MSc in Urban Economic Development: Innovation & Entrepreneurship


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Program Description

Study programme

In a global economy, cities and regions are in a perpetual state of competition. This specialisation track examines how cities use innovation and entrepreneurship to drive growth and build economic resilience in an unstable global economic climate.

The Urban Economic Development: Innovation & Entrepreneurship programme is a specialisation track within the MSc in Urban Management and Development, which offers students the opportunity to gain insight into the fundamental urban and regional processes related to economic development and resilience. Case-study examples and contemporary literature explain urban governance from an economic perspective by showcasing how cities grow and perform economically at a regional and global level. Students will work with real databases and use statistical software to learn how to translate economic theory into concrete analyses. By the end of the track, students will learn to identify criteria to assess urban and regional economic policy effectiveness using quantitative methods for evaluation as well as perform these analyses on various spatial scales: from countries to regions to neighbourhoods to households and individuals. In addition, students will be able to interpret real-world data to deliver innovative solutions for economic resilience in the context of an unstable global economic climate.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, the students should be able to:
  • Reproduce and interpret theories that deal with urban and regional competitiveness and resilience.
  • Identify criteria for urban and regional economic policy effectiveness using quantitative methods for evaluation.
  • Apply economic and geographical reasoning to analyze economic development and governance on various spatial scales: from countries to regions to neighbourhoods to households and individuals (macro-level, meso-level and micro-level analyses).
  • Apply theories, concepts and analytical research methods from contemporary literature to practical examples.

How is your year organised?

In the first and second block, the programme shares courses on urban theory, governance, policy, planning, and public-private partnerships, and local government finance and investment with the other specialisation tracks. However, your assignments within the course modules, as well as the action planning workshop, are always track-specific. In the third block of the programme, your courses will only be track-specific with the possibility to take an extra elective course. In the fourth block of the programme you will strengthen your research skills through research methods courses and workshops and write your Master’s thesis on a topic relevant to your specialisation track. Some example research topics are listed below. Other topics can also be accepted if approved by the coordinators of the specialisation track and the thesis supervisor.

Examples of thesis research
  • The impact of designated industrial zones on Egypt's manufacturing SMEs.
  • Does changed connectivity contribute to changes in the resilience of specialized cities?
  • Local competitiveness projects under EU external financial aid: A scope analysis of the regional competitiveness operational programme, Turkey.
  • Big brand physical presence effects on attractiveness of urban areas in Klang Valley.
  • High-tech specialization and income inequality: Evidence from Europe, 1995-2015.
Programme Curriculum

Blocks 1 & 2 - October to January

  • Urban Theory
  • Urban Governance, Policy, Planning and Public-Private Partnerships
  • Local Government Finance and Investments
  • Action Planning Workshop

Block 3 - January to April

  • Urban Economic Development and Resilience
  • Statistics and Econometrics

Block 4 - April to September

  • Research Methods and Techniques
  • Urban Research Workshops
  • Field Work and Master Thesis
    • The research process for the thesis is divided into three main steps:
    • The research proposal
    • Data collection and data preparation
    • Data analysis and thesis writing

Why study Master Urban Economic Development and Resilience

This specialisation offers students state-of-the-art theories and applied research skills concerning the economic development of cities. First, cities and regions are constantly developing economically and competing with each other on talent, investments, amenities, tourists, trade and knowledge. Economic development, therefore, is a good starting point for determining how cities grow and perform economically, at a regional and global level. Second, economic resilience has become more prominent in research and policy agendas for the last decade. The latest global economic crisis, local crises related to economic structural change, severe negative external effects related to globalization and urban economic growth, all lead to intensified shocks to which local economies react differently across countries and continents. With likely more shocks ahead (e.g. related to Brexit in the EU, trade tariff policies of the US, economic transitions, and/or changes in institutions and social capital), the topic of resilience is as important as that of economic development.

"Rotterdam is an inspiration, a living laboratory where students can experience research and action united for a successful city."

Larissa Araripe Rand, United States

Urban Management & Development Alumna

Why study at IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam?

Earn your MSc degree from a top 100 university

Known for its academic rigour and high quality of education, Erasmus University Rotterdam is consistently ranked in the top 3% of the world’s best universities.

Our teaching methods are unique

Alongside IHS teaching and research activities, our faculty members work in the field on real-life cases around the world. Challenges, learnings, and questions from these different contexts are brought back to the classroom and woven into our curriculum.

You apply everything you learn - no dry theory

Students learn through a blend of lectures, real-life case studies, discussions, debates, simulation environments, written assignments, and group work. Field visits and projects in Rotterdam and other Dutch cities provide first-hand exposure to local urban problems. Students have the option to complete their thesis fieldwork abroad and immerse themselves in a relevant urban context to collect data.

We offer a truly international and diverse environment

The IHS classroom is comprised of mid-level professionals and fresh graduates with rich and varied experiences from more than 45 countries. Typical backgrounds include architecture, engineering, planning, economics, social science, environmental science, and housing.

Study in Rotterdam - a hub of sustainable urban innovation

Iconic architecture, pioneering urban planning, and a celebrated multicultural population have thrust Rotterdam to the forefront of innovation and cultivation within the urban world.

Enjoy guest lecturers from UN-Habitat and other key stakeholders in the urban field

IHS works with global leaders in the field of urban development, including UN-Habitat, Cities Alliance and ICLEI as well as with leading universities in the Netherlands and around the world to ensure additional academic resources for our students.

What are some of the special features of this track?

Next to earning your MSc diploma from Erasmus University Rotterdam, an institution that is consistently ranked among the top 3% of the world’s best universities, studying the Urban Economic Development and Resilience track also means that you will get to:

Learn STATA statistics and regression analysis

Undertake quantitative analysis using statistical software and databases; understand regression results and learn how to interpret outcomes; translate findings derived from quantitative analyses into evidence-based policy analysis and policymaking.

Conduct policy analysis

Apply learnings to critically evaluate policy effectiveness across numerous variables.

Gain technical skills & tools

Learn ArcGIS software and map creation; understand and interpret maps; translate findings derived from a mapping exercise (create own maps) into evidence-based policy analysis and policymaking.

Enjoy a field trip to a city in Europe

Apply the theories you learned in the classroom to a real-life case study, on your field trip to a European city.

Blend theory with technical skills

Combine strong theoretic knowledge with the skills required from an urban manager, while learning how to translate research questions into applied economic analysis.

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

ESSB is home to a vast diversity of study programmes and scientific disciplines: Public Administration, Pedagogical Sciences, Psychology and Sociology. In addition, the Erasmus University College, IHS ... Read More

ESSB is home to a vast diversity of study programmes and scientific disciplines: Public Administration, Pedagogical Sciences, Psychology and Sociology. In addition, the Erasmus University College, IHS, and two research institutes RISBO and DRIFT are linked to the faculty. Our education is small-scale and based around Problem Based Learning (PBL). Being connected to the professional field is another characteristic of our study programmes. Read less
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