Environmental Planning and Management

The Environmental Planning and Management specialization offers the theory and methods you require to support decision making and strategic development in complex environments, helping solve water-related problems based on a sound understanding of environmental science.

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    What is Delft based

    This programme will run entirely at UNESCO-IHE in Delft, the Netherlands

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Delft based, IHE Delft, The Netherlands18 months, starts in October

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For whom?

Environmental Planning and Management is for students and professionals who want to operate more effectively in complex planning, policy and decision-making processes, and who want to address water problems by crafting solutions that respect the limits of natural systems, meet the demands of society, and are implementable in today’s multi-level governance systems.


Students who successfully completed this programme will receive an MSc degree in Environmental Science from IHE Delft.


Start: 15 October 2020
Application deadline: 01 August 2020

Learning objectives

The courses of the specialization cover the most essential steps in planning and management, applied to the field of water and environment. These courses teach you, among other things how to:

  • Structure complex problems in a way that allows for evidence and scientific knowledge to support reasoned decisions;
  • Conduct environmental, social and strategic impact assessments to compare the expected impacts and benefits of alternatives for development projects, strategies and/or land and water management plans;
  • Support the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of water polices, plans programmes and projects;
  • Understand the institutional, legal, and decision making processes involved in water and environmental planning and management.

Structure & contents

The programme starts with topics such as chemistry, aquatic ecology, and environmental water systems. The specialization covers planning and management topics, such as water and environmental law, policy analysis, environmental and strategic assessment, environmental planning and implementation, and strategic planning for river basins and deltas. This specialization consists of 14 modules covering a total of 12 months, this is followed by a 6-month research and thesis phase. Graduates of the programme will be awarded 106 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits.

  • October - April

    IHE Delft, The Netherlands
    • Introduction to Water for Development Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Reflect critically on water related interventions, formulate own standpoint and engage constructively in debates
      2. Place the specialized knowledge on own discipline into a broader understanding of water related issues, challenges, debates and developments
      3. Recognize and distinguish different ways of knowing and framing water questions and problems in order to appraise water challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective
      4. Familiarize with the educational environment and procedures of IHE Delft and collaborate in multidisciplinary and intercultural teams
    • Introduction to Environmental Science 1 Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Carry out fundamental chemical and ecological laboratory analyses
      2. Carry out fundamental chemical, hydrological and ecological field sampling
      3. Apply fundamental principles of data analysis, statistics and GIS
      4. Identify and describe fundamental chemical, hydrological and ecological processes in relation to the environment
      5. Apply the principles of the scientific method to design, develop and present a research project
    • Introduction to Environmental Science 2 Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Describe the current practice of wastewater treatment and resource recovery in the Netherlands, in terms of its governance, economics and technological aspects
      2. Apply fundamental principles of environmental modelling
      3. Identify and describe fundamental microbiological and socio-economic processes in relation to the environment
      4. Indicate interactions and relations between aspects of governance, economy, technology and microbiology, in relation to infrastructure for wastewater treatment
      5. Carry out fundamental microbiological laboratory analyses
    • Integrated Project Environmental Science Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Analyze, evaluate and present scientific data
      2. Formulate a scientific research question, compare and contrast scientific information relevant to the research question from a variety of sources and present the findings in a concise report
      3. Make an oral presentation of scientific information
      4. Gather information on an environmental problem from various sources and critically assess its quality and role in the debate about the problem
      5. Perform a basic multi-criteria analysis in the context of decision making for an environmental problem
      6. Describe the environmental policy process and the role and sources of data and information that play a role in formulating policy
    • Water and Environmental Law Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Summarize and integrate legal knowledge within its existing water and environmental governance background in an attempt to address key issues of water sharing under the equity articles of the UN Watercourses Convention.
      2. Review, compare and analyze contrasting legal arguments.
      3. Critically evaluate and compare treaties and (inter)national contracts, and develop skills in contract management.
      4. Critically analyze and explain different dimensions of water and environmental law (including principles, rights, instruments, organizations) from local to global administrative and functional levels.
    • Environmental Systems Analysis Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Perform a problem analysis and stakeholder analysis for a given socio-environmental system
      2. Communicate effectively the methods, results and conclusions of a case study (presentation and written report)
      3. Perform an analysis of drivers of change and their effect on ecosystem functions and services
      4. Construct a simple dynamic simulation model of an environmental system
      5. Discuss critically the strengths, weaknesses, missing information, advantages and disadvantages of the modelling and stakeholder analyses
      6. List and describe environmental systems analysis (ESA) concepts and methods
      7. Identify how ESA can be applied to Ecosystem Services and applications of Environmental Technology
    • Water and Environmental Policy Analysis Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Reflect on the possible roles of a policy analyst and discuss which role(s) a policy analyst can effectively fulfil in different situations to support individuals or organisations facing a complex policy problem.
      2. Set up an agenda, based on previous problem exploration, for relevant, subsequent research activities to inform policy decisions.
      3. Write an issue paper containing the results of a broad, exploratory problem analysis, including the proposal for meaningful, subsequent policy research.
      4. Structure complex policy problems.
      5. Apply meaningfully and coherently three types of methods for rational-analytical problem exploration: System analysis (including analysis of objectives and initial problem demarcation), Actor analysis, and Future Scenarios.
    • Environmental Planning and Implementation Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Apply economic valuation methods for environmental policy planning
      2. Use policy implementation theories to describe and explain water and environmental planning and implementation processes
      3. Explain and critically reflect on the role of policy implementers (people) in the policy process
      4. Critically assess water and environmental policy implementation and management plans
    • International Fieldtrip and Fieldwork ES Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Relate their findings to the situation in their home countries and recognize the possibilities and limitations for application
      2. Describe how natural processes and anthropogenic activities interact in shaping river catchments
      3. Explain the value of ecosystem protection and rehabilitation for society
      4. Carry out basic eco-hydrological measurements and analyse and interpret the collected data
      5. Delineate streams and catchments using GIS and to prepare field maps with GPS locations
    • Elective module 10 ES Elective

