Master of Science Program in Sanitation at IHE Delft (2018-2022)

In partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education has launched a new Master of Science Program in Sanitation in 2018. The focus of this interdisciplinary program is on the delivery of non-sewered sanitation services to urban communities in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The course seeks women and men from diverse backgrounds in acknowledgement of the diversity and complexity of challenges in urban sanitation worldwide. After 4 editions of the program (concluding with the academic class 2021-2022), due to the educational reform of IHE Delft, the program, in somewhat modified form, is now imbedded into the new MSc in Water and Sustainable Development program under the track Water & Health - profile Sanitation ( Prospective applicants are encouraged to apply to this program - profile Sanitation.

Managed by


Prof. Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy - IWA Executive Director and Program Advisory Board Chair, Prof. Eddy Moors - Rector of IHE Delft, Prof. Damir Brdjanovic - Program Committee Chair, Dr. Claire Furlong - Program Coordinator, Dr. Tineke Hooijmans - Program Research Coordinator, and Ineke Melis - Senior Admission and Scholarship Officer, welcome you to IHE Delft.

Program info

Here you will find basic information on the Delft-based program. Note that you cannot submit your application to the program via this website, however you will find a link below on how to apply.

  • About

    This is a unique, accredited and internationally recognized program, designed for completion in 12 months.  The program, which has scholarships available for top talents, is based at IHE Delft in the Netherlands, with thesis work abroad, while, in the near future, the program will also be available at universities in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The state-of-the-art content has been developed and provided by the world’s leading experts from both academia and practice. This demand-driven and practice orientated program will yield graduates with fundamental understanding and knowledge, as well as the skills necessary for creating impact. The generic skills development is embedded from the start, through individual coaching and tailored guidance. Preparatory (online) courses and entry interviews are included. All the graduates will benefit from a dedicated career development program, supported by the BMGF and will become a member of the Global Sanitation Learning Alliance and alumni community. The new Delft-based MSc program will start on 23 April 2018.

  • Target group

    The program 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, local governments, government ministries, NGOs and consulting firms. Ideally these individuals are dealing with urban and peri-urban sanitation, especially in informal settlements. Participants should have a Bachelor’s or equivalent degree in sanitary, civil, chemical, agricultural, environmental engineering, chemistry, ecology, biology, natural science, environmental science, agriculture or environmental economics. Candidates who do not have a degree in the relevant field, but do have various years of work experience in the field of sanitation can also apply. Given the global mission of IHE Delft, regional relevance of its partner universities, and the close cooperation with the BMGF and its focus on professionals from South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, the new program encourages people from those regions to apply, without excluding applicants from Latin America, North America and Europe. Women, irrespective of their geographical location, are particularly encouraged to apply.

  • Final qualifications

    While being at MSc level, the program has a professional orientation. It is demand-driven, delivering graduates with the qualifications required by the sanitation sector. These features are prominent in the program: (a) linking of the taught subject matter, not only to research outcomes, but also to sanitation practice, (b) nature of the individual research topics of  the students, and (c) embedding of the development of generic professional skills in the program. 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.

  • Programme structure

    The 68 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) points program consists of a taught and a thesis research part. The taught part has a modular structure, comprising 13 modules ranging from 1 to 6 weeks’ duration, including lectures, laboratory tutorials, field trips, case studies, group work, design exercises and discussions. Especially for this program, IHE Delft has constructed a state-of-the-art faecal sludge laboratory, which is a member of the Global Partnership of Laboratories for Faecal Sludge Analysis. The individual thesis research (29 ECTS) follows on after completion of the taught program, 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 program. The fieldwork part of the research will preferably take place in a developing country, hosted by one of IHE Delft’s academic partners and supervised locally by the partner institution’s staff. The thesis defense will take place at IHE Delft and students will be awarded an accredited MSc degree by IHE Delft. To enable students to pass the entry exam, a set of preparatory self-study online courses are available for those who may need to increase their knowledge in one or more subjects as a prerequisite for the program. The program development included consultation with, and the contribution from, more than 100 leading sanitation experts, and is based on a student-orientated, problem-solving approach, applying active learning methods. Since its establishment 60 years ago, IHE Delft has been providing training and education to water sector professionals, in cooperation with renowned experts from our global network. The new MSc Program in Sanitation is no exception to this practice. Along with its own staff, IHE Delft has secured the commitment of a selection of the world’s leading water professionals and academics, who have agreed to share their wealth of experience with the participants of this program, either by teaching in Delft, or supervising applied research work in the field.

  • Syllabus

    The program focus is on non-sewered sanitation, as sewerage-based sanitation is the subject of the complementary specialization in Sanitary Engineering.  The program design and module plans have been prepared in cooperation with partners from academia and practice. The input from practice was essential, as the new program has a clear professional focus. The course content facilitates meeting the learning objectives and the achievement of the final qualification. The following topics are part of the program: Introduction (1 week), Sanitation Systems and Services (2), Sanitation and Public Health (2), Sanitation Technology (6), Governance (3), Sanitation Financing (1), Behavior Change and Advocacy (2) Leadership (1), Project Management (1), Emergency Sanitation (2), Teamwork Skills Development (1), Analysis of Sanitation Flows (1), Research Methods for Sanitation (2), and Research Theory and Practice (20). You can find a more detailed syllabus here.

  • Quality assurance

    The new MSc program in Sanitation is subject to IHE Delft’s quality assurance framework for education, which includes regular feedback from students at module and program level.

  • Application and scholarships

    Fifteen top talents will be admitted to the first edition of the MSc in Sanitation (academic cohort 2018-2019) and will receive a scholarship. The scholarship covers: tuition fees, direct study-related costs, insurance, visa cost, a monthly allowance for living and accommodation, a research allowance, and international travel. The visa and accommodation will be arranged by IHE Delft. In the subsequent editions, starting from the class 2019-2020, the program will be open to more students (up to 50) and funding beyond scholarships provided by the BMGF will be necessary. The starting date of the new MSc program is 23 April 2018. The application deadline for the first delivery is now closed. Read more about admission requirements and how to apply. For further information on how to apply and scholarships, please contact: Ineke Melis (+31 15 21 51 705 or

  • Class 2018-2019 Facebook page

Find your teacher

About 50 leading academics and practitioners are contributing to the program by teaching and supervising the research. Take a look at the teachers and instructors.

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Program Advisory Board | Monitoring and Evaluation Team

The Program Advisory Board (PAB) provides advice on:

  • The positioning and marketing of the program with a view to attracting qualified students and scholarship opportunities;
  • Qualifications of graduates, with a focus on the professional and transferable skills they should acquire;
  • Curriculum design, with a focus on skill development trajectories;
  • The nature and identification of suitable graduation projects.


The Monitoring and Evaluation Team (MET) is responsible for monitoring and evaluation of the transfer of Delft-based MSc in Sanitation Program to partner universities in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

To find out who our PAB and MET members are, browse below.

Interested in transferring this program to your institution?

Prof. Damir Brdjanovic, PhD

Chairman Program Committee

If your institution is interested in adopting/adapting this Delft-based MSc program, please contact me (see my details below). For information on how to apply and scholarships, please contact: Ineke Melis (+31 15 2151 705 or