Integrated Management of Freshwater Environments

MSc ( 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time )


Queen Mary University of London postgraduate students travel to Italy on fieldwork as part of their masters studies

This programme is delivered in close collaboration with our advisory board of representatives from the water industry, and provides fundamental and applied training in the science and management of freshwater environments. Combining hydrology, geomorphology, biogeochemistry and ecology, the degree is designed to produce outstanding scientists capable of developing interdisciplinary solutions to priority water resource and catchment issues. It also involves fieldwork at our research sites ranging from globally rare chalk streams to heavily impacted rivers within London and southern England.* PgDip and PgCert versions of this course are also available.

This programme:

  • facilitates networking within the water and environmental sectors
  • develops core understanding of freshwater environmental systems and the key policy and legal frameworks that underpin their management
  • provides hands-on training in flood estimation and inundation modelling using industry-standard software
  • develops skills and knowledge in the monitoring and management of pollutants, nutrient levels and greenhouse gas emissions in aquatic systems
  • provides training in river assessment methods
  • develops your skills and knowledge in the theory and practice of river restoration
  • develops transferable skills in field and lab methods, project management, statistical analysis, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and the use of remotely sensed data, report writing, problem solving and presenting
  • allows you to follow in the footsteps of our graduates who have secured positions in the water and environmental sectors including Jacobs, Halcrow Group, JBA Consulting, River Trusts, Thames Water, Environment Agency, Parish Geomorphic, ESIS Inc., Affinity Water and Wood Group.

Become part of QMUL Geography

  • Professional and friendly environment: We are recognised as an international centre for excellence in teaching and research. Our work is at the forefront of geography, shaping debates and providing significant new insight and understanding. We are also known for our friendly and welcoming ethos and are home to many leading physical geography and environmental science scholars. Joining the School of Geography places you alongside academics that are actively developing and challenging contemporary thinking in their field. 
  • Research excellence: Almost 80 per cent of the School’s research outputs (books and articles) are rated as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) placing it 5th in the UK for this measure. Our scores increased across all areas in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) and we were ranked joint 11th for geography in the UK overall. We are also proud to feature in the top 100 geography departments in the world (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018).
  • Employability: 94% of respondents from our postgraduates were in work or further study six month after graduation; 91% at graduate level (DLHE 2015).
  • Capital location: We're a School that cares about the world beyond the university, working with a range of environmental organisations across London and beyond including the Environment Agency, Natural England, Rivers Trusts, Wildlife Trusts and Thames21 as well as environmental consultancies. Our passion is to demonstrate through research and teaching the intellectual and political significance of geographical research and understanding. We encourage our students to become part of this vibrant intellectual culture.
  • Networks: You will develop knowledge and understanding relevant to employment in organisations such as Environment Agency, Defra, Natural England, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, British Geological Survey and environmental consultancies.


  • Worshipful Company of Water Conservators bursary: a bursary of up to £4,000 is available from the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators 
  • Walter Oldershaw Award: eight awards (£3,000 each) are available across all masters degrees offered by the School of Geography
  • Queen Mary Alumni Loyalty Award: all graduates of QMUL are awarded a £1,000 bursary
  • Postgraduate Loans Scheme: eligible students are able to borrow loans up to £10,000
  • Commonwealth Shared Scholarships: a limited number of awards are available for nationals of select Commonwealth countries, covering full tuition fee, flights and living stipend
  • Read more about these opportunities on the funding a masters page


  • Weekly research seminars: As a postgraduate student you will be invited to weekly research seminars as well as several research frameworks sessions with top-level academic researchers.
  • Dedicated working space: QMUL's new Graduate Centre, opened in 2017, provides excellent teaching and learning spaces for all postgraduate students, including a 200-seat lecture theatre, study spaces, seminar rooms, an open-plan study area, landscaped courtyard and a cafe. Additionally, postgraduate students have desk and computing space in dedicated offices within the School of Geography and access to facilities for specialist statistical and Geographical Information System (GIS) analyses, desktop publishing and the processing of video and electronic images.
  • Facilities: There is a wide range of field equipment and state-of-the-art lab facilities for the analysis of environmental samples, a River Lab which features two experimental flumes, advanced geospatial survey technology for studying river processes and a micromorphology and micropalaeontology suite.
  • University of London network: QMUL is a part of the University of London, so our students have access to the facilities, learning resources and libraries across the group's institutions. You can also use the first-rate resources of other libraries with London collections (e.g. the British Library).

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* Fieldwork costs are additional to tuition fees. In 2016/17, the cost of field trips on this degree programme were approximately £550. Other bespoke locations vary in price.


