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The MSc in Water Resources Engineering addresses water-related issues in developed and developing countries. It is jointly organized by KU Leuven and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). The general programme objective is to educate professionals and scientists through multidisciplinary and high-quality university education to contribute effectively to the development and management of local and global water resources. The programme trains students with cutting-edge technical and managerial knowledge and skills to  

(i) successfully plan, design, operate and manage water resources projects; and (ii) advise and support authorities in decision-making and policy-making that enhance the safe exploitation and re-use of wastewater and the equitable distribution and conservation of local, regional, and global water resources.  

A strong focus is put on the use of state-of-the-art numerical simulation tools for integrated water management. 

The programme deals with the methods and techniques applied in the study of 

- water needs for agriculture, industry, households, recreation, navigation, hydroelectric power generation - problems related to storm water drainage and flood damage mitigation - problems related to water quality in streams and aquifers, erosion, sedimentation, protection of ecosystems and other natural resources - integrated water management - institutional, socio-economic, and policy issues related to water resources development and management 

Employment prospects 

A combination of theory and practice ensures that students are equipped with excellent knowledge for further research and exciting job opportunities across the world. Graduates of the programme are primarily employed as 

(i) academics or scientists at universities and research institutions. Their major task is to strengthen the training and research capacity of those institutions in the field of water resources 

(ii) engineers or managers in public administrations, water user associations or private companies. 

Water resources engineers and scientists play a decisive role in the development and management of aquifers and river basins, and in deciding who does what, how much services cost, and who pays. They are the decision-makers and water managers of the future, who are capable of taking into account increased user demand and environmental needs, i.e. managing limited water resources in a sustainable and responsive way. 

International Mobility 

The master programme takes place in an intercultural and international environment. Students have the possibility to join excursions and field trips abroad and to carry out master thesis research in cooperation with our partner universities. 


The full programme comprises 120 ECTS. Students with a relevant Master degree can apply for the 1-year abridged programme (60 ECTS) and will mainly follow second year courses. 

The first year curriculum builds a common foundation and is the same for all students. In the second year students design a personal programme through the selection of three elective courses, an integrated project and their master thesis research. Courses are held both at KU Leuven and the VUB campus.  

Year 1 (compulsory) 

- Advanced Mathematics for Water Engineering - Statistics for Water Engineering - Hydraulics - Groundwater Hydrology - Surface Water Hydrology - Irrigation Agronomy - Aquatic Ecology - Waste Water Treatment and Resource Recovery - Water Quality - Integrated Water Management - GIS & Data Processing for Water Resources Engineering - Remote Sensing and Measuring Techniques for Water Resources Engineering 

Year 2 


- Systems Approach to Water Management - Social, Political, Institutional, Economic and Environmental Aspects of Water Resources 

Electives (three courses to be chosen) 

- Surface Water Modelling - Groundwater Modelling - River Modelling - Soil Water Modelling - Irrigation Design and Crop Water Productivity Management - Urban Hydrology and Hydraulics - Environmental Programming - Freshwater and Marine Ecology 


Integrated Project: Students work in groups on a particular watershed and travel to the case study area. They define problems and tackle them from different angles using modelling as well as nonmodelling tools

Visit the MSc Water Resources Engineering page on the KU Leuven website for more details!




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