The urban water engineering field of study provides engineers with the integrated knowledge and skills required to grasp the whole urban water cycle and the linkages between its different aspects. Graduates will be equipped with the skills to design, optimise and manage the urban water infrastructure in the cities of the future.

Urban water systems are being challenged by the exponential global population growth, particularly in urban areas, and increasingly frequent extreme weather events. Rising water and wastewater flows, water scarcity and increasingly stricter water discharge limits impose an extremely high pressure on engineers to design, upgrade and manage effective sewer networks, and water and wastewater treatment processes.

The Master of Engineering (Urban Water Engineering) program provides all the necessary technical knowledge and skills, together with broader professional development, to address the complex and interdisciplinary challenges of urban water systems.

The program associates courses focused on leadership/process management to highly specialised technical courses in the field. The latter include classical and advanced methodologies for sewer, water and wastewater treatment processes, as well as an integrated management vision, and advanced electives in modelling, control and emerging issues in urban water.

7. FAQs

  • What is Urban Water Engineering?

Urban Water Engineering is a branch of Environmental Engineering with focus on water, covering the whole urban water cycle (from catchment for potable consumption, distribution, sewer collection, treatment and valorisation/discharge). The program covers engineering and management solutions for public health and environmental protection applications.

  • Do I get chance to do research in the lab?

Yes. This Master program offers the opportunity to do a 1-year research project in the field (Engineering Project).

  • How does Engineering project work?

The Engineering Project takes place in one of the UQ labs with UQ academics, but are likely associated to an industry projects as most of the projects in our centre involve applied research. One of the program’s signature features is to promote linkage opportunities with industry as much as possible.

The project has the duration of 2 semesters and it’s worth 8 units (equivalent to 4 regular courses).

  • How does the industry placement work?

The Industry Placement takes place during 6 calendar months (an extended semester) at full time (also equivalent to 8 units). The students can list a choice of up to three placements, and submit their preferences 5 months earlier. Then the industry partners analyse the submissions and interview the candidates to select the best match for that position. If by any chance a student doesn’t get placed, they can still make a placement at UQ in an industry relevant topic. Currently there are more placements offered than applicants.

  • What is the main difference between the engineering project and the industry placement?

The Project works as a thesis, where students have the opportunity to explore a specific area of research in depth. In the placement, students get to experience how it is to work in an industry. Both can enhance interesting skills in preparation for the workforce.

  • Career outcomes for ME Urban Water graduates especially if they decide to go to industry. Any information about what kind of job they can get both in Australia and overseas?

Any engineering job in the water/environmental industry such as process engineer, planner, operations manager, consultant, project manager and commissioner, in either private companies, urban utilities or municipalities.

Water/Wastewater Engineer in Australia has an average starting salary of over AUD 70000 (

  • Any scholarship?

There is a scholarship for this specific program (ME Urban Water): the Aquatec Maxcon Scholarship. Applications are now open for Sem 1, 2020, closing in early December:

There are also other scholarships available in UQ that also cover ME Urban Water:

  • What’s the difference between Master of Engineering (Urban Water) and Master of Engineering Science (Urban Water)?

Master of Engineering is a 2-year program that prepares graduates for more senior, leadership roles. This program is a pathway for accreditation by Engineer Australia, where an accredited program is one that meets Australian and global benchmarks.

The Master of Engineering Science is a 1-year program, which aims to prepare specialist experts in Urban Water Engineering. It is ideal to complete previous background in the area, and suits e.g. bachelors of an accredited Engineering program.

  • I studied environmental science. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. There is the possibility to enrol from non-engineering backgrounds, where the applicant may be asked to complete additional 0-16 units of complementary studies, depending on the match between their previous academic transcripts and the pre-requisites of the program.