This demand-driven and practice orientated programme brings you fundamental understanding and knowledge on urban and peri-urban sanitation as well as the skills necessary for creating impact.

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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, Delft (the Netherlands)12 Months, starts in October

New set-up MSc Programmes

IHE Delft introduces a new set-up for its MSc Programmes. From 2022 onwards, the Institute offers the MSc Programme in Water and Sustainable Development (68EC/120EC).

For whom?

The programme is dedicated to targeting needs and delivering specialists in a short time, with the necessary qualifications. It aims to attract talented and ambitious young and mid-career sanitation professionals, working in water supply and sewerage companies, municipal assemblies, government ministries, NGOs and consulting firms. Ideally these individuals are dealing with urban and peri-urban sanitation.


Students who successfully complete this programme will receive a MSc degree in Sanitation.


IHE Delft is member of:


Start: 14 October 2021
Application deadline: 01 July 2021

Learning objectives

While being at MSc level, the programme has a professional orientation. It is demand-driven, delivering graduates with the qualifications required by the sanitation sector. These areas will be prominent in the programme:

  • the linking of the taught subject matter, not only to research outcomes, but also to sanitation practice;
  • the nature of the individual research topics of  the students;
  • the embedding of the development of generic professional skills in the programme.

As a result, graduates will possess both the fundamental understanding, as well as the knowledge and skills necessary, to create professional impact ‘on the ground’. They will be able to apply existing knowledge and theory in practice and to contribute to the further development of knowledge in sanitation, and conduct practice-orientated field research, independently or in a multidisciplinary team.

Structure & contents

The 70 ECTS points programme consist of a taught and a thesis research part. The taught part has a modular structure, comprising 12 modules ranging from 1 to 5 weeks’ duration, including lectures, laboratory tutorials, field trips, case studies, group work, design exercises and discussions. Students will get to work in the newly constructed faecal sludge laboratory, which is the only specialist laboratory of its kind in the global north. The individual thesis research (30.5 ECTS), follows on completion of the taught programme, although, in order to avoid a ‘cold start’ and to guarantee sufficient time, students will be allocated a research topic and will start preparing for their individual research early on in the programme.To enable students to pass the entry exam, a set of preparatory e-learning courses are available for those who may need to increase their knowledge in one or more subjects as prerequisite for the programme.

  • IHE Delft, the Netherlands
    • Sanitation Systems and Services Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Propose urban sanitation planning and management strategies for different urban contexts
      2. Use the Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies to solve urban sanitation challenges in different contexts
      3. Describe sanitation infrastructural systems and technologies appropriate for different urban contexts and their enabling environments
      4. Critically analyze the inter-linkages between basic urban services (e.g. water supply) and sanitation sectors as well as the role of stakeholder involvement
      5. Discuss the background, principles and theories of sanitation and how they influence concepts, frameworks and standards for urban sanitation systems and services in different contexts.
    • Analysis of Sanitation Flows Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. 1. Compare the characteristics of different sanitation streams and assess their potential pollution and health impacts
      2. 2. Evaluate the results gained from laboratory test of to identify samples taken from various sanitation streams
    • Sanitation Technology Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Critically discuss current innovations in sanitation and future perspectives
      2. Discuss the state-of-the-art in the sanitation chain components: toilet interface; storage; transport; treatment; end use or disposal
      3. Explain the processes for the sewage and sludge treatment
      4. Describe the most used approaches on urban drainage and sewerage
      5. Create a complete and sustainable sanitation chain for a variety of situations and to make informed choices
      6. Critically discuss input and output of common sanitation technologies
    • Sanitation Governance Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Evaluate elements for developing evidence based policies
      2. Analyze sanitation governance structures from specific study cases, including integration of policies and strategies into government planning and budgeting systems
      3. Contrast failures, successes, and journeys of sanitation histories around the world
      4. Explain the advantages and shortcomings of sanitation regulatory frameworks in countries of the Global South
      5. Identify actors and decision making processes related to sanitation governance
      6. Explain main approaches and theories on water and sanitation governance
    • Sanitation Financing Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Use “FSM Technical and Financial Assessment Tool” for costing and financing of a sanitation project
      2. Outline key aspects of sustainability and Private Public Partnership (PPP) models in sanitation
      3. Explain various financial flow models in sanitation value chain and “Financial Flow Simulator” tool
      4. Apply “business canvas” to develop a business plan/model of a sanitation intervention
      5. Assess the impact of service financing for sanitation on municipal budget
      6. Describe various business models in sanitation value chain
      7. Differentiate between various options for sanitation financing
    • Behaviour Change & Advocacy Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Develop behaviour change and advocacy interventions strategies for non-sewered sanitation in diverse range of population and contexts
      2. Describe behaviour change and advocacy concepts, theories, frameworks and models in the practice and delivery of safely-managed non-sewered sanitation in urban environments
      3. Apply social scientists perspectives on sanitation behaviour change and advocacy from the practice approach.
    • Emergency Sanitation Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. To be able to explain the WASH cluster approach and SPHERE handbook
      2. Understand the history of humanitarism and it's guiding principles and main dilemma's. Be able to describe the legal framework and to give examples of key humanitarian actors
      3. To be able to set up a sanitation plan
      4. To be able to determine appropriate solid waste and health care management approaches and technologies
      5. To be able to conduct a needs asssessment, monitor and evaluate
      6. To be able to identify relevant transmission routes and recommend related barriers and to characterize the major vectors found in emergencies
      7. To be able to determine appropriate excreta management in various emergency settings
    • Project Management Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Transfer the project implementation plan into MS Project
      2. Develop project implementation plan (sanitation)
      3. Develop a coherent and consistent project proposal (sanitation)
      4. Explain project management cycle and discuss various results-based project management approaches
    • Teamwork Skills Development Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Reflect on the group process and give concrete suggestions to improve
      2. Describe what are (pre-) conditions for effective groupwork
      3. Apply effective groupwork conditions
    • Research Methods for Sanitation Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Evaluate the appropriateness of different research approaches, designs and sampling strategies in relation to the individual research project
      2. Evaluate the appropriateness of the research methods covered in relation to the individual research project

