Water Management and Governance

The programme brings together the scientific study of water resources with practical planning and management skills. Participants are encouraged to study water management from a multi-disciplinary perspective and to seek integrated solutions. 

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    What is Delft based

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

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  • E

Delft based, Delft, the Netherlands18 months, starts in October

For whom?

Prospective water management students who compile a study profile from a wide range of available courses and variety of thesis research topics to ensure that the educational programme is fully aligned with their professional needs.


Students who successfully complete this programme will receive a MSc degree in Water Management and Governance


Start: 21 October 2021
Application deadline: 01 August 2021

Learning objectives

The Water Management and Governance MSc Programme aims to develop knowledge, insight and skills required to design, implement and evaluate water management policies and strategies to achieve effective governance of water resources. Once you have successfully completed this programme, you will be able to:

  • describe the rational for an integrated and interdisciplinary approach for managing the water system;
  • identify and critically assess the different functions of the water resources system and the – often competing – interests of the various water users;
  • design, apply and evaluate models for institutional arrangements with emphasis on institutional reforms, policy development and good governance;
  • conduct, independently or in a multidisciplinary team, research.

The eventual learning objectives depend on the thematic study profile, in which you can enroll during the course of the programme.

Structure & contents

The programme starts with a foundation phase consisting of an introduction to “Who and what make Water Management and Governance expertise?” and introductory modules about Water Resources Management and Water Governance. During this foundation phase the students will, under guidance of a coach, identify their personal learning goals, based on their professional background and career ambitions. Based on these goals, the students will select modules after the foundation phase that fit with their educational needs as part of their tailor-made track. The tailor-made track modules help to either broaden or deepen the student’s understanding of specific management and governance issues, to strengthen interpersonal and research skills, and to learn how to apply the necessary tools relevant for water management and governance. To some extent modules can be selected from other MSc programmes. Students can also opt for a module that they design themselves, referred to as Capita Selecta, which may include an internship, project assignment or a mini-thesis. Instead of choosing an individual tailor made track, students can also opt for one of the thematic profiles for which specific learning objectives are set and relevant modules are suggested. Currently the programme offers thematic profiles on River Basins and on Urban Waters.

  • October - April

    IHE Delft, the Netherlands
    • Introduction to Water and Development Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Familiarize with the educational environment and procedures of IHE Delft and collaborate in multidisciplinary and intercultural teams
      2. Recognize and distinguish different ways of knowing and framing water questions and problems in order to appraise water challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective
      3. Reflect critically on water related interventions, formulate own standpoint and engage constructively in debates
      4. Place the specialized knowledge on own discipline into a broader understanding of water related issues, challenges, debates and developments
    • What and who makes Water Management and Governance expertise? Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Deal with different approaches & diversity in collaborating on water management and governance problems
      2. Apply critical reading and write a literature review, to understand how a particular water related controversy is articulated in scientific literature
      3. Appreciate differences between techno-managerial, political and interpretative approaches in diagnosing WMG problems and solutions
      4. Explain that knowing water is a situated practice, and what this entails for the role of WMG experts
    • Water Resources Management Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. apply concepts of water resources management to analyze problems of water demand and allocation
      2. use basic skills of QGIS to map and analyse hydrological processes
      3. assess and relate different components of the hydrological cycle: precipitation, evaporation, runoff, and analyse interactions between quantity and quality of water, between surface and groundwater, and between stocks and fluxes.
      4. understand basic concepts of sediment balances and euthropication and how they relate to the status of freshwater ecosystems
      5. understand the basic concepts of and interlinkages between the hydrological cycle and hydro-social cycle
    • Water Governance Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Identify and analyse different distributional processes and outcomes related to water governance
      2. Compare and contrast different scientific papers, case studies and theories on dynamic and political nature of water governance
      3. Distinguish and explain main discourses and theories on water governance
    • WMG Elective 5 Elective

