MSc Track: Hydraulic Engineering

Water plays a major role in delta areas such as the Netherlands. Although we need constantly to bear in mind the threats posed by rivers and the sea, we derive enormous benefits from water: the Netherlands has been able to develop into a prosperous trading nation thanks to its large rivers and the easy accessibility of the North Sea. The MSc in Hydraulic Engineering focuses on the ways in which we can protect ourselves against water while exploiting the opportunities it offers us.


Within this track you will learn how to tackle complex problems within fluid mechanics and other basic disciplines, and how to apply the developed technologies in practice. The emphasis here is on the use and development of computer models, laboratory experiments and field measurements. You will also learn how hydraulic constructions such as sluices, dams, barrages and storm surge barriers are designed.


The MSc track Hydraulic Engineering consists of seven specialisations:

Coastal Engineering

The specialisation Coastal Engineering concentrates on the coastal zone, more specifically the dynamics of dunes, beaches, tidal inlets and coastal seas. You will use coastal monitoring and modelling to design breakwaters, nourishments and other coastal infrastructure, often based on the concept of Building with Nature. 

River Engineering

The specialisation River Engineering focusses on how a river responds to measures and natural change (both on the short term and on the long term), on nature based solutions to river-related problems, and the design of effectives measures. 

Dredging Engineering

Civil, maritime and mechanical engineering aspects play a central role in the specialisation Dredging Engineering. Here we focus on the main elements of the dredging process: excavation, vertical and horizontal transport of dredged sediment, and its deposition. 

Ports and Waterways

The multi-disciplinary specialisation Ports and Waterways focusses on integrated planning and design of ports, terminals, and inland waterways, wherein operational, logistic, economic, environmental, safety and hydraulic aspects are addressed. 

Environmental Fluid Mechanics

The specialisation Environmental Fluid Mechanics focuses on the fundamental issues of fluid mechanics. You will learn about shallow water waves, turbulence, density differences within the flow, and the interaction between currents or waves and coastal and river engineering works. 

Hydraulic Structures

In the specialisation Hydraulic Structures you will learn about the design and construction of locks, weirs, storm surge barriers, quays, jetties, dikes and dams, and underground infrastructure such as submerged and bored tunnels. This requires insight on geotechnical and hydraulic aspects, as well as materials. Probabilistic and structural dynamic analyses are often applied. 

Flood Risk

The specialisation Flood Risk aims at identifying current and future flood risk through analysis of flood hazards, performance of defences, and flooding consequences. We assess flood risk reduction strategies, such as interventions in coastal and river systems, early warning, and emergency management. Probabilistic methods often play an important role.

Future expectations

Hydraulic engineers work in any number of projects across the globe for employers such as contractors, dredging companies, consultancy and engineering companies, water administrators, communities, public works departments and academic bodies.