Objectives & career options

General objectives

The objective of the Master’s Degree in Sustainable Water Management and Technology is to train researchers and complement professional training with essential elements from various disciplines, so that students are capable of interpreting the body of knowledge, technologies and instruments used for the sustainable management of water.

All students will acquire the conceptual training necessary as regards components of the water-use cycle: catchment, unconventional resources, control and transport, user supply, treatment, reuse and discharge into the environment, and optimal management of resources (legislation, quality control standards, supply systems and cost recovery), in terms of quality, rational and efficient use of natural resources and environmental protection, within the context of the Water Framework Directive.




Structure of the Master’s Degree: credits and subject groups


Type of subject


   Compulsory (OB)


   Final project (OB)





Distribution of subjects by module


































General course programme


The Master’s Degree in Sustainable Water Management and Technology benefits from a course programme where the subject areas are well integrated and include the most relevent aspects of integrated water management.These contents are presented sequentially and in logical order as regards the water-use cycle and its sustainable management.

Subject areas are multidisciplinary in nature and are taught by subject specialists.  Each subject area will enable students to acquire the specific skills corresponding to this Master’s degree, and will contribute to the attainment of general, basic skills.

A summary of the contents of each subject area, together with the corresponding  learning outcomes is provided below:  

  1. The water cycle.  Resources. The first subject area taught on the course, analyses basic concepts regarding hydrogeology and control of surface water, and introduces the student to an understanding of all the elements involved in the water cycle, including:

    1. Catchment, storage, transport, distribution, quality and use, pollution, treatment, reuse and discharge. 
    2. An explanation of water balance methodology. 
    3. Possible causes of climate change and the effects it can produce on the natural water cycle.

    Students can participate in field study trips to observe and understand elements such as subterranean catchment systems, surface water storage systems and distribution systems.

    Having completed this subject area, students will be capable of assessing the activities involved in the water-use cycle according to the origin and destination of the water, and will be able to evaluate various alternatives.  

  2. Water quality. The following areas will be covered :

    1. Description of all components present in water. 
    2. An explanation of the theoretical aspects of balance and natural or artificially-induced phenomena, including pollution. 
    3. Defining the quality parameters used to assess contamination, including priority and emerging pollutants.Students will participate in laboratory practicals in order to determine various parameters. 
    4. Quality management systems and the implementation of integrated management systems.

    Having completed this subject area, students will be able to characterise the quality of natural water resources and wastewater, identify and articulate environmental problems associated with hydraulics and manage analytical and monitoring facilities effectively.

  3. Water treatment technologies. Students will learn fundamental aspects concerning the concepts and design of the most common physical, chemical and biological technologies employed in water treatment.  Advanced technologies and emerging membrane-based technologies will also be studied.  The course will include numerical exercises and laboratory practicals for some of  these operations.

    Having completed this subject area, students will be able to design and calculate solutions for water preparation, purification and recycling, and discharge into the environment.  

  4. Water treatment plants. Students will learn about water and sludge treatments for various types of sewage and water treatment  plants (drinking water, urban and industrial waste water), the main variables which should be considered in order to achieve effective operation, maintenance and use of plants, together with the main control parameters.  Students will also study sludge composting and the importance of reusing biosolids to improve soil, in addition to the potential hazards associated with work in treatment plants and the application of health and safety programmes.  Students will complete their study of this subject area with process simulation exercises and the specific analysis of actual waste treatment plants

    Having completed this subject area, students will be able to operate, maintain and manage treatment facilities for drinking water and urban and industrial waste water.  

  5. Legislation. Students will learn the specific legislation and recommendations governing the provision and application of water for different uses, according to the different indicator parameters.  Special importance will be given to the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, which will determine the future of water management, basing such implementation on the criteria of environmental sustainability and cost recovery.

    Having completed this subject area, students will be able to identify the legislation applicable to different water use and management contexts.  