      Water and environmental law M3577 or

      Managing water organisations M3715 or

      choose a module from another programme in term 5*

      *) Every participant may choose maximum 2 modules that are not listed above from other programmes

    • WMG Elective 6 Elective

      Water resources assessment and modelling M3764 or

      Analyzing water use practices - institutional analysis M3783 or

      choose a module from another programme in term 6*

      *) Every participant may choose maximum 2 modules that are not listed above from other programmes

    • WMG Elective 7 Elective

      Water conflict and cooperation M3708 or

      Water economics and finance M3732 or

      choose a module from another programme in term 7*

      *) Every participant may choose maximum 2 modules that are not listed above from other programmes

    • WMG Elective 8 Elective

      Rethinking urban water supply, sanitation and drainage M3597 or

      Water resources planning M3549 or

      Water conflict management and tools for waterdiplomacy M3709 or

      choose a module from another programme in term 8*

      *) Every participant may choose maximum 2 modules that are not listed above from other programmes

    • International Fieldwork Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Collect, select, interpret and analyse the data and information for research project in the study area
      2. Formulate research question, research methodology and data collection plan
      3. Recognize and distinguish between different data collection methods for knowing water and understanding water problems, taking into account the (potential) uncertainty of field observations.
    • WMG Elective 10 Elective

      Remote sensing for water resources management M3767 or

      Partnerships, networks &stakeholders analysis M3762 or

      choose a module from another programme in term 10*

      *) Every participant may choose maximum 2 modules that are not listed above from other programmes

    • WMG Elective 11 Elective

      Experimental methods in wastewater treatment M3746 or

      Water sensitive cities M3756 or

      Decentralised water supply and sanitation M3723 or

      Remote sensing for agricultural water management M3580 or

      Water resources planning under changing climate and environment M3637 or

      Wetlands for livelihoods and conservation M3214 or

      Sustainability and resilience of water organisations M3712 or

      Solid waste management M3703 or

      Advanced water transport and distribution M3765 or

      Strategic planning for river basins and deltas M3422 or

      Decision support systems in the water domain M3734

    • Summer course Elective

      Five-day summer course. Elective topics include Sustainable Development Goals, nature based solutions, leadership, gender issues and serious gaming, all related to water science/engineering/management.

    • Research Project Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Interpret results and findings from the Fieldtrip in order to arrive at meaningful yet succinct conclusions and recommendations.
      2. Formulate and defend an argument by answering the research questions using evidence and data from a variety of sources along with appropriate methodological and analysis tools.
      3. Develop expertise in presenting and defending arguments by (a) developing and presenting a research presentation (poster and short pitch, podcast, video); and (b) creating an extended scientific abstract of 4 pages
      4. Define concrete research questions, aims and objectives as a framework for a small research project.
    • MSc Preparatory Course and Thesis Research Proposal Required
    • 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 Water Management and Governance

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

    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 window for 2021 JJ/WBGSP scholarship applications for developing country nationals will open on 22 March and close on 21 May 2021 (12:00 EST). All interested students from eligible countries and with an unconditional acceptance letter from one of the eligible programmes are welcome to apply starting 22 March.

    Before you submit your applications, applicants are invited to carefully review the eligibility criteria on the JJ/WBGSP website and especially the Guidelines and the FAQ.

    Applications need to be submitted online through the application portal. Part of the application procedure will be that you have to ask to referees to upload a recommendation letter in your application for a JJWBSP scholarship. We advise you to already think about possible referees you may ask. For each eligible IHE program, up to 5 scholarships will be available for the academic year which start in 2021.

    The following MSc Programmes/Specializations are eligible:

    If you are not admitted to one of these above programs, you are not eligible to apply for a JJ/WBGSP Scholarship in 2021 to study at IHE Delft.

