Overview

One clear measure of society’s progress towards achieving sustainable development is whether or not individuals and communities have sufficient and equitable access to clean water. Provision of this resource, which is essential for everything from sustaining life to enabling modern industrial development, is tightly intertwined with the health and integrity of the natural environment. The interdependence of water and environment is evident at multiple levels; from the impact of local watershed management on the quality and quantity of a water resource, to the influence of climate change on precipitation patterns on a regional and global scale.

The Water and Environmental Engineering Program at Masdar Institute aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the challenges behind one of the foundations of sustainable development – ensuring sufficient and equitable access to clean water. Through their coursework, students acquire technical and analytical skills relevant for analyzing natural systems as well as water-based technologies. Equally important, students will develop specialized expertise in a particular aspect of this field by developing their own individualized research projects. Multi-disciplinary research is strongly encouraged and supported at Masdar Institute, enabling students a unique opportunity to collaborate with faculty from across the university.

Objectives & Curriculum

Program Goals
The Master of Science in Water and Environmental Engineering (WEN) at the Masdar Institute aims to produce post-graduate students with the disciplinary preparation that meets the following goals:

  • An ability to identify and address current and future societal problems related to water, waste, and the environment within a broader framework of sustainable development;
  • An ability to apply a multi-disciplinary approach to conceive, plan, design, and implement solutions to problems in the field of water and environmental engineering;
  • An understanding of the impact of solutions to water and environmental engineering problems in a global, economic, environmental, and societal systems context; and
  • An understanding of the value of technical and scientific scholarship, service to society, leadership and lifelong learning required to further their career aspirations.  


Program Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the Water and Environmental Engineering Program, graduates are expected to attain the following outcomes:

  • Successfully apply advanced concepts of fundamental sciences and engineering to identify, formulate, and solve complex water and environmental engineering problems, and understand the impact of such solutions on sustainable development;
  • Successfully apply advanced concepts of water and environmental engineering and fundamental sciences to design, analyze, and develop technologies, processes or systems to meet desired needs of society, both, professionally and ethically;
  • Use an advanced and rigorous approach to the design and execution of experiments, and to the analysis and interpretation of experimental data;
  • Be knowledgeable of contemporary issues and research challenges/opportunities related to water and environmental engineering, and engage in lifelong learning to keep abreast of such issues;
  • Use advanced techniques, skills, and modern scientific and engineering tools for problems related to professional practice in the field of water and environmental engineering; and
  • Communicate effectively and professionally in written and oral form, both, individually and as a member of a multidisciplinary team.

Academics
The academic curriculum of the Water and Environmental Engineering Program provides students with a range of knowledge and skills of high relevance for sustainability-driven decision-makers and environmental managers. Environmental science and engineering are of relevance to many important areas, like modeling and analysis of hydrological systems, atmospheric physics and chemistry, climate modeling, pollution transport, and the impact of environmental pollution on human health. Specialized course topics in water supply and desalination technologies are also offered. The crucial importance of policy and economics in promoting sustainable development is covered with an emphasis on using scientific and engineering analysis to devise innovative environmental policies. Finally, students receive training in, and exposure to, systems-based analytical methods such as life cycle analysis and system dynamics modeling, which provide significant insight into complex problems that span across the domains of technology, environment and society.

Research
Research at Masdar Institute is strongly multi-disciplinary and the Water and Environmental Engineering Program is no exception. Faculty, students and research staff from across Masdar Institute have the opportunity to collaborate on topics such as advanced desalination technology, high-efficiency water distribution and use, integrated water and energy policy and many other topics.
In Abu Dhabi and the surrounding region, strategies for securing sustainable supplies of fresh water and efficient water delivery and use are critical factors for enabling the region’s development. In the UAE, water and energy supply are tightly interlinked due to the predominance of desalination as the primary supply option. Work in this area, with the potential for using alternative energy technologies for supplying fresh water is a stimulating area of current research.

Curriculum
All students for all programs are required to take four core program courses. In addition, each student must complete the following:
Three elective courses from any program with the approval of advisor
One university core course titled Sustainable Energy: Technology, Policy, Economics
24 credits of thesis work

Program Core courses

  • WEN501 Chemicals in the Environment: Fate and Transport
  • WEN502 Systems Perspectives on Industrial Ecology
  • WEN504 Desalination
  • WEN506 Wastewater Treatment Engineering

Courses

WEN501  Chemicals in the Environment: Fate and Transport – 3 credits
This course discusses the behavior of chemicals in the environment. Emphasis is on man-made chemicals, and their movement and fate in natural environmental media (water, air, soil) and engineered environments. Physical transport, as well as chemical and biological sources and sinks, are discussed. Linkages to health effects, sources and control, and policy aspects are explored.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate courses in General Chemistry and Differential Equations, or equivalent with consent of Instructor


