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  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    1 year full time

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees

    Dutch and other EU/EEA students 2019-2020: € 2,083
    Non-EU/EEA students 2019-2020: € 16,600
    more information and exceptions on website

  • Last Updated

    27 August 2019


Urban regions are bubbling, dynamic places where people get together and generate new ideas. They are breeding grounds for innovation and economic growth. Many people still move to the city, chasing their dreams: for a challenging career, a pleasant living environment, all the amenities within easy reach. And besides the local residents, large numbers of tourists visit the city seeking an entertaining stay.

The continuous urban growth in an increasingly global economy has both winners and losers. On the one hand, there are start-ups that expand to become large companies. While on the other hand, there are traditional companies that succumb to global competition. How can we explain success and failure?

Urban growth also leads to a great diversity of people and lifestyles, which ensure thriving communities. Yet there are also places where spatial and social inequalities reveal themselves between communities. This results in unpleasant living environments and neighbourhoods in decline. How do you breathe new life into those communities?

In the Human Geography Master's programme you learn how urban and economic issues are interwoven. As a student of the Human Geography Master’s, you will study the city and its economic developments from various academic perspectives and thematic angles, with an interdisciplinary approach.


This Master’s programme has an international character. We welcome students from around the world onto the programme. This way you are provided with the opportunity to come into contact with other cultures and national contexts. You will go on an international fieldtrip and can complete your Master's thesis project and/or internship abroad. You will be able to find work in many fields, positions, and locations following graduation.


This Master’s programme gives you a thorough understanding of important urban and economic issues. You will receive comprehensive training in the methodological and critical analytical skills needed to find possible solutions for challenges in urban regions. Working from a scientific and theoretical foundation, you come into contact with the daily practice. Through guest lectures and practical assignments (active learning), you will learn what graduates do and be able to determine where you would be most at home.

Your choice of graduation subject and the accompanying research internship provides the best way for you to present yourself to future employers. The programme has made arrangements with various companies, research agencies and government organisations regarding internships and interesting research projects.


The Human Geography programme offers four different tracks. Two of the tracks mainly focus on urban geography, while the other two focus on economic geography. There are also courses common to both tracks, such as the starting course Urban Futures. On the basis of elective courses, you can also put together your own track, combining elements of both specialisations.


The first urban geography track is about relocations between different living environments over time and the consequences of these relocations for cities and neighbourhoods. The interaction between the housing market, the labour market and relocations of inhabitants is the main focus.

You will search for answers to questions such as:

  • Who decides to live where? Is it a neighbourhood containing similar people or preferably a mixed community?
  • What does this new influx mean for the image of cities and neighbourhoods? And for the social cohesion between groups?
  • What kinds of encounters occur in cities and neighbourhoods that are becoming increasingly diverse?


The second urban geography track focuses on daily life. In this track, you learn who participates in which work, shopping and leisure activities. You take a close look at the routes and locations used by inhabitants and visitors. You also take into account the fact that the access to and quality of public spaces containing facilities are not always equally distributed.

You pose questions such as:

  • What does the unequal distribution of public spaces mean for social diversity, encounters with 'others' and social networks?
  • What influence does this inequality have on processes of social inclusion and exclusion, the liveability of neighbourhoods and cities, and the health of city dwellers?
  • How can you change mobility and daily activities and experiences with redevelopment and restructuring?


With the first economic geography track, you will specialise in entrepreneurship - from large multinational corporations to small-scale local business activity and start-ups. Regardless of whether you are examining old or new companies, or small or large ones, the main focus is the spatial conditions for their arrival or creation on the one hand, and the spatial consequences of their business activity on the other.

You will reflect on questions such as:

  • How do companies, internationalisation and regional development affect each other?
  • What does entrepreneurship mean for neighbourhoods?
  • How can we explain the regional variation of starting and young companies and their chances of survival?


In the second economic geography track, you study the life cycle of regions. There are many traditionally industrial areas in Europe with a different resilience that attracts or develops new business activity. In parallel to this, other urban regions compete with each other to attract investments and stimulate innovation.

You will seek to answer the following questions:

  • How can you strengthen the traditionally industrial areas in Europe and what role can the European Union play in this?
  • Who profits in the innovation competition - the large regions, through scale or agglomeration benefits, or rather the small regions, by being embedded in urban networks?
  • What are the effects of the sometimes inconsistent EU regional policy? How does regional lobbying work in order to change this policy?

Visit the Human Geography - MSc page on the Utrecht University website for more details!





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