    All applications will be reviewed and scored by a pool of independent JJ/WBGSP assessors. The JJWBGSP Secretariat will then submit the list of finalists for final approval to the JJ/WBGSP Steering Committee. The list of selected candidates will be announced during the second half of June 2021. Each JJWB scholar will receive an Award Letter shortly after that.

    more info: www.worldbank.org

  • MENA-CD Fellowships

    IHE Delft will provide water professionals from seven MENA countries (Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Yemen) and Sudan with MSc level education in Delft on relevant topics for MENA region water scarcity.

    For the MSc programmes starting in October 2021, the scholarship application deadline is 1 July 2021.

    more info: www.un-ihe.org/mena-cd-fellowships

  • National Fellowships in Latin America

    These fellowships are for nationals from the mentioned Latin American country. As IHE Delft is a UNESCO affiliated Institute and not a regular university, it may not appear in their website listings of eligible institutions. It is worth applying for funding once you have been academically accepted by IHE Delft, as these organisations will most likely consider your fellowship application. The name UNESCO-IHE (former name of IHE Delft) may appear in some application systems.

    Your country might also offer individual fellowships for studies abroad, contact your national Ministry of Education or a similar organisation/agency for more information.

  • Orange Knowledge Programme

    For All 18 months Delft-based MSc programmes, the one-year MSc programme in Sanitation and the joint programme in Limnology and Wetland Management, which will start in October 2021, partial OKP scholarships will be made available. The OKP scholarship will cover the first 12 months of your MSc study. Funding for the remaining months (estimated at EUR 15,000), needs to be covered from other sources. We strongly advise you to search for this co-funding (private means, employer, other). Visit our Orange Knowledge scholarship for MSc Programmes page for more info.

    There will be OKP scholarships available for our short courses in 2021: visit our Short Course Scholarship page for more info.

  • Rotary Scholarship for Water and Sanitation Professionals

    The strategic partnership between The Rotary Foundation (TRF) and IHE Delft Institute for Water Education aims to tackle the world’s water and sanitation crisis by increasing the number of trained professionals to devise, plan, and implement solutions in developing and emerging countries. Through this partnership, a limited number of scholarships are awarded annually for graduate students at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education’s campus in the Netherlands. These scholarships are designed to promote long-term productive relationships between Rotarians and highly skilled water and sanitation professionals in their communities.

    For the MSc programmes starting in October 2021, the Rotary scholarship application deadline is 15 April 2021.

    more info: http://www.un-ihe.org/Rotary-Scholarships-for-Water-and-Sanitation-Professionals

  • SIDS Fellowships

    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 info: www.un-ihe.org/sids-fellowships-1

  • StuNed Scholarship Programme

    The programme is implemented by Nuffic Neso Indonesia on behalf of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Indonesia. All Delft-based MSc programmes are eligible for StuNed.

    For the MSc programmes starting in October 2021, the following deadlines apply for StuNed application:

    -Start/end date of application period for Stuned scholarship: 18 January 2021-22 March 2021
    -Deadline for submitting an online application for admission with IHE Delft: 15 March 2021

    more info: www.un-ihe.org/stuned

Application & Admission

Admission requirements

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

  • A Bachelor degree at level B/B+ (US system) or 2nd upper (British system) 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. Exceptions can be made if a candidate is below this level, but has a substantial experience in the field of the programme 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.
  • 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 Recommendation letters which must be printed on official letterhead paper and need to be signed and dated. We do not accept recommendation letters which are older than 1 year nor which have copied and pasted signatures and/or letterheads. If you are employed, one of the recommendation letters should be from your current employer and not older than 3 months.
  • Motivation letter; explain in maximum 500 words why you wish to be admitted to the chosen programme and how it will benefit you in the future. The letter must show that you understand what the chosen programme is about.
  • Copy of passport.
  • Copy of results of English language test score (if required, see English language requirements).

If any of the original documents is not in English we additionally need an official English translation by a sworn translator.

Multiple MSc applications (for the same academic year) are not allowed, 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 scholar ships 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 found at our FAQ page, or can be addressed to:

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


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