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Masters Degrees in Urban Planning, Belgium

We have 4 Masters Degrees in Urban Planning, Belgium

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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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What is the 'Master of Architecture' all about?. This Master's programme "Architecture. Urban Projects, Urban Cultures" explores architecture from a . Read more

What is the 'Master of Architecture' all about?

This Master's programme "Architecture: Urban Projects, Urban Cultures" explores architecture from a research-by-design and design-by-research perspective. Students are educated and trained in a multicultural and international context. The programme combines an academic approach with a creative-experimental approach. It is characterised by a fully-integrated design methodology, providing students with solid skills in the contemporary discipline of architectural design and research.

The Master of Architecture programme is organised at both of the faculty's campuses in Brussels and Ghent, though each campus offers a different orientation:

  • Campus Brussels - Architecture: Urban Projects, Urban Cultures
  • Campus Ghent - Architecture: Resilient and Sustainable Strategies

This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis. The programme consists out of a minimum of four semesters.

International

The Faculty of Architecture takes its international dimension as the basis for its own quality assessment. It positions itself squarely within the international field of qualitative academic education. The faculty's international activities are extensive and diversified: student mobility and staff exchange on a European and intercontinental level, internationally oriented programmes for incoming students, international workshops and competitions, international research projects, international internships, development cooperation, etc.

The faculty continues to build on its tradition of academic integration of teaching and research to maintain and enhance its standard of quality and international standing.

The faculty works hard to consolidate and enrich its network of cooperative associations with professionals and universities all over the world and strives to leverage this international network for students' benefit. Its international dimension is a strong catalyst for creativity and an added value to students' future professional career.

Objectives

"The intended academic quality, is the core of the program (architecture, urban planning), i.e. academically based 'professionalism'.

The broadening of the profile focuses on basic disciplines (architecture and urban planning), however without compromising the appropriate focus on the professional profile of the architect (in multiple forms).

In the profile of master, one should obtain extreme concentration and specificity (however, no specialisation).

On the one hand, the master focuses on the content and area-specific level of the bachelor phase, and on the other hand on the acquirement of access to the professional or doctoral field (advanced masters, PhD,...).

The core competences of the master are:

  • the intellectual development and broadening of the competences acquired in the bachelor;
  • a research attitude (for solutions);
  • the specific, disciplinary knowledge (architecture, urban planning);
  • the interdisciplinary skills (also as to recognize the limits of the own scientific discipline).

The master program should guarantee the acquirement of scientific depth. The offered frontier disciplines focus on the current state of research and development within the competence field. The technical qualification to be acquired, focuses on the high quality problem solving of complex tasks.

Curriculum framework campus Brussels: Architecture: Urban Projects, Urban Cultures

In the field of Architecture and Urban Design, a global awareness is growing, questioning established development and settlement patterns regarding future societal needs and ensuing planning strategies and architectural interventions.

The current fast-forward global development increasingly strains the Western and European model, inducing a whole range of urban planning and architectural challenges to update the academic and professional practice.

Facing the consequences of a changing society and a post-industrial and knowledge-based economy, Western developments stand in stark contrast with rapidly developing economies and a still expanding population worldwide. Instigating important and unchartered societal shifts, our conception of urbanity and the city is fundamentally affected.

Traditional urban planning methods and architectural strategies might not offer the necessary tools to recognize and address these future challenges and therefore need to be reconsidered.

Within these changing context and transition processes, the Urban Projects, Urban Cultures Programme seeks to research, develop and teach alternative architectural and urban design tools, not so much aimed at reinventing urban landscapes, but as it were to edit the given condition from within.

A critical and coherent attitude towards recent urban phenomena is considered the base for research and design at different levels.

Apart from the theoretical courses, the program includes 3 design studios (during one semester) and 1 final master dissertation studio (during one year). Each semester, there is a focus on a specific attitude, related to the main theme of the programme. All studios are organised through a pool of studio groups (Academic Design Offices and Design Studios) where the teaching staff provides a series of specific themes, methods and intervention areas for the students to develop an architectural project:

Themes sem 1

  • multiple readings of the urban landscape

Themes sem 2 (specific focus on the city of Brussels)

  • learning from brussels

Themes sem 3

  • urban projects at the intermediate scale

Themes sem 4

  • urban projects at the intermediate scale
  • multiple readings of the urban landscape
  • learning from brussels

Career perspectives

Graduates are trained to lead multidisciplinary teams of engineers, interior architects, landscape architects and artists. In addition to working as independent (self-employed) architects, our graduates also work as professionals in government agencies and international design firms. Some graduates go on to roles as researchers serving local or international governance bodies, NGO's or other institutes.



