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The world never stops urbanising and globalising. Want a role in shaping the city and the world of the future? The Master's program in Urban Studies offers a unique European perspective on local and global issues concerning urbanity and urbanisation.
Your study programme:
The world continues to urbanise and globalise. Would you like to be part of shaping the city and the world of tomorrow? Our master of Science in Urban Studies programme offers a distinctly European viewpoint regarding issues concerning urbanity and urbanisation that is both local and global, as well as unique and united.
What do you learn in the master's programme?
VUB offers two different programmes:
The master in Urban Studies (Default Track at VUB/ULB)
This interuniversity programme provides a strong interdisciplinary perspective on urban studies, allowing you to follow a core trajectory of shared courses and to enjoy the freedom to specialise by selecting from a large range of elective modules and courses. During this track, you can also choose to replace one elective module with an internship that allows you to gain experience in a working environment relevant to urban studies, such as an NGO, a local government administration, a consultancy firm or a European network or institution. Keen to continue with a PhD? You can also choose to do a research-oriented internship by working in a university department or another research institution.
The master in Urban Studies: 4CITIES
This is a unique two-year interdisciplinary and international programme that offers three possible tracks:
- Classical track: A semester in each of four European capital cities: Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen, and Madrid, plus regular excursions to a diverse set of cities, such as Rotterdam, Antwerp, Budapest, Malmö, and Zaragoza.
- Research and Practice tracks: Semesters one and two take place in Brussels and Vienna. Then off across Europe for internships or work placements and additional coursework at one of our academic partner institutions, adding a European perspective to urban issues. This comprises a new approach in important fields of urban policy like culture, economy, planning… to cope with growing globalisation and the shift towards a world of flows.
Focus of the master
- Globalisation and localisation: as a general context leading to a renewed importance of the city and urbanity in the 21st century. The city is considered a nodal point in post-national developments.
- Europe as the unit of analysis: Europe and the European unification process are seen as part of and a reaction to these globalisation processes. Our scope is Europe seen through its cities and urban networks.
- Interdisciplinarity and internationality as a surplus value: focusing on transdisciplinary approaches and transdisciplinary practices (not in the least bridging urban planning and urban sociology, geography, etc.), plus the socio-spatial analysis of cities.
- Strong cases: Brussels (capital of EU, small global city) – Copenhagen (the Scandinavian mode of regulation), Vienna (metropolis at the centre of Europe: gateway to the East), Madrid (the Mediterranean cities) and a number of surrounding cities.
- The importance of fieldwork: research experience in each city and comparative or transnational research as the basis for a final master thesis.
- Exciting excursions and visits: regularly organised excursions incorporating a socio-spatial introduction to the city (a city walk) and an institutional visit with a focus on certain aspects of policy or management, plus a visit to several projects and institutions.
The strengths of the Urban Studies programme:
- A strong programme, thanks to the integration of analytical skills typical for the (social) sciences and the more design-oriented skills of planning and architecture.
- As a unique city in the heart of Europe, there’s nowhere better than Brussels to explore the field of urban studies.
- Six elective modules incorporating all kinds of disciplines allow you to pursue your particular interests.
During your master's in Urban Studies, you will be trained to analyse, understand and propose solutions for urban problems (planning, project management, scenario research), work in a multidisciplinary team and adopt a critical attitude. This will open opportunities for you to work on urban problems in both the private or public sector, in occupations such as:
- Research and teaching on issues of urbanity and urbanism
- Urban policy advice
- Urban project management
- Urban planning and design