Water Without Borders


The deadline for applications for the WWB Joint Diploma for 2020-2021 is now extended to June 16, 2020. This application fee is waived.

2020-2021 Brochure

 

Water Without Borders (WWB) is a collaborative graduate program in water, environment and health between the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) and McMaster University.

It addresses issues of water without borders, either geopolitical or disciplinary. The program is designed to be undertaken alongside a graduate degree program at McMaster University. It is open to graduate students in all faculties and departments. The intent of this program is to give graduate students the tools they need to achieve not only their aspirations of learning, but also to change the world.

This innovative, professional collaborative graduate programme is the only one of its kind in North America. It links the rigour of a traditional university graduate program with the professional policy training and experience of an international centre of excellence focused on the global water crisis. Students will have the opportunity not only to achieve a solid academic foundation at McMaster University, but also to be immersed in the world of international (water and environmental) policy through UNU-INWEH. More importantly, they will be challenged to examine capacity building as part of their explorations.

The programme is based on four main principles:

  • a commitment to excellence in the sciences (health, natural, human);
  • a commitment to transdisciplinary research;
  • a commitment to knowledge transfer;
  • a commitment to capacity building.

The primary goal of WWB is to develop highly qualified personnel in the area 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 resources now and in the future. Issues of provision, access, quality, equity, conflict, distribution, change, governance, and environmental integrity are all of paramount importance to studying and responding to water issues. Hence, highly qualified personnel, from a range of disciplines (natural, human, health), are required to work together in understanding and addressing the emerging global water crisis; in short, this is truly a transdisciplinary problem that requires a truly transdisciplinary programme of study.

Learning Objectives
.The objectives of this programme are:

  • To create strong professionals in water-environment-health across a range of disciplines;
  • To create strong professionals with the ability to bridge research and policy; and,
  • To create strong professionals with the ability to undertake related capacity building.

 

The new online and virtual course for 2020-2021

We have adjusted our program to both respond to current health concerns, and to meet the expectations of truly 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 for 2020-2021, online and virtual program delivery strategies meet the WWB goals for the incoming cohort. These will allow WWB Program Students to obtain authentic immersive experience in international water policy and program activities, without the potential risks of international travel or in person meetings in the coming academic year.

Students will participate in an international online and virtual leaning experiences in lieu of the one-week international field camp held previously. By linking our WWB cohort with a range of UNU-INWEH projects in marginalized communities, and with other UN and UN sister agencies, the WWB 2020-2021 Program will connect the world of international water with our students, in ongoing research and experiential learning opportunities. The course will be evaluated through a journal and related assignments, and effective participation.

In previous years, students have traveled to Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and most recently to Peru, and we look forward to resuming active travel in the future. If conditions permit in relation to health and safety concerning COVID-19, we may be able to consider optional, live field activities in Spring/Summer 2021.

Applications for the year 2020-2021 will be accepted January 1, 2020 and will close June 16 2020.

Eligibility

To be eligible for admission to Water Without Borders, applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree at an accredited university and must already have been made an offer of admission to their parent graduate program at McMaster, and have accepted that offer. A student may apply for the WWB programme after submission of an application to McMaster University and prior to an offer from the parent program, but any offer of admission to WWB will be contingent upon proof of acceptance into a parent program at McMaster University. For more information on applying to graduate programs at McMaster University visit their School of Graduate Studies website.

Academic Qualifications

Normally, potential students are expected to have a minimum of a B+ average in the final year of their undergraduate degree, broad general interests, and a strong desire and plan to contribute to solving global water issues.

Language Requirements

The medium of instruction for the WWB programme is English. For students whose native language is not English, English proficiency requirements are the same as for entry into a McMaster graduate program.

Course Requirements

The WWB program is completed in conjunction with your McMaster graduate degree, and its requirements include three courses WOBORDER 701, WOBORDER 702, and WOBORDER 703, in addition to the prerequisites of your home department. A brief update for 2020-2021 describing adjustments to these courses in response to COVID-19 is given below in the Program Outline section.

Fees

Please note that the McMaster Board of Governors levied a Tuition Fee of $1050.00 (total costs for 2020-2021) for the WWB Joint Diploma at its meeting on Thursday, June 4, 2020. The application fee has been waived.

