Master in Human Geography


2 locations available

Program Description


Human Geography is a new Master’s program that starts in September 2017. It stems from the former Economic Geography and Urban Geography programs. You can specialize in one of the two fields by choosing a track:

  • Urban Geography: Neighbourhoods & Residential Dynamics
  • Urban Geography: Daily Life & Public Spaces
  • Economic Geography: Business & Location
  • Economic Geography: Regional Development & Policy

Cities and Urban Regions: Opportunities and Concerns

Urban regions are bubbling, dynamic places where people get together and generate new ideas. They are breeding grounds for innovation and economic growth. Many people still move to the city, chasing their dreams: for a challenging career, a pleasant living environment, all the amenities within easy reach. And besides the local residents, large numbers of tourists visit the city seeking an entertaining stay.

The continuous urban growth in an increasingly global economy has both winners and losers. On the one hand, there are start-ups that expand to become large companies. While on the other hand, there are traditional companies that succumb to global competition. How can we explain success and failure?

Urban growth also leads to a great diversity of people and lifestyles, which ensure thriving communities. Yet there are also places where spatial and social inequalities reveal themselves between communities. This results in unpleasant living environments and neighborhoods in decline. How do you breathe new life into those communities?

In the Human Geography Master's program, you learn how urban and economic issues are interwoven. As a student of the Human Geography Master’s, you will study the city and its economic developments from various academic perspectives and thematic angles, with an interdisciplinary approach.

An International Focus

This Master’s program has an international character. We welcome students from around the world onto the program. This way you are provided with the opportunity to come into contact with other cultures and national contexts. You will go on an international field trip and can complete your Master's thesis project and/or internship abroad. You will be able to find work in many fields, positions, and locations following graduation.

Program Objective and Working Methods

This Master’s program gives you a thorough understanding of important urban and economic issues. You will receive comprehensive training in the methodological and critical analytical skills needed to find possible solutions for challenges in urban regions. Working from a scientific and theoretical foundation, you come into contact with the daily practice. Through guest lectures and practical assignments (active learning), you will learn what graduates do and be able to determine where you would be most at home.

Your choice of graduation subject and the accompanying research internship provides the best way for you to present yourself to future employers. The program has made arrangements with various companies, research agencies and government organizations regarding internships and interesting research projects.

The two former Master’s programs in Urban Geography and Economic Geography showed that there is a big job market for graduates. Human geographers can be found in numerous public and private organizations in the field of urban and economic development. Positions held include consultants, advisors or researchers, who work on specific social or economic issues.

The program has an extensive alumni network, which is also involved in teaching. Through guest lectures and practical assignments, you will learn what graduates do and be able to determine where you would be most at home.

For example, in the short course on Professional Competences (with options), you will learn how to make your research results accessible to a wider audience, how to draw up a policy report, or how to deal with opposing political or other interests in practice.

Career Prospects

The knowledge and skills acquired via the Human Geography Master's program make our graduates successful in careers in a wide range of public and private organizations, including:

  • government ministries
  • provincial and local authorities
  • private consultancies
  • research agencies
  • housing associations
  • project developers
  • the business sector
  • universities

Graduates in the former Urban Geography and Economic Geography Master's programs have for example found jobs at:

  • Advies- en onderzoeksbureau Decisio
  • Arcadis
  • ASR
  • Amsterdam in Business
  • Bureau BUITEN
  • Bureau Stedelijke Planning
  • Companen
  • DTZ Zadelhoff
  • Gemeente Amsterdam, Bureau Onderzoek en Statistieken Dienst Wonen, Zorg en Samenleven
  • Gemeente Utrecht, Ruimtelijke en Economische Ontwikkeling/Economische Zaken
  • Gemeente Overbetuwe, afdeling Economische Zaken
  • Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken, Directoraat-generaal Wonen en Bouwen
  • Multi Corporation
  • Natuur- en Milieufederatie Utrecht
  • Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving
  • Planterra
  • Portaal
  • Royal Haskoning DHV
  • Rabobank Nederland, Kennis en Economisch Onderzoek
  • Regionale ontwikkelingsmaatschappij Oost NV
  • Urban Resort

International Students

  • Learning Dutch

If you want to find a job or internship in the Netherlands, knowing Dutch will get you places. Even if you work within an international organization, knowing at least some Dutch is always a benefit and in some cases even a requirement. In order to learn Dutch, free language websites such as or can get you started or take a look at the Dutch courses offered by Babel. As a student from Utrecht University, you receive a 25% discount on their course offerings.

  • After graduation

If you want to stay in the Netherlands after your graduation, you can apply for the ‘residence permit orientation year’. This permit can be submitted within 3 years after completing your studies and allows you unlimited working rights (hence: a work permit –TWV- is not required). For an overview of the conditions that apply for this permit, please visit the IND website.

Last updated November 2019

About the School

Founded in 1636, Utrecht University is an esteemed international research university, consistently positioned number one in The Netherlands, 14th in continental Europe and the worldwide top 100 of int ... Read More

Founded in 1636, Utrecht University is an esteemed international research university, consistently positioned number one in The Netherlands, 14th in continental Europe and the worldwide top 100 of international rankings, and member of the renowned European League of Research Universities. Read less