      Choose one of the following modules:

      • Aquatic ecosystems: processes and applications
      • Environmental assessment for water-related policies and developments
      • Ecotechnologies
    • Elective module 11 ES Elective

      Choose one of the following modules:

      • Strategic planning for river basins and deltas
      • Urban water governance
      • Remote Sensing for Agricultural Water Management
      • Wetlands for Livelihoods and Conservation
      • Water Sensitive Cities
      • Faecal Sludge Management
      • Decentralised Water Supply and Sanitation
      • Modelling River Systems and Lakes
      • Solid Waste Management
      •  Advanced Water Transport and Distribution
      • Hydroinformatics for Decision Support
    • Summer course Required

      Choose between eight one week summer courses. Topics include water diplomacy, water science communication, leadership, entrepreneurship, and serious gaming for the water sector.

    • Applied Environmental Management Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Work in a team to solve complex environmental problems
      2. Make decisions on the basis of a limited amount of information
      3. Solve complex environmental problems by integrating the content of the preceding modules
    • Thesis Research Proposal Development for ES Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Develop a research proposal in a clearly written, well-argued and convincing document, submitting and successfully defending it within specific deadlines.
    • MSc research, thesis and defence Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Demonstrate academic attitude and learning skills (incl thinking in multidisciplinary dimensions & distinguishing main issues from minor ones), to enhance & keep up-to-date the acquired knowledge and application skills in a largely independent manner.
      2. Formulate well-founded conclusions and recommendations based on a comprehensive discussion of the results.
      3. Conduct research, independently or in a multidisciplinary team by selecting and applying appropriate research methodologies and techniques, collecting and analysing data.
      4. Communicate, debate and defend, clearly and systematically, findings and generated insights, and provide rational underpinning of these in oral and written presentations to a variety of audiences.
      5. Formulate research questions and hypotheses
      6. Explore the background of the research problem by critically reviewing scientific literature; Evaluate relevant theories and applying these theories to a relevant scientific problem; Assure adequate delineation and definition of the research topic

Tuition & fellowships

Information about tuition fees can be found here.

The following fellowships are recommended for prospective students who wish to study Environmental Planning and Management

  • Joint Japan Worldbank Graduate Scholarship Programme (JJ/WBGSP)

    We expect to have more information on the availability of JJ/WBGSP scholarships for MSc programmes at IHE Delft in the beginning of 2020.

    more info: www.worldbank.org

  • Orange Knowledge Programme

    The Orange Knowledge Programme is a €195-m Dutch global development programme, available in 53 developing countries and managed by Nuffic, a Dutch non-profit organisation for internationalisation in education. Launched mid-2017, it aims to have provided tens of thousands with the possibility to change their future through education and training by mid-2022.

    More info:

    Orange Knowledge Scholarships for MSc Programmes

    Orange Knowledge Scholarships for Short Courses

  • Stuned Scholarship Programme

    The Stuned Scholarship Programme is open for professionals from all over Indonesia who have completed a Bachelor study, in particular educators, government officials, ngo officials and journalists. Stuned aims at a balanced gender representation (minimum 50% women) and gives preference to candidates from less developed areas in Indonesia.

    more info: www.nesoindonesia.or.id

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

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 Marlies Baburek
Admission and Fellowship Officer
Email: m.baburek@un-ihe.org



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