M.Sc. Urban Studies (research MSc)

  • On Campus
  • 24 months
  • EUR12000 Year (Non-EEA)
  • English
University of Amsterdam | Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Research Master in Urban Studies combines several disciplines to provide a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach to study urban change and the opportunities and challenges this produces.

Description of Urban Studies (research MSc)


The Research Master in Urban Studies combines several disciplines to provide a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach to study urban change and the opportunities and challenges this produces.

The 21st century will be an urban century. As of 2008, more than half of the world population lives in urban areas, and this is expected to rise to sixty per cent in 2030. This growth will be concentrated in cities in Asia, mainly China and India, and to a lesser extent Africa and the Middle East. Also the largest cities and metropolitan regions of Europe and North America will keep growing, despite a general population decline. Cities are simultaneously considered engines of economic growth and social, cultural, and political opportunities, as well as places where problems and vulnerabilities such as insecurity and inequality concentrate. Consequently, we need academics who are able to conduct high quality research on urban processes. As urban issues and processes occur in multiple and intersecting academic domains, addressing these requires a multidisciplinary approach. The Research Master in Urban Studies (RMUS) combines the disciplines of urban geography, economic geography, urban and regional planning, and urban sociology to provide a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach to studying urban change and the opportunities and challenges this produces.

Detailed Course Facts

Application deadline Start in 1 September: March (non-EEA: March).
Tuition fee
  • EUR 12000 Year (Non-EEA)
  • EUR 1906 Year (EEA)
Start date September  2016
Credits (ECTS) 120 ECTS
Duration full-time 24 months
  • English
Take an IELTS test
Delivery mode On Campus
Educational variant Full-time

Course Content

The Master 's programme in Urban Studies is two years long, and consists of a core introductory course, a number of research methodology and thesis preparation seminars, a research apprenticeship, one elective, a semester of fieldwork abroad, a written thesis and a research article. Students are expected to obtain 60 ECTS credits in each year of the programme, totalling 120 ECTS. The first year will be spent in Amsterdam and the second year will consist in a semester abroad followed by a period of thesis writing and research.


The curriculum of the first year combines thematic and theoretically oriented coursework with research training, with an aim to preparing students for writing their Master's thesis and for their stay abroad. Half of the second year is devoted to the individual thesis project. The Master's thesis must to be based on empirical fieldwork conducted in at least two metropolises. For practical reasons, the research will usually deal with metropolises in the Netherlands and the country where students spend their semester abroad.

Degree requirements

Upon successful completion of all coursework and the thesis, students will receive an officially accredited Master's degree in Urban Studies, and the title Master of Science.

Courses and methodology

The focus of the programme is on comparative urban studies. The research methodology taught in the first year therefore focuses mainly on international comparisons of urban phenomena. Next to this we offer a wide range of electives on quantitative and qualitative methodology.

Throughout the programme, we work with the following formats:

  • Interactive working groups and seminars
  • Lectures
  • Excursions
  • Research apprenticeship
  • Individual supervision (Master thesis)
  • Co-authorship (research article).

Requirements for Urban Studies (research MSc)

Grade average: The programme seeks students with excellent academic records and who are able to handle heavy course loads. Study results obtained in previous education should demonstrate that a student is able to attain and maintain an excellent level, especially in the fields relevant to the programme. Undergraduate studies should be completed with an overall grade average of at least a B+/A- /3.5 (American system), first class Honours degree (British system), B (ECTS system), 7.5 (Dutch system) or equivalent.

Previous education: The Research Master's Programme in Urban Studies seeks students with an academic Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in a discipline closely related to the programme, such as human geography, urban and regional planning and political science. Those applicants who hold a higher professional Bachelor's degree obtained at a university of applied sciences (HBO) will first need to complete a relevant academic Bachelor's degree before applying to the Master's programme. Completion of a relevant Bachelor's degree however, does not automatically lead to admission. Selection tends to be highly competitive reflecting the number and quality of applications received for each selection round.

Additional subject: The programme is intended for students who have an active interest in research and wish to pursue a career in research. Applicants are expected to have a solid basis in social sciences research methodology of at least 30 ECTS credits earned during previous study.

Language test: All non-native speakers of English (including Dutch students) applying to one of the English-taught programmes offered by the Graduate School of Social Sciences, are required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. All students must be able to read textbooks, understand lectures, take part in classroom discussions and undertake written work in English. For more information, please visit our website.

Written request: All applicants are required to submit a statement of motivation.

Grade list: All applicants are required to submit official transcripts of each higher education institute attended, listing all courses and examinations already completed and currently enrolled in, and grades and credits obtained.

Knowledge minimum: Applicants are expected to have a solid basis in the field of urban studies of at least (an equivalent of) 30 ECTS credits earned during previous study.

Additional language requirements:

  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English: C1
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English: C1
  • IELTS overall band: 6.5
  • IELTS listening: 6
  • IELTS reading: 6
  • IELTS writing: 6
  • IELTS speaking: 6
  • TOEFL paper based: 575
  • TOEFL computer based: 232
  • TOEFL internet based: 90

Work Experience for Urban Studies (research MSc)

No work experience is required.

More Information


Accredited by: NVAO in: Netherlands

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University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Netherlands A modern university with a rich history, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) traces its roots back to 1632, when the Golden Age school Athenaeum Illustre was established to train students in trade and philosophy. Today, with more than 30,000 students, 5,000 staff and 250 study programmes (Bachelor's and Master's), many of which are taught in English, it is one of the larger comprehensive universities in Europe.

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