M.Sc. Sustainable Catchment Management

University of Dundee

Tuition fee:
  • € 3,910 / Year (EEA)
  • € 11,507 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: September  2014, September  2015
Duration full-time: 12 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Part-time, Full-time

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Water is a key resource globally, nationally and regionally. As the world population increases, as per capita demand for water increases, and as governments increasingly are forced to act to protect water, the demand for scientists and managers to monitor and manage water and the natural systems dependent on it is only going to increase. The programme seeks to provide an authoritative source of training which will be recognised nationally and internationally.

This degree programme is built on research expertise which has been engaged in Water Framework Directive (WFD) preparation for almost 10 years, and reflects the status of water as a key strength in Dundee which draws together staff in many apparently diverse disciplines. Staff lecturing on the programme have professional backgrounds in hydrology, water law, freshwater ecology, planning and resource management.

The programme involves many expert practitioners coming to the university to lecture and lead seminars, especially in relation to flood hazard management. Scotland has been recognised as leading European thinking on implementation of the Directive, so the involvement of key personnel representing the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the insurance industry, environmental consultancies and planning authorities will benefit course participants.

Many of the academic staff on the programme are involved in the UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy & Science - the UK's only UNESCO Centre, based at the University of Dundee. The Centre is an exciting interdisciplinary centre providing many opportunities for water-related research in projects worldwide.

Aims of the Programme:

To provide participants with opportunities to:

- Develop a detailed understanding of the science necessary for the achievement of sustainable catchment management (SCM).

- Develop skills appropriate to a career in SCM, including technical skills such as the appropriate use of hydrological modelling software.

- Develop an awareness of the linkages between hydrology, ecology, legal and planning frameworks relevant to SCM.

- Critically evaluate the policy positions of different groups concerned with SCM, e.g. representatives of the environmental regulatory, wildlife and insurance sectors.

- Gain insight into the dependencies between monitoring, environmental assessment, and environmental management decisions.

- Gain experience of the difficulties of achieving sustainable catchment management objectives in practice and the importance of local details, thereby promoting deeper understanding of the means by which SCM can realistically be achieved.

Exchange Opportunities:

Students accepted on to the programme have an exciting new opportunity to study in Australia as part of their degree. The University of Dundee has funding available from the European Union and the Government of Australia to enable students to spend five months of their degree programme studying courses at the Universities of Adelaide, South Australia, Flinders, Central Queensland and Deakin.

This exchange programme will provide you with an invaluable opportunity to gain an insight into Catchment Management practices in Australia, and will greatly benefit your future career.

Career Opportunities:

There is currently a serious shortfall in training provision for sustainable catchment management. This is a process demanded by the EU Water Framework Directive (2000) and the Floods Directive (2007). Therefore, graduates from the programme are expected to meet good career prospects.

Dissertations may be organised using contacts within organisations employing graduate water specialists, and participants will have other opportunities during the year to make direct contact with employers. Staff are able to provide advice on many organisations within which graduates of other Dundee programmes are already employed, in conjunction with the University's Careers Service.


In order to achieve the synergies which are the aims of the programme, almost all of the taught modules are compulsory, although considerable choice exists in relation to project work.

- Sustainable Catchment Management: Principles & Practice

- Environmental Quality

- Environmental Risk (flooding)

- Aquatic Ecosystem Monitoring & Management

- Water Law

- Hydro Power Generation

- Research Planning

- Sustainable Flood Management

- Research Planning (continued)

- Group project

- Choice: Postgraduate Geographical Information Systems or Commercial Environment

- Dissertation (MSc only)

Much of the teaching combines lecture material and informal seminar-style discussion, encouraging students to explore taught materials and interpret ideas individually. Field classes are held in order to study monitoring and management strategies in realistic situations, with opportunities to meet the people involved in these activities.

Students wishing to study only for the Postgraduate Diploma study until the group project, but do not take the individual project.

Methods of Assessment:

A single exam diet is held at the end of Semester 2, carrying 50% of the assessment of the Diploma and 33% of the assessment of the MSc as a whole, the remainder of the assessment being by coursework. Admission to the MSc is by satisfactory completion of the Diploma assessments.

Coursework assessments are reports and essays in the main, and include use of specialist analytical techniques, (e.g. LowFlows software for assessing water resource availability) as well as review and analysis of published and unpublished sources.


You should have, or expect to have, an honours degree of 2.2 standard or better, or equivalent, in either an appropriate discipline such as Geography, Environmental Science, Planning, Ecology, Civil Engineering, or any other discipline, backed by experience relevant to the programme.

English Language Requirement: IELTS of 6.5 (or equivalent), if your first language is not English.

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 6.5
TOEFL paper-based test score : 580

IMPORTANT NOTE: Since April 2014 the ETS tests (including TOEFL and TOEIC) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.

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