Water: Science & Governance




Part Time, Full Time

| Admissions status: Open
Water Science and Governance combines pure and applied research methods from the social and environmental sciences. Gain an advanced understanding of the many contemporary, and often controversial, perspectives on water resource allocation and management. Examples from the UK and Europe, diverse water environments and differently evolved political economies worldwide.

  • Gain advanced interdisciplinary understanding of the contemporary challenges of diverse water environments around the world based on lectures and seminars informed by cutting-edge research and policy
  • Explore the socio-economic, political and environmental aspects of water allocation and management through engagement with leading international scientists and professionals from the water sector
  • Take advantage of the London location for excellent opportunities for professional networking and to seek potential internships and jobs

Student destinations
Students enter employment within the water sector, including working for government departments, water undertakings, environmental consultancies and NGOs, or alternatively develop a research career, using this programme as a foundation for PhD training.
Programme leader/s
Dr Naho Mirumachi (naho.mirumachi@kcl.ac.uk)
Awarding Institution
King's College London
Credit value (UK/ECTS equivalent)
UK 180/ECTS 90
One year FT, two years PT, September to September
Strand Campus
Year of entry 2015
Offered by
Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy
Department of Geography
Closing date
The deadline for applications is 11 September 2015 for 2015 entry. Note that funding deadlines may be earlier. Applications will be considered subject to availability of places, so we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. International applications are now closed to allow sufficient time for visa processing.
Approximately 25 FT/PT
PT Home: £4,260 (2015) Please note that this fee is for year 1 only of this two-year part-time degree. Fees for 2016/17 may rise.
PT Overseas: £8,520 (2015) Please note that this fee is for year 1 only of this two-year part-time degree. Fees for 2016/17 may rise.
FT Home: £8,520 (2015)
FT Overseas: £17,040 (2015)
Contact information
Postgraduate Officer, Centre for Arts & Sciences Admissions (CASA)
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7429
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200
Email Website

The aim of the programme is to develop an ability to evaluate critically current and advanced scholarship as well as the practical experience of those working in the fields of water science and governance. It promotes initiative and the exercise of independent critical judgement in identifying, analysing and solving problems at an advanced level. Participants will acquire a wide range of relevant theory within a sustainability framework. They will discover how the diverse needs - of society, of the economy and of the environmental/ecosystem services provided by water - are addressed and mediated by political processes.

The MSc in Water Science and Governance is an interdisciplinary programme. It provides experience in combining pure and applied research methods from the social and environmental sciences.

Participants will gain an advanced understanding of the many contemporary, and often controversial, perspectives on water resource allocation and management and their implications for the functioning of the water environment.

This programme introduces a diverse range of natural science and governance perspectives on the water environment. Given the international experience of the team delivering the programme of lectures and seminars, participants will be exposed to examples from the UK and Europe and from diverse water environments and differently evolved political economies worldwide.

In lectures and seminars participants will meet environmental scientists and professionals working in a variety of practical contexts. A feature of the programme is its engagement with such scientists and professionals and the involvement of such environmental professionals and policy makers from outside higher education in shaping and up-dating the programme. This engagement will also enable participants to gain insights into the different assumptions of stakeholders using, managing and regulating the water environment and its services.

Students must take one optional 20 credit module from a wide range available within the Department of Geography. Students may also opt to take both methods modules in place of the 20 credit optional module. Students who wish to take a further optional module (for a total of 200 credits rather than the required 180) may do so if they wish, with the programme coordinator’s approval.

Core programme content
Core module (60 credits):
  • 7SSG5163 Dissertation in Water: Science and Governance (60 credits) (must Take and Pass)

Compulsory modules (100 credits):

  • EITHER 7SSG5002 Practising Social Research OR 7SSG5110 Methods for Environmental Research, depending upon the science background of the student (both modules 20 credits)
  • 7SSG5104 Water Resources and Water Policy (20 credits)
  • 7SSG5117 River Processes and Management (20 credits)
  • 7SSG5162 Freshwater and Estuarine Resources: Science, Management and Policy (20 credits)
  • 7SSG5206 International Rivers (20 credits)

Indicative non-core content
Optional modules (20−40 credits):
Students must take 20 credits of optional modules from any Level 7 (Masters) modules offered in the Geography Department. Students who wish to take greater than 180 credits overall (for a maximum total of 200 credits) will require approval from the Programme Director using the Module Amendment Form available from https://internal.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/stu/geog/student-forms.aspx. However, it is not necessary to take these additional credits and it is strongly advised that students generally restrict themselves to the minimum number of credits required.

Other Optional Modules Available to Students on this Programme:

  • Any Level 7 (Masters) modules offered in the Geography Department, including from the list of prescribed optional modules given above.
  • Up to 20 credits of Level 7 modules from any KCL Departments or Institutes outside of Geography.

Please note that the above programme structure is subject to formal approval.

Specialist taught modules assessed by essay, presentation, lab work and occasionally by examination. The three-month dissertation is compulsory and can be taken overseas or in the UK.

More information on typical programme modules.
NB it cannot be guaranteed that all modules are offered in any particular academic year.