Tuition & fellowships

The total cost of the programme including fees, student subsistence, accommodation cost and cost of air ticket are estimated at around €30,000.


There are various options to finance your participation in this programme. You may be eligible for a scholarship from the OKP, StuNed, Joint Japan/Wordbank Graduate Scholarship Programme (JJWBGSP) or from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). Only applicants from selected countries are eligible for these scholarships. Each scholarship has its own, specific requirements and different criteria and deadlines apply. More information on the eligibility criteria for these scholarships are provided when you scroll down.

In the online application form for academic admission, you can indicate which type of financing mechanism you intend to utilize. Step 6 in the application form is about how you intend to pay the costs of your study and other expenses. You should select here the option that is applicable to your situation, which can be either scholarship, employer or private means. If you do not meet the criteria for any of the mentioned scholarships and do not have other financial means, you may also select the option "scholarship" and then search yourself for other scholarships that may be applicable for your case.

Orange Knowledge Programme

Read more about the application procedure for 2021 here.


StuNed (Studeren in Nederland) is a scholarship programme that is a part of the bilateral cooperation between the Dutch and Indonesian government. The main objectives of StuNed are to strengthen the human resources in Indonesian organisations and the bilateral relations between the Netherlands and Indonesia at the same time. Currently more than 200 Indonesian students per year are granted a StuNed scholarship. The programme is implemented by Nuffic Neso Indonesia on behalf of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Indonesia.

Co funding option: 100% of tuition fee will be covered by Gates Foundation – Other associated costs (travel, room &board etc.) will be covered by StuNed.

More information

SIDS Scholarships

The SIDS programme is aimed at water professionals from small island developing states. For the MSc programmes starting in October 2021, the scholarship application deadline is 1 July 2021.

More information

Joint Japan/Wordbank Graduate Scholarship Programme

The Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program is open to women and men from developing countries with relevant professional experience and a history of supporting their countries’ development efforts. The call for applications for a JJWBGSP Scholarship for the programme starting in October 2021, will open around February 2021. The deadline usually is mid-April.

More information

Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Partial Scholarships

For the academic year 2021-2022 there will be 10 partial scholarships available from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. For the partial scholarship the candidate is expected to cover €15,000 from other sources. All other cost will be covered by the BMGF Scholarship. The matching funds can be provided by yourself, your employer or any other sponsor, or combination of those.