WEN502  Systems Perspectives on Industrial Ecology – 3 credits
Engineers can fundamentally change the environmental footprint of modernity. To effect change, engineers require tools to identify “better” design and operational options. This course examines the use of life-cycle thinking and assessment tools to identify product and system design options that balance environmental and economic performance. While this is very relevant, as a core course, to Water and Environmental Engineering students, it is also very helpful to students from other disciplines.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate course in linear algebra, or equivalent, with consent of instructor


WEN504  Desalination – 3 credits
Introduces the fundamental science and technology of desalinating water to overcome water scarcity and ensure sustainable water supplies. The course covers: thermal technologies (multi-stage flash, multi-effect distillation and vapor compression); membrane technologies (reverse osmosis, electro dialysis, nano filtration ); future technologies (humidification dehumidification, membrane distillation, forward osmosis); power-desalination cogeneration, pre & post treatment; alternative driving energies (solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear); fouling/scaling, corrosion, material used and environmental impacts; and economics of desalination systems.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate courses of fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and heat transfer, or equivalents


WEN506 Wastewater Treatment Engineering – 3 credits
This course is an overview of engineering approaches to protecting water quality with an emphasis on the application of fundamental principles. Theory and conceptual design of systems for treating municipal and industrial wastewater are discussed. These include reactor theory, models, (bio) reaction stoichiometry and kinetics. Physical, chemical and biological processes are presented.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate course in chemistry


WEN511  Hydrologic Analysis – 3 credits
The objective of this graduate course is to give students an advanced and practical approach to the various facets of the subject of hydrology. A special focus will be given to the application of hydrological theory and concepts for the solution of practical engineering problems. A number of real-world case studies are also presented. This advanced course in hydrology builds on previous undergraduate knowledge in thermodynamics, hydrology and hydraulics.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate course in thermodynamics, elementary hydraulics, as well as a background in basic probability and statistics


WEN520  Microbiology for Environmental and Bioprocess Engineering – 3 credits
This course provides a practical understanding of microbiology for application to environmental and bioprocess engineering systems. Topics include microbial cell structure and function, physiology, metabolism, genetics and ecology.  It will introduce students to complex concepts that link microbes to ecological functions and geochemical processes.  Students will learn how microorganisms can be selected and engineered to provide industrial and ecosystem services.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate chemistry or biology, or consent of the instructor


WEN522  Data Analysis for Environmental Modeling – 3 credits
This course provides an overview of statistical methods commonly utilized in environment modeling to provide students with training in analytical approaches. Course topics will include approaches for data manipulation, quantitative analysis based on descriptive statistics, linear models, non-linear models, time series, and spatial data analysis. Examples and problem sets will utilize MATLAB to analyze data. There will be an emphasis exploring and plotting data and presenting model results will be emphasized.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate courses in linear algebra, probability and statistics, with consent of the instructor

WEN523  Global Climate Change: Impacts and Adaptation – 3 credits
This graduate course provides students with an overview on global environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change, with a particular focus on the arid and semi-arid regions of the world and their criticalities. The  first part of the course addresses the scientific basis of global climate change, the different sources of uncertainty in predicted climate scenarios, and the interpretation of results from the recently issued (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Special emphasis is given to the effects of climate variability on water resources, food security and human health, and to the role of renewable energy sources in mitigating climate change and supporting sustainable development. Students are also guided through the understanding and assessment of adaptation strategies that human communities already adopted and those they will most likely have to implement under future climate change scenarios. The final part of the course is devoted to measures/technologies/policies for climate change mitigation, again with a regional prospective and main emphasis on water-limited climates.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate level calculus and physics, basic probability and statistics, or equivalents, with consent of the instructor


WEN600  Master Thesis in Water and Environmental Engineering – Total 24 credits
The thesis gives students an opportunity to develop and demonstrate their ability to carry out and document a reasonably comprehensive project requiring considerable initiative, creative thought, and a good deal of individual responsibility. The thesis may be a design project, an analytical paper, or experimental work of a technical nature.


WEN603  Groundwater Hydrology – 3 credits
This course focuses on the fundamentals of subsurface flow and transport, emphasizing the role of groundwater in the hydrologic cycle, the relation of groundwater flow to geologic structure, and the management of contaminated groundwater. Topics covered include: D’Arcy equation, flow nets, mass conservation, the aquifer flow equation, heterogeneity and anisotropy, storage properties, regional circulation, unsaturated flow, recharge, stream-aquifer interaction, well hydraulics, numerical models, groundwater quality, geochemistry, contaminant transport processes, dispersion, decay, and adsorption.
Prerequisites: WEN511 Hydrologic Analysis, or equivalent, with permission of instructor


WEN607   Environmental Remote Sensing and Satellite Image Processing – 3 credits
This course provides a theoretical and practical understanding of technology and applications of satellite remote sensing in forecasting, mapping and monitoring the natural environment. It covers a range of remote sensing tools and techniques used to address environmental issues at local, regional and global scales, with hands-on experience in satellite data analysis, digital image processing, algorithm development, and analysis of field data and ground-based measurement. Technical topics include radiometric correction, geometric correction, atmospheric and ground effects, multi-spectral and multi-temporal analysis, supervised and unsupervised classification, and change detection. All topics are accompanied by lab assignments using various image processing software systems.


