UCC Postgraduate courses

Freshwater Quality Monitoring and Assessment

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Freshwater Quality Monitoring and Assessment

  • Code


  • College

    Science, Engineering and Food Science

  • Duration

    3 years

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications


  • EU Fees 2021

    €8,140 (Year 1 €2,380; Year 2 €2,250; Year 3 €3,510); GEMS/Water sponsored (UN) €1,750 (Year 1 €500; Year 2 €500; Year 3 €750)
    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees 2021

    €16,020 (Year 1 €4,630, Year 2 €4,500, Year 3 €6,890) GEMS Sponsored (UN) Students €1,750 (Year 1 €500, Year 2 €500, Year 3 €750)

  • Entry Requirements

    Candidates must have a BSc in Environmental Science or cognate discipline with a minimum Second Class Honours Grade II See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Closed for 2021/22

  • Course Delivery Method


  • Start Date

    September 13 2021

Course Outline

The MSc in Freshwater Quality Monitoring and Assessment will provide existing or future water professionals with the necessary knowledge to design and implement freshwater quality monitoring programmes and to assess water quality. The programme is offered in a part-time, online format that facilitates study in your own time. It will be useful to those already working in the water sector, including government agencies, and to staff in higher level education institutes who wish to gain a specialised postgraduate qualification in surface and groundwater monitoring, quality assurance and control, and data analysis and presentation. Rivers, lakes and groundwaters are covered in detail and there is an option to study biological and ecological methods, the use of particulate material in monitoring and to take part in a field module during the second year of the programme. The final year of the programme comprises an individual research project and written dissertation.


On successful completion of this course, students should be able to: outline the steps involved in designing a monitoring programme and the different factors that must be considered in each step of the design; identify appropriate monitoring approaches in relation to monitoring objectives; select suitable methods for use in the field and laboratory and perform sampling and analytical procedures; produce a quality assurance plan for a monitoring programme; analyse monitoring data using a range of graphical, statistical and GIS-based approaches and write a water quality assessment report suitable for technical and non-technical audiences.

Year 1: Core Modules (30 credits)

  • EV6001: Monitoring Programme Design for Freshwater Bodies;
  • EV6002: Quality Assurance in Water Quality Monitoring Programmes;
  • EV6003: Data Handling and Presentation for Water Quality Monitoring Programmes.

Year 2: Specialised Modules (30 credits)

Two compulsory modules:

  • EV6005: Monitoring and Assessment of surface waters.
  • EV6007: Monitoring and Assessment of groundwater

And any two of the following:

  • EV6004: Water Quality Monitoring in the Field (field course abroad or in Ireland)
  • EV6008: Water Quality Monitoring using Biological and Ecological Methods;
  • EV6009:Water Quality Monitoring with Particulate Material;

Year 3: Dissertation (30 credits)

  • EV6010: Dissertation in Freshwater Quality Monitoring and Assessment.


Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our book of modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

University Calendar

You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.

Course Practicalities

Teaching will be on-line with each module running for 16 weeks (10 credits) or 8 weeks (5 credits), with the exception of the one-week, full-time optional field module EV6004  in Year 2. This module enables student to gain experience in practical freshwater quality monitoring methods. Students are expected to spend approximately 15-20 hours per week study effort per module, of which approximately 6 hours would be on-line engagement. Students are provided with a student e-mail account and access on-line to the UCC library, but will need the use of a computer with internet connection, modern browser, word processing and spreadsheet software. Programme tutors will be in regular contact with students to provide support and advice throughout the programme.

Students also undertake an independent research project on a topic within the field of freshwater quality monitoring and assessment. This project will be carried out either in their workplace (if appropriate), in an environmental agency or similar setting, or in collaboration with an academic research institution in the student’s country of residence.



There is one major written assessment at the end of each module in addition to minor assignments in the form of reports, reviews, exercises associated with data analysis and presentation, discussion boards, and Multiple Choice Question tests.

Who Teaches This Course


Career Opportunities

The MSc is designed to give students a strong foundation in all aspects of water quality monitoring and assessment, equipping them to work in the area of water quality management in public or private sectors, including water and environment ministries, regulatory agencies, agriculture and industry. The programme will be of particular benefit for the career advancement of employees already working in the water quality monitoring sector.

Why Choose This Course

This unique on-line programme is designed to meet the needs for more sustainable management of freshwater resources in less developed countries. The new Sustainable Development Goal for water (SDG 6) includes an indicator for surface and groundwater quality that requires the collection of water quality data at national level. This MSc in Freshwater Quality Monitoring and Assessment, will support countries who aim to meet the targets of SDG 6 by facilitating the advancement of expertise that will contribute to more sustainable management of water resources.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre (CDC) was founded in 2015 to provide global capacity development in water quality monitoring and assessment to UNEP’s global water quality monitoring system (GEMS/Water), through the provision of education, training and expert advice. The UN Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goal for water (SDG 6) is leading to an increased demand for knowledge, understanding and capacity in water quality monitoring and assessment worldwide, and through this postgraduate programme, the Centre is supporting this demand.



  • Candidates must have a BSc in Environmental Science or cognate discipline with a minimum grade of a Second Class Honours Grade II  (NFQ, Level 8)
  • All candidates are required to have a sufficient level of English. Candidates, for whom English is not their primary language, should possess an IELTS of 6.5 (or TOEFL equivalent) with no less than 6.0 in each individual category. For detailed Postgraduate English Language requirements see here.

English Language Requirements

Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available here.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements, please find our grades comparison by country here

International/non-EU applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students. In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above.

For more information please contact the International Office.

Fees and Costs

The EU fee for this course is €8,140 (Year 1 €2,380; Year 2 €2,250; Year 3 €3,510); GEMS/Water sponsored (UN) €1,750 (Year 1 €500; Year 2 €500; Year 3 €750) .

The Non-EU fee for this course is €16,020 (Year 1 €4,630, Year 2 €4,500, Year 3 €6,890) GEMS Sponsored (UN) Students €1,750 (Year 1 €500, Year 2 €500, Year 3 €750).


If your course required a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second semester fee payment in January.

EU student fee payment:

Fees for EU students are payable in two equal instalments. First payment at registration in August and the second in January.

International student fee payment:

Fees for Non-EU Students are payable in one instalment in August.

How can I pay?

By Credit/Debit card online or by credit transfer.


If you have any questions on fee payment please email our Fees Office at fees@ucc.ie .

Non-GEMS/Water sponsored students will have the option of attending a Field Workshop on a self-funded basis.

Non-EU Fees

The fee schedule for 2019/2020 is available here.

How Do I Apply

1. Choose Course

Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to two courses under one application. Details of taught courses are available on our online prospectus.

2. Apply Online

Once you have chosen your course you can apply online at the online application portal. Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a non-refundable €50 application fee for all courses apart from the Education - Professional Master of Education - (Secondary School/Post-Primary Teacher Training) which has a €100 application fee.

Applicants for the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Nursing must apply on the PAC website when the programme opens for applications.

3. Gather Supporting Documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to the online application portal in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC
  • Any supplementary items requested for your course.

Please log into the online application portal for more details.

4. Application processing timeline

Our online application portal opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year. Check specific course details. 

5. Rounds

For courses that are in the rounds system (Irish and EU applicants), please check the rounds closing dates here.

Questions on how to apply?

Please use our web enquiry form to contact us.


Deferrals are not permitted on this course.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following questions:

  • You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.

  • Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.

  • Please upload your CV. 

Apply Now

Contact details for this course

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