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  • Program Syllabus 

2018 Program Syllabus PDF


List of modules

Foundation and integration modules

Specialisation modules

Each specialisation stream comprises two compulsory modules. Students choose one stream out of the three available specialisation streams. > Read more about available specialisation streams

Stream no.1 - 'WASH and development'

Stream no.2 - 'Urban water'

Stream no.3 - 'Water, land and people'

Final project

Foundation and integration modules

New perspectives on project management

This module provides participants with an overview of issues relating to integrated water management. This foundation module’s aim is for participants to understand the principles of project management and to learn the skills necessary to professionally design and manage water projects in development contexts. Key topics include: problem analysis and scoping; project design; capacity building; impact assessment; and participatory approaches, monitoring and evaluation.


Science of water

This module introduces participants to some of the fundamental science which underpins the understanding of the whole of catchment water cycle, including water quality and water treatment for human consumption. The module introduces the properties of water (physical and chemical), microbial and biogeochemical processes as well as concepts relating to the natural hydrological cycle and groundwater systems. The module also addresses the human uses of water including water quality and water treatment and highlights the dynamic relationship between human and natural aquatic systems. Key issues include: concepts and practice of integrated water resource management; principles of water science; and, whole-of-water-cycle approaches.


Water, sustainability and development

This module introduces participants to some of the key perspectives on water and sustainable development in developing countries. It analyses current international development thinking about sustainable development and its application to water and water resources. The module aims to foster an analytical and critical perspective on water and development, through critical dimensions such as livelihoods and poverty, gender, community participation, governance, political economy and collaborative stakeholder management.


Water governance and policy

In this module, participants are introduced to governance frameworks at the global/international, national, regional/basin, transboundary and local levels. Across five components of the module, participants consider current themes influencing water governance and policy including that of sustainable development, collaborative management, water rights and access, and equity for marginal groups. Water planning as a key governance mechanism at regional and basin levels form one of the components, with comparisons drawn between Australia and other countries.


Catchment and aquatic ecosystem health

This module provides participants with an in-depth understanding of the issues and challenges relating to the sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems. The study of aquatic ecosystem health is a relatively new field that brings together biophysical understandings of how natural systems function with societal goals and human values. A major challenge for society is to satisfy the growing demands for water without degrading aquatic ecosystems and the ecological goods and services they provide.


Economics for water resource management

This module provides an introduction to the inter-related areas of water resources planning and economics. It introduces participants to the goals, objectives and principles of water planning and the challenges of integrating social, economic and environmental perspectives in water planning. The module provides a broad introduction to water resource economics and participants gain familiarity with economic concepts pertinent to water management and planning.


'WASH and development' modules

Community, livelihoods, development and water (summer semester in Thailand)

This module is led by Ubon University’s Dr Kanokwan Manoram and delivered as a ten-day field trip in Thailand. Participants spend time at a remote village cooperative in Northeast Thailand near the Mekong River. They learn about how local livelihoods are bound up with water and the river. They learn firsthand about water resources development, environmental change and social conflict, and discuss these issues with community members, NGO workers and government officers.

Read news article - 2015 field trip


Water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)

This module provides participants with an understanding of engineering and socio-economic principles and tools for designing and operating domestic water supply and sanitation systems that are sustainable, appropriate and affordable for poor communities in developing countries.


Urban water' modules

Urban futures - delivering water sensitive cities

This module envisions and explores a new paradigm for how the hydrological cycle interacts with the urban landscape to support liveable, sustainable, productive and resilient cities. This module aims to provide participants with an interdisciplinary understanding of the interplay between society, technology and urban design to ensure water security, water resource efficiency, waterway health, flood mitigation, public health and amenity. Participants will critically engage with the underlying principles of a Water Sensitive City and examine socio-technical pathways for facilitating its delivery.


Urban metabolism - resource and energy recovery systems

This module equips participants with the skills, tools and technologies for studying urban areas as systems with inputs and outputs (wastes); to critically assess the relationships between metabolic information and urban sustainability, and; to understand the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of urban metabolism and more broadly resource efficiency as a framework for informing policy and management.


'Water, land and people' modules

Water, agricultural landscapes and food security

This module will commence with a world perspective on water, population growth and food security within the context of water redistribution in landscapes of different climatic regions. Interactive models will be used to assess the impacts of management decisions on water quality and farm productivity within a catchment or river basin context. Most of the module is run as a seven-day teaching block in Perth.

Read news article - 2015 field trip


Collaborative planning

This specialist module introduces participants to participatory methods and evaluation frameworks and extends their knowledge of social science concepts and the application of social theories to real life scenarios, especially at a regional scale. Planners agree that community input should be included the development of water resource plan or strategy and find that they need principles, methods and skills about collaboration with local communities as well as between organisations.


Final project 

Professional placement or research project

Full-time and part-time students design and undertake self-directed project work aimed at consolidating and applying the concepts, principles and methodologies they have learned throughout the program. Students select an area of specialisation that is of personal and professional interest to them and is of value for their professional development. Students will have one or two supervisors and may undertake their project in Australia or overseas (visa and scholarships conditions permitting). Where possible, students are linked with IWC and its partner universities.

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