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Global Water Challenges

How can we achieve universal access to safe water for an expanding world population, achieve high natural water quality and safeguard ourselves against rising water levels? The Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS) challenges you to explore the global water challenge.

In this minor, you will learn about the water cycle and specialise in water quality and water management from a science perspective or water governance, and environmental planning from a social sciences perspective. The minor programme will be completed with an interdisciplinary project that challenges you to explore future scenarios for sustainable water use. 

Please note, this minor will start in February 2023.


The minor covers 30 ECTS and can be completed in one semester. Depending on your academic background, you can choose between two tracks:

Track 1: Water quality and management (natural sciences)
Deal with water shortage and water surplus from a natural sciences perspective.
The courses will teach you about the increasing worldwide desertification and consequences of sea-level rise. You will investigate what challenges this poses for us on our blue planet Earth. And you’ll learn how to use Digital Earth and other modern techniques to learn how to get from data to evidence in water-related research.


* The course Digital Earth prepares for the field course 'Desertification' in Southeast Spain (Murcia). The field course has limited capacity. The field course requires a personal contribution to cover travel and accommodation costs. We recommend Spatial Implications for Environmental Change (12 ECTS) as an alternative to Digital Earth (6 ECTS) ánd Desertification (6 ECTS).  

Track 2: Water governance and environmental planning (social sciences)
Examine the spatial implications of the expected environmental changes. Considering the growing global demand, questions about how to govern the use and availability of drinking water deserve serious attention. Moreover, you’ll learn how to use Geographical Information Systems in the context of water issues and other related challenges.


The Global Water Challenge
In a joint course on Scenario Planning, students from both tracks are invited to integrate and expand on the knowledge they gained to come up with future scenarios for the challenges we face on the waterfront and other related domains.

If you have already taken one of these courses or an equivalent, you may substitute it with one of the restricted-choice electives in the 30 ECTS programme from either track.

Entry requirements

The minor programme has a study load of 30 ECTS and is open to all Bachelor's students at the UvA and other universities. Candidates are required to have successfully completed - at least - the first year of an academic Bachelor's programme. English language proficiency is required. 

The courses in Water Quality and Management are open to students who completed at least 30 ECTS in natural sciences (e.g. earth sciences, biology, chemistry).  

The courses in the Water Governance and Environmental Planning are open to students who completed at least 30 ECTS in social sciences (e.g. political science, social geography, urban planning). 

This minor is open to international students with sufficient fluency in English, i.e. master the language at C1 level, shown by an International Baccalaureate certificate, an IELTS test score > 7 or a TOEFL test score ≥ 95, or earlier academic education in English.

The maximum number of students in the minor programme is 40. 

Application and Admission

Application is possible until 1 December 2022. 

UvA students:

For UvA Students, it suffices to send an e-mail to fps-iis-science@uva.nl specifying your Bachelor's programme and a transcript of your study results so far. Enroll to the courses of your choice during the course registration period (see more info here).

Non-UvA students:

  1. Sign up as an elective student ('bijvak' student) for the Bachelor's programme Future Planet Studies before December 1st. Important: make sure that your start date is 1 February 2023. You cannot sign up for the minor without enrolment.
  2. Send an e-mail to fps-iis-science@uva.nl with a (stamped) transcript of your study results so far.
  3. Enroll to the courses of your choice during the course registration period (see more info here).

More info and contact us

Contact Future Planet Studies of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS).

Facts & Figures
Mode Full-time
Credits 30 ECTS, 5 months
Language of instruction English
Starts in February