Sustainable Cities, M.Sc.

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
  • English
The Master of Science in Sustainable Cities offered by Aalborg University in Copenhagen prepares students for working on the sustainable development of the cities of tomorrow. Learn how to plan ways of accounting for climate change and environmental problems in growing cities. Find out how to design urban structures and systems that are sustainable in terms of energy, water, waste, and transport.


The Master of Science in Sustainable Cities offered by Aalborg University Copenhagen prepares students to understand the challenges and impact cities and businesses have on the environment, society and the economy, and how sustainable development can help address these modern challenges.

Why study Aalborg’s Master in Sustainable Cities?

The topics presented by this degree course are especially significant for present times. In the future, population growth and development is expected to result in 70-80% of the world population living in cities. This is one of the reasons why students need to be prepared to understand the challenges presented by sustainable planning in sectors like energy, water, waste, urban planning and more – covered by the Sustainable Cities Master’s degree.

By completing this Master of Science (M.Sc.), students will be able to design long-lasting city systems according to current community needs, raise financing for city projects or gain community support for city developments.

Aalborg University has cooperation agreements with universities in Denmark and abroad, allowing students to enrol at another international university in order to undertake a semester abroad. In the third semester of studies at the Master in Sustainable Cities students have the option of choosing an internship in a private consultancy firm, a public authority or a private NGO. They will be able to prepare their graduation project report according to the activities of the chosen organisation.

Benefits of completing this Master’s degree

Students learn:

  • how humans influence urban development and their environment;
  • the relationships between urban development and economic, political, ecological factors;
  • a critical focus on urban policy in relation to environmental management;
  • to think across sectors, analyse consequences in multiple areas and include stakeholder such as citizens, companies and environmental organisations;
  • to think critically and solve problems in relation to urban planning;
  • to gathering and interpreting data;
  • to apply scientific, social and economic theory in the field of urban sustainability.
Jobs and career

Students can start their career advancement early on during the Master’s in Sustainable Cities by working with external partners in semester projects, carried out in cooperation with authorities, companies, NGOs, etc. They are challenged to work on real-life problems and find cost-effective long-term solutions.

Examples of job titles graduates for this engineering Master can pursue include:

  • Air quality forecaster
  • Energy manager
  • City planner
  • Wind energy engineer
  • Landscape architect
  • Zoning technician
  • Soil conservation technician
  • City mobility manager
  • Researcher
  • Fundraising coordinator

After completing the Master’s programme in Sustainable Cities students will have an easier time finding a job in Denmark. However, they will need to speak the Danish language in addition to holding a Danish graduate diploma.

Graduates of the programme can pursue career paths in organisations such as:

  1. Energy companies and local authorities, creating the basis for renewable energy systems in cities.
  2. Local authorities, companies and consultancies working with mobility management in urban areas.
  3. NGOs and research centres promoting sustainable construction or energy efficiency.

Project examples for sustainable city professionals:

  • Green real-estate development plans
  • Design for waste management systems
  • Organise transport logistics to help reduce traffic congestion
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions with cost efficiency
  • Present projects to attract company investments to cities

Programme Structure

The degree offered is Master of Science in Engineering (Sustainable Cities). The courses and the project work are carried out in English. Therefore, the programme is open to Danish as well as international students with a relevant Bachelor of Science degree in engineering or equivalent.

It is a priority for us that you have the opportunity to work with external partners, for instance in your semester projects, which can be carried out in cooperation with authorities, companies, NGOs, etc. This way you get to work on real-life problems, preparing you for your professional career.

Semester 1

Theme: The role of organisations and business in sustainable cities

Each project group chooses a topic for its semester report within the theme of the semester. The topic can be primarily theoretical or empirical and usually takes its point of departure in a specific policy, organisation, or an environmental problem.

Courses offered in the 1st semester:

  • Tools and approaches to sustainable cities. The course is focussed on providing you with specific tools to further sustainable development in the cities and the ability to critically reflect on these. Topics may include: Lifecycle assessment, carbon and environmental footprinting, corporate social responsibility and input-output analysis.
  • Challenges and planning for sustainable cities. The course aims to provide a basic shared understanding of the challenges that face cities today in terms of sustainability. The topics may include: resources, climate change, growth, demography, biodiversity, environmental problems and health.
  • Theories of Science and Research Designs. The course gives you an understanding of the different theories of science, and how they are connected to choice of research design. It will make you capable of assessing and communicating choice of and background for research design.
Semester 2

Theme: Sustainable cities in an institutional and societal perspective

Each project group chooses a topic for its semester report within the theme of the semester. The topic can be primarily theoretical or empirical and usually takes its point of departure in a specific policy, institution, or an environmental problem.

Courses offered in the 2nd semester:

  • Politics, planning and governance. The course is focused on power, politics and policy as well as stakeholders, institutions and discourses in relation to decision-making processes. The lectures will be based on current research and aim for critical reflections on planning and decision-making processes.
  • Structures and systems of the city. The course aims at looking closer at some of the systems that make up a city and how we can work with these in a sustainable way. The topics may include: Transport, waste, water and energy.
  • Economic, social and environmental assessment. The course is focussed on assessing the sustainability of different solutions for handling the challenges in cities. The topics may include: Feasibility studies, risk assessment, future studies, EIA and SIA.
Semester 3

Theme: Internship, study abroad or prolonged project period.

This semester will provide the student with the option of applying the theoretical and methodological knowledge gained during the 1st and 2nd semesters into practice in real life situations in Denmark or abroad. This could take form as an internship within for example a private consultancy firm, a public authority or a private NGO. The choice of internship is made on the basis of your interests. During the internship, you participate in the activities of an organisation and collect information for the project report. The project report is expected to have both a theoretical and empirical part relating to the actual experience of the internship.

An alternative option is to enrol at another (Danish or foreign) university in order to undertake a semester's study there.

Finally, there is an option for adding the 3rd and the 4th semester into a 'prolonged project', if for instance, the research question demands more time and energy for collecting data or conducting field studies.

Semester 4

Theme: Master's Thesis preparation

In the final semester, the main focus is on the writing of the Master's Thesis. Students work individually or in small groups, under the guidance of supervisory staff. The Master's thesis, being the highest level of work undertaken, should aim at synthesising theories and methods in order to perform a potential solution for real life environmental planning and management problems.

Detailed Programme Facts

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Book IELTS
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test OF English as a Foreign Language – offers a paper-based test (PBT). The final, overall PBT score ranges between 310 and 677, and is based on an average taken from the three test components (listening, structure, and reading). The writing part of this test is scored separately on a scale of 0-6. Read more about TOEFL (PBT).

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Academic Requirements

To enter the Master's programme in Sustainable Cities provided by Aalborg University you must have a relevant Bachelor's degree. The Bachelor in Urban, Energy and Environmental Planning at Aalborg University gives you direct access to this graduate programme. Other relevant Bachelor degrees could be within the fields of engineering, geography, politics or social science. However, all applications for the Master's programme are evaluated individually and the relevancy of the bachelor degree is evaluated through this process.

Entrance requirements

You can study as a guest student on the first or second semester or as a Master's student following the entire two-year degree programme.

Students seeking to enrol in the programme are required to have a bachelor of science degree in engineering, geography or natural sciences. All applications are evaluated individually. A background of Architectural Technology and Construction Management does not in itself qualify for admission to Sustainable Cities.

Tuition Fee

  • International Applies to you

    12573 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 12573 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • EU/EEA Applies to you

    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 0 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

DKK 94,300

Living costs for Copenhagen

7500 - 12900 DKK/month
Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Check the programme website for information about funding options.

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.