MSc Urban and Economic Geography

Utrecht University

Program Description

MSc Urban and Economic Geography

Utrecht University


Cities and regions throughout the world face challenges that require integrated knowledge of urban geography, economic geography, international development studies, and planning. In this Research Master’s programme in Urban and Economic Geography (previously known as Human Geography and Planning), you will gain a broad theoretical and methodological background that will allow you to become an academic or professional researcher of ongoing social, spatial, and economic developments in cities and regions. You can specialise in your preferred geographic sub-discipline while maintaining a broader perspective on the functioning of cities and regions, as well as the relevant theories and methods.

Diverse developments

Globalisation is subjecting cities and regions to continuous challenges such as increasing urbanisation and growing economic and social interdependences. Complex and dynamic relationships have developed between inhabitants, migrants, businesses, and institutions, and these relationships can foster innovation, creativity, and economic growth.

However, increasing urbanisation can also lead to social and economic inequalities, tensions between groups with different lifestyles, and threats to health and well-being. In addition, globalisation can reinforce economic disparities within regions and cities in both developed and developing countries. Environmental changes can also generate unhealthy living conditions and lead to a displacement of people and businesses. In general, regional and urban areas worldwide experience disparate development due to differences in their position in globalised systems; their location in a developed or developing country or region; and specific cultural, social, political, and economic characteristics.

As a student in this two-year Master’s programme, you will focus on research questions such as:

  • Why do regions and cities differ in terms of economic and innovative performance, creativity, and quality of life?
  • How do social and economic inequality and tensions arise within and between cities and regions?
  • How do individuals and businesses experience changes in their urban and regional conditions, and how do they respond to these changes?
  • Which governance systems and policies are most effective in addressing the social, economic, cultural, and mobility issues of the globalised and urbanised world?
  • How can we use and develop scientific theories and methodologies to investigate these issues?

Research skills and ethics

The course content includes various courses on research skills and philosophy in order for you to acquire both advanced research skills and an ethical framework. You will also participate in research, carry out your own research, and discuss your research with peers and advanced researchers throughout the programme. You will form an integral part of the research community at the Urban and Regional research centre (URU) of Utrecht during your studies.


In Urban and Economic Geography, you will study the reasons behind the diverse developments in the globalised and urbanised world, and you will learn to translate up-to-date theoretical and methodological developments into empirical research. You will also formulate effective policy recommendations to make cities and regions more viable and sustainable.

As a graduate, you will have an excellent basis for completing a PhD in the fields of urban geography, economic geography, development studies, and urban and regional planning. You will also qualify for senior research functions within international and national organisations, such as the United Nations, Dutch ministries, regional and local bodies, NGOs, and multinational companies. You will be able to perform advanced scientific research within the fields of human geography and spatial planning.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated January 28, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
2 years
Full time
1,951 EUR
Start date Sept. 2017
Netherlands Utrecht
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 2 years
Price 1,951 EUR
Statutory fee - fulltime, (2015-2016) €1,984 (2016-2017) Institutional fee: 2015-2016: € 15,330, 2016-2017: € 10,124 (EU/EEA) / € 15,000 (non EU/EEA)