To Apply

Students must apply for admission to a home graduate program at McMaster University, and acceptance into the Water Without Borders programme will be conditional upon acceptance into McMaster University. To apply to the Water without Borders programme,  please visit this link: https://www.mcmaster.ca/ola/grad.html.

When you are applying please:

  1. Upload a statement of interest (maximum 500 words) describing how your research interests fit with those of UNU-INWEH, and why you are a strong candidate for the collaborative program. Include any experience you have in the area of international water, policy, development, and/or your career goals and aspirations; and
  2. Email Leigh-Ann Sepe (wwbsec@mcmaster.ca) with the MOSAIC application number of your home graduate program application.  From this our administrator will be able to access your home application to obtain your references and transcripts so you do not need to submit those twice.
Application Deadlines

Applications are accepted from January 1 through June 16 for September admissions, and will be reviewed by the programme committee in June.

WWB701: Online and Virtual Offering for 2020-2021 Field Course

Students will participate in an international online and virtual leaning experiences in lieu of the one-week international field camp held previously. By linking our WWB cohort with a range of UNU-INWEH projects in marginalized communities, and with other UN and UN sister agencies, the WWB 2020-2021 Program will connect the world of international water with our students, in ongoing research and experiential learning opportunities. The course will be evaluated through a journal and related assignments, and effective participation.

In previous years, students have traveled to Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and most recently to Peru, and we look forward to resuming active travel in the future. If conditions permit in relation to health and safety concerning COVID-19, we may be able to consider optional, live field activities in Spring/Summer 2021.

 

WWB702 A & B: Water Around the World

The purpose of this course is to address the issues that illustrate the bridging of science and policy, the development of capacity, and the conduct of transdisciplinary research at the water-environment-health nexus. The content is primarily delivered through problem-based learning, which will examine real issues faced by actual UNU-INWEH projects.

The class will meet online using Zoom and/or other platforms, approximately 12 times between September 2020 and April 2021.In addition, attendance at additional public lectures and seminars and panel debates maybe requested. This course involves oral presentations, journal work, participation in on-line expert training, and peer to peer learning in project teams.

 

WWB703: Practicum

The practicum will require students to work independently to carry out research on a topic, chosen from a list of potential topics of interest to UNU-INWEH. The aim is to translate the knowledge generated from the research into a mini-paper with all of the elements that would be required for a peer-reviewed journal publication. These pieces of work will be equivalent to three weeks of full-time work, completed over the course of the summer.

The practicum requirements will be communicated to each student by the beginning of May each year. The deadline for completion will be the 15th of June 2021. If mini-paper revisions are required for successful completion, they must be provided by June 30, 2021.

“This program will inspire you to innovate and immerse yourself in an entrepreneurial mindset as well as grow and learn with your peers, who share your passion for water research. It will furnish different approaches to learning and provide students with an opportunity to gain practical field skills to deal with issues surrounding water, environment, and health. Students will have an opportunity to conduct field research in a developing country and will provide students with the necessary steps to tackle some of the world’s most challenging issues. The small class size, combined with a community atmosphere, fosters a unique sense of teamwork among the students and faculty.” – Faria Faiz
“When it comes to water, I noticed how the human right to access it although fundamental for our existence, was not in everybody’s minds or was not given the proper place in the political debates of our times. This lead me to the program WWB, where a strong line-up of lecturers provides the students with a multidisciplinary approach to deal with the different problems that water-related public policies face.” – Jorge Sanchez Perez
“The Water Without Borders programme combines educational and practical training that allowed me to seek a challenging, yet rewarding experience. It taught me the importance of integrating the natural, health, and social sciences together to develop sustainable safe water programs on an international level.” – Konrad Lisnyj
“I feel very fortunate to have participated in the WWB program for the opportunity to meet and work with such amazing people. The interdisciplinary nature of the program, the small group size, and format allowed for great learning opportunities and deep discussion on the important challenges of sustainable water management for human health and environmental sustainability. As a water engineer who appreciates an interdisciplinary approach, this program pushed me even further to consider and value perspectives from a wide range of backgrounds that are all working towards the same goal. This experience will be valuable to us all in our future work in this area.”Kim Jusek
“The Waters Without Borders program was an invaluable opportunity to learn about the real world problems within water, environment, and health along with the practical challenges that go into planning and implementation solutions to many of today’s sustainable development problems. The diverse educational backgrounds of the students in the program enabled us to look at these problems through a variety of lenses and develop interdisciplinary and hopefully practical solutions to the questions posed throughout the course of the program. Beyond the academic classwork, the students and faculty in the program were amazing to be around and the experiences, which ranged from eating fresh mangoes on a bumpy bus ride through the hills of Ghana to the numerous potluck socials, were hilarious and a ton of fun.” – Krupesh Patel
<width=”20″> “Our cohort learned a lot of valuable information from each other showing the benefits of interdisciplinary learning. The field course to Uganda provided countless opportunities for experiential learning. It was an incredible opportunity to learn about water and sanitation and the innovative processes the Ugandan people are engaged in to improve the water status of their population. I learned crucial information about the everyday water issues prevalent in some regions; an education that was best served in the field and not the classroom.” – Kerry O’Neill
“My time at UNU-INWEH provided me with the skills-set to form long-term sustainable partnerships and the know-how to working with government agencies. WWB allowed me to connect my scientific research directly to the community, it was a learning opportunity of how engineering and society’s wellbeing interrelate with one another. Today, I support continuously improving production operations and maintenance while balancing environmental and the community’s welfare and understanding how our processes applies to policies from our various stakeholders and internally.” – Ahmed Elganzouri
“The WWB program in collaboration with the Institute on Globalization and Human Condition at McMaster University provided me the opportunity to expand my academic focus both thematically and geographically. Under the guidance of Dr. Corrine Shuster-Wallace of UNU-INWEH, I conducted field research in Uganda to assist in developing a gender-based framework for integrated water, sanitation, hygiene, and HIV/AIDS community development. I believe that the opportunity provided by UNU-INWEH laid the foundation for my present work with the UN in Zimbabwe, and I hope to further the research I began with WWB through Phd. Studies.” – Chris Stanley
When are students expected to begin the programme?

