UCC Postgraduate courses

Freshwater Quality Monitoring & Assessment (Online)

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Freshwater Quality Monitoring & Assessment (Online)

  • Code


  • College

    Science, Engineering and Food Science

  • Duration

    2 Years Part-time

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    PG Dip

  • EU Fees

    Part-time Year 1 (EU) €2,380; Part-time Year 2 (EU) €2,380; GEMS/Water sponsored (UN) €1,000 (€500 per year)
    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees

    Total €9,400 Year 1: €4,700; Year 2: €4,700 (excluding GEMS/Water nominated students from developing countries); GEMS/Water nominated students from developing countries Fee is €1,000 (€500 Year 1; €500 Year 2)

  • Entry Requirements

    See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Open for EU applications; check rounds closing under How to Apply

  • Non-EU Closing Date

    30 June 2023

  • Course Delivery Method


Course Outline

Our online Postgraduate Diploma in Freshwater Quality Monitoring &  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. To be eligible to transfer to the MSc in Freshwater Quality Monitoring and Assessment a student must obtain a pass mark of at least 40% in each taught module and an aggregated mark of at least 50% across the 60 credits from Years 1 and 2.

Year 1 (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

See the University Calendar (PG Diploma  Freshwater Quality Monitoring & Assessment) for full course information.


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. This module enables students to gain experience in practical freshwater quality monitoring methods.

Students are expected to spend approximately 15-20 hours per week of study effort per module, of which approximately 6 hours would be online 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 an 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.



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 Postgraduate Diploma 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.

Skills and Careers Information

The Postgraduate Diploma 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 sector.


  • Applicants must have a BSc in Environmental Science or cognate discipline; or a relevant professional qualification; or a portfolio of work and experience in the area of freshwater quality monitoring.
  • Under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), applicants who do not hold a BSc will be judged on a case-by-case basis as to their suitability for the programme, subject to the approval of the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science. 

  • All applicants are required to have a sufficient level of English. Applicants, 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.

For Applicants with Qualifications Completed Outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure 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.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.

English Language Requirements

Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Please visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

Fees and Costs

The EU fee for this course is Part-time Year 1 (EU) €2,380; Part-time Year 2 (EU) €2,380; GEMS/Water sponsored (UN) €1,000 (€500 per year) .

The Non-EU fee for this course is Total €9,400 Year 1: €4,700; Year 2: €4,700 (excluding GEMS/Water nominated students from developing countries); GEMS/Water nominated students from developing countries Fee is €1,000 (€500 Year 1; €500 Year 2).


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 is at registration in August and the second in January.

International student fee payment 

International Students can pay in two equal instalments once they have paid the appropriate deposit. The initial payment is due on registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

You can pay by Credit/Debit card online or by credit transfer.


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

How Do I Apply

1. Check Dates: Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

  • For Irish and EU applicants we operate a rounds system and you can check the rounds closing dates here.
  • Note that not all our programmes are subject to the rounds system so check the opening and closing dates for your specific programme in the fact file boxes above.

2. Gather Documents: Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

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

3. Apply Online: Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.


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.

  • In addition to your previously declared qualifications, please outline any additional academic courses, self-learning and professional training relevant to this programme.

  • Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.

The closing date for non-EU applications is 30 June 2023

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact