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Majority of the world population is living in urban conditions. With increasing complexity on the urban field, we face new demand for knowledge about cities and urban change. Social, economic and environmental questions are to a great extent urban in their nature.
The MA in Urban Studies focuses on new analytic methods and design solutions that build on the positive potential of urbanity. Creative urban management and high-quality public space are key issues for a sustainable urban future. Estonia, an established member state of the EU, provides a fruitful context for a forward-looking education in Urban Studies, because its agile society, advanced technological base, social mobility and rapid urban change.
The philosophy of the Urban Studies MA programme
Urban Studies is an umbrella term, referring to academic study of cities and urban regions. The MA programme is trans-disciplinary, as its background knowledge is generated by several disciplines, eg. architecture, planning studies, art history, sociology, geography, anthropology, political science, economics and future studies.
The distinctive mark of the MA in Urban Studies is its reliance on action in the field. An important part of the studies are conducted as semi-realistic projects with real actors. In pursuing a creative agenda, the artistic context of the Estonian Academy of Arts is a specific strength of the programme.
In professional terms, the education prepares students to engage in urban regeneration either at policy level or at project management level. It facilitates creative work at the intersection between form giving (architecture, urban design, urban, regional and strategic planning) and policy making (economics, social dynamic, politics, state regulation, judicial frame). The theoretical and research aspect of the study will allow graduates to continue for a doctorate.
To facilitate efficient and creative agency in different kinds of urban process, the MA in Urban Studies provides the students with:
- a sound theoretical basis to understand urban history and contemporary development
- practical research skills to be able to analyse urban situations in a rich and holistic way
- an ability to engage in creative work to propose integrative solutions
- an international comparative perspective to Estonian urbanism
The curriculum consists of four types of courses:
* theoretical subjects organised as reading seminars with supporting high-quality lectures;
* projects, which are the core element of the programme. Students learn how to deal with real situations, engage in them, analyse and propose solutions. Methods range from interventions, research, creative planning, urban design, urban management and scenario planning;
* annually changing intensive modules on topical themes. These modules are shared between first and second year MA students, helping the two groups integrate;
* excursions to interesting cities in the Baltic Sea Region and Europe.
In many courses, Urban Studies students work in collaboration with students of architecture and urban landscapes. The student groups are small, and there are more contact hours per credit than in most comparable programmes. Most of the teaching of the MA programme is in English. Invited guest lecturers bring the projects up-to-date knowledge from the field.
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 Masters 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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