M.A. Urban Studies

Estonian Academy of Arts

Application deadline: Estonian applicants: July 2; International applicants: May 15
Tuition fee:
  • Free (EEA)
  • Free (Non-EEA)
Start date: August  2015
Credits (ECTS): 120 ECTS
Duration full-time: 24 months
  • English
  • Estonian
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Full-time

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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 interdisciplinary Masters program in Urban Studies critically engages with the wide-ranging manifestation of contemporary urbanity, integrating knowledge from urban studies, urbanism and urban planning, architecture theory, sociology, urban ethnography and geography.

Contemporary urban situation is studied as a multifaceted phenomenon, which cannot be understood from a single disciplinary perspective. In preparing students for understanding and intervening in urban space, the dual character of city as a built form and as a social process is emphasized. The program leads students to have an insight in the dynamics of institutions, actors, and conflicts that shape todays cities.

The mission of the English-speaking Masters program in Urban Studies is to understand and analyze contemporary urban problems and act upon these problems in terms of design, policy, activism, and research. 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). The program prepares graduates for further study at the PhD level.

The Masters program is fully in English and it has a strong international orientation. It offers regular guest lectures and lectures courses by international scholars and practitioners. The element of interactivity is important and students often work in small groups. Intensive urban fieldwork is complemented by regular consultations with teachers.


The Masters program in Urban Studies provides the students with:

* theoretical ground for understanding urban history and contemporary urban development,
* practical research and methodological skills for analyzing urban situations in a rich, comprehensive and interdisciplinary way,
* design skills engaging the student in work on urban and spatial planning,
* international and comparative perspective.

Pedagogically, the curriculum consists of:

* lectures courses, in which key debates in contemporary urban studies an architectural theory is presented,
* reading seminars, where students are engaged in critical discussion of these debates,
* semester-long research studios, the core element of the program, in which students analyze, engage and propose solutions to real urban situations, utilizing wide range of planning (scenario planning, interventions) and academic (interviews, observation, archival research) methods,
* seminaries held by invited lecturers, who provide expert knowledge on multiple fields central to the urban question (geography, history, art history, detailed planning, software tools),
* annually changing workshops and courses on topical themes, which are shared between first and second year MA students, helping the two groups to integrate.

The basic structure of the Masters program is as follows:

* 1st year, autumn term: urban and architectural theory, typomorphology studio
* 1st year, spring term: scenario-planning studio
* 2nd year, autumn term: urban research studio, urban planning studio (held in collaboration with students of Architecture program)
* 2nd year, spring term: Masters thesis.


The requirement for admission to Masters studies is a Bachelors degree, higher education obtained on the basis of professional higher education curriculum or other relevant qualification that gives access to Masters studies.

No examinations are needed for admission to Urban Studies Master's study. Admission shall take place on the basis of interview, where the Commission will revise already earlier submitted portfolio, CV and letter of motivation.

Educational certificates issued abroad are recognized by the Estonian Academy of Arts on the basis of the assessments of the Estonian ENIC/NARIC (Academic Recognition Information Centre).



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