• Swansea University Featured Masters Courses
  • Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH Featured Masters Courses
  • Cardiff University Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Edinburgh Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Bristol Featured Masters Courses
  • Aberystwyth University Featured Masters Courses
  • Northumbria University Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Surrey Featured Masters Courses
London Metropolitan University Featured Masters Courses
University of Cambridge Featured Masters Courses
Southampton Solent University Featured Masters Courses
Durham University Featured Masters Courses
University of Nottingham Featured Masters Courses

Course content

The Master in Human Settlements addresses rapid urbanization in the developing world and contemporary urban transformations within the scope of sustainable development. The programme aims to provide insight into the problems of human settlements as related to rapid change and to the interaction between modernity and tradition, formal and informal city-making.

What's the Human Settlements about? 

Architecture, urbanism and spatial planning are the core disciplines of the programme. Contributions from economics, geography and anthropology, among others, complement this core.

The structure is organised around:

  • Introductory courses
  • Core courses
  • Design Studios
  • Optional courses
  • Master's thesis (research- or design-based)

Design studios form an important part of the programme, a status reflected in their credit load. They are organized 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 mixed groups from inception.

Core courses are related to the studios themselves, whereas for students selecting a more research-oriented trajectory in line with the programme's profile supporting courses are organized for the elaboration of a research Master's thesis.


Study trips to various destinations are organised throughout the academic year as a compulsory part of the MaHS programme. You will be able to observe and experience the area being studied and will have a unique opportunity to link your theoretical knowledge to daily practice and fieldwork. The trips include visits to sites, lectures by local experts and a range of assignments. Recent study trips in Europe have been made to:

  • Paris-Lyon (France)
  • Amsterdam-Rotterdam (the Netherlands)
  • Zürich-Frankfurt (Switzerland/ Germany)
  • London (UK)

 In addition, one-day visits within Belgium (Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent) are organised to support courses and provide an understanding of current trends in Belgian urban transformation. Moreover, as a key feature of the MaHS programme, a study trip and studio-related fieldwork sessions are offered in a non-Western context. You will be given the opportunity to travel for a two-week period to a non-European studio context for fieldwork and visits to best practices sites and other relevant sites.


  • The programme is taught by professors belonging to as well the Department of Architecture as the Faculty of Engineering Science. They cultivate research in the fields of architecture, urbanism and urban design, conservation, and spatial planning.
  • The Postgraduate Centre for Human Settlements, renamed the MaHS MaUSP Centre in 2005, is known by specialists worldwide and has a remarkable history spanning over more than 40 years. Its activities have been broadened to coordinate both the Master of Science in Human Settlements and the Master of Science in Urbanism and Strategic Planning. Other activities include a doctoral programme, capacity-building projects and consultancy on human settlement policies and projects.
  • The programme occupies a unique position within educational landscape of Belgium and internationally, including a long tradition and 40-year jubilee.
  • It has a strong research basis, with an emphasis on the scientific underpinning of the discipline of human settlements, the central role given to space as a resource (in urban transformations) and as a medium of integration.
  • The MaHS knows a diversity of incoming students, both in terms of geographic origin, and in terms of professional/educational backgrounds.
  • There is a broad network of alumni and a sound reputation fostering an active system of collaborations supporting the selection of design studio topics, Master's thesis topics, etc. (examples: UNRWA; UN-Habitat Asia + Arcadis Shelter Program; etc.) and a credible reputation as international research partner.
  • The quality and quantity of visiting faculty and international speakers as part of lecture series, studio jury's and showcase events such as World Urbanisms, provides one of the strengths of the programme.
  • Synergy between MaHS - MaUSP - EMU
  • Interdisciplinary collaborations with anthropology, geography, etc.

This is an Advanced Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.

Career perspectives

The programme produces interdisciplinary graduates capable of understanding and managing the complexity of urban development as well as promoting sustainable territorial transformations. Graduates of the MaHS programme find employment in numerous and widespread areas. Many alumni work as civil servants in urban development agencies in cities or national governments. Others are independent professionals in the field of urban design, planning, and community development. Some join private architecture offices or take on in leadership and policymaking positions in regional, national, and international human settlements institutions, such as UNCHS or UEPP. A small number of graduates continue on to an academic career by obtaining a PhD, and some become professors.

Visit the Human Settlements MSc page on the KU Leuven website for more details!




Enquire About This Course

Recipient: KU Leuven

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

Cookie Policy    X