Studying at UNESCO-IHE

UNESCO-IHE equips graduates with the knowledge, skills and competencies they need in order to address current and future challenges for sustainable local, regional and global water management, with a particular focus on a development context.

Vision on education and the quality of education

UNESCO-IHE envisages a world in which people manage their water and environmental resources in a sustainable manner, and in which all sectors of society, particularly the poor, can enjoy the benefits of basic services. The education at UNESCO-IHE best prepares students to contribute to building this world.

Global challenges related to globalization, environmental and societal change will expose future graduates to water problems of unprecedented complexity and magnitude. They therefore require a range of knowledge, skills and attitudes to be optimally prepared for these new challenges and to contribute effectively to the development of integrated solutions. This implies that due attention is paid not only to the academic fields of engineering, natural sciences and social sciences, but also to the development of trans-disciplinary skills that facilitate the work at the interfaces of traditional disciplines and make the connection to the real world. The aim of UNESCO-IHE is to implement multidisciplinary programmes with a strong emphasis on the interrelation of academic fields and interdisciplinary approaches. Students are prepared for trans-disciplinary (involving non-academic stakeholders) challenges associated with the complex water issues in the real world.

UNESCO-IHE envisages water professionals who have the desire, the ability and the responsibility to be lifelong learners. They are therefore prepared for future challenges in their professional careers in an ever-changing world. They continue to be supported and stay internationally connected as part of the UNESCO-IHE alumni community.

The vision of the quality of education is linked to all education-related activities of UNESCO-IHE. It provides the basis to develop and implement related policies and practices, and to ensure an enabling environment to effectively carry out related activities. The vision is characterized by the following:

  • The postgraduate education of UNESCO-IHE is science-based and aims to be highly relevant particularly in a development context. It addresses the needs of present and future generations in the field of water and environment.
  • UNESCO-IHE endeavors to ensure that its graduates become critically and independently thinking effective professionals who engage with a broad range of disciplines related to water, including natural sciences, social sciences and engineering in environmental and societal complex contexts (T-shape competency profile).
  • UNESCO-IHE believes in strengthening the academic and professional skills of students through learner-centered didactic methodologies that promote active learning.
  • UNESCO-IHE aims to maximize the potential of every student who enrolls in its programmes, by enhancing students' learning experiences and optimizing the academic success rate.
  • UNESCO-IHE creates a life-changing experience for its students by exposing them to an intercultural environment characterized by plurality and diversity of ideas, experiences and disciplines. The students develop intellectually, professionally and personally while participating in the programme and are prepared to continuously develop professionally ('lifelong learning').
  • The implementation of the programmes is a characterized by a high degree of transparency, openness, flexibility and inclusiveness. The staff members are highly skilled and motivated.
  • The quality of education is continuously reviewed through cycles of internal and external assessments, accreditation, student evaluations and critical self-reflections.
  • UNESCO-IHE provides all students and staff involved an enabling environment that includes staff qualifications training, appropriate quality of facilities for education and research, IT support, knowledge management and performance management.

Academic Quality

The quality of the Institute’s educational products and processes is controlled at three levels. At the institutional level, the Academic Board is responsible for the development of UNESCO-IHE’s education policies, guidelines, structures and regulations. At the programme level, the Programme Committees have overall responsibility for scientific rigour and administrative efficiency, and they report annually to the Academic Board. Finally, at the course level, Programme Coordinators are responsible for the day-to-day organization of courses and for supervising the contributions of all lecturers. They report to the Programme Committees.

UNESCO-IHE degrees are awarded to participants who have successfully completed an MSc programme. These degrees are accredited by the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO) and are internationally recognized as university-level Masters' degrees.

The Institute complies fully with the quality control procedures of the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. All levels of the Netherlands education system are geared to achieving a creative, independent and internationally focused workforce. The higher education system offers a variety of courses in academic, applied and professional disciplines, and has an excellent international reputation. Foreign nationals who obtain part of their higher education in the Netherlands are well equipped to perform their functions anywhere in the world.