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Master of Science in Urban Studies

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
2 years
Master's degree
On campus
Inquire for more information
Application deadline: Application Deadline for EEA is 2021-05-15 and for Non-EEA is 2021-03-01.

Program description

Master of Science in Urban Studies

You will learn to see the city, to hear it, to understand it, to engage it, and to choose your role in shaping it. As the world continues to urbanise and globalise, cities are becoming the predominant form of human settlement and the scale at which many of the most pressing societal issues are engaged. The Master in Urban Studies brings a distinctly European viewpoint to issues concerning urbanity and urbanisation that are simultaneously locally unique and globally networked.

The Standard Track of the Master in Urban Studies is jointly organised by Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Université Libre de Bruxelles. The 120 ECTS curriculum combines the attractiveness of a flexible, modular and interdisciplinary Program that allows you to focus on your own interests, with a common core of compulsory courses to ensure that you develop the necessary urban skills and competences.

The 4CITIES Track is a unique two-year interdsciplinary and international Program. It has been selected as an Erasmus Mundus Masters Course. There are three separate tracks that students in 4CITIES follow: Classical, Research, and Practice. The first year is the same for all three tracks. Students in the Classical Track spend the third and fourth semesters together, following a shared curriculum in Copenhagen and Madrid. This is how 4CITIES has been organized since it began in 2008, hence “classical.” Students in the Research and Practice tracks spend their second year interning at an approved research institution or work-placement, respectively, and completing 25 ECTS of self-chosen coursework at a 4CITIES partner institution. These tracks have been designed for students who intend to pursue careers in research and practice, respectively.

Admission requirements

Admission criteria

Applicants are eligible for the Master in Urban Studies if they have completed a 180ECTS academic bachelor degree or its equivalent in geography, planning, architecture, history, criminology, political science, sociology, demography, media and communication studies, cultural studies, or a similar discipline. Prospective applicants with a degree from a field not mentioned above should contact the Program. Please explain us how your degree has helped prepare you for the Master in Urban Studies and provide more information on the specific coursework you have undertaken (including transcripts of your course units).

If your degree is not from a university please check if it matches an academic degree. You can do so by contacting the international relations office or student affairs department of your institution.

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the university website.

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Program content

Master of Urban Studies Standard track

Common Core

  • Geographies of a Globalizing Europe
  • Excursion II
  • Master thesis
  • Research Design and Methodology in Urban Studies
  • Urban Social Geography
  • Urban Economic Geography
  • Urban Sociology
  • Urban Sustainability and Circular Economy
  • Global city region Brussels
  • Urban Analysis I
  • Urban Analysis II
  • Excursion I


  • Module Urban History
    • Urban History
    • Urbanisation in Early Modern Europe
    • Town Archaeology
  • Module Urban Criminology
    • Introduction to Criminology
    • Crime & the City I
    • Crime & the City II
  • Module Urban Geography
    • Economic and Financial Geography
    • Knowledge Economy and the City
    • StadsSalonsUrbains
  • Module Urban Architecture
    • Architectural and construction history
    • Post-war History of Construction and Architecture
    • Theory of Architecture and Urbanism
  • Module Urban Planning and Mobility
    • Sustainable Mobility and Logistics
    • Infrastructure and mobility
    • Land Use Planning and Growth Management
  • Module Urban Design
    • Design Studio 1
    • Design Studio 2
    • Theory of Urban Planning and Design
    • Case studies in Urban Planning and Design
    • Design Studio: Space Speculation
  • Module Internship
    • Internship

Master of Urban Studies 4CITIES

First year

  1. 1. VUB courses
    • Geographies of a Globalizing Europe
    • Urban Social Geography
    • Urban Analysis I

  1. 2. ULB courses
    • Urban Sociology
    • Urban Economic Geography
    • Urban Analysis II

  1. 3. Vienna courses
    • Urban Transitions
    • Urban Planning and Development
    • Urban Analysis III

Second year

  1. 1. KØbenhavns Universitet courses
    • Urbanism and Architecture
    • Urban Culture & Cultural Theory
    • Urban Analysis IV

  1. 1 Universidad Autonóma de Madrid courses
    • The Sustainable and Livable City
    • Governance and Local Welfare

  • Research Track MA Urban Studies
    • Research track MA Urban Studies
  • Practice Track MA Urban Studies
    • Practice Track MA Urban Studies

Master thesis

  • Masters Thesis Urban Studies

Tuition fees

The full tuition price for EEA students is 962 €. The price for Non-EEA students is 3610 €

Career opportunities

We train our students in analysing, understanding and proposing solutions for urban problems (planning, project management, scenario research), working in a multidisciplinary team and adopting a critical attitude.
It opens possibilities for you to work on urban problems in both the private or public sector. Your Master in Urban Studies leads to the following type of occupations:

  • Research and teaching on issues of urbanity and urbanism
  • Urban policy advice
  • Urban project management
  • Urban planning and design

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About this institute

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

VUB is a public and modern university located in Brussels, the heart of Europe. Ranked as one of the world’s top universities, it offers a full range of bachelor’s and master’s programmes taught in English. The University counts over 19.500...

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Contact info

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussels

Contact school

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