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Master of Philosophy in Integrated Water Management

2 years
Full time
Master's degree
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117,000 ZAR

Program description

Master of Philosophy in Integrated Water Management

With our internationally acclaimed water research node, you can:

  • Become a water leader for the future
  • Develop skills for integrated solutions in real-world contexts
  • Learn from and with some of the leading experts in the field
  • Network with local and international water professionals
  • Work with classmates from diverse backgrounds

There are very few local and international programme that have such an integrated approach to research, teaching and learning about water management.

Degree information

Fresh water is arguably the most fundamental of all natural resources. It affects every form of life on earth. One of the most pressing issues of our time is the fragile relationship between societal existence, human well-being and ecological systems.

How should scientists respond? Scientists have an obligation to produce new knowledge and communicate new understanding to the public and policy makers. They must help society move towards a more sustainable biosphere.

While fundamental research remains eminently important, new approaches are necessary for solving interdisciplinary problems at multiple spatial and temporal scales.

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Integrated Water Management (IWM) offered at IIE MSA is a certified Qualification. The degree comprises of four interdisciplinary coursework modules and a research project. A combination of coursework and research sets this course apart from the normal research-based structure of a masters degree.

While the research component in the form of a masters thesis will form the bulk of the degree weighting, the coursework component introduces and exposes students to some of the complex underlying concepts (biological, social and economic) affecting effective water management. The coursework is designed to properly equip and prepare students to plan and execute a high-quality and practically relevant research project. you’ll complete four intensive coursework subjects (project management, science of water, water, sustainability and development and water governance and policy). These will give you a strong foundation of high-level skills, and act as a springboard for your research thesis. This unique mix of research and coursework will involve laboratory and fieldwork to get you out of the classroom and working in groups. You will collaborate with specialists from the International Water Security Network and engage with colleagues from other South and Southern African Institutions, such as the University of Namibia, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Copperbelt University.

Admission requirements

An applicant must have,

  • An honours qualification (NQF level 8) with a mark of 65% or above; or
  • An equivalent 4-year qualification with a significant individual research project in the 4th year with a mark of 65% or above and
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English.

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Program content

Learning objectives

At the end of the degree students will be able to:

  • Appraise freshwater ecosystems as complex social-ecological systems
  • Evaluate the imperative of sustainable development in relation to the planning and management of water resources
  • Design an integrated water resource management plan
  • Develop a research project proposal
  • Execute an integrated water management research project
  • Present their research findings
  • Prepare an academic paper ready for submission to a scientific

The degree builds on students’ professional experience to approach water-related problems holistically:

  • Lecture modules teach knowledge and skills across a wide range of disciplines
  • Team projects allow students to apply their knowledge to real case studies in Africa and overseas
  • Network building encourages students to establish links through the Water Research Node’s network of national and international specialists
  • Practical skills development supports integration and synthesis of technical concepts and writing
  • Research Skills prepare students to formulate and execute research questions and projects

Degree structure

Four coursework modules introduce students to key concepts of integrated water management. The programme is taught in a South African context through local case studies. However, to provide our students with an international perspective, expertise and case studies from developed and developing countries are used.

The degree is offered to both International and local working professional students. International students must complete the degree within 2 years (24 months) while local South African students have a maximum of 4 years (48 months) to complete the degree.  

All students are required to complete the four coursework modules within the first twelve months of study. These modules are offered twice a year each year to accommodate working professional students. Throughout the degree students need to meet a number of milestones such as confirmation of candidature and undertake a mid-term review of their research to graduate with a Master of Philosophy specializing in Integrated Water Management.

Coursework Modules

  • Science of Water (ZPG4824) introduces the properties of water (physical and chemical), as well as concepts relating to the natural hydrological cycle and the ecology of inland aquatic systems. The unit also addresses the human uses of water and highlights the dynamic relationship between human and natural aquatic systems. Students will be introduced to the ideas of resilience and systematic freshwater conservation and planning.
  • Water, sustainability and development (ZPG4825) examines the elements and background to the so-called world water crisis and analyses current international development thinking about sustainable development and its application to water and water resources. It explores dimensions such as livelihoods and poverty, water supply and sanitation in cities, gender, community participation and water as a human right.
  • Water governance and policy (ZPG4826) refers to the diverse range of political, social, economic and administrative arrangements within which water resources are managed and water needs are met by different sectors of society. In this unit students will engage with key concepts of water governance in Southern Africa and Africa generally are specifically analyzed with a special focus on the successes, failures and lessons to be learnt from other contexts. Issues of gender and social exclusion are also specifically addressed.
  • Project Management and Research Design (ZPG4823) aims to equip students with the knowledge to successfully plan and execute their research projects and provide them with an understanding of, and the basic skills required for careers as water professionals.
  • Research Project (ZPG4827) Research is a key component of the Master of Philosophy in Integrated Water Management and therefore carries the bulk of the degree weighting. Students select a research project in which the ideas and principles of integrated water management feature prominently. Students are expected to complete a full research thesis of maximum 35 000 words.

Research projects should ideally allow a significant degree of cross-disciplinary integration and address an issue related to a real sustainability challenge. The individual research phase is characterized by quality supervision and personalized mentoring. Supervisors are carefully chosen to match disciplinary needs of students. By the end of the degree, students will have mastered the art of research and will be ready to publish their research findings in an accredited journal.

Tuition fees

Fees are subject to change annually.

The full tuition price for local/EU students is ZAR 58,500.00 (3,921.29 USD) per annum

The price for International/Non-EU students is ZAR 58,500.00 (3,921.29 USD) per annum

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About this institute


Earn an internationally relevant degree in South Africa

Monash South Africa (MSA) was founded in 2001 and is located on a 100 hectare site in Ruimsig, north-west of Johannesburg, in the province of Gauteng. Since 2019 MSA became a leading brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) and is...

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Contact info


144 Peter Rd, Ruimsig
1725 Roodepoort Johannesburg
South Africa

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