Track Hydraulic Engineering

What if deltas were not protected against flooding? What if beaches no longer existed for recreation, and rivers and coastal seas lost their incredible value for nature? What if major ports like Shanghai and Rotterdam could not expand through land reclamation? Can we imagine a world without hydraulic engineering?

In the master track Hydraulic Engineering you will learn to develop engineering solutions for complex problems in water systems, like rivers, estuaries, coasts, seas and oceans. You learn how to model, design and analyse water systems that provide flood protection, navigation, ecology, freshwater supply, water quality and port operability to society. You are taught how to predict the impact of natural and anthropogenic changes on the water systems and how to account for the uncertainties that these changes create. You will gain knowledge about the physics of waves, flow and sediment transport processes and flood risk analysis and learn how to design and assess the interventions in water systems from the consequences’ standpoint. You will do so in the context of climate change, economic growth, rapid urbanisation and increasing environmental awareness.

Key features

➨ Assess the response of rivers, coasts, and estuaries to natural and anthropogenic change.
➨ Solve problems in these systems by effective engineering design.
➨ Perform (flood) risk analyses, deal with uncertainty and evaluate the reliability and safety of hydraulic structures.
➨ Use and develop state of the art technologies for laboratory experiments, field measurements and remotely-sensed data.
➨ Work closely with industry, research institutes and government.

| Highlighted Student Story

Building sand castles for your graduation

What Civil Engineering master’s student Jasper Scheijmans actually wanted was to graduate at a big dredging company but Covid-19 intervened. Jasper and his professors came up with a completely different idea. Why not carry out research into coastal dunes inside a container on the beach?

Reading currents in the ocean

A spur of the moment decision to spend the summer onboard a ship researching ocean currents plunged Master students Niek Kusters and Fleur Wellen into a wet and wonderful five-week adventure.


What do graduates of Civil Engineering end up doing in the world? Watch the video’s and read their stories to find out.

Ilze Plomp-van der Sar

Ilze Plomp-van der Sar graduated in 2016 and currently works for the Rijkswaterstaat as a senior Asset Management Advisor at the Maeslant Barrier. The Maeslant Barrier is a huge storm surge barrier built to protect residents of South Holland from high sea water levels. Ilze works to maintain the Maeslant Barrier so that it functions properly when it is needed.

In her job, she frequently employs a holistic approach on maintenance, allowing her to zoom out and reflect on how a specific task aligns with the Rijkswaterstaat's mission. For her, it is crucial to view a project, such as the Maeslant Barrier, within the whole context: a certain component works together with another. You cannot really consider them separately. Another important aspect is establishing the relationship with reliability and availability and assessing the risks. That is how she makes informed decisions, decisions which have an impact on the defence barriers protecting millions of people.

This role is a big responsibility. When the Maeslant Barrier closes, we really have to be ready. That's when we get to show our worth and what we’re here for. And that’s protecting millions of people. I may not be a doctor, but in that moment, I am saving lives, and it’s awesome.

Ilze Plomp-van der Sar, Senior Asset Management Advisor, Rijkswaterstaat

Research examples