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Graduate Professional Diploma Programme

The Graduate Professional Diploma Programme (GPDP) programme disseminates sanitation and sanitary engineering knowledge to professionals without the means, time or interest to pursue an MSc degree in Sanitation and Sanitary Engineering, or with an MSc Degree in a related field and a wish to specialize professionally.

The programme consists of a sequence of four or five online courses, regular short courses or a combination. The number of ECTS points vary from 3 to 6 per course. The minimum study load for obtaining a diploma is 20 ECTS, which equals a workload of 560 hours. The online courses can be followed part-time, without interrupting a day-time career. In order to ensure that the programme fits the personal circumstances of the applicant, courses will be selected and a personal study plan will be designed in collaboration with a study advisor. The total duration of the programme depends on this study plan, with a minimum of 1.5 and a maximum of 4.5 years.

For whom?

Practising sanitation sector professionals, or for those who have aspirations to work in the sector.

Learning objectives

Upon completion of the programme participants will be qualified to:

  • Perform as a competent professional in the field of sanitation and/or sanitary engineering;
  • Contribute to the development of innovative approaches to the provision of sustainable sanitation services, especially under challenging conditions usually prevailing in developing countries and countries in transition.

Dependent on the chosen programme track and the choice of courses within that track, the participants will be able to:

  • Understand and explain the role of sanitation in the urban water cycle and its relation to public health and environment;
  • Develop rational approaches towards sustainable wastewater management via pollution prevention, appropriate treatment, and resource recovery and re-use at both in a centralized and decentralized setting;
  • Understand the relevant physical, chemical and biological processes and their mutual relationships within various sanitation components;
  • Define and critically analyze, assess and evaluate various urban drainage and sewerage schemes, and wastewater, sludge (including faecal sludge) and solid waste treatment process technologies;
  • Analyze, synthesize, integrate, interpret, and discuss scientific and practical information in the context of preparing research and engineering projects including preparation of master plans, feasibility studies and preliminary designs;
  • Apply modern tools for technology selection and modelling of sanitation components.

GPDP concept and content

The minimum requirement to obtain a GPDP diploma is to collect at least 20 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits. The table below describes the online courses offered by UNESCO-IHE as part of the GPDP and their respective number of ECTS credits. Participants have to select among three clusters of courses leading to three different tracks:

  • Sanitation Track (S): 15 ECTS credits from sanitation online courses must be obtained + 5 ECTS credits from any other online courses listed below.
  • Sanitary Engineering Track (SE): 15 ECTS credits from sanitary engineering online courses + 5 ECTS credits from any other online courses listed below.
  • All Round/Generalist Track (M): 10 ECTS credits from sanitation online courses + 10 ECTS credits from sanitary engineering courses.

The number of online courses required to collect the 20 ECTS credits ranges between four and five online courses. Each online course is offered only once a year.

The duration of an online module varies between 12 and 18 weeks. The GPDP should be completed within a period of 4 years.

The online courses within the GPDP programme are:

*more information on this course will be available soon

Admission and application

  • Academic admission to the programme may be granted to applicants who provide evidence of having a university bachelor's degree in an appropriate field of study for the programme (such as civil, environmental, (bio)chemical engineering).
  • Academic admission to the program will be granted on the basis of a decision taken by the Academic Registrar, upon advice of the programme coordinator.
  • Students will be registered to one of the three programme tracks described in the table above.
  • Selection of modules for each individual student will be decided upon after the decision and agreement with the programme coordinator.
  • Applicants will be registered as a student in the programme. Payment of the required tuition fees will be issued per course.
  • Apply by sending the GPDP Application Form and required documents to onlinecourse@unesco-ihe.org.

Application Form

Download the GPDP Application Form here.


Each course/module will be examined separately. Participants must comply with the education and examination regulations of the GPDP set by UNESCO-IHE.

Costs and fees

The participant will have to pay the tuition fee (issued per course) before the start of every course. The fees are mentioned on the webpage of every course. After three courses, the participant will get a 30% discount on the fee of the following courses.