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

    Minimum of 36 months; maximum of 48 months

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications


  • EU Fees 2020

    €7,880 (Year 1 €2,250, Year 2 €2,250, Year 3 €3,380); GEMS Sponsored (UN) Students €1,750 (Year 1 €500, Year 2 €500, Year 3 €750)
    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees 2020

    €15,760 (Year 1 €4,500, Year 2 €4,500, Year 3 €6,760) 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 grade of a 2H2 See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Not on offer 2020/2021

  • Course Delivery Method


  • Start Date

    Not on offer 2020/2021

Course Outline

The Masters  in Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment focuses on all aspects of water quality monitoring including; monitoring programme design, quality assurance, data handling, monitoring and assessment of rivers, lakes and groundwater, biological and ecological methods for water quality monitoring and water quality monitoring technology. There will also be an opportunity to take part in a Field Workshop in a designated developing country during the second year of the course.

This “Train the Trainers” course is aimed at high level staff involved in water quality monitoring in developing countries, especially those who are part of the UNEP GEMS/Water network. These may be staff responsible for the training of water quality monitoring technicians, staff in a university who are responsible for training students in water quality monitoring practices or staff who run monitoring programmes in national or regional laboratories. This course is also very relevant to Irish and EU students who wish to specialise in water quality monitoring and assessment, and study online on a flexible part-time basis.

Year 1: Core Modules (30 credits)

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

Year 2: Specialised Modules (Select 30 credits)

  • Water Quality Monitoring in the Field;
  • Monitoring and Assessment of Rivers;
  • Monitoring and Assessment of Lakes;
  • Monitoring and Assessment of Groundwater;
  • Water Quality Monitoring using Biological and Ecological Methods;
  • Water Quality Monitoring with Particulate Material;
  • Monitoring Technology: Sensors and Networks.

Year 3: Dissertation (30 credits)

  • Independent research project on a topic within the field of freshwater quality monitoring and assessment. This project will be carried out either in an environmental agency or similar setting or in collaboration with an academic research institution in the student’s country of residence.

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.


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

This course is flexible and completed on a part-time basis to suit the needs of the students. Teaching will be online with the exception of a field module that will run in Year 2 of the course. Each 10 credit module will require approximately 36 hours on-line engagement in addition to directed study (reading and research), on-line tutorials and tests, and an individual assessment submitted on-line.


There is one major assessment at the end of each module in the form of a project report, written review, or exercises associated with data analysis and presentation. Assessment will also take the form of moderated participation in a discussion board, online quizzes, tests and MCQs throughout each module.

Who Teaches This Course

Why Choose This Course

The Sustainable Development Goal for water (SDG 6) which requires participating countries to monitor and report regularly on the quality of their water bodies to the UN Statistical Division, is creating a huge additional demand for knowledge, understanding and capacity in developing countries. This Masters in Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment, will facilitate the development of expertise in countries that will lead to a more sustainable development of capacity in the long-term.

Occupations associated with the MSc in Freshwater Quality Monitoring and Assessment

  • Government Departments responsible for water resources management
  • National Water Agencies
  • Water Authorities
  • Water laboratories

Placement and Study Abroad Opportunities

There is an opportunity to take part in a field workshop module in Year 2 of the course. This training workshop will be held in a less developed country and students will gain experience in practical water quality monitoring methods.


  • Candidates must have a BSc in Environmental Science or cognate discipline with a minimum grade of a 2H2.
  • The number of places is limited and selection will be made on the basis of the candidate’s performance in his/her primary degree and personal statement.

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 €7,880 (Year 1 €2,250, Year 2 €2,250, Year 3 €3,380); GEMS Sponsored (UN) Students €1,750 (Year 1 €500, Year 2 €500, Year 3 €750).

The Non-EU fee for this course is €15,760 (Year 1 €4,500, Year 2 €4,500, Year 3 €6,760) GEMS Sponsored (UN) Students €1,750 (Year 1 €500, Year 2 €500, Year 3 €750).

Full-time/Part-time fee:

If your course is offered full time and part time, normally the fee for the part-time course is half the full-time fee per year, please check the fact file for confirmation.


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 three 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 Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a €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.

3. Gather Supporting Documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to PAC 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 forms requested for your course.

Please log into PAC for more details.

4. Application processing timeline

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


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 that you will be asked to fill in a supplementary information form as part of the applications process for this programme. This form is available to view here CKR17 MSc Freshwater Quality Monitoring and Assessment Supplementary Questions

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Contact details for this course

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