MSc Human Geography: Urban Geography

University of Amsterdam

Program Description

MSc Human Geography: Urban Geography

University of Amsterdam

Urban Geography: Global and Local Perspectives on Cities

The Master's in Urban Geography provides students with a better understanding of the global and local processes that shape cities today. The 21st century will undoubtedly be an urban age. As processes of globalisation and economic restructuring have contributed to unanticipated urban growth across the globe, cities are considered to be key engines for innovation and economic growth and have been rediscovered as attractive places to live, work and play. This celebration of urban life and cities as places of infinite opportunities, however, is only one side of the story.

Urban social challenges

Cities are confronted with substantial social challenges related to polarisation and urban inequality, processes of segregation, fragmentation and privatisation of the urban landscape. Consequently, cities are places of both unanticipated wealth and concentrated poverty, deprivation and vulnerability, shaping the life experiences and opportunities of urban dwellers in diverging and complex ways. This raises important questions about urban inequality and social justice.

Themes in Urban Geography

In the Urban Geography programme students will explore a number of interrelated themes:

  • urban inequalities and social justice
  • socio-spatial dynamics of the city
  • everyday urban geographies.

These themes are explored in cities around the world, highlighting similarities and differences in the transformation of urban spaces and places

Studying Geography in Amsterdam

Geography is all about studying people, space and place - and Amsterdam 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 academic staff of one of the highest ranking geography departments in continental Europe. Last but not least, 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 Political 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 the staff‘s 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.

Student profile

The Master’s programme Human Geography welcomes

  • both international and Dutch students;
  • both UvA alumni and students from other (Dutch and foreign) universities;
  • both students with a bachelor degree in Human Geography & Planning and students with a bachelor degree in a related discipline and field of study.

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.

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 not only actively involved in the content of the programme by organising track seminar sessions, but are also continuously challenged by involved academic staff to explore the boundaries of human geography.


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 and 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 acquiredskills, 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, private sector or civil society, in either local, national, international or transnational organisations.

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 March 10, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
1 year
Full time
1,984 EUR
Netherlands - Amsterdam
Start date: Sept. 2017
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2017
Netherlands - Amsterdam
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
EU/EEA students. Non-EU/EEA students €13,400 per year.