MSc Human Geography: Economic Geography

University of Amsterdam

Program Description

MSc Human Geography: Economic Geography

University of Amsterdam

The Master Economic Geography focuses on how the globalised economy has affected the lives of people in different parts of the world. Processes of globalisation are deeply intertwined with changes in communication and transport technologies as well as with policies of de- and re-regulation. We will not only explore economic aspects of increasingly globalised production networks, but also their social impact.

Global economic integration has profoundly affected the lives of increasing numbers of people around the world, from Amsterdam to Phnom Penh and Mumbai to New York. Economic Geography at the UvA emphasizes the role of the institutional framework and its distinctive set of social and political relations to understand the rapidly changing global division of labour and ongoing struggles over power, profit, and socio-economic rights.

The Master's in Economic Geography adopts a multi-scalar approach to global production networks - exploring the local, national and global level of dynamic interconnections enabled by communication and transport technologies, labour migration and outsourcing, as well as state policies of de- and re-regulation.

The relationship between teaching and research in this Master's track offers students the opportunity to develop skills on a topic that is highly relevant for policymakers, development planners and activists: the socio-economic implications of the globalisation of production. Students can participate in ongoing research projects headed by Dr Dennis Arnold and Dr Niels Beerepoot in Asia and Southern Europe, and Professor Robert Kloosterman in Netherlands. Students will engage empirically grounded and theoretically informed scholarship that draws on the lecturers' state-of the-art and hands-on knowledge of economic conditions in Asia and Europe, and networks of experts and key persons in the field of global production networks, new economic activities, and migrant entrepreneurship. The more qualitative orientation of the Master’s in Economic Geography programme is complemented by quantitative skills taught in the Geo-skills courses.

Human Geography (MSc) - tracks

The Master’s programme in Human Geography provides students with a strong background in contemporary theories and theoretical and methodological debates in human geography, and more specifically in the geographical sub-disciplines that are the focus of the four tracks.

The programme consists of three complementary components:

  • Geo tracks, which enable students to specialise in either urban, economic, environmental or political geography;
  • Geo-skills, consisting of courses in which students develop a proper geographical habitus, providing them with relevant research methodologies, including qualitative, quantitative and mixed method research methods and GIS, as well as with other skills to prepare them for future labour market opportunities (presenting skills, cooperation skills, etc.);
  • Geo focus, where students apply their geographical expertise in multidisciplinary teams, bringing together the four sub-disciplines into a common fieldwork project.

Student profile

The programme is very high-level and demanding, and we expect students to devote full attention to their studies during the entire year. Students are actively involved in the content of the programme by organising track seminar sessions, and are also continuously challenged by involved academic staff to explore the boundaries of human geography. The Master’s programme Human Geography welcomes international and Dutch students from all universities with a bachelor’s degree in Human Geography & Planning or a related discipline. This makes the group of students very diverse and results in an international classroom with stimulating group discussions, as all participants bring in their specific background and experiences.


Within various interdisciplinary and problem oriented projects, the programme encourages students to develop their skills in:

  • GIS – Geographical Information Systems
  • Social Science research methods – both qualitative methods, quantitative methods, and mixed methods;
  • Presentation and communication – to pitch an idea or present research outcomes;
  • Cooperation – to work in teams and evaluate the work of peers.

The combination of taught skills, together with the specialisation track and the focus in the thesis will prepare students for their future career as a geographer in a wide array of institutional contexts: either public service, profit sector or civil society, either local, national, international or transnational organisations.

Studying Geography in Amsterdam

Geography is all about studying people, space and place - and the city of Amsterdam itself is the perfect location and junction to study, explore and experience geography. Furthermore, the University of Amsterdam, a major research university, offers a Master’s programme taught by one of the highest ranking geography departments in continental Europe.

The Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS) of Amsterdam provides a vibrant and international academic community. The GSSS values diversity in both research and academic content, academic staff and the student population.

Focus on research: academic staff

The lecturers in the Master's track Economic Geography are all active researchers involved in the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR), Amsterdam research centres such as Centre of Urban Studies, IMES, ACCESS EUROPE and numerous international research networks and projects. The programme is enriched by their research expertise and networks.

This track builds on cutting-edge research projects from the related research group of the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research. Insights from these research projects are integrated into the main thematic course, and the master thesis projects which take place in the second semester of the programme.

The teaching in this track is organised in small groups. This results in small scale research communities in which academic staff and students work closely together in a less formal and more open environment.

Ambition in research?

For students interested in this field of study, we also offer a two-year Research Master’s programme in International Development Studies and Urban Studies.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated December 7, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2018
1 year
Full time
2,060 EUR
Netherlands - Amsterdam
Start date: Sept. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2018
Netherlands - Amsterdam
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
EU/EEA students. Non-EU/EEA students €14,740 per year.