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Masters Degrees in Geography, Belgium

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The Master of Geography programme is a two-year advanced study organised by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the K.U.Leuven. This interuniversity master’s programme provides the students with comprehensive training in spatial approaches to social and/or natural phenomena. Read more

About the programme

The Master of Geography programme is a two-year advanced study organised by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the K.U.Leuven. This interuniversity master’s programme provides the students with comprehensive training in spatial approaches to social and/or natural phenomena.

The programme provides a deeper understanding of geographical problems and methods, knowledge to augment the theoretical debate within the discipline, and training in the use of geographical research techniques.

The global aim of the master’s programme is to generate geographers that can play an active role in contemporary society.

3 specializations to choose from

The programme has been recently redefined. From 2014-2015 the following specializations will be offered:

- Earth and Climate
The Earth and Climate track focuses on terrestrial ecosystems and environmental changes, emphasising timely and relevant research topics in the geosciences like global warming, ice climate interaction, soil and water conservation, natural hazards
and risk assessment. In this specialisation you will gain a deep understanding of land surface and atmospheric processes shaping the physical environment and acquire quantitative skills for analysing and modelling the dynamics of these processes. You will also learn to independently define and carry out research projects in geosciences and develop a synthetic vision on environmental issues, at local, regional and global scales.

- City, Society and Space
In a strongly urbanised world there is a growing need to better understand social, economic, cultural, and political dynamics of urban areas. The City, Society and Space track focuses on the multifaceted issues that cities are experiencing in the current era of globalisation. During your study, you will be introduced to key urban social and economic theories and become familiar with critical views on urban development. In the interdisciplinary spirit of urban studies, you will have the chance to engage with and integrate insights from key debates in urban planning and design, housing and real estate markets, tourism and regional development, and many more. Moreover, you will be trained in qualitative and quantitative research methods that will allow you to analyse contemporary urban dynamics in a synthetic and rigorous way.

- GIS and Spatial Modelling
In the GIS and Spatial Modelling track you will become acquainted with new approaches and techniques for acquiring, managing, analysing and mapping spatial data. Based on your skills in spatial data handling and your background in both natural and human
sciences, you will be trained in analysing complex interactions between man and environment and in the application of spatial decision-making mechanisms. As an expert in geodata processing and spatial modelling you will get the opportunity to improve your knowledge in important application fields of geo-information science, including natural resource management, spatial planning, mobility and transportation. Alternatively, you can also opt to include a 2-month GIS internship in your study programme.

The programme offers

• Comprehensive coverage of spatially explicit approaches for analysing social and natural phenomena and how these interact
• Hands-on training in the use of qualitative and quantitative geographical research techniques
• The opportunity to study in Brussels, the capital of Europe
• The option to include a one-semester stay in another European country in your study programme

Curriculum

Details available on http://www.vub.ac.be/DGGF/PDF/Geography_2014_2015.pdf

Student profile

You are interested in:
• Developing analytical skills to unravel complex interactions between man and environment
• Contributing to the debate on major societal challenges linked to environmental change, globalisation, urban growth, social
inequality
• Working towards feasible solutions for sustainable planning and development

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Applicants are eligible for the Master in Urban Studies if they have completed a 180 ECTS academic bachelor degree or its equivalent in geography, planning, architecture, history, criminology, political science, sociology, demography, media and communication studies, cultural studies, or a similar discipline. Read more

About

Applicants are eligible for the Master in Urban Studies if they have completed a 180 ECTS academic bachelor degree or its equivalent in geography, planning, architecture, history, criminology, political science, sociology, demography, media and communication studies, cultural studies, or a similar discipline. Additionally, proof of fluency in English is required and should be sought well in advance of the application window.

Programme structure

The 120 ECTS curriculum combines the attractiveness of a flexible, modular and interdisciplinary programme that allows you to focus on your own interests within the domain of urban studies with a common core of compulsory courses to ensure that you develop the necessary urban skills and competences.

Common core

The common core contains a course on Brussels, one on the European dimension of cities and urbanisation, and a number of theoretical courses introducing you to the field of urban studies. By using Brussels as a unique case study in the programme and by organising various site visits in and around Brussels and excursions to cities in Europe, we benefit from our location in the centre of Europe. The common core also contains two modules introducing you to various urban methods and research approaches.

