River Delta Development (MSc)


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Program Description


Due to climate change and the growth of the world population in delta areas, we face urgent social issues. Within the master River Delta Development, you will develop knowledge and competencies of delta technology, practice-oriented research, and transitions, with the aim of safeguarding welfare and prosperity for future generations. You will become a facilitator of change for river deltas. In this study program, three universities of applied sciences combine their complementing expertise in the fields of coastal regions, river systems, and urban water. This will provide you with insight into how the different component systems operate, how they relate to each other, and how the delta functions as a cohesive system. By focusing on the international context, you will learn how to apply this knowledge in deltas around the world.

Career opportunities

As a graduate the job opportunities are wide-ranging. You can become an advisor, project leader, hydrologist, researcher, manager or planner in both public and private organizations. We aim at educating graduates who can flourish as (junior) consultants in (international) firms and organizations in delta zones worldwide, equipped with a strong set of analytical, technical and reflective skills.

Close involvement with the work field

A significant driving force behind the development of the River Delta Development Master’s program is the demand in the field for facilitators of change: professionals who think and work in constructive, integrated ways, have the knowledge of transitional processes and can create connections within the water sector and beyond. The work field makes it clear that this degree program is meeting this societal need.

Facilitators of change in delta zones

As a facilitator of change, the challenge is to decrease the vulnerability of river deltas while simultaneously increasing the opportunities for healthy economic and ecological development. In the Master’s program River Delta Development, these developments are viewed as transitions: progressive, complex changes and adjustments in river delta systems that demand professionals who can intervene effectively. Versatile delta professionals are required, who not only have knowledge of river delta systems (coasts, seas, and rivers) and the latest developments but also possess the necessary research and communication skills to make meaningful contributions to these transitions.

The English-taught program River Delta Development is a unique joint degree offered by three universities of applied sciences with complementing expertise in the field of water: HZ University of Applied Sciences (coastal regions), Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences (river systems), and Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (urban water).


Study program

The Master’s program starts with an introductory month at HZ University of Applied Sciences in Middelburg. Subsequently, you are introduced to the various delta areas (coast, river, and city) and you work in projects (Living Labs) in each of these areas.

On a weekly basis, you spend one day at the university of applied sciences, where the lectures and coaching/reflection take place. After fifteen weeks of research, the period is completed with an evaluation week, in which assessments and reflection on the research in relation to the entire Delta and its issues take place. During the evaluation weeks, the associate professors are always present to ensure coherence and feedback to the larger whole. The three blocks with an accumulation of knowledge, research skills, and personal professional development last a total of seventeen weeks per university of applied sciences. Ultimately, there is a final phase of three weeks, in which you produce and present an ‘end product’.

In conclusion, the final, integral competencies are assessed by means of a portfolio and an oral final assessment. You do the first semester at HZ in Middelburg, then you go to Velp for a semester at Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences. The final semester takes place at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.


Living Labs

The projects in delta zones are so large and the systems are so complex that simple solutions are often not an option. Fundamental interventions are required. This is why the Living Labs were created: testing grounds where professional practice and universities of applied sciences collaborate on complex tasks. In addition to solving problems and taking advantage of opportunities, Living Labs are also about learning together.

As a student in the master River Delta Development, you will take part in Living Labs in which the professorships and research centers of the three universities of applied sciences are involved. You will be working on location, on real-world issues, in multidisciplinary teams along with professionals from the field.

Entry requirements

In order to qualify for participation in the master River Delta Development, you should have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification from a recognized university (of applied sciences) or accredited academic institution in a discipline related to that of the Master’s program. It is also important that you have a good command of the English language. For more details, please visit our website.

A unique master

If you choose the master River Delta Development:

  • You will acquire in-depth knowledge of a river delta system through 1.5 years (3 x 30 EC) of working in and learning about the various constituent regions, specifically the coast, river systems, and urban water.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into transitional processes, system changes, and research methods.
  • You will work using the latest insights and methods in delta technology, design, and governance by participating in research programs at the three universities of applied sciences.
  • You will develop your personal and professional competencies through innovative research methods based on a didactically supported competency profile and will be tested and assessed for satisfactory completion by delta professionals, applied professors, researchers, and lecturers.

The master River Delta Development is the only professional Master’s program in this field at the HBO level in the Netherlands. All other water-related Master’s programs are offered by research universities. A Master’s program at the HBO level is distinguished by its practical approach, intensive collaboration with the work field (e.g. via Living Labs), and a broad perspective on the material (in this case, the river delta).

Last updated Apr 2020

About the School

Are you interested in an English-taught Bachelor or Master's program with a practical approach? Come and study at Van Hall Larenstein, the most sustainable University of Applied Sciences in Holland! ... Read More

Are you interested in an English-taught Bachelor or Master's program with a practical approach? Come and study at Van Hall Larenstein, the most sustainable University of Applied Sciences in Holland! At Van Hall Larenstein we train ambitious and innovative students who want to contribute to a more sustainable world. Our programs focus on the domains of Food and Dairy and Animals and Business. During your study, you will work on several international projects and internships at companies where you apply the theory in practice. Right from the start, you will develop a professional network of students and colleagues from all over the world. Read less
Leeuwarden , Velp , Vlissingen , Rotterdam + 3 More Less