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