Module code: 7SSG5162
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 2 (spring) 

On completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate substantive knowledge and critical appreciation of:
  • The functioning of freshwater, estuarine and coastal systems, and of the management and sustainable exploitation of their resources
  • The current and emerging issues and priorities in freshwater and estuarine management. Such issues include, inter alia, the implications of climate change; the development of approaches to water resource exploitation that balance human and environmental needs; the scientific underpinning of methods for management, enhancement and restoration; the development and monitoring of targets for ecosystem integrity; the interface between scientific tools for environmental management / assessment and their application in decision and policy making.
  • Contemporary and controversial issues in water management is informed and enhanced by external experts and practitioners, who either contribute directly as external lecturers or with whom regular liaison is maintained, and by student visits to agencies and enterprises involved in water management or exploitation.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.
Module code: 7SSG5110
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 1 (autumn) 

This module aims to provide a background in issues and methods involved in doing environmental research, including research methods and design. To achieve this, the module consists of a series of lectures, seminars, and practicals giving an overview of methods in designing, analyzing, presenting and evaluating environmental research. A subcomponent of this module will be an additional unassessed but required set of practicals and seminars giving a overview of laboratory and field equipment available in the KCL Department of Geography. On completion of this module, the student will be able to define the features of environmental problems and will be able to assess environmental investigations in terms of their design strategies for collection of data, data analysis, and results presentation. When taken with SG/5111 the students will be fully equipped to carry out their own independent research into environmental problems using these methodologies.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.
Module code: 7SSG5002
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 1 (autumn) 

This module enables students to derive a greater understanding of the relationship between methodology and method and the related notions of epistemology and ontology. The module is a mix of lectures and tutorials and enables students to develop skills in the appropriate use and application of quantitative and qualitative methods, which will have been worked through in tutorial sessions. The module lays the conceptual groundwork for the design of the dissertation and enables students to appreciate the connections between epistemology and the students particular programme of study.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.
Module code: 7SSG5117
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 2 (spring) 

This module aims to provide the key knowledge and understanding necessary to support the development of management strategies for rivers. It therefore embraces three complementary topics: the dimensions of catchment and river system processes, particularly the connectivity between catchment, river and their floodplain processes and the interdependency of hydrological, geomorphological and ecological processes; the ways in which human activities at a range of spatial and temporal scales impact on the fluvial system and how these impacts propagate through the catchment, river system and floodplain; the options available for environmentally-sensitive management of rivers, their catchments and floodplains.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.
Module code: 7SSG5104
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 20
Semester:  Semester 1 (autumn) 

This module provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the recent history of water resource allocation and management especially in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Priority will be given to outlining a conceptual framework identifying the relevant underlying ecological, economic and sociological principles relevant in the evaluation and management of water resources. The conceptual framework will also show the link between these underlying principles and environmental and economic policies. The roles of the institutions and technologies through which such policies can be implemented will also be analysed and exemplified.

Note that the list of Geography modules offered, as well as the term(s) in which they are offered, may still change from the above.

General entry advice

Minimum standard is a 2:1 degree or international equivalent, e.g. GPA of 3.3 from a US University. Candidates who do not achieve a 2:1 but have professional or voluntary experience will also be considered. Mature candidates will be considered favourably.

Enhanced criminal conviction check
Occupational Health clearance required?

To apply for graduate study at King's you will need to complete our graduate online application form. Applying online makes applying easier and quicker for you, and means we can receive your application faster and more securely.
King's does not normally accept paper copies of the graduate application form as applications must be made online. However, if you are unable to access the online graduate application form, please contact the relevant admissions/School Office at King's for advice.

We run a rolling admissions system. We aim to process all complete applications within four weeks; during February and March and over holiday periods, applications may take longer to process. There is no set deadline.

Please provide a personal statement that shows how your own interests are linked to the programme. In this statement please describe your academic background, your reasons for applying for this programme and what you hope to gain from it, including any relevant experience, strengths, ambitions or research interests.

Varied including Research Councils, University of London Scholarships, departmental bursaries and career development loans. For overseas students Chevening Scholarships are available from the British Council. The King's College London-Accenture Scholarship in MSc Water: Science & Governance covers tuition fees for academic year 2015-16 for one full-time Home/EU student. In addition, the student receiving the scholarship will work on a dissertation project with the Resources Group at Accenture, based in London. For further information on funding, including conditions of eligibility, please consult the Postgraduate Funding Page on the master's section of the Geography Department's website - http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/geography/study/masters/funding.aspx

Related programme student profile

Nineteenth-Century Studies MA

My undergraduate degree was in History and English, and I chose the Nineteenth-Century Studies MA because of King’s reputation and because its wide range of courses encouraged a wide-ranging interdisciplinary approach. The core seminars offered a rich overview of the period from history, literature and geography to art and science, while the other courses on offer gave perspectives on everything from patriotic politics to theatrical melodrama. This broad scope inspired a creative cross-pollination of ideas, and the teaching staff was always friendly, accessible and encouraging.

The Strand Campus in the heart of Victorian London was the perfect location for studying the nineteenth century, with the Maughan and Senate House libraries as well as the vast archives of the British Library and other institutions all nearby. The college’s links with these national institutions meant that it could also offer rewarding internship schemes – I worked with English Heritage, gaining insight and experience that I hope to put to good use in the future.

I would recommend this Masters to anyone with an interest in the period who wants to broaden their understanding while working at the historic centre of the nation and gaining practical experience for employment or further study.