M.Sc. MUNDUS URBANO - International Cooperation and Urban Development

Darmstadt University of Technology | Darmstadt, Germany
Mundus Urbano (MU) is an interdisciplinary Master of Science programme specialising in International Cooperation in Urban Development, jointly offered by four European universities, with the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union (Erasmus Mundus Master Course, EMMC). It addresses the dynamic challenges faced throughout the world due to rapid urbanisation processes.
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Description of MUNDUS URBANO - International Cooperation and Urban Development

For the first time in human history, more than half of the world's population lives in cities, a number which is expected to reach 6.4 billion people by 2050. This means that the urban population will double in the coming decades, whereas the urban built-up area will triple.

In developing countries, particularly, this scenario is associated with a poor management of the urban expansion and insufficient delivery of infrastructure and public services, which lead to severe poverty, diseases, high child mortality, low literacy rates, high social inequality and violence. Developing countries are also more likely to suffer from climate change, natural disasters, environmental problems, destruction of cultural heritage, political crisis and war, not mention a lack of economic competitiveness to finance urban expansion and counter associated problems. Not only do they face the largest growth challenges, but also the largest capacity and resource gap.

MU provides adequate professional and academic solutions that are required to address the steadily increasing needs in the field of urban development and international cooperation. The two-year course is innovative in its transdisciplinary set-up and arranges knowledge around emerging global phenomena, rather than only around purely academic frameworks.

Transdisciplinary approach. Conventional town planning approaches have proven inadequate in dealing with the constantly evolving urban challenges. MU provides innovative transdisciplinary solutions, including physical, managerial, economic, social and legal elements simultaneously. It provides students with the highest quality academic resources and teaching staff, and affords them insight into current development planning theories and practices, instigating them to propose architecturally, socially, economically and ecologically sustainable urban development solutions. As a large proportion of investments involve foreign aid, MU also focuses on international cooperation practice, which faces an unsatisfied need for well-prepared urban development experts.

Diversity as an asset. The multi-faceted composition of both the Mundus Urbano student groups and teaching staff fosters a diverse learning environment and allows for the development of a global professional network. Lecturers and students have backgrounds that range from Engineering, Architecture and Design to Social and Political Sciences, coming from different parts of the world.

International double degree. Mundus Urbano produces advanced graduates who can innovatively address the complexities of the phenomena facing the world's urban populations, mostly in developing countries. The consortium structure of the program allows students to pursue a double degree in International Cooperation and Urban Development with specialisations in Development Economics (Rome), Sustainable Emergency Architecture (Barcelona) or Urban Planning (Grenoble).

Vast working field. Professionals are increasingly required to undertake projects internationally in the urban development field. MU builds the capacity to meet the challenges that this type of work presents and prepares both professionals and academics for critically analysing and assessing the growing problems in urban areas internationally. Internship opportunities arise during the course and Mundus Urbano alumni are skilled to work in institutions as international cooperation agencies, municipal planning offices, research institutes and consultancy firms, involved in international finance, foreign aid, human settlements, slum improvement and infrastructure development, among other areas.

Detailed Course Facts

Application deadline Application opens on October 15th. Application closes for Erasmus Mundus scholarships: 1st December; Other: 15 April
Tuition fee
  • EUR 9000 Year (Non-EEA)
  • EUR 9000 Year (EEA)
Start date October  2016 First week of October
Credits (ECTS) 120 ECTS
Duration full-time 24 months
Delivery mode On Campus
Educational variant Full-time

Course Content

Year 1: TU-Darmstadt

Full-time courses and workshops with lectures by TU-Darmstadt and visiting professors, and diverse methods of practice and evaluation, such as group work and discussions, essay writing and oral presentations. This year also includes local and/or international excursions.

  • Module 1: Urban Planning

Courses on urban planning, civil engineering, ecology & landscaping, socio-economic & cultural challenges, conviviality & urban culture, governance, and slum upgrading. This module is supported by training on presentations and time management, and is finalized with a one-week workshop about concrete case studies, during which students pick up and integrate the contents of the courses taken.

  • Module 2: Urban Development Studies

Courses on public participation & community inclusion, gender friendly cities, organizational development, sustainable urban infrastructure, and urban heritage preservation. This module is supported by training on paper writing, and is finalized with a workshop about concrete case studies, during which students pick up and integrate the contents of the courses taken. Elective courses and free research activities supplement this module.

  • Module 3: Urban Management

Courses on conflict management, urban violence & crime prevention, land management & security of tenure, taxation, urban health & education services, municipal budgeting & finance, and city marketing. An international excursion supplements this module.

  • Module 4: International Cooperation and Project Skills

Courses on statistic-based decision making, project planning, project management, disaster management, project finance & budgeting, development aid & funding agencies, and proposal writing. Elective courses and free research activities supplement this module, which is finalized with a one-week workshop, during which students pick up and integrate the contents of the courses taken.

Year 2: European partner university

Upon successful completion of the first year in TU-Darmstadt and depending on students' mobility preference, Mundus Urbano students are admitted to spend the second year of the programme at one of the partner universities in France, Catalunya or Italy. Students in this case are awarded a double-degree.


Mundus Urbano students are strongly encouraged to take internships. In the first year, internships are possible during the semester break periods, in March-April and/or August-September. In the second year, a period of at least two months should be dedicated to an internship related to the student's field of study. Depending on the case and interest of each student, TU-Darmstadt and partner universities can facilitate contacts and bureaucratic procedures for application.

Requirements for MUNDUS URBANO - International Cooperation and Urban Development

In order to be accepted as a student in the Masters program, applicants must fulfill a set of eligibility criteria, including academic qualification, relevant work experience, English language proficiency, and a clear justification for selecting this course in the light of personal interest and career objectives.

Requirements include:

Possession of a university degree that is at least equivalent to a European Bachelor's degree. Marks obtained in previous university studies must be `good´ or better.

The degree must be in a field related to architecture, urban planning, geography, political science, sociology, anthropology, or (development) economics.

Basic understanding of urban development and/or international cooperation aquired through a minimum of one year of work experience in a profession related to these subjects.

Proof of English language proficiency through TOEFL, IELTS, or UNICert. Minimum TOEFL score for applications: 570 (paper based),88 (internet based) or 213 (computer based). Minimum IELTS score: 6.5. Minimum UNICert level: III. Applicants whose native language is English or who received their previous university degree from an exclusively English speaking university are exempt from this requirement.

Work Experience for MUNDUS URBANO - International Cooperation and Urban Development

At least 1 year(s) of work experience are required.

More Information


The Mundus Urbano Master programme is accredited by the Acreditation, Certification and Quality Assurance Institute (ACQUIN) under the licence of the German Accreditation Council.

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