans Scheme: eligible students are able to borrow loans up to £10,000

Student Destinations

Employability: 94% of respondents from our postgraduates were in work or further study six month after graduation; 91% at graduate level (DLHE 2015).


Entry Requirements

An upper second class honours degree or higher in a relevant subject from a UK university (or an equivalent international qualification) together with two supportive references is usually required. It is not a requirement to have previously studied geography and we encourage applications from students from a natural and environmental sciences background. Candidates who do not meet these criteria but have relevant work experience will be considered and are encouraged to contact the programme convenor.

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