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Master of Philosophy – 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

  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 (a 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.

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 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 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

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 with 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

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.