DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Completion of the programme requires the completion of three main components:

Three courses beyond those required by the student’s home department at McMaster must be completed.

The are three compulsory courses that Water Without Borders (WWB) students must complete in addition to the requirements of their parent program:

  • WWB 701 Field course – The field course provides students with the opportunity to experience and participate in ongoing UNU-INWEH research activities. Students will travel to an international location for one week in February to complete the field course. The UNU-INWEH WWB Co-ordinator will accompany the students on the trip, the objective of which will be to ground the students in the research foci of the programme as well as its core principles. The course is evaluated through submissions to a photo competition that includes a 250-word description of each photo and a 500-word reflection  on their experience. Students will be required to incur the full cost of travel, accommodation, and meals associated with the trip. The total cost  is $2500 (subject to change), to be paid in instalments prior to the trip.
  • WWB 702 Water around the World – This seminar course  meets approximately 12 times over the first and second semester. The course is designed around problem based learning to stimulate discussion and debate of issues relevant to the relationship between applied research and policy formation in the context of water and health. The course will culminate in group  submissions in response to an issue provided through the course. This  course will normally be undertaken in the first year of graduate study, along  with other course work. Evaluation  will be based on participation, presentations and various short, written  assignments submitted in a blog format. This course is designed to address issues of:
    • Fostering  transdisciplinary research at nexus of the water-health-environment challenges;
    • Enhancing  the relationship between science and policy;
    • Developing  and mobilizing knowledge to benefit policy-making and community wellbeing; and,
    • Building  the capacity of communities, institutions and countries to address water,  health and environmental issues.
  • WWB 703 Practicum – The practicum will build on the problem focused on by each student in the WWB 702 course. Students will document the issue for a specific stakeholder through various formats that could include ministerial briefing notes, op-ed pieces, funding proposals, or position papers. This course is designed to address issues of:
    • Developing skills to translate and transfer  knowledge; and,
    • Building capacity to enhance communication and  bridge research and policy.

The practicum must be completed prior to any field season,  with the official deadline falling in July.


A thesis/dissertation/major research paper/research project based within UNU-INWEH’s research programme must be completed.

IMG_0127The research component is an essential part of the WWB programme. While it will vary according to the requirements of each parent program, the output must link with ongoing projects within the domain of the allocated UNU-INWEH supervisor. All research component activities will be evaluated according to the respective policies and procedures of McMaster University and the parent programme. While the research component is embedded in UNU-INWEH projects, it is a for-credit component of the student’s graduate degree requirements.

Every student is required to develop a research proposal. The proposal should conform to the parent programme requirements where possible. Students in a one year, course-based program should plan to take a self-directed / reading course in their second term that culminates in a research paper. The output of this course will satisfy the research component of the WWB programme. In order to ensure completion of all elements of the programme within the period of study, it is essential for the student to identify a McMaster professor willing to instruct the course and work with the UNU-INWEH Supervisor to design the course product early in the first term. In order to facilitate the course, the student should develop a research proposal by the end of November in the first term, upon which to build the elements of the course and the final paper.

For all other students, they should ensure that the thesis proposal fits with requirements for the home department at McMaster University. The proposal should be developed in discussion with both co-supervisors and should be completed by March 31st of the first year of the WWB programme, prior to the start of the research. The research scope must fulfill parent programme requirements but must also contribute to the advancement of research within the assigned programme at UNU-INWEH.

Some research projects may require travel into the field to collect data. While every effort will be made to support students in the field, students are advised to apply for supplemental funding for their studies and research through applicable competitions. While the details will be worked out between the co-supervisors and the student, in general, students must complete all three courses prior to engaging in fieldwork.


The student must work under the Joint Supervision with one McMaster and one UNU-INWEH Member.

All students in the Water Without Borders collaborative graduate program will be guided by the program regulations of their McMaster programme. The WWB requirements are in addition to the requirements associated with their graduate degree in the parent programme. Thus, the student undertakes all normal requirements within the parent programme.