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What is the Master of Urbanism and Strategic Planning about? . Read more

What is the Master of Urbanism and Strategic Planning about? 

The Master of Science in Urbanism and Strategic Planning (MaUSP) is a four-semester academic degree offered within the Faculty of Engineering Science by the Department of Architecture. The programme interacts with research conducted by the research groups active in the department.

The MaUSP programme is part of the European Postgraduate Masters in Urbanism (EMU), and students can apply to attend one or two semesters abroad at one of the partner universities - UPC Barcelona, TU Delft or IUAV Venezia - to obtain the additional European Postgraduate Master of Urbanism.

The joint EMU programme is a collaborative effort bringing together the best components of existing curricula, creating new courses and offering a top-ranking professional degree by combining the specificity and strengths of the participating universities. The consortium functions as a platform for promoting an exchange of knowledge, ideas, and research projects on current urban trends in Europe and the world.

Courses are organised according to the following set up:

  • Core courses
  • Design studios
  • Optional courses
  • Final design thesis

Design studios form the heart of the programme, a status reflected in their credit load. They are organised as two full days of work on Mondays and Tuesdays to provide an intensive and immersive working environment, as occurs in most professional practices. They also are courses where a balance between teamwork and individual contribution is developed, since students are subdivided in small but varied groups from inception.

Depending on the track students choose (urbanism or planning), certain optional courses become compulsory. 

Spotlight

  • Guest lectures and seminars form an important part of the programme. Most are compulsory. The programme benefits from the department’s worldwide contacts in the field of human settlements and urbanism. Professionals involved in teaching, design, and consultancy activities from different comers of the world reflect the international character of the MaUSP curriculum.
  • Study trips to various destinations are organised throughout the academic year. You will be able to see and experience the area studied and will have the unique opportunity to link your theoretical knowledge to daily practice and fieldwork. The trips include visits to sites, lectures by local experts, as well as a range of assignments. Recent study trips in Europe have been made to France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and the UK. Furthermore, one-day visits within Belgium are organised to support courses and provide an understanding of local current trends in urban transformations. As a key feature of the programme, a study trip and studio-related fieldwork sessions are offered in a non-Western context. You will be given the opportunity to travel to the non-European studio context for fieldwork and visits to best practices sites and other relevant sites for about two weeks.
  • Annual design workshops (EMU) are a compulsory and crucial activity offered by KU Leuven and the other three partner universities (IUAV Venice, UPC Barcelona and TU Delft). This weeklong exchange of ideas and exposure to four different school approaches intensifies and broadens the programme’s purpose. To date, students have had the opportunity to undertake design investigations in Conegliano (Italy), in the area of Pra dei Gai and the area around Venice.
  • Unique position within the educational landscape of Belgium and internationally, since MaUSP is the only English-language programme in the field of Urbanism and Strategic Planning in Flanders.
  • MaUSP continues to provide high-level education for candidates aspiring to positions as urban planners in Flanders, regardless of its international orientation.
  • Strong research-by-design basis, with an emphasis on space as a resource (in urban transformations) and as a medium of integration, hence the role of planning and design.
  • Diversity of incoming students, both in terms of geographic origin, and in terms of professional/educational backgrounds.
  • Strong network of alumni and a sound reputation despite its young age, which fosters an active system of collaborations supporting the selection of design studio topics, Master’s thesis topics, etc. (examples: T.OP Limburg; Leidal; T.OP Noord Rand; UN-Habitat; etc.).
  • Quality and quantity of visiting faculties and international speakers as a part of lecture series, studio jury's and showcase events such as World Urbanisms.
  • Synergy MaHS – MaUSP – EMU.
  • Interdisciplinary collaborations (e.g. European Module Spatial Development Planning, etc.). 

Career perspectives

 After successfully completing the programme, you will have acquired a thorough knowledge of urbanisation in different contexts. You will have learned to work on various scale levels, with an understanding of the interferences between scales. You will be able to conduct a critical analysis of spatial phenomena in relation to the social and economic forces driving them. Building upon such analysis, you can design strategic interventions that are politically and economically feasible, and that have a structural impact. You will have developed excellent communication skills, visually as well as textually, and you will be able to function in a research environment.

Graduates will be able to provide professional architectural and/or urban design experience to design offices, consultancy firms, or work as public servants. Urbanism is closely related to current and rapid social transformation and there is a continual need for professionals capable of elaborating new interpretations, strategies and designs in response to emerging trends. MaUSP graduates are highly valued in urban design offices, consultancy firms for urban development and management, real estate agencies that develop public-private partnerships and the public sector.



