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Master of Philosophy in Integrated Water Management

The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE)

The Master of Philosophy in Integrated Water Management aims to build the capacity of future leaders in water resource management. The programme takes a multi-disciplinary `whole-of-water-cycle’ approach that equips students with practical tools and skills for adopting innovative solutions to local, regional, national and international water resource issues.

Students will develop the strategic, managerial and technical skills they need to advance in the water sector. They will;

  1. become familiar with fundamentals of integrated water resource management;
  2. be capable of providing water management expertise to help reduce poverty through equitable use of water;
  3. be skilled to provide technical and managerial input into planning, design and operation of water projects and
  4. understand the principles of managing water supply, waste water treatment and urban infrastructure projects;
  5. recognise the socio-economic factors impacting on effective water solutions;
  6. and understand the governance and institutional frameworks underpinning water resource management.

The programme focuses on building skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, statistics and data management, knowledge transfer and effective leadership

A graduate will be able to:

  • appraise freshwater ecosystems as complex social-ecological systems.
  • design an integrated water resource management plan.
  • develop a research project proposal.
  • execute an integrated water management research project.
  • prepare a manuscript (academic paper) ready for submission for publication.


What is the Master of Philosophy in Integrated Water Management accreditation status?

The IIE Master of Philosophy in Integrated Water Management (MPhil IWM) is accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and is registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) as a 180-credit qualification on level 9 (SAQA ID: 73709).

Who is the Master of Philosophy in Integrated Water Management aimed at?

The programme is aimed at students from South and Southern Africa (developing countries context) with a strong interest in integrated water management, research aptitude and leadership aspirations. It is targeted at prospective students already working within the water field that want to advance their career in a significant way.

The programme is intentionally designed to cater for a small group of talented postgraduate students to ensure quality supervision and mentorship, as well as regular group interaction with local and guest lecturers.

Upon completion of the Master of Philosophy in Integrated Water Management (MPhil IWM) it is expected that graduates will be prepared to take on leadership positions in international agencies, government departments, non-governmental organisations, and private sector entities engaged in water management. These graduates will bring critical analytical skills and an interdisciplinary framework to bear on the water issues they tackle.

What entry requirements will I need to study this Master’s Degree?

Minimum Admission Requirements


An appropriate HEQSF Level 8 Honours degree ; OR

An overall qualification average of at least 65% is required

A relevant HEQSF Postgraduate Diploma or appropriate equivalent; OR

An appropriate Level 8 Bachelor’s Degree (480 credits) may also be recognised as meeting the minimum entry requirements to a cognate Master’s Degree programme


A SAQA NQF L8 Evaluation Certificate in an

appropriate field

How is this Masters Degree structured at The IIE MSA?

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Integrated Water Management (IWM) offered at IIE MSA is normally offered over two years. The degree comprises of four interdisciplinary coursework modules and a research project.

While the research component in the form of a Master’s 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 enabling research well informed by theory and other research.

The coursework is designed to properly equip and prepare students to plan and execute a high-quality and practically relevant research project. Through the four intensive coursework subjects (project management, science of water, water, sustainability and development and water governance and policy) students develop a strong foundation of high-level skills which 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

Please note that in line with academic practice, The IIE’s curriculum is reviewed annually thus changes may occur in module structure and sequence in order to ensure that the qualification remains relevant. The exit level outcomes of the programme do not change. Registered students receive an updated programme curriculum on an annual basis.

What about timetables?

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 their chosen area feature prominently. Students are expected to complete a full thesis in English.

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 characterised by quality supervision and personalised 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.

It must be noted that students will complete their coursework during the first 6 months of the year.

What must I pass in order to graduate with this Masters Degree?

In order to be awarded this qualification, you must have achieved a minimum final year mark of fifty percent (50%) for each module of the programme; and have met all the Work Integrated Learning requirements, where applicable.

How long do I have to complete this qualification?

Students have a maximum of 4 years to complete this qualification.

With what qualification will I graduate?

You will graduate with The IIE Master of Philosophy in Integrated Water Management (MPhil IWM) (SAQA ID: 73709).

Career opportunities: what career areas can I pursue once I have completed this Masters Degree?

An important aim of the Masters of Philosophy (integrated Water Management) is to equip students to play leadership roles in the critical interface between science and management of water resources. The programme will provide an integrated approach to managing freshwater resources, which is a relatively new and unique approach.

Would it be possible to study further and obtain a further qualification once I have completed The IIE Master of
Philosophy in Integrated Water Management?

The IIE Master of Philosophy in Integrated Water Management is accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and is registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) at level 9 – the same level as other equivalent Masters at both private and public South African institutes of higher education. The opportunity to apply for a postgraduate certificate/diploma or Doctorate degree at any South African university or higher education institution exists subject to meeting their specific programme entrance criteria.

It is important to remember that your academic results remain a key factor when applying for further studies.

Call the IIE MSA campus to discuss your career options with one of our Student Advisors. Tel: +27 11 950 4009 or email    

Disclaimer: Please note that this fact sheet is accurate at the time of publication. The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) reserves the right to alter any of the content prior to commencement of registration due to changes in regulation, policy, market requirements or any other valid reason.

British Accreditation Council

The IIE is not only accredited in South Africa but its dedication to providing quality education also led to it being accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC) in 2014. The British Accreditation Council is an independent authority in the United Kingdom that accredits private providers globally, including Greece, Switzerland, Singapore, India, Mauritius and the United Arab

Emirates. In 2017 The IIE had its accreditation status confirmed by the BAC as an Independent Higher Education Institution confirming our confidence in the international comparability of our standards.

“South African students need to know, when they select a private higher education institution, that the standards offered are equivalent to those of a public University. Our students get this from our extensive local accreditation and registration. The students also benefit from knowing that we meet international standards too. The IIE is accredited as an Independent Higher Education Institution by the British Accreditation Council. Locally and internationally we have demonstrated the quality of what we offer,” said Dr Coughlan, Director, The Independent Institute of Education.

IIE MSA students can be confident that their IIE learning experience meets international best practice standards.