Safe and reliable water, sanitation, and hygiene services require “human capital”: people with the knowledge, skill, and judgment to develop policies and implement programs which provide socially, economically, and technically sustainable services. A detailed survey of 10 countries identified a shortfall of nearly 800,000 educated professionals in drinking water and sanitation, and emerging technologies and challenges demand a workforce with flexibility and creativity. We have worked with partners across the globe to understand their needs, exploring the potential of traditional residential collegiate courses, intensive on-site workshops, and interactive, digital learning. To meet the needs of our online participants, we built and adapted a digital learning platform for low-bandwidth settings. With each iteration of our educational offerings, we learn new ways to bring to the online environment the rigorous engagement among teachers and students characteristic of our face-to-face teaching at UNC.

We have contributed substantively to enhancing water-related student opportunities within UNC. We host lunch seminars for students, faculty and staff. These provide students with a supportive and challenging setting to present and receive constructive criticism their research, allow visitors to meet us and present their work, and help staff stay abreast of ongoing projects.

We are well-placed to contribute to the effort to build the needed capacities. We support graduate education and professional development both at UNC and through online education initiatives. In North Carolina and worldwide, we have a proven record of providing the multidisciplinary perspectives and education, teaching engineers about health and public health workers about water, sanitation, and hygiene technologies.

Distance Learning

Distance learning is available to any with access to the internet. Our courses focus on sharing information on important topics in WaSH and building online communities.

View descriptions of our Water Safety Plans course and Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning for WaSH course.

To ask a question about distance learning, please email us as waterinstituteteaching@unc.edu.


Learning at UNC

We provide education and training in water, health and development through the UNC system. We work within the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering of the Gillings School of Global Public Health. All degree programs in which we teach are described here and the details about applying are available here.

Helpful tips on writing research papers from the former Director of The Water Institute at UNC Dr. Jamie Bartram are available here.

Undergraduate students

The School of Public Health offers Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) degree programs, and a subset of these undergraduates pursue studies in WaSH. Students typically apply to the School of Public Health in the second semester of their sophomore year for fall admission the following academic year. More information for current UNC students on admission to the BSPH program may be found here.

Graduate students

All applicants to the MS, MSEE, MSPH and PhD programs must officially apply through The Graduate School at UNC. Of special interest is the newly restructured one year Master of Science in Environmental Engineering, a non-research, public health-oriented terminal degree intended for students interested in careers in environmental engineering practice.

Post-Doctoral Researchers

Post-doctoral researchers drive much of the research agenda at the Water Institute. General information is available at the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Please see our job openings page for a list of post-doctoral research opportunities.