What if functionality and sustainability would go hand-in-hand?
The Master’s Programme in Water and Environmental Engineering attracts students from natural sciences, engineering subjects and business fields – and it is a splendid thing for the future of our planet.
When the vision is to educate the people who will be building a functional and sustainable society, the bar has to be set high.
‘We have a Master's Programme where every detail has been thought through’, summarises University Lecturer Marko Keskinen, who has been coordinating the Master’s Programme in Water and Environmental Engineering (WAT) for over a year. The starting criteria for its design were multidisciplinarity, solid technical expertise and diverse backgrounds of participating students. The programme is also continually developed with a diversity of perspectives in mind. The courses are planned in detail so that they serve the programme’s learning objectives.
‘These objectives were also worked through with our stakeholder groups so that we got a picture of what kind of experts they need’, explains Professor Riku Vahala.
The WAT Master’s Programme trains Water and Environmental Engineering professionals for variety of positions in companies, water utilities, the public sector and research institutes. The range of work tasks stretches from project design to complex mathematical modelling and from a command of legal details to business development. Around half of the students come from outside Aalto.
‘We have polytechnic-trained engineers, bachelors of business and economics, and masters from different fields. This diverse expertise is a tremendous resource’, Keskinen says.
‘The challenges within our field are so large and global that they need to be tackled by skilled experts that have both field-specific expertise and broad societal understanding. Only in this way can we ensure that functionality and sustainability are not alternative options in our society, but that they go hand-in-hand.’
The two-year Master’s Programme is structured such that the students complete their 60 credits of major studies already in the first year. This frees up the second year for other matters, such as optional exchange studies and the Master’s Thesis. Of the 60 credits, only 15 are common to all students of the programme; the remaining 45 can be selected by the students from the major courses on offer according to their own interests and career plan.
‘This isn’t a production-line style programme, because our field is so broad’, Riku Vahala emphasises.
‘The employer therefore gets the opportunity to recruit the expert that is just right for their needs, and who also has the capacity to develop their expertise in working life.’
About the Master’s Programme in Water and Environmental Engineering
- Combines strong technical expertise with understanding of societal challenges and global environmental problems.
- Alongside substance and professional expertise, such as data analysis and project management, emphasis is also given to general skills such as teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving.
- Every student puts during their studies together their own Personal Learning Portfolio, and receives mentoring from both teachers and working-life representatives.
- The program is developed constantly based on the information and feedback received from students, teachers and stakeholder groups.
- Working group: Riku Vahala, Marko Keskinen