Module code: ENGM034

Module Overview

The key concepts in environmental health as they relate to sustainable water quality management and control are explained in this module.  The module begins by defining environmental health and explaining how it relates to public health. The phases of the water cycle are described in terms of their vulnerability to pollution by different types of contaminants.  The mobility, separation and accumulation of these contaminants in the aqueous environment are discussed with reference to routes of human exposure. These introductory lectures provide a foundation upon which an understanding of the role of engineering in protecting the safety and sustainability of water supplies can be built. Contaminants of health significance are described using a combination of theory and case studies that are designed to illustrate the important and complementary role of monitoring (ENGM055) and surveillance, the interdependence of water quality monitoring and management, and  the application of tools for identifying and quantifying health outcomes from contact with water.  The module concludes with a review of key future challenges to water quality and environmental health. 

Module provider

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Module Leader

POND Katherine (Civl Env Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: F750

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Normal entry requirements for an MSc course in Civil Engineering. Students will benefit from having studied, or be co-studying, module ENGM055.    

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Principles of environmental and public health.

  • The water cycle.

  • The introduction of pollutants into water and their movement and modification through the aqueous environment.

  • Human exposure to waterborne pollutants and disease outcomes.

  • Epidemiology of water-related disease and measures of the burden of disease.

  • Waterborne pathogens and pathogen indicators: bacteria, viruses and parasites.

  • Chemical hazards: exposure and recovery from environmental samples.

  • Case studies related to the circumstances of managing recreational water quality and small water systems to protect public health.

  • Integrated strategies for interrupting the cycle of water-related disease.

  • The impact of social, climate and environmental change on the resilience of water supply management systems.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination 2 HOUR EXAMINATION 70
Coursework COURSEWORK 30

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the key concepts of environmental health and how they relate to the sustainable management of water resources (LOs 1,3,4,5,6,7) through a 2 hour unseen examination  and extended essay.

  • Application of knowledge to predict exposure routes to chemical and biological contaminants, and impacts on human health (LOs 2,3,4,7) through an extended essay.

  • Ability to critically evaluate intervention strategies to reduce the risk to human health from water related hazards (LOs 6,7) through an extended essay.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Examination (LOs assessed 1,3,4,6,7 T. skills a,b,d,f,g); (70%, 2 hours)

  • Extended essay (LOs assessed  2,3,4,5,6,7 T.skills a,b,c,d,f,g); (30%, 40 hours)

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessment will be through a range of self assessment exercises provided on SurreyLearn.  Where practical automatic feedback will be given; otherwise feedback will be given in class.

Suggested titles will be given for optional short essays that the students can use to practice their writing, analytical and referencing skills. Individual written and verbal feedback will be given to students who submit these essays.

Students will be given written feedback on the extended essay.

Module aims

  • To develop the participants' understanding of key concepts in environmental health and environmental health engineering as they apply to water quality management and control.
  • To describe the routes of human exposure to contaminants in the context of the water cycle.
  • To describe the methods used and the principles for identifying, quantifying, and monitoring health problems related to the water cycle.
  • To develop the participants' knowledge of interventions that can be used to interrupt the transmission of disease through the water cycle, and the factors that can influence the sustainability of the interventions.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Name the different phases of the water cycle and describe the vulnerability of each phase of the cycle to chemical and biological contaminants. KCT
002 Source and analyse data to identify contaminants of significance to human health. KCPT
003 Apply knowledge of the water cycle and contaminant transport to identify potential routes of human exposure. CT
004 Describe the tools used to identify and quantify health outcomes from exposure to waterborne contaminants, and interpret the output from these tools. KCPT
005 Design and implement water quality surveillance programmes and interpret the data in the context of health risk. KCPT
006 Evaluate the output from surveillance programmes and propose interventions to manage water quality and reduce the risk to human health. CPT
007 Relate social and environmental changes to potential impacts on sustainable management of safe water supplies. CPT
008 Technical report writing T
009 Oral and written communication T
010 Graphical presentation of data T
011 Sketching T
012 3D spatial awareness T
013 Critical thinking T
014 Observation T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 117

Lecture Hours: 33

Methods of Teaching / Learning

This module is a core module in Water and Environmental Health Engineering at FHEQ Level 7.  It provides the students with a foundation in the key concepts of environmental health as they relate to the sustainable management and water resources.  The knowledge gained by the students in this module provides the context for the information that is given in the other modules in this programme.

This module is delivered principally by lectures, but also includes group work and individual/group presentations.  The extended essay (see assessment strategy) encourages students to expand their reading and develop critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills.

The learning and teaching methods include (hours are indicative):

  • 30 hours of lectures,

  • 3 hours groupwork

  • 115 hours independent learning (guided reading, coursework assignment, independent reading, revision)

  • Exam (2 Hours)

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/engm034

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Structural Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Bridge Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Infrastructure Engineering and Management MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Water and Environmental Engineering MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MEng 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.