WEN608   Applied Environmental Chemistry and Biotechnology – 3 credits
This course provides a practical and theoretical understanding of chemical and biological methods of analysis used for characterizing the quality of environmental media, with a focus on water and wastewater. The instructional part of the course is divided into a five-week module on environmental instrumentation chemistry, followed by a five-week module on environmental biotechnology.  A final project will then be undertaken by the students to conduct chemical and biological characterization of samples from a selected site or water treatment process, and to interpret the results.
Prerequisites: WEN501 Chemicals in the Environment: Fate and Transport, and WEN520 Microbiology for Environmental and Bioprocess Engineering, or equivalents, with consent of the instructor


WEN610   Environmental Sampling and Data Analysis – 3 credits
This course is intended to present advanced notions in environmental sampling theory and statistical techniques for the analysis of sampled data, to water and environmental scientists to. The course covers such topics as statistical sampling techniques, field sampling design, sample size identification, estimation of the characteristics of the population, identification of hot spots, estimation of spatial patterns, statistical tests, and prediction with data series. A number of real-world case studies are also presented.
Prerequisites: WEN 501 Chemicals in the Environment: Fate and Transport, and WEN521 Climate Dynamics, or equivalents, with consent of instructor


WEN612  Remediation Engineering – 3 credits
This is an advanced course on the selection, design, implementation, and evaluation of remediation systems for the treatment of fuel, solvent, and other hazardous contamination present in soil and groundwater. Topics include: (i) contaminant classes and their fate and transport behavior affecting remediation system design; (ii) site characterization tools; (iii) calculation of cleanup levels using risk-based criteria; (iv) ex situ versus in situ remediation practices; (v) ex situ treatment technologies for contaminated soil and groundwater (e.g., soil bioremediation and pump-and-treat systems); (vi) well mechanics of contaminated groundwater recovery and treated water recharge; (vii) in situ remediation technologies for contaminated vadose zone soils (soil-vapor-extraction [SVE], bioventing, hydrogen injection); (viii) in situ remediation technologies for contaminated groundwater (electron donor injection, permeable reactive barriers [PRBs], advanced chemical oxidation processes); (ix) site-specific geological and hydrogeological factors affecting remediation technology application; (x) monitored natural attenuation (MNA) and biogeochemical effects of in situ remediation; (xi) factors controlling remediation cost (active versus passive remediation, cleanup levels, matrix diffusion, etc.); (xii) advanced techniques for monitoring contaminant remediation; and, (xiii) sustainable remediation practices.
Prerequisites: WEN501 Chemicals in the Environment: Fate and Transport, or equivalent, with consent of the instructor


WEN613   Advanced Thermal Desalination – 3 credits
This course describes the advanced science and technology of thermal desalination processes for fresh water production to overcome water scarcity and ensure sustainable fresh water supplies. It addresses technical and economical parameters of both commercial operating and new technologies. It covers also the recent developments, areas to enhance efficiency, reduce water production cost and CO2 emission. The course covers: i- Techno-economical study and analysis of conventional thermal technologies; MSF, MED and VC, ii- Hybrid, tri Hybrid and Integrated Technologies, iii- New and Promising Future Technologies Analysis (H-DH, MD), iv- Pretreatment and posttreatment systems (NF, UF and FO, NP, and IX), v- Power-Desalination Cogeneration Analysis, vi- Solar Desalination, vii- Nuclear Desalination, viii- Desalination related issues; scale, corrosion, material used and Brine Management and Environmental Impact and viii- Areas of Enhancing Desalination Processes Performance.
Prerequisites: WEN504 Desalination, or equivalent


WEN614   Sustainable Desalination Processes – 3 credits
The course introduces key issues related to promoting sustainable desalination operations in today’s desalination industry. The course analyzes developments in the desalination industry using the three elements of sustainability: cost, society, and the environment. The aim of this course is to help the students approach the desalination industry with sustainability in mind. As the desalination industry booms and new desalination-related systems, designs, processes and products are introduced every year, these new developments could best be judged by their sustainability. In this context, the course covers topics such as environmental impacts of desalination processes, understanding water production via desalination within the water-energy-cost nexus, designing safe and sustainable intake and outfall systems for desalination plants, assessing economic feasibility of new desalination processes, evaluation of renewable‐energy‐powered desalination processes, evaluation and applications of novel desalination systems, such as membrane distillation and forward osmosis, recent technological improvements for enhanced desalination processes, and fouling issues in RO membranes. To better convey the course concepts, case studies will be presented.
Prerequisites: WEN504 Desalination, or equivalent, with consent of the instructor


