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Specialisation streams

At the end of Semester 1, students choose one of three specialisation streams. Each specialisation stream has two compulsory modules.

 Choose your specialisation stream:

International development specialisation stream

Urban water specialisation stream

Water, land and people specialisation stream


1. WASH and development stream

(previously known as 'International development' stream)

This stream will develop your community engagement and development skills, as well as the technological knowledge you’ll need to alleviate poverty and improve access to water and sanitation services in developing countries.  

You will learn to work with communities to establish effective and sustainable water and sanitation services. You’ll gain the skills to develop and implement behaviour change strategies for improved hygiene, and to develop sustainable livelihood strategies for overcoming poverty. You’ll learn about the strengths and weaknesses of alternative governance models for development. You’ll come to understand the financing mechanisms and institutional capacity required to ensure lasting impact.

In particular you will develop skills in and knowledge of:

  • Key principles for community development and capacity building
  • Socio-economic principles for sustainable water supply and sanitation services
  • Techniques for group-based community research, planning, mobilisation and conflict management
  • Water related disease transmission and prevention
  • Water supply system design
  • Low cost sanitation system design
  • Disaster and emergency management response
  • An understanding of the developing country context, based on direct experience


Students within this stream take two specialist modules:


Graduates of the WASH and development specialisation stream are well-equipped with the skills to join the many NGOs, governments, aid agencies and consultancies working to improve access to safe water and sanitation globally, and to alleviate poverty through empowerment and capacity building. Read more

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2. Urban water stream

This stream will develop your design, planning and engagement skills, you will need to play a significant role in transforming urban sustainability.

You will learn a range of concepts, technologies and methods to better integrate water into urban planning and design, to improve aquatic ecosystem function in and around cities, to promote the use of a range of alternative water supplies and to enhance the liveability of urban places. You’ll gain skills in water sensitive urban design, see how waste streams can become resource streams, and how we can make our cities more resilient to climate change. In particular you’ll develop skills in and knowledge of:

  • Urban climatology and climate changeUrban eco-hydrology
  • Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)
  • Alternative governance models for urban planning and water management
  • Collective social learning methods for facilitating urban transformation
  • Urban metabolism and resource efficiency
  • Systems analysis of cities, including material balance modelling, life cycle assessment and input/output modelling
  • Stormwater harvesting, water recycling and rainwater collection
  • Wastewater nutrient and energy recovery


Students within this stream take two specialist modules:


Both modules involve a range of classroom based learning and field trips around innovative and key infrastructure, urban development and building scale sites.


Graduates of the Urban water specialisation stream are well-equipped with the skills to work in government agencies, water utilities, urban development, landscape architecture and consultancies organisations. Read more

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3. Water, land and people stream

This stream will develop the knowledge necessary to integrate assessment and planning of water resources with effective stakeholder engagement to promote sustainable water management.

You will learn to characterise and assess the trade-offs involved in allocating increasingly scarce water resources across competing uses, including urban areas, agriculture, industry and the environment. You’ll gain an ideal mix of social and technical skills to reconcile the tensions between competing interests, whether they’re farmers and miners, towns and cities or the environment and industry. You’ll develop knowledge of:

  • Global trends in population, climate, water and food
  • Key modes of rain-fed and irrigated agricultural production
  • How to promote efficient water use across agricultural landscapes
  • How to integrate economic, social and environmental dimensions for sustainable agriculture
  • Participatory research, community engagement and organisational collaboration theory
  • Different frameworks for understanding the links between stakeholder values and water
  • Critical selection, design and use of different collaboration and participation frameworks
  • Critical appreciation of conflict management and power relations in water management
  • Understanding of cross-cultural issues in water management, including Indigenous Australian issues


Students within this stream take two specialist modules:


Graduates of the Water, land and people specialisation stream are well-equipped with the skills to work in government and indigenous agencies, not-for-profit organisations, agriculture, mining and industry, water utilities and environmental regulators. Read more

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