The two-year Master’s program in Water Science and Management will give you an in-depth understanding of modern water management techniques and water policies from a sustainable development perspective. You will gain an understanding of water’s role with regard to humanity and nature as well as the societal impact of interventions in the water cycle.

Water management in a wider context

Trends such as sustainable development, stakeholder participation, and economic accountability increasingly complicate the tasks of water managers. This has given rise to a need for water managers with a broad societal focus on water management issues, operating next to and in cooperation with more traditional and technical water managers. The Water Science and Management program, therefore, integrates knowledge from natural and social sciences as a response to emerging needs in the field.

A natural sciences background, the ability to work well as part of a team, and a passion for water management will help you succeed in this program. The Water Science and Management program is an excellent choice for you if you are interested in both the scientific analysis of the water system and the application of water science in integrated and complex societal problems that occur in contemporary water management.

What will you learn?

Through scientific knowledge and real-life cases, you will learn about topics such as hydrological processes, climate change, water footprinting, cost reduction, health aspects, and water safety. You will also learn about technical developments such as membrane technology, water/energy combinations, and water cycle management. The majority of courses have a water focus, but there are also courses focussed on the sustainable development context in which modern water managers operate. A Research design course is provided as a necessary basis for performing the Master’s Thesis, as well as for executing academic water challenges on the job market. The program combines academic knowledge of natural sciences and technical water management options with process and project skills, culminating in an optional research internship at a water management organization.


The Water Science and Management program trains you to be a water professional with both an understanding of the technical aspects of water management and the ability to implement this knowledge with an eye for societal needs. You will learn to view water management in light of sustainable development, taking into account the functions that water fulfills for humanity and nature, and you will consider technical innovations in view of societal costs and benefits.

As a graduate of this program, you will have a solid background in water science and the ability to apply this knowledge.

Career Prospects

The Water Science and Management Master’s program trains you to function as a professional in the field of water management and related sustainable development.

Your skills will be complementary to more traditionally educated water specialists with a natural sciences focus, thus allowing you to fill the demand in the professional field for more all-around water managers characterized by:

  • insight into the full breadth of contemporary water management, and notably in the relations between different scientific and professional perspectives; and
  • the ability to work with specialists from different backgrounds on complex, integrated water management projects and planning.


The professional field consists of a wide variety of organizations:

  • Consultancy firms
  • Water boards;
  • Governmental organizations
  • Utility companies
  • Water research institutes
  • NGOs
  • International development organizations


Graduates may follow up their Master’s degree by pursuing a PhD in the Netherlands or abroad and ultimately pursuing a career in research. The program is closely related to several research groups on water-related issues in the Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and the Department of Physical Geography. This makes it possible for students to be ahead of the latest scientific developments in the field. Thanks to close connections with key players in the field, research projects on various topics are funded by external parties.


Water Science and Management graduates have a number of technical skills, which enable them to acquire junior positions at the start of their career. Based on their broad knowledge of contemporary water management, they are expected to move on relatively quickly to more senior strategic planning, policy, and management positions, dealing with issues involving specialists from different backgrounds and/or societal stakeholders. Some graduates may also develop themselves further into more specialized technical roles while on the job.

Based on an alumni survey in 2017 our graduates face excellent employability on the job market.


  • Learning Dutch

If you want to find a job or internship in the Netherlands, knowing Dutch will get you places. Even if you work within an international organization, knowing at least some Dutch is always a benefit and in some cases even a requirement. In order to learn Dutch, free language websites such as or can get you started or take a look at the Dutch courses offered by Babel. As a student from Utrecht University you receive a 25% discount on their course offerings.

  • After graduation

If you want to stay in the Netherlands after your graduation, you can apply for the ‘residence permit orientation year’ if you have a non-EU nationality. This permit can be submitted within 3 years after completing your studies and allows you unlimited working rights (hence: a work permit –TWV- is not required).

Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated August 23, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
2 years
2,083 EUR
Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee 2019-2020): € 2,083. Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee): 2018-19: € 18,690, 2019-20: € 19,900
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