The core consists of the following courses:

Geographies of a Globalizing Europe (VUB, 6 ECTS, Bas van Heur)
Urban Social Geography (VUB, 6 ECTS, David Bassens)
Urban Economic Geography (ULB, 5 ECTS, Mathieu Van Criekingen)
Urban Sociology (ULB, 5 ECTS, Martin Rosenfeld)
Urban Sustainability and Circular Economy (ULB, 5 ECTS, Ahmed Khan)
Global City-Region Brussels (VUB, 6 ECTS, Joost Vaesen)
Urban Analysis I (VUB, 3 ECTS, Eva Swyngedouw)
Urban Analysis II (ULB, 5 ECTS, Corentin Debailleul)
Excursion I (VUB/ULB, 3 ECTS)
Excursion II (VUB/ULB, 3 ECTS)

Elective modules and courses

Before starting with the Master in Urban Studies, you are expected to choose two elective modules. The elective modules have a disciplinary and/or thematic orientation: this will allow you to specialise within subdomains of urban studies, while at the same time ensuring interdisciplinary training on the level of the overall programme.

We currently offer six elective modules, incorporating a large variety of disciplines from across the social sciences and humanities:

Urban History (18 ECTS)
Urban Criminology (15 ECTS)
Urban Geography (12 ECTS)
Urban Architecture (15 ECTS)
Urban Planning and Mobility (14 ECTS)
Urban Design (16/18 ECTS)
Besides the elective modules, we also offer a wide range of individual elective courses.

Internship

You can also choose to replace one elective module with an internship (15 ECTS), allowing you to gain experience in a working environment that is relevant to urban studies, such as an NGO, local government administration, consultancy firm or European network or institution. If you want to pursue a PhD following your Master education, you can also choose to do a research-oriented internship by working in a university department or another research institution.

Semester abroad

In the second year of your studies, it is possible to go abroad for a semester and study at one of our partner universities.

Master thesis

30 ECTS of your 120 ECTS programme is dedicated to the Master thesis. In the first year of your studies, you will choose a topic and develop your research design, whereas in the second year you will conduct most of the empirical research and write the actual thesis. Throughout the two-year process, there will be various moments of collective and individual supervision.

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The European Euromaster in Urban Studies (4Cities) is a unique two-year interdisciplinary and international programme. 4Cities takes students to Brussels, Copenhagen, Vienna, Madrid and a number of surrounding cities. Read more
The European Euromaster in Urban Studies (4Cities) is a unique two-year interdisciplinary and international programme. 4Cities takes students to Brussels, Copenhagen, Vienna, Madrid and a number of surrounding cities. The European Euromaster adds a European perspective to the field of Urban Studies: it wants to break up and to open the national perspective on urban problems. The growing importance of globalisation and the shift towards a world of flows calls for a new approach in important fields of urban policy like culture, economy, planning.

Programme focus

 Globalisation - the processes of globalisation and localisation - as a general context leading to a renewed importance of the city and urbanity in the 21st century. The city is considered a nodal point in post-national developments.
Europe as the unit of analysis: Europe and the European unification process is seen as part of and a reaction to this globalisation processes. Our scope is Europe seen through its cities and urban networks.
 Interdisciplinarity and internationality as a surplus value. The Unica master is a thematic masters programme focused on transdisciplinary approaches and transdisciplinary practices (not the least bridging urban planning and urban sociology, geography, etc) with a focus on the socio-spatial analysis of cities.
An education build on strong cases: Brussels (capital of EU, small global city) – Copenhagen (the Scandinavian mode of regulation), Vienna (metropolis at the centre of Europe: gateway to the East), Madrid (the Mediterranean cities) and a number of surrounding cities.
The importance of fieldwork: research experience in each city and comparative or transnational research as the basis for a final masters thesis.
 A number of excursions and visits: a central attractor will be that we incorporate well prepared excursions in each block. Each excursion will incorporate a socio-spatial introduction to the city (a city walk) and an institutional visit with a focus on certain aspects of policy or management. Moreover a number of projects and institutions will be visited.

Program structure

During a period of two years, students take part in an interdisciplinary programme and study in four cities: Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid and Vienna. Students live in each of the cities for one semester, except for the first block (Brussels) which takes a few weeks longer and the last block which consists of a short intensive stay in Madrid. Students spend most of the last semester in a location of their choice, where they are able to work on their master thesis.

In each city the programme consists of:
 academic courses
 fieldwork
 excursions & visits
 exams

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The MA in International Development is a unique interdisciplinary programme taught by academics, practitioners and policymakers to understand the multifaceted political, economic and legal processes that shape development. Read more
The MA in International Development is a unique interdisciplinary programme taught by academics, practitioners and policymakers to understand the multifaceted political, economic and legal processes that shape development. It is suitable for students seeking to understand the field of international development as well as for practitioners who already have substantive experience. It provides conceptual tools and practical skills for a variety of careers in international affairs.

