Scientific Diving: Theory

Do you want to include more science in your diving? Look no further. Our online course will provide you with the theoretical knowledge needed when you want to do research underwater. The system has been specially developed to meet the requirements of the Dutch National Scientific Diving Committee, which are aligned with European diving standards. The course includes occupational health and safety considerations in scientific diving projects and theory on underwater scientific methods and experimental design.

The course is flexible and can be studied at your own pace, making it easy to fit around your schedule. Upon completing the course, you will receive a certificate demonstrating your competence with the subject matter.

Organised by Wageningen Academy
Duration 2 months / 56 study hours in total

Registration is not open for this course. You can already show your interest.

Target audience

This theoretical course is excellent for anyone who is affiliated with a scientific institution and who is interested in being able to contribute efficiently to any underwater scientific project. This includes academics (students, PhDs, and/or staff) and researchers. Furthermore, it is also highly recommended for (future) project leaders who may become responsible for diving colleagues.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this programme, you will be able to:

  • Contribute efficiently to any underwater scientific project.
  • Lift your diving experience in underwater sciences to a higher level.


This online self-paced course takes about 56 (2 ECTS) hours to complete. Participants must complete the 56 hours in an 8-week timeframe, offering a flexible study approach. Course materials consist of pre-recorded knowledge (video) clips, reading materials, knowledge acquisition moments, and assignment
For each course, we use a 2-month cycle to enable kick-off and Q&A meetings with staff and fellow students.

The following topics will be discussed:

  • The field of scientific diving (modes of diving, legal status)
  • Dutch Scientific Diving Standards
  • Diving physics and physiology (including gas calculations)
  • Dive equipment (use and handling)
  • Dive safety (causes, treatment and prevention)
  • Contents of a Dive Plan with risk assessment
  • The scientific method and ethics
  • Experimental design
  • Underwater research methods and tools

Also involved:
Dutch National Scientific Diving Committee is a platform for scientists involved in scientific diving in the Netherlands. We aim to advance underwater scientific excellence and promote safe scientific diving practices in the Netherlands. We want to unite Dutch scientific divers, promote high standards for scientific diving education and aquatic research, and facilitate international cooperation.


Successful completion is attained when both open assignments are passed with at least a grade of 5.5.


After successfully following this course, you will obtain a digital certificate.

There is also an in-water, practical Scientific Diving course, which will be scheduled on demand, depending on enrolment and instructor availability. This is not part of the theoretical course. Upon the successful completion of both the theory and practical part, you will receive a Microcredential, which aligns with the standards as set for the European Scientific Diving Certificate.

Coordinated by

Stay informed

Dutch Scientific Diving Platform.png

While collecting samples underwater, with all the limitations that this brings, it is even more important to consider a good experimental design before you enter the water to make sure you gather high-quality data.
Diede Maas, Lecturer

Scientific Diving requires specific skills, such as monitoring environmental conditions or implementing research tools, which you will not see in recreational dive training. Scientific Diving also requires particular safety procedures. Hopefully, all underwater researchers will soon be trained in Scientific Diving to improve their skills and keep them safe.
Rosa van der Ven, lecturer