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Human Settlements

Course Description

The Master of Science in Human Settlements (MaHS) addresses rapid urbanisation in the developing world and contemporary urban transformations within the scope of sustainable development.

This intensive, one-year programme focuses on issues of housing, building and urban development in a context of development with scarce resources and pressing social and environmental constraints. Architecture, urbanism and spatial planning are the core disciplines of the programme. Contributions from economics, geography and anthropology, among others, complement this core. The programme is recognised by the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR) as an International Course Programme (ICP). It is partly funded by the Directorate General of International Cooperation (DGIC) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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


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, and to strengthen capacities to tackle the growth of spontaneous settlement, the design of large scale housing projects, the development of appropriate building materials and techniques, the systematic approach to complex programmes (e.g. hospitals, schools) and the planning of neighbourhoods, villages, towns with up-to-date techniques.

At the end of the programme students will have acquired :
- a thorough understanding of the dynamic and multifunctional aspects of the built environment through critical analysis of approaches in architecture, construction, urban design and planning;
- the skills for interventions which reflect context-responsive concepts of sustainable development and deal with the different levels of the built environment (from individual buildings to entire cities);
- the skills to stimulate exchange and feedback between academic theory and day-to-day practice;
- the skills of computer-aided design and cost control on all scale levels;
- sufficient knowledge and skills to participate in research on these topics.

[[Career paths]]

The MaHS 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 have become professors.

Entry Requirements


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