The programme seeks to contribute to a critical understanding of contemporary issues in development and provides practical tools for a future engagement. It considers theoretical, practical and ethical issues by interrogating development discourses, objectives and effects, and by seeking to understand forms of inclusion/exclusion and intervention in societies. Issues covered include economic development, poverty eradication, legal empowerment, public-private partnerships, social entrepreneurship, trade and privatisation, informal economies and finance, and technological initiatives.

The programme is offered jointly by the School of Politics and International Relations, Kent Law School and the School of Economics, to provide you with an interdisciplinary approach to development and to allow you to specialise in your field of interest, such as development economics, development and migration, development and conflict, or human rights. You may choose between an economic stream and a politico-legal stream, complemented by a wealth of elective modules from various departments.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/55/international-development

About the Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS)

The Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) is a multidisciplinary postgraduate School of the University of Kent. We bring together the disciplines of politics, international relations, law and economics to provide in-depth analysis of international problems such as conflict, security, development, migration, the political economy and the legal basis of a changing world order.

We are a truly international School: our students are drawn from over 50 countries. The strong international composition of our staff and student body contributes significantly to the academic and social experience at BSIS (http://www.kent.ac.uk/brussels/studying/index.html). Being located in Brussels allows us to expose students to the working of major international organisations, such as the EU and NATO, and to the many international and non-governmental organisations based here. Students also have the opportunity to undertake an internship with one of these organisations.

Course structure

We are committed to offering flexible study options at the School and enable you to tailor your degree to meet your needs by offering start dates in September and January; full- and part-time study; split-site options, and allowing students to combine two fields of study leading to the award of a degree that reflects both disciplines.

Specialisations

The MA in International Development allows students to choose secondary areas of specialisation from the range of programmes offered at BSIS. Thus, a focused programme of study can be constructed by studying International Development in the context of International Relations; Conflict and Security; Human Rights Law and other subject areas we cover.

This leads to the award of an MA degree in, for example, 'International Development with Human Rights Law'.

Standard and extended versions

The LLM is offered in both a standard version (90 ECTS credits) and an extended version (120 ECTS credits) and in each case students may take the programme with or without a secondary specialisation. Those on the extended version will take more modules to gain extra credit.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

- provide a postgraduate qualification of value to those intending to pursue a career in the field of international development

- provide a detailed knowledge and a high level of understanding of a range of specialised subject areas

- provide access to a range of disciplinary perspectives on international development, in the framework of an interdisciplinary graduate school with cognate programmes in international relations, conflict analysis, international law, and migration studies

- provide a sound knowledge and systematic understanding of the institutional structures and policy fields of international development

- provide a degree of specialisation in areas of international development of individual interest from among the range of options that are available and which require you to engage with academic work that is at the frontiers of scholarship

- encourage you to develop a critical awareness of the discourses and practices associated with the field of international development, particularly in contexts which are perceived to be controversial or in a state of evolution

- provide you with a research-active learning environment which gives you a good grounding in the study of the contending approaches and issues in international development, and allows you to place the subject in its proper context within the broader field of international studies

- encourage you to develop critical, analytical, communicative and problem-solving skills which can be applied to a wide range of contexts (transferable skills).

- develop skills in the written presentation of arguments in a manner which meets relevant academic conventions

- contribute to widening participation in higher education by taking account of past experience of applicants in determining admissions whilst ensuring that all students that are admitted possess the potential to complete the programme successfully

- develop your general research skills and personal skills (transferable skills), in particular through a substantial dissertation.

Careers

The School of Politics and International Relations has a dedicated Employability, Placements and Internships Officer who works with students to develop work-based placements in a range of organisations. Centrally, the Careers and Employability Service can help you plan for your future by providing one-to-one advice at any stage of your postgraduate studies.

Many students at our Brussels centre who undertake internships are offered contracts in Brussels immediately after graduation. Others have joined their home country’s diplomatic service, entered international organisations, or have chosen to undertake a ‘stage’ at the European Commission, or another EU institution. Our graduates have gone on to careers in academia, local and national government and public relations.

A postgraduate degree in the area of economics is a particularly valuable and flexible qualification that can open the door to exciting careers in many professions. Our graduates have gone on to work as economists in international organisations, the financial sector, business, UK and overseas governments, and to further postgraduate training and academic careers at Kent, UK and overseas universities. Recent MSc graduates have gone on to work for companies in the UK such as BNP Paribas, AXA, FactSet and PwC.

Kent has an excellent record for postgraduate employment: over 94% of our postgraduate students who graduated in 2013 found a job or further study opportunity within six months.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

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