Freshwater Quality Monitoring & Assessment

This United Nations (UN) Environment affiliated postgraduate diploma will provide existing or future water professionals with the necessary knowledge to design and implement freshwater quality monitoring and assessment programmes. The programme is offered in a part-time, online format that facilitates study in your own time. It will be useful to staff in higher level education institutes who wish to gain a specialised postgraduate qualification in surface and groundwater monitoring, quality assurance and control, and data analysis and presentation. Rivers, lakes and groundwaters are covered in detail and there is an option to study biological and ecological methods, the use of particulate material in monitoring and to take part in a field workshop either abroad or in Ireland during the second year of the programme.

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to describe the steps involved in designing a monitoring programme and the different factors that must be considered in each step of the design. They should also be able to identify appropriate monitoring approaches in relation to specific monitoring objectives, select suitable methods for use in the field and laboratory and describe the advantages and disadvantages of those methods. Experience will be gained in analysing monitoring data using a range of graphical, statistical and GIS-based approaches and in writing water quality assessment reports suitable for technical and non-technical audiences. Students will also prepare a quality assurance plan for a selected monitoring programme.

Entry requirements

Candidates must have a BSc in Environmental Science or cognate discipline; or a relevant professional qualification; or a portfolio of work and experience in the area of freshwater quality monitoring. Candidates who do not hold a BSc will be judged on a case-by-case basis as to their suitability for the programme, subject to the approval of the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science.

Candidates, for whom English is not their primary language, should possess an IELTS of 6.5 (or TOEFL equivalent) with no less than 6.0 in each individual category. If you are applying with Qualifications obtained outside Ireland and you wish to verify if you meet the minimum academic and English language requirements for this programme please click here to view the grades comparison table by country and for details of recognised English language tests.

The number of places is limited and selection will be made on the basis of the candidate's performance in his/her primary degree and personal statement.


Duration: 2 Years Part-time
Course Delivery Method*: Online

Further enquiries

Contact details for this course
Dr Deborah Chapman
021 4205271

Subjects taught

Year 1
Students take 30 credits as follows:

EV6001 Monitoring Programme Design for Freshwater Bodies (10 credits)

EV6002 Quality Assurance in Freshwater Quality Monitoring Programmes (10 credits)

EV6003 Data Handling and Presentation for Freshwater Quality Monitoring Programmes (10 credits)

Year 2
Students take 30 credits as follows:

Core modules
EV6005 Monitoring and Assessment of Surface Waters (10 credits)
EV6007 Monitoring and Assessment of Groundwater (10 credits)


Elective modules, Students take 10 credits from the following:
EV6004 Freshwater Quality Monitoring in the Field (5 credits)*
EV6008 Water Quality Monitoring using Biological and Ecological Methods (5 credits)
EV6009 Freshwater Quality Monitoring with Particulate Material (5 credits)

* Please note there is a requirement for students who are not part of the GEMS/Water programme to self-fund for the elective fieldwork module EV6004. The cost will depend on the venue of the workshop.

Teaching will be on-line with each module running for 16 weeks (10 credits) or 8 weeks (5 credits), with the exception of the one-week, full-time optional field module (optional). Students are expected to spend approximately 15-20 hours per week study effort per module, of which approximately 6 hours would be on-line engagement. Students are provided with a student e-mail account and access on-line to the UCC library, but will need the use of a computer with internet connection, modern browser, word processing and spreadsheet software. Programme tutors will be in regular contact with students to provide support and advice throughout the programme.

Assessment method

Modules are assessed by means of on-line tests, quizzes, moderated participation in discussions and written assignments that are allocated a proportion of the total module marks. There is usually one major assessment at the end of each module in the form of a project report, written review, or exercises associated with data analysis and presentation. Throughout each module, students will be assigned regular tasks and expected to participate in on-line discussions which will also be evaluated.

Application date

Applications for 2019 start dates will open on November 1st 2018.

EU Applicants: UCC operates a rounds closing date system for the majority of postgraduate taught courses, which means we offer places four times a year on a rolling basis. Some courses have one specific closing date, please check your course prospectus page for this information.

The UCC rounds EU application system closing dates for postgraduate taught courses are below. We advise applicants to apply as soon as possible.

Deadline for receipt of Applications:

For all completed applications received by January 11th 2019
Offers will be made:Offers will be made by January 25th 2019

For all completed applications received by March 1st 2019
Offers will be made: Offers will be made by March 15th 2019

For all completed applications received by May 1st 2019
Offers will be made: Offers will be made by May 15th 2019

For all completed applications received by July 1st 2019
Offers will be made: Offer will be made by July 15th 2019

Late applications may be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for any courses that have remaining capacity for places.

While there is no official closing date for Research courses applicants are advised to submit their application at least two months ahead of their proposed start date. There are four official Research start dates – September/October, January, April and July.

Non-EU Applicants:

Please visit the following page for further information for Non EU applicants

The closing date for non-EU applications is 15th June

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date 16th September 2019

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!