Master Altervilles

Université de Lyon | Lyon , France
The Altervilles master degree programme allows students to comprehend the diversity of urban configurations and it trains them to mobilize so-called "weak" resources that are rarely promoted by mainstream urban strategies: an industrial presence, informal economic activities, young people, ethnic minorities, seniors, etc.



Over the past twenty years, towns and cities have become major political actors and platforms owing to the reorganization of states, the construction of the European Union and globalization. In a post-Fordist context, they are essential settings in designing strategies for development, public policy production and, finally, societal governance and integration.

However, it is evident that this renewal of urban policies often takes stereotyped forms centred on issues linked to the construction of a service- and knowledge-based economy. These policies are systematically based upon developing and promoting the same resources and amenities: historic centres, the environmental quality of housing and public spaces, heritage, cultural and university-based offers, transport infrastructure, etc. These policies are socially selective in nature and ignore both "troubled" areas and urban resources that are seen as so many disadvantages to transform or even erase.

The fundamental difference of the Altervilles master degree programme is that it allows students to comprehend the diversity of urban configurations and it trains them to mobilize so-called "weak" resources that are rarely promoted by mainstream urban strategies: an industrial presence, informal economic activities, young people, ethnic minorities, seniors, etc. The programme also stands out in that it raises student awareness regarding particular sets of issues confronting municipalities that are occasionally neglected by globalization (secondary metropolises, industrial towns and cities, metropolitan interstices, etc.) and that require an increasing political and technical imagination.

Programme objectives

This programme's unique approach has been designed in close collaboration with numerous actors who are sharing the conviction that a renewal of urban policies and strategies can be engendered by the alternative solutions to be thought up in towns and cities provided with limited urban capital.

  • Train professionals benefitting from a high level of urban knowledge, capable of developing an overall view of urban and metropolitan phenomena and issues and then applying it to a variety of sectors.
  • Provide them with the capacity to imagine alternative development strategies for second cities, regional capitals, old industrialized towns and cities, and "intermediate" metropolitan zones.
  • Develop a training programme "based upon alternatives", by raising student awareness regarding the variety of situations, resources and political and technical options that are available.
  • Implement a research-based training approach to upon and the exploitation of existing scientific studies, notably those linked to "new urban criticism".

Career prospects

The graduates of the Altervilles master degree can pursue a career in the following sectors:

  • Urban public administration: forecasting, urban planning, socio-economic development, urban-service management, regional marketing, cultural policy-making, sustainable development, intercommunal and metropolitan cooperation, and international urban politics.
  • Urban production and management companies: urban services, property development, engineering, evaluations and diagnostics, economic development and consulting.
  • Associative structures: participation, decentralized cooperation, social and community development, social economy and solidarity.

The targeted professions are those pertaining to diagnostics, policy design, consulting and urban management: cabinet members of elected officials, research managers, project leaders, operations managers, development managers, district managers, consultants, local development organizers, etc.

Detailed Course Facts

Application deadline May 31
Tuition fee
  • EUR 254 Year (Non-EEA)
  • EUR 254 Year (EEA)

The tuition fee includes the student health insurance

Start date
Credits (ECTS) 120 ECTS
Duration full-time 24 months
Delivery mode On Campus
Educational variant Full-time

Course Content

The educational programme of the Altervilles master degree programme is a two year curriculum (M1 + M2).The coursework totals some 700 hours over the two years and includes both fundamental and vocational training. It requires the student a regular and sustained personal effort , as well as his/her participation in projects necessitating a collective effort.

Studies are highlighted by:

  • A study trip during the first semester.
  • A team-based project (or a research paper completed as part of a seminar) during the M1 year.
  • An academic training course or stay abroad, lasting at least 5 months, during the first semester of the M2.


The two-year coursework is multidisciplinary (Political Science, Economics, Sociology, Geography, Law and History) and addresses contemporary urban issues (mobility, communities, economic activities, etc.). The workshops and seminars strongly involve the students in the questioning and elaboration of urban alternatives.

The coursework is partly carried out in English.

English Language Requirements

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Students with degrees from a foreign university

Students holding a degree equivalent to the French Licence (bachelor degree) may apply to the first year of the Altervilles master degree.

Students holding a degree equivalent to the first year of the Altervilles Master degree may apply to the second year.

Students holding a Licence (Bachelor degree) from a French university in the Social Sciences (Political Science, Sociology, Geography/Development, Economics, Law, etc.)

Work Experience

No work experience is required.

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Université de Lyon, France

France Université de Lyon - a state-run Higher Education & Research (HE & R) consortium - is a federation of 18 Higher Education Institutes (HEIs). Its ambition is to be one of the best universities at both European and world level. It boasts a rich diversity of public and private HE & R institutions strengthened through its alliance Saint-Etienne: 4 universities, a group of engineering schools, "Grandes Ecoles" and national research institutes.

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