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School of Geography

River Basin Dynamics and Management with Geographical Information Systems MSc
(Full time / Part time) 2018 start


Key facts

  • Start date:
    September 2018
  • Duration/Mode:
    12 months full time
    24 months part time
  • UK/EU fees: £9,500 (total)
    International fees: £21,500 (total)
  • Entry requirements:
    A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a related subject
  • Language requirements:
    IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in in any component.
  • This course has an optional work placement
  • Course terms and conditions

River basins are of fundamental importance to the world’s population. Research training in water dynamics and management are demanded by both industry and academia. The University has a world-class reputation for water-related research and GIS development in an environmental context. This programme builds on that success.

Core components are river basin hydrology and basic environmental GIS. Students choosing a River Basins (RB) pathway gain advanced knowledge and skills in channel hydraulics and sediment transport, river ecology and environmental assessment. Students on a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) pathway gain advanced knowledge and skills in GIS for environment, GIS programming and digital image analysis and remote sensing.

This highly practical course advocates learning by doing and is assessed 100% by coursework. We host guest lecturers from business, industry and academia, visit work places and conduct a series of field-, laboratory- and PC-based practicals. You also have the chance to take a work placement module.

Student profile

"The MSc is widely known in the industry as an excellent course for preparing graduates."

Scott Dawson, Environmental Consultant, Enzygo
Read More

More information

The programme offers a detailed understanding of the principles of water resource management and an appreciation of the institutional and legal frameworks impacting on river basin management. You learn to formulate important research questions and design methodological approaches to answer them; and to develop quantitative analyses skills.

This programme is available part time, allowing you to combine study with other commitments. You can work to fund your studies, or gain a new qualification without giving up an existing job. We aim to be flexible in helping you to put together a part-time course structure that meets your academic goals while recognising the constraints on your study time.

The programme manager is Dr Paul Kay.

You can also study this subject at Postgraduate Diploma level.

We offer some of the modules on this programme as standalone Continuing Professional Development modules.


Our River Basin Dynamics and Management with GIS programme is accredited by Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental management (CIWEM).

Course terms and conditions

Course content

This programme delivers advanced pure and applied education and training in key modern and developing fields of catchment dynamics and management and GIS. This is achieved across the modules of study by developing research methods (15% time), communication and interpersonal skills (10%), independent working (10%), instruction in advanced techniques (10%), specialist disciplinary knowledge (15%), quantitative skills training (15%), field skills training (10%) and vocational/employability/research career awareness and training (15%). As such the programme emphasis is on practical work, is assessed by 100% coursework (no exams) and permits considerable interaction of students with industry and business.

If you study this programme part-time you will study fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Geographic Data Visualisation & Analysis 15 credits
  • Professional Development 15 credits
  • Dissertation 60 credits
  • Issues and Skills for River Basin Dynamics and Management 30 credits
  • Hydrological Processes and Analysis 15 credits

Optional modules

  • GIS and Environment 15 credits
  • River basin management for water quality 15 credits
  • Digital Image Processing for Environmental Remote Sensing 15 credits
  • Programming for Geographical Information Analysis: Advanced Skills 15 credits
  • Environmental Assessment 15 credits
  • Programming for Geographical Information Analysis: Core Skills 15 credits

Learning and teaching

Teaching is mostly delivered through practical work, but also includes lectures, tutorials, fieldwork and seminars.


Assessment is entirely by coursework, not examinations. You’ll need to show you can conduct independent in-depth enquiry and evaluate and criticise received opinion. You’ll apply breadth and/or depth of knowledge to a complex specialist area and will complete an independent masters-level dissertation.

Applying, fees and funding

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in geography or a related subject, eg environmental sciences or ecological sciences.

Relevant work experience is viewed positively and is taken into account particularly for candidates whose first degree grade is slightly below our requirement.

If you’re interested in this programme but are unsure if you have the necessary background, please get in touch with us to discuss your position.

International qualifications

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the Admissions Team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in in any component.. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

If you need to study for longer than 10 weeks, read more about our postgraduate pre-sessional English course.

How to apply

Documents and information you’ll need

Read more on the School advice about supporting documentation.

This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Admissions Policy

Faculty of Environment Postgraduate Admissions Policy 2018

International students

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy


UK/EU fees: £9,500 (total)
International fees: £21,500 (total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

The School of Geography offers a range of scholarships for UK, EU and International students.

Find out more about our Scholarships.

Career opportunities

This programme offers a range of transferable, marketable skills required to obtain employment in river basin processes and management or to pursue a career in research and education.

Typical roles undertaken by our recent graduates are:

  • Assistant Analyst
  • Flood warning Engineer
  • Graduate Engineer
  • Graduate Water Scientist/Catchment Scientist
  • Hydrologist/Hydrogeologist
  • Licensing Officer
  • Planning Liaison Officer
  • PhD study
  • Projects Co-ordinator
  • Water Resource Manager.

Some of the organisations our graduates work for are:
  • Arup
  • Ballinderry Fish
  • Black and Veatch
  • Carlbro
  • Consultant Engineers
  • Dales Water Services Ltd
  • Environment Agency
  • Farrer Consulting
  • Hatchery Ltd
  • JBA Consulting
  • Scott Wilson
  • Yorkshire Water.

Careers support

The School of Geography has a very strong commitment to enhancing student employability. Read more about our employability support.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.