Postgraduate taught 

Civil Engineering MSc

Environmental Biotechnology 4 ENG4152

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Engineering
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course covers the application of biological processes in wastewater treatment and (to a lesser degree) drinking water treatment.  This will include the different types of aerobic, anoxic and anaerobic biological processes that are used in wastewater treatments plants (WWTPs), how microbial populations contribute to the processes and the tools available to track these microbial populations.  Students will learn how to use models to design wastewater treatment processes and will be introduced to new and upcoming aspects of sustainable WWTP design, such as resource and energy recovery from sewage.  There will also be an introduction to biological drinking water treatment, where microbial populations are utilized to produce potable water.


2 lectures per week

Excluded Courses





70% Written Exam

30% Written Assignment

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to:

■ provide an understanding of the application of biological processes in wastewater treatment (including the potential for resource and energy recovery), where naturally available microbial processes are harnessed to remove pollutants from sewage, through careful manipulation of microbial physiology and ecology, subject to the principles of mass and energy balance at the cellular level;

■ introduce models used to design wastewater treatment processes;

■ provide an understanding of the application of biological processes for drinking water treatment.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course students will be able to:

■ explain the importance of microbial physiology in bioreactor design;

■ describe the major wastewater treatment process configurations for the removal of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous from sewage;

■ interpret and use activated sludge models for the design of aerobic processes in wastewater treatment;

■ identify and describe the potential of wastewater as a source of resources and energy;

■ describe the use of biological processes for drinking water treatment.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must attend the degree examination and submit at least 75% by weight of the other components of the course's summative assessment.


Students must attend the timetabled laboratory classes.




Note that these are minimum requirements: good students will achieve far higher participation/submission rates. Any student who misses an assessment or a significant number of classes because of illness or other good cause should report this by completing a MyCampus absence report.