Master of Science in Urban Development (UD)

Background and Challenges

Urban growth is extensively transforming the face of the planet. For the first time in human history, more than half of the world's population now lives in towns and cities. With an average growth rate of 2.1% per annum from 1990-2003, the MENA region has one of the world’s most rapidly expanding populations, increasingly concentrated in urban areas.

Cities in both the MENA region and other parts of the world are engines of growth, providing a disproportionate share of income opportunities and access to services. At the same time, cities are places of growing social and economic inequality, with increasing numbers of people living in poverty and deteriorating living conditions. Furthermore, urbanization also poses a significant challenge in the 21st century, with an estimated 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions linked to urban areas. The enormous contribution of urban areas to global greenhouse gas emissions is set to increase even more.

Tasks and Objectives

The challenges surrounding urban growth require theoretical approaches and operational tools that are properly geared to the specific social, economic and institutional conditions of a specific region. In addition, urban low carbon concepts in recognition of local resources, know-how and management capacities are essential elements of an effective planning strategy for the future.

The central concern of the Master’s program is to equip the participants with a critical understanding of the development of urban areas, unveiling the political, economic and social forces underlying the different types of urban conflict and exploring concrete approaches to address their causes. The program takes an interdisciplinary and international comparative perspective - with a special focus on the MENA region - exploring the specific conditions for interventions in differing urban contexts.

Study Fields

The sections below show the most important study fields of the M.Sc. Urban Development. As there are only small differences between them in the old and new study regulations, they can be used for getting a general overview about the Master's program.

(I) Urban Planning

  • Urban Planning (Tools)
  • Environmental Planning
  • Urban Landscape Design
  • Urban Sociology

(II) Project Management

  • Project Management
  • Urban Economics
  • Planning Law
  • Urban Governance

(III) Technical Infrastructure

  • Water Supply and Wastewater Disposal
  • Energy Supply and Technologies
  • Traffic Planning
  • Waste Management

(IV) Interdisciplinary Studies and Intercultural Competence

  • Term Projects
  • Intercultural Communication

(V) Master's Thesis

  • Master's Thesis

Teaching and Learning Methods

The Urban Development program is divided into a three semester study period, complemented by a fourth semester in which students write their Master’s thesis. The first and third semesters take place in El Gouna, Egypt, while the second semester is hold in Berlin, Germany. The location of the fourth semester is open to the students's individual choice.

The courses consist of lectures, seminars, workshops, exercises and integrated projects. The integrated projects form the backbone of the study program: on the basis of real cases, interdisciplinary teams are put together to find solutions for the development of complex topics in the field of urban development. The project work includes site visits (excursions), enquiry sessions, moderated group discussions, teamwork and study and mediation workshops. The participants gain professional experience through studying, while developing their social and intercultural skills at the same time. The students' performance is assessed through course work, examinations and a final dissertation report (Master’s thesis).

Career Opportunities

The Urban Development program is primarily oriented to future leaders in the complex field of sustainable urban development. Graduates will be highly qualified to work in leading positions in the local, regional, national or international contexts of urban development. They will be able to work in governmental institutions, the private sector or academia.

The qualifications acquired in this study program are typically required in the national or international fields of sustainable urban development, town planning, master planning, sector planning, and city management. There is also demand in the areas of strategic planning, sustainable urban renewal, area and project development, public administration, local economic development, facility management, business development, scientific research and consultancy. On successful completion of this Master’s program, students will also be qualified to apply to international Ph.D. programs.

Apply Now All Year Round

We have removed the fixed application periods for our three Master’s programs in Energy Engineering (EE), Urban Development (UD), and Water Engineering (WE). The programs commence once per year in October. You can now apply for the next intake up to twelve months in advance.

We expect this change in procedures to significantly enhance the chances of our prospective students to find suitable scholarships, as many donor organizations require several months to process funding requests. We therefore advise all interested students to apply for our Master’s programs as early as possible. After reviewing and approving your application documents, we will issue a Letter of Acceptance, which you can submit to scholarships providers with a request for financial assistance.

To avoid misunderstandings during your application, we would like to stress that our Master’s programs take place in El Gouna, Egypt (two or three semesters, depending on the program), and Berlin, Germany (one semester or one-month excursion, depending on the program). The tuition fees for our two-year Master’s programs amount to €20,000. For further information, please consult our FAQ section.

Application Periods

In order to enhance the application process, there are three different application periods.

Early Application - until 28 February 2017:
Applications submitted by 28 February 2017 will be answered as soon as possible with a Preliminary Letter of Acceptance under the condition that all documents (including transcripts) have been delivered and the applicant meets the eligibility criteria. This procedure supports our candidates' quest to obtain external funding or scholarships.

Regular Application - 1 March until 31 May 2017:
All documents have to be submitted and only complete applications will be processed. We expect applicants of this group to arrange their own funding as it is difficult to obtain any scholarships on such short notice.

Late Application - 1 June until 31 August 2017:
After the end of the regular application period you can still apply for our Master's programs until the maximum number of students for each program has been reached. All documents have to be submitted and only complete applications will be processed. We expect applicants of this group to arrange their own funding as it is difficult to obtain any scholarships on such short notice.

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Sep 2019
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