Sanitary Engineering

You will learn to design solid waste and wastewater collection and treatment systems and develop rational approaches towards sustainable waste management via cleaner production, appropriate treatment and re-use.

  • D
  • J

    What is Joint Programme

    Part of the programme is given at a partner institute, often in another country/continent. Joint programmes have varying start and end dates.

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Joint Programme, Univalle, Cali, Colombia and IHE Delft, The Netherlands20 months, starts in August

For whom?

Sanitary Engineering is designed for mid-career professionals interested in achieving and maintaining the environment and public health, who are (or wish to become) involved in the provision of sanitation services. Typical students include civil, process and sanitary engineers, university faculty and researches, and technical managers.


Students who successfully complete this programme will be awarded two Master degrees: one from IHE Delft and one from Univalle. The degree students receive from IHE Delft is the degree in Urban Water and Sanitation, with a specialization in Sanitary Engineering. Univalle will award a degree in Engineering with a specialization in Sanitary and Environmental Engineering.



Start: 15 August 2018
Application deadline: 01 June 2018

Learning objectives

Graduates of the Sanitary Engineering programme will be able to:

  • Understand and explain the role of sanitation in the urban water cycle and its relation to public health and environment;
  • Develop rational approaches towards sustainable wastewater management via pollution prevention, appropriate treatment, and resource recovery and re-use at both centralised and decentralised levels;
  • Understand the relevant physical, chemical, and biological processes and their mutual relationships within various sanitation components;
  • Define and critically analyse, assess, and evaluate various urban drainage and sewerage schemes, and wastewater, sludge and solid waste treatment process technologies;
  • Prepare research and engineering projects including master plans, feasibility studies and preliminary designs;
  • Apply modern tools for technology selection and to model sanitation components;
  • Identify, develop and conduct independent research including field work, and laboratory research;
  • Contribute to the development of innovative approaches to the provision of adequate and sustainable sanitation services in developing countries and countries in transition.

Structure & contents

The Sanitary Engineering programme offers students the possibility to study in Cali, Colombia, and in Delft, the Netherlands, at two renowned institutes for international postgraduate education: Univalle and IHE Delft. The coursework part of the programme starts at Univalle in Cali, Colombia in August, where students follow a number of courses until the second half of December.

  • August - December

    Univalle, Cali, Colombia
    • Chemistry of Environmental Pollution Required

      Course at Univalle

    • Environmental Pollution Microbiology Required

      Course at Univalle

    • Fundamentals of Environmental Processes Required

      Course at Univalle

    • Environment and Development Required

      Course at Univalle

    • Engineering Research Introduction Required

      Course at Univalle

In early January, they move to Delft where they join students in IHE Delft’s Urban Water and Sanitation programme for seven modules, the international field trip and the group work. Students then normally move back to Cali for their individual thesis research work.

  • January - August

    IHE Delft, The Netherlands
    • Urban Drainage and Sewerage Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Describe the purpose, need and importance of urban drainage and discuss the challenges of modern urban drainage. Describe different types of sewer systems and discuss design, construction, operation and maintenance aspects, conditions of applicability and relative advantage and disadvantage of different types of sewer systems.
      2. Describe the hydrological processes relevant to urban storm drainage and impacts of urbanization on hydrological processes and discuss basic concepts in catchment modelling. Describe basic concepts of fluid flow and discuss the principles, fundamentals and applicability of methods to analyze conduit and free surface flows.
      3. Critically determine and analyze quantity and quality characteristics of stormwater and wastewaters originating from urban environments as a basis for the design, operation and maintenances of urban drainage system facilities.
      4. Describe type of data required and processing methods for urban drainage management and process and analyses spatial and temporal data, design standards and regulations and health safety for proper deign, simulation and operation of urban drainage systems.
      5. Describe the inputs, outputs and functioning of urban drainage systems, explain the standard practice in designing urban drainage systems and develop simple drainage system designs.
      6. Explain the elements of an urban drainage system model, construct a simple model for analysis of hydraulics of a drainage system and interpret simple model results and use them for decision making in design, renewal and upgrading of urban drainage systems.
    • Conventional Wastewater Treatment Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. critically determine and analyse quality and quantity characteristics of wastewater originating from urban environments as a basis for the design, control and operation of sewage treatment facilities.
      2. discuss the physical, chemical, and biological processes applied for sewage purification and the complex interactions among them occurring in wastewater treatment systems.
      3. apply the knowledge on biological treatment processes and engineering on the process design and critical assessment of wastewater treatment systems and configurations for the removal of organic matter (as COD) and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) as a function of environmental, operating and wastewater conditions and characteristics.
      4. discuss the principles, fundamentals and applicability of recently developed wastewater treatment processes such as innovative nitrogen removal processes and membrane bioreactors.
    • Resource Oriented Wastewater Treatment and Sanitation Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. describe the physical, chemical and microbiological processes occurring in anaerobic reactors and a number of natural systems
      2. critically reflect on the current sanitation systems encountered in many urban areas and to indicate ways to improve this situation in a sustainable manner;
      3. evaluate the possibilities for closing cycles of energy, water and nutrients
      4. evaluate the feasibility of the application of the technologies studied in this module in urban settings in the developing world
      5. carry out preliminary process design of treatment and reuse systems to assess the needs for capital, land, equipment and operation and maintenance
    • Wastewater Treatment Plants Design and Engineering Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Select the most suitable and cost-effective wastewater treatment process technology (among the most widely applied anaerobic, aerobic, land-based and on-site systems) to treat certain wastewater stream given its composition and characteristics and taking into account the required effluent standards.
      2. Carry out a preliminary design of a wastewater treatment system (based on the most widely applied anaerobic, aerobic, land-based and on-site systems) including the engineering process lay-out, hydraulic profile and process flow-diagram (PFD).
      3. Identify and estimate the construction, operational and maintenance costs of a wastewater treatment plant and the investments required to secure its satisfactory operation throughout the expected life-span of the system.
      4. Describe the main elements and components involved in the project planning, project management, and project administration for the design, engineering, construction, start-up and operation of a wastewater treatment plant.
    • Modelling of Wastewater Treatment Processes and Plants Required
      Learning Objectives
      1. memorize the basics of wastewater treatment modelling (kinetics, stoichiometry, mass balances, hydraulics and matrix notations). Can develop a matrix for a biological model. Can use the computer software AQUASIM as a tool for modelling wastewater treatment processes. Can put a matrix in AQUASIM
      2. explain the nitrification and bio-P-process and the matrix of the biological models. Can put the matrix in AQUASIM and explain the outcome of the model run and the implications for wastewater treatment
      3. evaluate data and processes and apply it in a BioWin exercise, relates the use of BioWin as a tool for modeling activated sludge processes. Apply the theory with respect to modeling using a case study. Can put the model into BioWin and can discuss and explain the outcome of the model
      4. explain the modeling of anaerobic digestion. Memorize how the model works in BioWin
      5. explain the modeling of natural systems and the difference with activated sludge modeling. Can develop a simplified model for a pond system. Can simulate an existing model using AQUASIM and explain the results.
      6. explain the modeling of MBR + biofilm systems, simulate existing models using AQUASIM, explain results.
    • International Fieldtrip and Fieldwork UWS Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. International Field Trip: To expose the participants, during a two week fieldtrip to a European country, to different international practises in the design, operation and management of water supply, wastewater, solid waste and urban civil infrastructure networks.
      2. Field Work: The fieldwork, carried out typically within the Netherlands but on location, is a one week work to make the students familiar with performing research on location, how to process real data, and to apply the newly acquired knowledge to a practical situation.
    • Elective module I UWS Required

