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A Collaborative Graduate Program in Water, Environment and Health.

The Water Without Borders program is a partnership between McMaster University and the United Nations University – International Network on Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH).

About the Program

McMaster University has a long and honoured commitment to issues of environment more generally, and more recently water in particular. There is a tremendous recognition of the need to grow this area of research and teaching, and a strong commitment to this initiative from senior administration. Linked with the opportunities, activities and networks of UNU-INWEH, we are poised to create this innovative program, much in demand from some of our best graduate students, to address issues of international importance related to water, environment and health.

These could include, but certainly are not limited to:

  • Why do 1 billion individuals in the world continue to go without access to safe water on a daily basis?
  • Why does almost half the world’s population lack access to adequate sanitation?
  • What are the international governance structures that would allow us to safely steward this valuable resource?
  • What impacts will climate change have on the distribution and diffusion of water borne illness such as cholera?

Visit the UNU site for more information on the WWB program

The primary goal of WWB is to introduce graduate students to the advanced training and research needed by professionals in the field of water-health, broadly defined, to fill a growing global societal need for science, service, policy, and practice, around the fundamental human issue of maintaining water security and water resources now and in the future.

Issues of provision, access, quality, equity, conflict, distribution, change, governance, and environmental integrity – are all paramount importance to studying and responding to the water problematique. This means that highly qualified personnel, from a range of disciplines (including those belonging to natural sciences, humanities, business, social sciences, and health), are required to work together in understanding and addressing the emerging global water crisis. Water issues at all scales are transdisciplinary and WWB offers a distinctive program opportunity to develop transdisciplinary skills, featuring international experience, and engagement with water professionals, at the interface of water policy and research.

The WWB requirements include three courses (WOBORDER 701, WOBORDER 702, and WOBORDER 703), in addition to the requirements of your home program and department. The program will commence with an online welcome event in late September 2021. All formal WWB requirements will be completed by June 2022. Detailed course activity information will be provided in the welcome package to successful applicants. The program culminates in formal recognition on your transcript of completion from McMaster University and UNU-INWEH.

COVID-19 Accommodations

We recognize the challenges of both the global pandemic of COVID-19, and of the struggles for global water justice that have been affected by it. We have adjusted our program to meet the expectations of global insight into water challenges by adjusting our online course design and delivery accordingly: while experiential learning about Sustainable Development Goals and international water security remains central to our program, we have planned online and virtual program delivery strategies to meet the WWB Program goals for 2021-2022. These strategies will allow WWB Program Students to immerse themselves in international water policy and program activities without the potential risks of international travel or in-person meetings in the coming academic year.

Invitation to Apply

This is a limited enrolment graduate program, and we warmly invite you to apply by July 30, 2021. Successful applicants will be notified by August 20, 2021 and must accept their offers by August 30. Registration must be finalized before the closure of the September course change period.

How to Apply 

For consideration for admission to the 2021-2022 WWB Program, please complete the application form available through the McMaster School of Graduate Studies website by logging in with your MACID.

Find the “apply now” button, (lower right corner of screen) and click - taking you to this application page.

Enter your MACID and password to enter. (You should have received your MACID based on your home program admission.)

Please contact Leigh-Ann Sepe ( if you require assistance with the application process. You are also welcome to contact us with questions about the Water Without Borders Program. Best wishes as you continue your graduate studies at McMaster University.