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)
- Urban Social Geography (VUB, 6 ECTS)
- Urban Economic Geography (ULB, 5 ECTS)
- Urban Sociology (ULB, 5 ECTS)
- Urban Sustainability and Circular Economy (ULB, 5 ECTS)
- Global City-Region Brussels (VUB, 6 ECTS)
- Urban Analysis I (VUB, 3 ECTS)
- Urban Analysis II (ULB, 5 ECTS)
- Research Design and Methodology in Urban Studies (VUB, 3 ECTS)
- Excursion I and II (VUB/ULB, 6 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 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 (12 ECTS)
- Urban Planning and Mobility (14 ECTS)
- Urban Design (16/18 ECTS)
Besides the elective modules, we also offer a 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. We currently have Erasmus exchange agreements with the following universities:
- Austria: Universität Wien
- Czech Republic: Charles University Prague
- Estonia: University of Tartu
- Finland: Aalto University
- France: Université Paris Pantheon Sorbonne; Université de Lille; Sciences Po Bordeaux
- Germany: HafenCity Universität Hamburg; Bauhaus-Universität Weimar; RWTH Aachen (tbc); Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main (tbc);
- Hungary: Eötvös Loránd University Budapest
- Italy: University of Milano-Bicocca (tbc)
- Luxembourg: Université de Luxembourg (tbc)
- Netherlands: Universiteit van Amsterdam; Universiteit Utrecht
- Norway: University of Oslo; NTNU Trondheim (tbc)
- Poland: Gdańsk University of Technology (tbc), University of Warsaw
- Spain: Universitat de Barcelona (tbc)
- Sweden: Göteborgs Universitet; KTH Stockholm (tbc); Lunds Universitet; Malmø Universitet
- Switzerland (Swiss European Mobility Programme - SEMP): Université de Lausanne; Universität Bern
Incoming exchange students are welcome to choose course units from our common core as well as the elective modules, but not from the list of 'individual elective courses'. Due to capacity reasons, incoming exchange students can also not choose Urban Analysis I and II, Research Design and Methodology in Urban Studies, Excursion I and II, and the Internship.
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.