  6. Unconventional water resources. Students will learn how unconventional water resources derived from reuse of waste water and desalination are increasingly being incorporated into water planning.  As regards reuse, students will be provided with information regarding specific legislation, quality, and the possible uses of recycled water.  Costs associated with the treatment and infrastructure necessary will be analysed.  As regards desalination, the various technologies, present situation and future possibilities will be described.  Paying special attention to reverse osmosis technology, students will learn about basic conceptual aspects and design, using software as a calculation tool.  Visits will be made to several facilities.

    Having completed this subject area, students will be able to assess the different alternatives for provision of unconventional resources, including the economic aspects.

  7. Assessment of water needs and resources. Students will learn the procedures for predicting different levels of water needs and resources with regard to the sources of water available for different uses, together with their specific associated problems, with special reference to southeast Spain.  Students will study innovative alternatives to scarcity, such as the water market, and the options to consider for effective drought management

    Having completed this subject area, students will be able to assess local and regional water needs, and evaluate the possibilities for satisfying such demand.

  8. Economic management. Students will study the different models for managing public, private and mixed water supplies.  Taking an economic approach, students will learn about activities related to the water supply cycle, from catchment to discharge, assessing the associated costs and how these can be recovered from the user through rates, charges and taxes.  As regards practical applications, students will study several important municipalities within the region, and the possibilities for integrated management of resources on a local scale.

    Having completed this subject area, students will be able to assess the various water management and cost recovery models.

In conclusion,  the Master’s Degree course programme places great importance on the Master’s Final Project, where under the guidance and supervision of a tutor, students will be expected to select a case study and solve a specific problem,which will be related to the subject areas studied throughout the course programme. The Master’s Final Project will include planning, implementation and a problem solving proposal , and will involve a practical component, which may be carried out at  the University Institute of Water and Evironmental Sciences (IUACA) laboratories or in the departments involved in teaching the course programme. This will serve to introduce students to the world of science and link it, where appropriate to the professional world.  To this end, the IUACA has excellent collaborative arangements with the following water management companies in the local area:

  • Aquagest Levante and Aquagest Murcia,
  •  Several part state-owned  companies in the most important municipalities of the region.
  • Valoriza Agua, Acciona Agua or Red Control, the leading engineering companies in the local area  
  • Public organisations,  such as Proaguas Costablanca. 

In addition, it should be noted that although work experience is not a compulsory component of this course programme, it is nevertheless a possibility, organised through the General Foundation of the University of Alicante.

Preparation of the Master’s Final Project will teach students the mechanisms for conducting research applied to the fields of management or treatment and conservation of water resources.


Distinctive Features



Resources and Facilities



Further Education

After completing an official Master's degree, students can take a PhD degree or third-cycle university studies, related to the Master's degree they have completed or to related areas. A list with all PhD degrees offered by the University of Alicante at:


Career Opportunities


Research and complementary professional or academic training.

Areas of Research:

  • Pollution Engineering
  • Water Regeneration
  • Waste Disposal
  • Waste Water Technology
  • Control of Water Pollution
  • Subterranean Water
  • Hydraulic Engineering
  • Sewer Systems and Water Purification
  • Water Supply
  • Animal Ecology
  • Governmental regulation of the Private Sector
  • Public Companies
  • Public Service Companies
  • Economics Research and Experimental Development

Master’s degree specialisation profile

Introduction to research and complementary training on topics related to integrated water management.

Master’s degree course professional profiles

In the professional context, the Master’s Degree is of interest to both the public and private sectors, in activities such as:

  • Project and design consultancy and engineering  in the field of catchment and supply infrastructures.
  • Project and design consultancy and engineering in the field of drinking water, waste water and desalination treatment plants.
  • Treatment plant construction companies.
  • Water cycle, water-use cycle and facility maintenance management companies.
  • Water and environmental consultancy.
  • Treatment plant management.
  • Quality control.
  • Water supply management.
  • River basin management.
  • Water policy advisors at Local, autonomous region or national government level
  • Public health.



Scholarships and Funding


Information on existing scholarships and grants to study university degrees is available here:


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