The programme is made up of 180 credits. For full details on our modules please go to the online module directory

Core module:

  • Individual Research Project (60 credits), usually in collaboration with a partner organisation

Compulsory modules:

  • Catchment Science in Practice (30 credits)
  • Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis (15 credits)
  • Biogeosciences and Ecosystem Services (15 credits)
  • River Assessment and Restoration (15 credits)
  • Flood Risk Management and Modelling (15 credits)

Option modules:

  • Desk Study (15 credits)
  • Environmental Pollution (15 credits)
  • Physical Modelling of Fluvial Processes (15 credits)


Fieldwork costs are additional to tuition fees. As a guide, in 2016/17, the cost of field trips on this degree programme were approximately £550. Other bespoke locations vary in price. 


  • For enquiries, contact the Postgraduate Studies Manager on +44 (0)20 7882 8165 or email
  • The programme is currently led by Dr Gemma Harvey, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

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Entry requirements

An upper second class honours degree or higher in a relevant subject from a UK university (or an equivalent international qualification) together with one supportive academic reference is usually required.  Non-academic references can be considered in specific circumstances. It is not a requirement to have previously studied geography and we encourage applications from students from a natural and environmental sciences background. Candidates who do not meet these criteria but have relevant work experience will be considered and are encouraged to contact the programme convenor.

Candidates are expected to have good English language ability and to meet our minimum English language requirements. If you do not the meet language requirements, it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme.

For more information, please contact the Admissions Office on +44 (0)20 7882 5533 or email

For detailed country-specific entry requirements, please visit the international section of our website.


Learning and teaching

As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching comprises a mixture of formal lectures, field courses, laboratory and computer practicals, small group seminars and one-to-one supervision meetings. We take pride in the close and friendly working relationship we have with our students. You are assigned an Academic Adviser who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at Queen Mary.

Independent Study

For every hour spent in formal classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work and completing projects.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


All modules are assessed through a variety of coursework assignments including essays, literature reviews, scientific and design reports, presentations, modelling exercises, annotated bibliographies, skills portfolios and field notebooks.


You will also complete a 12,000-word Individual Research Project on a topic of your choice relating to the programme. You will be assigned an academic supervisor from the School of Geography. Your supervisor will provide guidance and advice on your dissertation research. The project may involve working with a partner organisation and may therefore have an applied focus and/or contribute to the work of that organisation. Current and recent student projects include:

  • Assessing the hydrogeomorphological effects of large woody debris in rivers: A study of both natural and restored wood in the River Blackwater, UK. In collaboration with the Environment Agency
  • Classification of secondary channels in the River Nene. In collaboration with Atkins Global
  • Causes of Phosphate losses in a Chalk stream. In collaboration with Wessex Water
  • Detecting morphological and sedimentological adjustments within the recently restored Woodsmill Stream, Sussex. In collaboration with Atkins Global and the Sussex Wildlife Trust
  • A preliminary assessment of sediment quality in the tidal Thames: The use of sediment quality guidelines for the identification of hotspots and the potential influence of dredging operations. In collaboration with the Port of London Authority


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2020/21 Academic Year

Full time £9,950
Part time £5,000

Tuition fees for International students

2020/21 Academic Year

Full time £20,850
Part time £10,450

Part time fees are charged per annum over two years for a two year programme and per annum over three years for a three year programme. A percentage increase may be applied to the fees in years two and three.

This increase is defined each year and published on the intranet and in the Tuition Fee Regulations. A 3% increase was applied to the unregulated university fees in 2019/20. Further information can be viewed on our University Fees webpage, including details about annual increases.


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717

Graduate employment

The programme will provide you with knowledge and understanding relevant to employment in organisations in the water sector (e.g. Environment Agency, Defra, Natural England, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, water companies and environmental consultancies).  In addition, the programme will equip you with a range of transferable skills and attributes (including the constructive and critical use of information, the development of problem-solving and decision-making skills and effective communication skills) sought by diverse employers.


Vinicius Delboni, class of 2015, currently Graduate Water Engineer with CH2M

“I was looking for a masters programme where I could develop flood risk management skills and, at the same time, prepare myself for a career in consultancy. QMUL could offer exactly that. The comprehensive variety of coursework throughout the programme helped me to prepare myself for delivering consultancy style reports on very strict deadlines, as well as providing me with hands on experience using cutting edge industry software, such as ArcGIS and Flood Modeller.

“As an international student, securing a job in the UK can be a daunting task. It is very time consuming and can be frustrating at times. However, I was able to rely on the resources provided at the QMUL’s Career Centre. They helped me with writing a CV and a covering letter, according to the UK standards. I also received help and important feedback from my academic supervisor when job hunting. I stayed positive and after three months I was able to secure the job I wanted.

“Data analysis skills, including proficiency in Excel and ArcGIS are two of the key technical skills that you need to develop, to prepare you for securing a job in this field. A sound understanding of how the main industry flood modelling software works is often required. I would also recommend getting involved in internships and voluntary work in order to develop less technical competencies, such as team work skills.” 

Anneka Johnson-Marshall, class of 2015, currently Asset Scientist at Affinity Water

“I chose to study at Queen Mary as the School of Geography here has a very good reputation for teaching and research. The course also appealed to me as it suited my particular interest in rivers, with a wide variety of topics covered within the degree programme. I felt that each of the modules would be useful for jobs in the industry.

