Graduate Certificate in Water Leadership

We know there is a high and growing need for leadership knowledge, capabilities and skills in the water sector. We also know that projects and programs in the water sector, which increasingly need to deliver more integrated and sustainable outcomes, often critically hinge on good leadership. And finally, we know that water leaders need to be able to operate in VUCA contexts, which are characterised by high levels of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Water leaders are often tasked with managing complex problems that cross organisational boundaries, over long timeframes, with multiple stakeholder. These challenges require particular forms of leadership.

The Graduate Certificate in Water Leadership is the world’s first professional, postgraduate qualification in leadership for the water sector. The degree builds on and uses the development process of the award-winning Water Leadership Program, to deliver an additional level of academic rigour and learning. It is a part-time, one-year program delivered by the IWC at Griffith University.

As a student, you will engage in a 3600 feedback survey, attend two intensive teaching and learning periods in Brisbane, learn from a series of online classes and resources, develop an individualised leadership development plan and be personally coached as you implement that plan. You will also undertake a challenging leadership development project. During the program you will engage in and learn from a series of assessments designed to ensure can critically understand and apply knowledge from the research literature to plan, implement and critically reflect on your leadership actions.

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Program overview

The Graduate Certificate of Water Leadership features a balance of academic and real-world approaches to learning, including mentoring activities with experienced water industry executives, one-on-one coaching sessions with specialist leadership coaches who work in the water sector, and content and case studies contextualised to the water sector.

During the program, you will also develop a personalised leadership plan and conduct a work-based leadership project, to ensure you focus your developmental activities, practise the application of new knowledge and tools in the workplace, get feedback and local support, and reflect on your learning, to accelerate your development.

Watch the recent overview video of the Graduate Certificate of Water Leadership here.

Designed for water professionals

The Graduate Certificate of Water Leadership is designed for emerging water leaders at the project-to-middle management level, with at least three years of experience in the water sector. The program is customised for the water sector through sound research and collaboration with experienced industry practitioners.

During the program, you will have opportunities to identify key leadership issues relevant to your individual context. This means that you will find the program highly beneficial and relevant regardless of where in the world you come from, or where in the water sector you work.

A flexible program

This program is offered part-time over two consecutive trimesters and includes two face-to-face intensives. The program is flexible, to cater to professionals who are currently working. As a participant in the program, you will:

  • complete pre-training exercises, reading and an online 360-degree feedback process
  • attend a face-to-face intensive in Brisbane for three days in March, with a second optional intensive for one and a half days in August (an online alternative is provided for the second intensive)
  • build an individual leadership development plan, which includes a leadership project
  • engage in regular one-on-one coaching and mentoring sessions;
  • complete monthly activities between face-to-face intensives (e.g. online training and discussion forums) and assessment activities.

Applicants who have previously completed the Water Leadership Program (WLP) with a full `Certificate of Excellence’ may apply for recognition of prior learning. This provides a shorter route to obtaining the Graduate Certificate qualification.

Applicants who are granted recognition of prior learning only have to complete the 20 credit point ‘Leadership Development Project’ course 7971ESC (Parts 1 and 2). The remaining 20 credit points comprised of courses 7970ESC and 7972ESC do not have to be completed. In effect this means that only half of the Graduate Certificate needs to be completed.

To obtain recognition of prior learning applicants should note in their application form to Griffith University that they have completed the WLP with a ‘Certificate of Excellence’. This will be cross-checked during application assessment.

To be eligible, applicants must have gained a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ from the WLP.

Indicative annual tuition fee

The indicative annual tuition fee is based on current conditions and available data and should only be used as a guide. These fees are reviewed annually and are subject to change.

Tuition fees

  • A fee-paying postgraduate student pays tuition fees.
  • Students are liable for tuition fees for the courses they are enrolled in as at the census date.
  • The tuition fee is charged according to the approved program fee for the trimester in which the student is enrolled.

Program fees for the Graduate Certificate in Water Leadership (3356)

$17,500 fee (40cp) – 2023 indicative annual fee

Visit the Griffith University website for complete fee information.

If you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen or resident, a number of scholarships are available for those interested in enrolling in the Water Leadership Program with the International WaterCentre.

See our scholarships page for more information.

Admission requirements

To eligible for admission to the Graduate Certificate in Water Leadership, a student must:

  • hold a related Bachelor degree
  • OR two years professional work experience in a relevant field

Language requirements

English language requirements apply to International applicants and other applicants whose previous study was undertaken in a language other than English. The minimum English language requirements for such applicants for entry to these programs are described on the Griffith website .

Credit and recognition of prior learning

Griffith University awards credit for prior learning which may relate to prior formal learning or prior informal and non-formal learning. For more information see the Griffith website.

Trimester 1
Course code
Course name



Introduction to Water Leadership

Leadership Development Project

Trimester 2
Course code
Course name



Advanced Water Leadership

Leadership Development Project

Program benefits

You will benefit from the Graduate Certificate of Water Leadership by:

  • improving your ability to drive change, especially when addressing ‘wicked problems’ that involve integrated water management
  • enhancing your capacity to exercise influence in a variety of contexts
  • learning new tools to help you continue to develop as a leader over your career
  • developing greater self-awareness and improved ability to mentor and coach other developing leaders and staff
  • gaining knowledge and guidance from researchers and highly-respected executives from the water sector
  • improving your capacity to demonstrate many of the leadership behaviours needed for future executive roles
  • building new social networks with emerging and executive water industry leaders.

Two enrolment options

There are two ways to strengthen your water leadership capacity at the International WaterCentre:

  • the Graduate Certificate in Water Leadership, which is a formal postgraduate program enrolled through Griffith University
  • the Water Leadership Program, which is a professional development program, enrolled through the International WaterCentre.

Both programs are identical in content and delivery, except that students in the Graduate Certificate in Water Leadership also undertake a postgraduate-level leadership project, with a higher level of analysis and reporting, complete a higher level of assessment, and work to earn a university qualification. WLP participants work to earn a Certificate of Excellence, but not a university degree.

Find out more about the Water Leadership Program


Griffith University

International WaterCentre programs are enrolled through Griffith University and taught from the Nathan campus.

Griffith University was created to be a different kind of university—challenging conventions, creating bold new trends and pioneering solutions through innovative teaching and research. Its high-quality degrees are specifically designed to prepare students for the future and are developed in consultation with industry, based on cutting-edge research, and taught by Australia’s most awarded teachers. Since its beginning, Griffith has been deeply connected to the Asian region, environmentally aware, open to the community and industry focused. Always ahead of its time, Griffith introduced Australia’s first degrees in a range of important areas, including modern Asian studies and environmental science.

Ranking in the top 2% of universities worldwide, Griffith hosts 50,000 students across six campuses in South East Queensland including its Digital campus.  At Griffith, students benefit from an extensive network of industry partners to gain the skills and confidence that employers want.

The Nathan campus is situated in tranquil, native koala habitat on the edge of Toohey Forest, just 20 minutes from the Brisbane CBD. Griffith’s foundation campus, Nathan offers degrees in aviation, business, government, engineering, information technology, environment, humanities, languages, law, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and science. On-campus student accommodation is available.

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