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APPLY BY 2 MAY 2019!

As events and transformations of the recent decades have forcefully shown, the urban question permeates all major social, economic and political developments of today. The two-year Master’s programme in Urban Studies critically engages with the wide-ranging manifestation of contemporary urbanity. What shapes have the processes of urbanisation assumed today? How are urban spaces produced?

The programme foregrounds the unitary perspective of the city as a physical space, a social space and a space of design. It combines rigorous academic research with intensive fieldwork. The programme is situated at the trans-disciplinary crossroad of urban studies, urbanism and urban planning, architecture theory, sociology, urban ethnography and geography. Our students have academic backgrounds in architecture, social sciences or humanities. Integrating critical interrogation and experimental practice, the programme has a triple focus on social uses, spatial programmes and urban forms.

The form of assignments includes term-long research studios, intensive workshops, lectures, seminars and field trips. The distinctive mark of the Urban Studies programme is its reliance on theoretically-informed action in the field. We take students’ efforts seriously: the programme engages ‘real’ actors and create opportunities for public presentation, discussion and publication of the best works.

The Master’s programme is fully in English and has a strong international orientation. We cooperate with a network of partner institutions in Europe, and we are connected to regional partners in Finland, the Baltic countries and Russia. The curriculum includes a number of workshops and lecture courses by international scholars, architects, urban planners and activists.

The education prepares students to engage with urban issues at the intersection between design practice, political practice and theoretical knowledge (urban design, urban and spatial planning, state and municipal policy making, public expertise, community advocacy, social activism, academic and practice-based research). Our graduates work in public administrations, urbanism-focused NGOs, architecture design offices, private consultancies and advocacy organisations. The programme also prepares graduates for further study at the PhD level.

Programme structure

Knowledge and skills

The broad themes of the first three semesters are: 1) key concepts in urban studies, urban history; 2) urban scenarios and urban agenda setting; and 3) urban regeneration, the logic of urban interventions. The fourth semester is reserved for the Master’s Thesis project and Master Studio.

Structure of the Curriculum

Pedagogically, the curriculum consists of:

  • lectures courses, in which key debates in contemporary urban and architectural theory is presented;
  • reading seminars, where students are engaged in critical discussion of these debates;
  • projects (the core element of the programme), in which students learn how to deal with real situations, engage in them, analyse and propose solutions; a wide range of methods is introduced, including interventions, research, creative planning, urban design, urban management, and scenario planning; 
  • invited guest lecturers, in which bring the projects are complemented with the up-to-date knowledge from the field of urban design practice;
  • annually changing intensive modules on topical themes; these modules are shared between first and second year MA students, helping the two groups integrate;
  • excursions to cities in the Baltic Sea Region and Europe, where studied theoretical and design problems can be grasped in situ and in transnational perspective.

In many courses, Urban Studies students work in collaboration with students of architecture and urban landscapes. The student groups are small, and there are more contact hours per credit than in most comparable programmes.

Visit the MSc in Urban Studies page on the Estonian Academy of Arts website for more details!





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Recipient: Estonian Academy of Arts

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