Master of Science in Environmental Sanitation

The general objective of the study programme is the education of environmental specialists with ample knowledge of:

  • the concepts and issues associated with environmental pollution;
  • the detection and quantification of environmental pollution;
  • the possible impact of environmental pollutants on the ecosystems and biota, together with the current techniques for risk assessment;
  • the available technologies for prevention and remediation of environmental pollution and the way they are designed and applied in practice.
The programme has been set up with the explicit aim to offer training to an international audience, and is therefore entirely taught in English. Although the study programme can be attended by all students interested in environmental problems in an international context, the programme has always focussed on specific situations, cases and issues in developing countries, thus contributing to an improvement of the quality of life in these countries. This international dimension is an important asset, as the frequent contacts and common activities enhance the students’ social skills.
The vast majority of students are non-European. They mainly originate from Asia, Africa and, to a lesser extent, from Latin America. Because of its international reputation, also students from OECD countries, Central and Eastern Europe occasionally register for the programme.


The study programme is structured around the following topics:
- basic study of non-polluted environments;
- sources and causes of environmental pollution;
- methodologies for detection and analysis of environmental pollution;
- environmental toxicology and risk assessment, both in the eco-toxicological and human toxicological field;
- prevention and sanitation of environmental pollution;
- clean technology;
- treatment of waste.

During the second year, the student has to choose a major (‘soil’, ‘water’ or ‘air’) to which the master’s dissertation research (30 credits) has to be linked. Each major consist of 3 courses corresponding to 11 credits. Both during the first and the second year, there is room for elective courses grouped in modules, totaling 6 credits. Only during the second year, one can opt for an internship (6 credits) as elective course.

Master's Dissertation
The dissertation subject is related to one of the majors of the study programme and preferably deals with an environmental issue at the country of origin. Therefore students can make their own proposal. This is possible due to the fact that in the framework of the current scholarship programme, students with a VLIR-UDC scholarship get the chance to return to their home countries during the summer holidays. During that period they have the opportunity to collect data and possibly also samples (e.g. dust on filters, water or soil samples; reducing the sample volumes by concentrating sample extracts is also possible) in the framework of their dissertation research. For those students who do not have the possibility to make their own proposal, each year potential dissertation promoters put forward dissertation subjects, which are announced by the CES&T in April. This allows the student to contact the professor in charge of the dissertation subject of his/her interest.


Graduates of Environmental Sanitation are active in diverse sectors and assume highly varying professional duties.
This can vary from appointments in ministries and governmental services, NGOs, teaching assignments at universities or scientific research in domains that deal with technologies for prevention and sanitation of environmental pollution.

In view of this situation, the study programme pays particular attention to the acquisition of knowledge and skills that enables graduates with a master's degree to fulfil their role as leading scientist­s able to cope with all kinds of situations. Therefore, the ICP ‘Environmental Sanitation’ puts strong emphasis on reflection and analytical abilities, intellectual creativity, communication skills and the development of a research approach and problem-solving capacity.
Students must be able to apply the acquired knowledge and understand­ings in complex problems or situations with the necessary guidance and steering, taking into consideration the ethical, financial and social aspects.