Department profile

School of Water, Energy and Environment (SWEE)

Cranfield University
2024/25 edition

About School of Water, Energy and Environment (SWEE)

The School is a powerhouse of research and innovation, and exclusively a postgraduate learning environment. Working across the thematic areas of Water, Energy, Environment and Agrifood, and Design our education and research programmes address some of the major environmental and sustainability challenges facing society and the planet today. Our work ranges from reversing climate change and biodiversity loss and underpinning global food security, to achieving net zero, providing energy security and addressing energy poverty, and from delivering resilient water resources to enabling sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

Why Cranfield?

  • A mature learning environment - the only wholly postgraduate University in the UK. A mature and stimulating environment where you can develop as a professional and learn how to apply your expert knowledge and skills in the global economy.
  • World-class teaching experience - our staff-to-student ratio – 8:1 – is one of the best of any university in the world. Many of our teaching staff have industry backgrounds and are leading academic experts in their fields, providing real-life learning challenges that you will encounter in your career.
  • Unrivalled links with business, industry and government - our courses are designed with industry partners to ensure they are relevant and up-to-date, and we are equipping our graduates with the knowledge and skills to meet the latest challenges facing both public and private sector organisations.
  • Flexible learning - our courses are structured to offer many choices for students, from which qualification you would like to achieve, to options for full and part-time study, including short courses. Our taught courses include MSc, MDes, PgDip or PgCert.

Worldwide reputation

As a specialist postgraduate university, Cranfield’s world-class expertise, large-scale facilities and unrivalled industry partnerships are creating leaders of the future.

  • Cranfield has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize in Further and Higher Education on six occasions.
  • In the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023, we are ranked in the global top 30 for Engineering – Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing.
  • Cranfield is in the top 200 for ‘Environmental Sciences’ in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023.
  • Cranfield was recognised by the UK Office for Students in 2022 as a World-leading specialist provider in recognition of our global reputation for high quality teaching and the ongoing impact of our graduates on their professions and industries.
  • We have the largest number of taught mechanical engineering students in the UK, HESA 2020/21.
  • 88% of the research at Cranfield is classed as world-leading or internationally excellent, Research Excellence Framework 2021.

Postgraduate themes of study


Our lives and livelihoods are dependent on the natural and engineered water cycles and it has never been more vital to develop our research and skills in water treatment and management. We have been driving innovation of the water sector for over 40 years and we are recognised internationally for our work in the science, engineering and management of water. Our graduates are equipped to shape the future of water management and use across the globe.

Energy and Sustainability

Our expertise is world-renowned for both the engineering and management of energy solutions. Our research is making a difference in the sector: from increasingly efficient oil platforms to the cutting edge of renewable energy technologies. Our expertise is supported by unique industrial scale experimental facilities across many different kinds of energy systems and our students get to put their learning into practice.

Environment and Agrifood

For 50 years, Cranfield has been contributing to enhancing natural capital and ensuring that global food systems are more resilient for the future. We are recognised worldwide by industry, government and academe for our research and teaching in plants, soil, water and air. Our near-industrial scale research facilities are unparalleled and our postgraduate courses give the leaders of the future the skills and vocational experience they need to make a difference.


Studying at Cranfield's Centre for Design Engineering means working closely with our partners in industry, government or the NGO sector. Commercially relevant, our postgraduate courses are directed through an Industry Advisory Panel that ensures the content is relevant to employer requirements. Our Design courses offer advanced knowledge and practical experience for our students to take into a wealth of design employment opportunities.

Visit us on Open Day

We offer up to five Open Days a year at our Cranfield campus, providing you with the chance to attend our informative theme showcase sessions, meet academic staff, talk to our current students and visit our world-class facilities. It’s also a chance to explore campus and look around our range of accommodation options. You will have the opportunity to explore funding options that may be available to you and our admissions team will be able to guide you through the application process. Join us and find out what makes Cranfield so unique.

Future career prospects

Our courses are closely aligned with industry to ensure everything taught on our courses is relevant, timely and meets the needs of organisations, making our graduates some of the most desirable in the world. At Cranfield we have a very high employment rate of 92%* for our School, so successful graduates are expected to move swiftly into positions within industry, government, NGOs, research companies and institutes. We also offer our alumni a lifelong continuation service for their career development. [Taken from the Graduate Outcomes survey for those who completed their studies between August 2017 and July 2018].

Our Careers and Employability Service plays a pivotal networking role across the University, working closely with students, staff and potential employers to enhance student employability skills and their career opportunities. Students will have access to career coaching and advice, CV development, interview practice, access to hundreds of available jobs via our Symplicity platform and opportunities to meet recruiting employers at our careers fairs. We will also work with you to identify suitable opportunities and support you in the job application process for up to three years after graduation.


Cranfield University campus is 40 minutes away from central London by train, with nearest towns being Milton Keynes and Bedford. London Luton airport is the closest to the University, while Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted are all easily accessible via train and coach.


We offer both catered and self-catered on campus accommodation, from halls of residence to shared houses, apartments for couples to houses for families.

The University can also help to find private accommodation in nearby towns and villages.

Please visit our website to find out more about our accommodation.

To see more video or blog content from the School of Water, Energy and Environment visit You Tube or view our blog posts.

Contact details

Cranfield Campus
College Road
MK43 0AL