“My masters course at QMUL gave me the ideal preparation for the job I am in now, as it covered all the aspects of river monitoring and management which I am expected to know for my job. It also gave me experience of report writing and time management skills, as well as valuable experience with conducting field work and laboratory analyses.

“My favourite aspect of this job is being able to go out into the field and work in and around chalk streams, and being able to get involved with monitoring and restoring them, which I feel is a very worthwhile occupation. My advice is: get any experience you can, even if it’s just occasional volunteering. I got involved with Riverfly monitoring which only takes one afternoon a month, and I feel this really helped my CV by demonstrating my interest and enthusiasm.”

Konthoujam Khelchandra Singh, Chevening Scholarship recipient, class of 2016, currently Assistant Professor at Pachhunga University College and Mizoram University, India

“I chose to study the MSc IMFE at QMUL because all of the modules on the course cover areas that I am interested in. At the same time, the course enabled me to expand my knowledge and gain practical training in the overall management of freshwater environments.

“I liked the fact that there are a number of compulsory field trips during the course. These trips provided a unique platform for acquiring essential practical skills for the collection of data and sampling techniques that can be utilised in the proper monitoring of freshwater environments. The assessed assignments helped me immensely in developing various skills in reading and writing. The laboratory facilities in the School are fantastic too, with very helpful staff.

“Being a student in London has been a wonderful experience. You have the opportunity to make lots of new international friends, to explore and enjoy the different facets of vibrant social life inside and outside the university campus. 

“The degree will help me to efficiently utilise my expertise for my academic career for advancement in teaching and research in Environmental Science with a focus on freshwater ecosystems. I aim to continue working on my research on the study of rivers, lakes and wetlands. I plan to carry out collaborative work with a wide range of partners. I wish to integrate my research findings in the development of measures for improved management of freshwater environments.”

Katy Kemble, class of 2012, currently Senior Geomorphologist at Jacobs Consultancy

Katy Kemble

"I chose this masters programme because it included everything I wanted to do whilst giving enough detail in the areas I was interested in. It gave me the background knowledge I needed in order to get the job I've got now, as well as skills such as presenting. The regular coursework deadlines really helped me prepare for consultancy work and the programme introduced me to people in the field of work I wanted to be in which has meant that I got the job I wanted.

"I work in a consultancy, so I have many projects going on at any one time. The work ranges from fluvial audits along rivers involving a week(s) of field work, to report writing and GIS. I also have the opportunity to aid in the creation of river restoration schemes and realignments as well as undertaking Water Framework Directive assessments."

Angela Fells, class of 2013, currently GIS Analyst at Zoological Society of London (ZSL) 

"Having completed an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science at Queen Mary, I knew that this MSc programme would offer the same high levels of teaching, expertise, learning and research facilities which I was provided with during my degree. The modules offered on the programme are very well targeted for a career in Environmental Science. I was particularly interested in coursework projects such as designing a restoration project and writing briefing papers, as I knew that they would be useful for my future career. The field trip to the Tagliamento River in Italy provided an opportunity to get field experience in a unique environment, and to get to know students and staff.

"My BSc and MSc at Queen Mary provided me with both scientific knowledge in aquatic science and management, and transferable knowledge and skills which I use every day for my career. In addition, the regular deadlines were invaluable for preparing me for work, where it is common to be working on numerous projects simultaneously, with tight deadlines.

"I think that a key factor for me securing this position was that, in addition to the skills and knowledge I gained from the MSc, I was able to develop a clear idea of the environmental management and research areas that I wanted to work in during my time at Queen Mary. Furthermore, I was able to get advice on my CV, application writing and interview techniques from experts in my field, which helped me greatly with my application and interview."

Tom Giordano, class of 2012, currently: Fluvial Geomorphologist Specialist at Matrix Solutions Inc.

"I chose Queen Mary because of the diversity it offered regarding the field of river science. The programme also encouraged collaboration with organizations within the industry for dissertation topics as way to apply the knowledge and skills acquired to real world issues.

"The main purpose of my current job is consulting clients on river related issues. It involves the collection and analysis of field data but also requires the use of aerial photographs and GIS. The results are interpreted to provide insight into the geomorphological condition of specific river environments through written reports, channel designs and the production of maps. Projects I have worked on include full subwatershed studies, calculation of migration rates, erosion thresholds, geomorphic assessments and channel design.

"Queen Mary provided me with well-rounded understanding of fluvial environments. The MSc allowed me to learn how to perform proper field assessments and to apply my knowledge and skills in real world environments. The time constraints and reports involved in the programme prepared me for the high paced working environment that is the consulting industry.

"The best part of my job is having the opportunity to work outside and conduct field work. I love the outdoors and having the opportunity to enjoy it while making a living is a real pleasure."


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