Students are expected to enter the WWB programme in their first year of graduate studies for a Masters degree and their first or second year for a Ph.D. degree.  In exceptional circumstances, students may be admitted other than in their first (or second for a Ph.D.) year of enrollment in a parent program at McMaster.

How are applications evaluated?

Once the deadline has expired, applications who have met the eligibility requirement will be assessed by the Water Without Borders Programme Committee.  The evaluation will be made in terms of the applicant’s qualifications and interests in relation to the research goals and programme of UNU-INWEH and the ability of faculty to provide co-supervision. Specifically, academic excellence will be based upon strength of their transcripts and references, while overall fit with the mission, vision and research priorities of UNU-INWEH will be based upon the statement of interest.

The Water without Borders Programme Committee will forward recommendations for offers of admission to the Director of UNU-INWEH.  A process of matching the student to a UNU-INWEH research project will then be initiated.  As part of the matching process, applicants may be invited to meet with the potential supervisor, at their discretion, prior to any decision being made. Only when a UNU-INWEH supervisor and a suitable water-related project have been identified will the student be admitted into the collaborative graduate programme.

What are the language requirements?

The medium of instruction for the WWB programme is English. For students whose native language is not English, English proficiency requirements are the same as for entry into a McMaster graduate program.

What type of certificate will students receive?

Upon completion of the Water Without Borders components, students receive the degree from their parent programme at McMaster University with the designation on their transcript and a certificate conferred of ‘Completion of Collaborative Degree Programme with the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health’, along with the seal of UNU-INWEH, and the signature of the Rector.

Are part-time studies available?

The programme is not currently offered on a part-time basis.

Does the programme offer January admission?

Normally, students are admitted to the programme only for September.

When can prospective students apply?

Applications are generally accepted from early January through May. Exact deadlines are updated each year on the applications section of this website.

How many students are admitted to the programme?

Final enrolment numbers will depend upon the quality of applicants and the availability of appropriate supervisors.  Maximum enrolment will be limited to an intake of 10 students per year to ensure an intellectual community for each graduate cohort.

How long does the programme take to complete?

The three courses are normally completed within the first three terms of registration in the WWB program.  All elements of the WWB program, including the research component must be completed prior to, or no later than, the date of oral defence (for thesis / dissertation) or the program deadline (Course-based or MRP).

The application process is straightforward, but if you need assistance with the application, please contact Leigh-Ann Sepe at wwbsec@mcmaster.ca.

For questions about the Water Without Borders program, please contact: Dr. Nancy Doubleday, Co-Director, Water Without Borders Graduate Diploma Program, McMaster University at doublen@mcmaster.ca.