Water Systems and Global Change (WSG)

The Water Systems and Global Change Group is a solution-oriented multidisciplinary research group focusing on water systems and global change. We aim to create new knowledge to contribute to sustainable water systems in a changing global environment.

More about this thesis track

Water is essential for many different users in urban environments. Many problems exist related to water in urban environments. Floods can be devastating, but also droughts and water pollution influence the water use in many cities of the world. Socioeconomic development and climate change can exacerbate these problems in the growing cities in the future. To improve the water availability for all users and to cope with the future changes, interventions are required, such as technological interventions, infrastructure development and climate change adaptation. Additionally, the urban environment is dependent on their surroundings. The water systems upstream influence water availability and quality in the urbanising deltas. Also the agriculture in the peri-urban areas that feed the city is dependent on the water systems. Integrated approaches are required to study water systems and global change in an urban context.

Our teaching is focused on solution-oriented science for sustainable water system management under global change. We analyse and assess the impacts of climate and socio-economic changes on water systems and propose and test adaptation and mitigation strategies. We also develop water and climate services. To this end, we use simulation models, earth system observations, scenario analyses and field studies and we invite students from different backgrounds, and skills and interests to take part in our courses and research.


Students following the master's programme Urban Environmental Management can choose to do a thesis in a topic that is closely related to ongoing research projects within the Water Systems and Global Change group or focus on their own urban water issues. The ongoing research projects within the Water Systems and Global Change Group relevant for MUE are grouped in the following themes:

  • Global water quality

  • Water quality and health

  • Water quality and lakes

  • (Ground) water scarcity

  • Water-food-energy nexus

  • Climate services

  • Adaptation pathways

  • Nature-based solutions

Students can learn more about the education and research programme related to this discipline by visiting the page of the Water Systems and Global Change group.


The following courses are part of the MSc programme Urban Environmental Management when selecting the thesis track Water Systems and Global Change. Next to these thesis specific courses, you will follow courses from the common part and electives as summarized in the programme outline. For more information visit the study handbook or contact the study adviser.

Thesis track-related subjects
Subject Code
Integrated Water Management WSG33806
MSc Thesis Water Systems and Global Change WSG80436
MSc Internship Water Systems and Global Change WSG70224
Restricted optional: Select at least one
Modelling Future Water Stress WSG35306
Climate Change Adaptation in Water Management WSG34806
Restricted Optional: Select at least two
Planning for Urban Quality of Life LUP23806
Governance for Sustainable Cities ENP36806
Managing Urban Environmental Infrastructure ETE32806
Planning and Design of Urban Space ETE33806

In order to prepare well for your thesis track, you can additionally choose supporting courses. These courses focus, for example, on quantitative and data sciences. You can find the exact list in the study handbook at the section "Restricted Optionals (2) in Common part"

This course overview is based on the Wageningen University study handbook, where you can find a more detailed course and programme description. The study handbook is guiding in case of any discrepancy.

Below you can see how your schedule might look like for your whole study programme:

Schedule Urban Environmental Management -- Water Systems and Global Change.jpg