WEN615  Soil Investigations: Chemistry and Biology as Matrices of Soil Quality – 3 credits
The focus of this course is on biochemical reactions involving carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and metal transformations in soil. The products of these reactions are important in elemental cycles, in the movement of iron and aluminum humates, in the formation of soil aggregates and other processes that lead to productive or non-productive soils. The second component of the course involves hands-on laboratory work that is designed to introduce students to common methods used to study biological processes in soil. Microbial activity and microbial diversity provide information on soil quality and soil health. There are many types of soil microbial measures that cannot all be covered in this course – but the goal is to provide a cross section of methods in terms of biogeochemical processes, activity, biomass size, and profiling of microbial community composition.
Prerequisites: WEN520 Microbiology for Environmental and Bioprocess Engineering, or equivalent


WEN617  Membrane Technology – 3 credits
The course will describe in detail membrane separation technology and a wide range of applications including water treatment and desalination. The course covers: global water shortages and need for membrane technology, microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membrane processes and current applications in water treatment. It also describes operational issues, limitations and system configuration and design.
Prerequisites: WEN504 Desalination, or equivalent, with consent of the instructor

 

WEN619  Climate Dynamics – 3 credits
Climate dynamics is an extremely young discipline in atmospheric sciences. Its basic assumption is that climate is not a quasi-static system  – as mostly believed till the second half of the twentieth century  – but a complex dynamical system evolving under both anthropogenic and internal forcing. This graduate course aims to provide a solid quantitative understanding of such a complex system and its dynamics, along with an up-to-date overview of the connections between water cycle, global energy budget and climate variability on a wide range of different spatial and temporal scales. The lectures will cover main topics in internal and anthropogenic climate variability, basing on both a dynamical (deterministic) and statistical/stochastic approach. Special emphasis will be given to the diverse uncertainty sources of future climate scenarios and to the assessment of climate variability impacts (both in terms of “average global” variability and “extreme events frequency” variability) on water resources, renewable energy harvesting and sustainable development.
Prerequisites: Graduate level calculus, physics, and fluid mechanics (and/or hydraulics), basic stochastic modeling, or equivalents, with consent of the instructor

Space Concentration

The Master’s Concentration in Space Systems and Technology at Masdar Institute aims to produce post-graduate students with the multi-disciplinary preparation that meets the following goals:

  • An ability to identify and address current and future societal problems related to water, waste, and the environment within a broader framework of sustainable development.
  • An ability to apply a multi-disciplinary approach to conceive, plan, design, and implement solutions to problems in the field of water and environmental engineering.
  • An understanding of the impact of solutions to water and environmental engineering problems in a global, economic, environmental, and societal systems context.
  • An understanding of the value of technical and scientific scholarship, service to society, leadership and life-long learning required to further their career aspirations.

In addition to the Water and Environmental Engineering Program specific core courses and the University Core Course, space concentration students are supposed to take the following space concentration core courses:

  • SSC501: Spacecraft Systems and Design
  • SSC502: Spacecraft Systems Lab 1
  • SSC503: Spacecraft Systems Lab 2
  • SSC504: Spacecraft Systems Lab 3    

Year 1: Fall Semester

 

MSc Program Specific Core Course 1

3

MSc Program Specific Core Course 2

3

Space Core Course (SSC501: Spacecraft Systems and Design)

3

Master's Thesis Work related to space technology

3

Year 1: Spring Semester

 

MSc Program Specific Core Course 3

3

MSc Program Specific Core Course 4

3

SSC502: Space Systems Lab-1

1

Master's Thesis Work related to space technology

3

Year 1: Summer

 

Master's Thesis Work related to space technology

6

Year 2: Fall Semester

 

Technical Elective relevant to space technology

3

MI Core Course: (UCC501: Sustainable Energy)

3

SSC503: Space Systems Lab-2

1

Master's Thesis Work related to space technology

6

Year 2: Spring Semester

 

SSC504: Space Systems Lab-3

1

Master's Thesis Work related to space technology

6

TOTAL CREDITS

48


In addition to the Water and Environmental Engineering Program learning outcomes, program students in the space concentration are also expected to attain the following concentration specific outcomes:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in the aspects of space systems design and analysis; and
  • Design and build a small-satellite as a part of a multi-disciplinary team