      Industrial effluents treatment and residuals management - (UWS/SE/UWEM/10)
      - or - Water treatment processes and plants - (UWS/WSE/10)
      - or - Urban water systems - (WSE/HI/10B/e)
      - or - 
      module from another Programme

    • Elective module II UWS Required

      Advanced water transport and distribution - (UWS/WSE/11a)
      - or - Decentralised water supply and sanitation - (UWS/WSE/11b)
      - or - Faecal sludge management - (UWS/SE/11)
      - or - module from another Programme

    • Groupwork Sint Maarten Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. apply and integrate his or her knowledge obtained during the Specialisation to solve water and sanitation related issues.
      2. compare the complex water and sanitation issues applied to a real case scenario with the examples from the classes
      3. defend his or her input in a team of specialists as well as in an interdisciplinary team.
      4. assess his/her own strengths and weaknesses with respect to working in a group.
      5. efend the groups' findings to a team of experts in the field.
    • MSc Preparatory Course and Thesis Research Proposal for UWS Required

Individual thesis research work

  • October - April

    Univalle, Cali, Colombia

Tuition & fellowships

If you wish to receive more information about the fees and living costs of a specific Joint Programme, please send an e-mail to the fellowship officer, Ms. Ineke Melis:

The following fellowships are recommended for prospective students who wish to study Sanitary Engineering

  • Orange Knowledge Programme

    The Orange Knowledge Programme merges the Netherlands Fellowship Programmes (NFP) and NICHE into a single integrated approach. The Orange Knowledge Programme aims to advance the development of the capacity, knowledge and quality of both individuals and institutions in higher and vocational education. 

    more info:

Application & Admission

Admission requirements

Academic admission to IHE Delft MSc Programmes may be granted to applicants who provide evidence of having:

  • A university level Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field, which has been awarded by a university of recognised standing, comparable in level with a Bachelor degree from a research university in the Netherlands.
  • A good command of the English language, if this is not the first language. All non-native English-speaking applicants must satisfy the English language requirements for IHE Delft's educational programmes.
  • A strong motivation to successfully complete the programme.

Several years of professional experience in an area of work related to the specialisation is an asset.

Application procedure

Interested persons apply for admission to this programme at IHE Delft. IHE Delft will coordinate with Univalle on admissions. Those who are academically admitted to the programme, will receive an admission letter from IHE Delft. 

For admission to the programme please complete the online application, the link to the application section of our website is available at the top of this page.

You need to submit the following documents:

  • Certified copies of degrees/diplomas.
  • Certified copies of academic transcripts. Authenticated or certified copies are copies with an official stamp to verify that the copies are true copies of original documents. This official stamp may be from one of the following: a solicitor/notary, the educational institution from where the student gained the diplomas or the local council/local authority/local government office.
  • Two reference letters, preferably one from a person that can judge students' professional abilities and one from a person that can judge his/her academic abilities. One recommendation letter has to come from the current employer (if available) and another one from the university the student graduated from. Letters have to have an official letterhead and need to be signed.
  • Motivation letter (maximum 500 words explanation why he/she applies for admission to the chosen programme).
  • Copy of passport.
  • Copy of results of English language test score (if required, see English language requirements).

Please note all documents are required to be in English, or officially translated into English.

One cannot apply for more than one programme per academic year, unless there is a period of at least 3 months between the starting dates of the programmes of interest. If a student applies for an Erasmus Mundus programme for which Erasmus Mundus fellowships are available, he/she can also apply for another programme. If the other programme is also an Erasmus Mundus programme, the applicant can submit up to 3 applications.

More information

Further questions about the application procedure can be addressed to:

Ms Ineke Melis
Admission and Fellowship Officer


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