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What is the 'Master of Architecture' all about?. This Master's programme focusing on "Architecture. Resilient and Sustainable Strategies" explores architecture from a . Read more

What is the 'Master of Architecture' all about?

This Master's programme focusing on "Architecture: Resilient and Sustainable Strategies" explores architecture from a research-by-designand design-by-research perspective. Students are educated and trained in a multicultural and international context. The programme combines an academic approach with creative- experimental approach. It is characterised by a fully-integrated design methodology, providing students with solid skills in the contemporary discipline of architectural design and research.

The Master of Architecture programme is organised at both of the faculty's campuses in Brussels and Ghent, though each campus offers a different orientation:

  • Campus Brussels - Architecture: Urban Projects, Urban Cultures
  • Campus Ghent - Architecture: Resilient and Sustainable Strategies

This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis. The programme consists out of a minimum of four semesters.

International

The Faculty of Architecture takes its international dimension as the basis for its own quality assessment. It positions itself squarely within the international field of qualitative academic education. The faculty's international activities are extensive and diversified: student mobility and staff exchange on a European and intercontinental level, internationally oriented programmes for incoming students, international workshops and competitions, international research projects, international internships, development cooperation, etc.

The faculty continues to build on its tradition of academic integration of teaching and research to maintain and enhance its standard of quality and international standing.

The faculty works hard to consolidate and enrich its network of cooperative associations with professionals and universities all over the world and strives to leverage this international network for students' benefit. Its international dimension is a strong catalyst for creativity and an added value to students' future professional career.

Objectives 

"The intended academic quality, is the core of the program (architecture, urban planning), i.e. academically based 'professionalism'.

The broadening of the profile focuses on basic disciplines (architecture and urban planning), however without compromising the appropriate focus on the professional profile of the architect (in multiple forms).

In the profile of master, one should obtain extreme concentration and specificity (however, no specialisation).

On the one hand, the master focuses on the content and area-specific level of the bachelor phase, and on the other hand on the acquirement of access to the professional or doctoral field (advanced masters, PhD,...).

The core competences of the master are:

  • the intellectual development and broadening of the competences acquired in the bachelor;
  • a research attitude (for solutions)
  • the specific, disciplinary knowledge (architecture, urban planning)
  • the interdisciplinary skills (also as to recognize the limits of the own scientific discipline).

The master program should guarantee the acquirement of scientific depth. The offered frontier disciplines focus on the current state of research and development within the competence field. The technical qualification to be acquired, focuses on the high quality problem solving of complex tasks.

Curriculum framework campus Ghent: Architecture: Resilient and Sustainable Strategies

At our campus in Ghent, the International Master of Science in Architecture is concerned with the current theory and practice of architecture and sustainability.

The Brundtland report (United Nations, 1987) defines sustainable development as 'development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'. The United Nations in 2005 referred to the 'interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars' of sustainable development as economic development, social development and environmental protection.

Translating these three pillars for sustainable architecture, they would entail: providing access to high quality and healthy living and working environments for all, finding ways to create socially sustainable environments at different scales and a wise use of natural resources. Technical considerations, together with more conceptual or strategic issues, are dealt with in this two-year program about architecture and sustainability.

Central in the program of the International Master of Science in Architecture is a critical reflection about architecture and its social, cultural or environmental role for society.

Based on a highly interdisciplinary learning process of integrated research and 'research by design', students are expected to determine a theoretical stance on current issues with particular emphasis on how aspects of sustainability, universal design, urban ecology and energy-efficient technologies may contribute to the development of more sustainable human settlements.

Apart from the theoretical courses, the program includes 3 design studios (during one semester) and 1 final master dissertation studio (during one year). Each semester, there is a focus on a specific attitude, related to the main theme of the programme. All studios are organised through a pool of studio groups (Academic Design Offices and Design Studios) where the teaching staff provides a series of specific themes, methods and intervention areas for the students to develop an architectural project:

Themes sem 1

  • social sustainability and architecture
  • modest heritage and suitability
  • urban emergent processes
  • architectural concept, materiality and detail

Themes sem 2 (specific focus on the city of Ghent)

  • architectural concept, materiality and detail
  • limited resources, re-use and integration
  • urban emergent processes

Themes sem 3

  • architectural materiality and detail

Themes sem 4

  • social sustainability and architecture
  • modest heritage and suitability
  • urban emergent processes
  • architectural concept, materiality and detail
  • limited resources, re-use and integration

Career perspectives

Graduates are trained to lead multidisciplinary teams of engineers, interior architects, landscape architects and artists. In addition to working as independent (self-employed) architects, our graduates also work as professionals in government agencies and international design firms. Some graduates go on to roles as researchers serving local or international governance bodies, NGO's or other institutes.



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