You are strongly advised to search as soon as possible for matching funds. 

Eligibility criteria
If you wish to apply for this scholarship you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be from a low or middle income country (see list on OECD website)
  • Have a provisional admission to the programme (have passed the entrance exam)
  • Secured 50% funding (evidence required)

Application deadline for BMGF Scholarship
1 May 2021

Application procedure
|f you meet all the above-mentioned conditions, you will be automatically shortlisted for this scholarship. You do not need to apply separately for it.

Selection criteria
At least 50% of the scholarships will be awarded to female candidates. Selection will furthermore be based on your motivation statement. When you apply for admission, you have to upload a motivation statement. It is of utmost importance to pay careful attention to your motivation and to ONLY use the required format. Applicants whose motivation has the best fit with the programme objectives will pass to the next stage of selection (interview).

Outcome selection
Selection results for BMGF Scholarships are available by 15 August 2021.

Other scholarship

If you are not eligible for any of the above scholarships, you are strongly advised to search yourself for other options. More information on other scholarship opportunities is available on our website. Besides this you are advised to search yourself actively for other opportunities which may be specifically applicable for your country.

Other means of financing

It is possible to cover the cost of the programme by private means or with financial assistance of your employer or any other sponsor, or a combination. You can indicate this in your application form and choose the relevant option.With the documents that you have to upload when you apply for admission, there is an option to upload a document that confirms proof of funding.

Deadline overview

Download the deadline overview of the various scholarships

Application & Admission

Applicants who meet the admission requirements, and who have submitted a complete application, will receive a conditional academic admission letter. They will have to study two preparatory courses (chemistry and microbiology) and will have to do an entrance examination. If they pass the entrance examination, they will receive a provisional admission letter. This letter may be used in a search for scholarships.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find all FAQs related to application and admission to this programme here

Admission requirements

Conditional admission to the MSc Programme in Sanitation may be granted to applicants who provide:

  • A bachelor degree at level B/B+ (US system) or 2nd upper (British system) in an appropriate field. Exceptions can be made if a candidate is below this level, but has a substantial experience in the field of sanitation and/or has a strong motivation to join the programme.
  • 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.

Admission procedure

Required documents for online application:

  • Motivation statement: for a successful application you are obliged to use the following template for your motivation statement. If you do not use this template your application will not be considered.
  • Certified copies of relevant 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.
  • Contact details of two referees who may best judge your academic and/or professional abilities. You have to mention the following details of the referee: Full name, Relation between the referee and yourself, Phone number and E-mail address.You need to upload this information in the application form where you have to upload a recommendation letter. We do not require the recommendation letter itself. We may contact one or both or referees during the admission process.
  • Copy of your passport is necessary.
  • Copy of results of English language test score

Note: all documents are required to be in English, or officially translated into English.

Admission procedure

  1. Submit your online application for admission.
  2. If your application is complete, and motivation statement and your bachelor degree meet the requirements, you will receive a conditional admission letter.
  3. If you comply with the admission requirements, you will receive a conditional admission letter and thereafter you will receive another e-mail where you will be given login details via which you will be granted access to the Preparatory Courses (1) of Microbiology and Chemistry for the MSc in Sanitation.
  4. After you have successfully passed the entrance examination (2) you will receive a provisional admission letter.
  5. Final admission depends on certification of financial support. Please read the information on scholarships or confirm your funding via other means.


(1)The study load per preparatory online course is approximately 28 hours, and is assessed by an entrance examination. 
(2) The examination is computer based, online, composed of approximately 40 questions and has a time limit of two hours. Before starting the entrance exam please ensure a good internet connection, and install the last version of java script on your browser (Google Chrome or Mozilla is preferred).

The entrance exam can only be taken twice and with a period of two weeks in between. In order to obtain the academic admission letter, you will need to pass the exams for the preparatory courses on Chemistry and Microbiology with a grade of 6 or higher. The deadline for submission of entrance exam results may depend on the type of funding. Please check this overview. We strongly advise you not to wait till the last moment. A staff member of IHE Delft will be available for questions on the preparatory course material via the preparatory courses platform. 

After you have satisfactory passed both entrance examinations, you will receive a provisional admission letter or a conditional admission if you still need to satisfy the English requirements.


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