Scientific diving at WUR

Scientific diving is a crucial tool for scientists to study the biodiversity and functioning of aquatic environments. However, having the underwater environment as a workplace also poses challenges.

The Dutch Scientific Diving Platform has taken the lead in creating a protocol that bridges the gap between recreational diving and commercial diving. Now, a national protocol is available specifically focusing on the safety and effectiveness of scientific diving. With it, the Netherlands is now a candidate member of the European Scientific Diving Panel. We hope that with the national implementation of this protocol in the law, diving for research will become safer for the whole of the Netherlands. 

To provide knowledge on scientific diving, we provide theoretical courses for students, PhDs and professionals, and offer a practical course to gain in-water experience. 

Scientific Diving for research

You may be familiar with recreational diving, where it's just for your own enjoyment. Scientific diving falls in the category of occupational diving, which has strict rules. Scientific diving requires dedicated skills such as monitoring, handling equipment and setting up experiments, which also requires specific safety procedures. 

If you want to implement diving as part of your  thesis, internship or research practice (students) or research project (PhDs and staff), there are requirements based on the European Scientific Diving standards.  

In order to use Scientific Diving for your study or research project you are obliged to have the European Scientific Diving certificate*. 

At Wageningen University, this level of training can be completed by:

  1. Scientific Diving - Theoretical Course (MAE10302), which is an online, asynchronous course going over the 'dry' requirements. Taught in English, year-round.
  2. Scientific Diving - Practical Course (MAE20803), which offers practical in-water training to achieve the necessary scientific dives, and also includes the first aid and oxygen administration courses. This course is taught in English, several times a year. Specific pre-requirements are described below. 

Additionally you will need:

  1. A medical check (<1 year ago) (
  2. At least 5 dives in the last 18 months.
  3. Documentation as part of the Dive Plan, see the Standards for Scientific Diving and WUR addendum.

*The specific requirements are listed in the latest version of the Standards for Scientific Diving as well as the Wageningen University Addendum. This is applicable to all students, PhD and staff of Wageningen University. In some cases, alternative training (e.g. from recreational agencies) may be considered. Alternatively, additional training may be required depending on the specific project. You can verify the requirements by emailing the Dive Safety Officer of Wageningen University ( or 

Wageningen University courses

Scientific Diving - Theoretical Course (MAE10302)

In this course, you will learn how to design, plan and safely participate in a scientific diving project, as well as get acquainted with traditional and novel methods and tools applied underwater and how to use these Scientific Diving methods to obtain high quality scientific data. This course is taught online and in English, you can follow the course year-round.

We have specific theoretical courses for:

Scientific Diving - Practical Course (MAE20803)

This course includes the practical in-water training to achieve the necessary 20 scientific dives, and also includes the first aid and oxygen administration courses. This course is taught in English and will be organized several times a year.    

We have specific practical courses for:

  • WUR students - announcement sessions 2024-2025 in summer 2024

  • Students outside WUR - sessions on demand

  • PhDs - sessions on demand

  • Academic professionals - sessions on demand

Prerequisites for application to the Scientific Diving - Practical Course:

  • Successfully completed the Scientific Diving - Theoretical Course

  • Have a recent medical test (<1 year)

  • Have the ability to swim and high physical fitness

  • Provide a dive log proving dive experience (preferably at least 50 logged dives)

  • Provide a filled application form

For WUR students: We will announce the sessions for the academic year 2024-2025 here. You can email us to be placed on the waiting list / information list at

For others interested: Please contact us for information at