Master in Urban Studies

Estonian Academy of Arts

Program Description

Master in Urban Studies

Estonian Academy of Arts

Mutating Tallinn

As events and transformations of the recent decades have forcefully shown, the urban question permeates all major social, economic and political developments of today. The two-year Master’s programme in Urban Studies critically engages with the wide-ranging manifestation of contemporary urbanity. What shapes have the processes of urbanisation assumed today? How are urban spaces produced?

The programme foregrounds the unitary perspective of the city as a physical space, a social space and a space of design. It combines rigorous academic research with intensive fieldwork. The programme is situated at the trans-disciplinary crossroad of urban studies, urbanism and urban planning, architecture theory, sociology, urban ethnography and geography. Our students have academic backgrounds in architecture, social sciences or humanities. Integrating critical interrogation and experimental practice, the programme has a triple focus on social uses, spatial programmes and urban forms.

The form of assignments includes term-long research studios, intensive workshops, lectures, seminars and field trips. The distinctive mark of the Urban Studies programme is its reliance on theoretically-informed action in the field. We take students’ efforts seriously: the programme engages ‘real’ actors and create opportunities for public presentation, discussion and publication of the best works.

The Master’s programme is fully in English and has a strong international orientation. We cooperate with a network of partner institutions in Europe, and we are connected to regional partners in Finland, the Baltic countries and Russia. The curriculum includes a number of workshops and lecture courses by international scholars, architects, urban planners and activists.

The education prepares students to engage with urban issues at the intersection between design practice, political practice and theoretical knowledge (urban design, urban and spatial planning, state and municipal policy making, public expertise, community advocacy, social activism, academic and practice-based research). Our graduates work in public administrations, urbanism-focused NGOs, architecture design offices, private consultancies and advocacy organisations. The programme also prepares graduates for further study at the PhD level.

"Growing up in Lasnamäe, I have always been attentive to its inhabitants and dynamics. During my studies in the Urban Studies Master's programme at EAA, this initial interest crystallised into a more coherent set of ideas and steps. I started the Lasnaidee project, organising community events and struggling to change the negative image associated with the neighbourhood. The studies helped me understand that beneath this image one finds valuable public spaces and rich everyday life. With the Urban Lab, I organised guided walks where experts and visitors can see this for themselves. I am continuously engaged with the issues of cooperation and community organisation, and I have recently become more involved with the planning process itself. While perhaps less colorful, planning is key for the just and equitable development of a city."

– Maria Derlõš, MA Urban Studies '15

STUDIES

The Master’s program in Urban Studies provides the students with:

  • theoretical ground for understanding urban history and contemporary urban development,
  • practical research and methodological skills for analysing urban situations in a rich, comprehensive and interdisciplinary way,
  • design skills engaging the student in work on urban and spatial planning,
  • international and comparative perspective.

Pedagogically, the curriculum consists of:

  • lectures courses, in which key debates in contemporary urban studies an architectural theory is presented,
  • reading seminars, where students are engaged in critical discussion of these debates,
  • semester-long research studios, the core element of the program, in which students analyse, engage and propose solutions to ‘real’ urban situations, utilising wide range of planning (scenario planning, interventions) and academic (interviews, observation, archival research) methods,
  • seminaries held by invited lecturers, who provide expert knowledge on multiple fields central to the urban question (geography, history, art history, detailed planning, software tools),
  • annually changing workshops and courses on topical themes, which are shared between first and second year MA students, helping the two groups to integrate.

The basic structure of the Master’s program is as follows:

  • 1st year, autumn term: urban and architectural theory, typomorphology studio
  • 1st year, spring term: scenario-planning studio
  • 2nd year, autumn term: urban research studio, urban planning studio (held in collaboration with students of Architecture program)
  • 2nd year, spring term: Master’s thesis.

ADMISSIONS

Depending on their background discipline, prospective students have an outstanding portfolio of either design or written work (realised or published work is not required, but it is an advantage) in a field relevant to the discipline of Urban Studies (architecture, planning, social sciences, art history, etc.). Students’ strong interest in urban phenomena, manifested in their previous work at the level of design skills and/or research experience is decisive. Crucially, prospective students are able to manifest that they are willing and capable to integrate these two forms of urban knowledge in their Master’s studies. Prospective students are able to formulate original questions, problems and approaches that they would like to pursue during the Master’s studies. Fluent command of English language is required.

The process of selecting prospective students has two rounds. In the first round, the applicants are assessed based on the submitted portfolio of written and/or design work and the CV. In the second round, in-depth interviews are conducted with prospective candidates.

The requirement for admissions to Master’s studies is a Bachelor’s degree, higher education obtained on the basis of professional higher education curriculum or other relevant qualification that gives access to Master’s studies. Educational certificates issued abroad are recognized by Estonian Academy of Arts on the basis of the assessments and opinions of the Estonian ENIC/NARIC Centre.

INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS

The admission period for international applicants is March 1st till May 3rd, 2017. Application can be completed online.

This school offers programs in:
  • English


Last updated April 6, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
Duration
Duration
2 years
Full time
Price
Price
Free
Information
Deadline
Locations
Estonia - Tallinn
Start date: Aug. 2017
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Dates
Aug. 2017
Estonia - Tallinn
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Videos

Urban Studies at the Estonian Academy of Arts