Study programme

The courses below are for cohort 2024 onward. If you are already a student at UU and are looking for information about cohort 2023 or earlier, please check our student website.

Global Urban Transformations is a two-year Master’s programme taught in English that includes both courses and research, awarding a total of 120 point in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). On this page you will find information concerning the curriculum, courses, educational methods, examinations and extracurricular opportunities.

The programme equips students with a solid geography-based theoretical and methodological foundation to study and critically assess global urban transformations.


The first year will be in residence at Utrecht University. Students take eight courses, for a total 7.5 EC. Of these eight courses, five are thematic (Introduction to Global Urban Transformations, Urban Social Dynamics, Urban Resilience, Key Thinkers in Geography and Planning and Politics and Governance of Global Urban Transformations). The other three courses are dedicated to advanced methods and techniques and academic skills (Quantitative Methods, Doing Qualitative Research in Geography, and Developing a Master’s thesis Proposal).

The research project in the second year requires students to be independent and innovative in applying theories in practice. This final project has a study abroad component and offers room to enrol in electives or do an internship. The combination of structured learning and individual learning provides students with the optimal setup to pursue a well-tailored programme that fits their interests and ensures high quality. The thesis is written up as an academic article.


Please note: This Master’s programme will start in September 2023. The courses are still under development.

Year 1

Period 1
Introduction to Global Urban Transformations (7.5 EC)Quantitative Methods (7.5 EC)
Period 2Urban Social Dynamics (7.5 EC)Qualitative Methods
(7.5 EC)
Period 3
Urban Resilience (7.5 EC)Politics and Governance of Global Urban Transformations (7.5 EC)
Period 4Key Thinkers in Geography and Planning (7.5 EC)Developing a Master's thesis Proposal (7.5 EC)

Year 2

Period 1
Master's thesis: guided research abroad and scientific publication (40 EC)Electives*
Period 2Electives*
Period 3Electives*
Period 4Career Orientation (5 EC)Electives*

* It is possible to take the electives throughout the second year. You must take two electives of 7.5 EC each.

Educational Methods

  • Lectures and seminars
  • Guest lectures from professionals in the field
  • Computer practicals
  • Site visits
  • Independent research for Master’s thesis
  • Study abroad component


  • Written exams
  • Papers
  • Oral presentations
  • Master’s thesis’ proposal
  • Academic article based on thesis results
  • Creative presentations of research findings e.g. policy brief, press release

Something to read

Here are some examples of recent theses that have been published as articles.

  • Van Wijk, D., Bolt, G., & Johnston, R. (2019). Contextual effects on populist radical right support: Consensual neighbourhood effects and the Dutch PVV. European Sociological Review, 35(2), 225-238.
  • Paredes-Rodriguez, A. A., & Spierings, B. (2020). Dynamics of protest and participation in the governance of tourism in Barcelona: a strategic action field perspective. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 28(12), 2118-2135.
  • Witte, P., Punt, E., & Geertman, S. (2020). Smart governance in the making: Integrating ‘smart’ in local spatial planning. In Handbook of Planning Support Science. Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Kusharsanto, Z. S. (2020). Modifying the triple helix model of innovation: a lesson learned from Cimahi Techno Park in Indonesia. International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development, 9(2), 158-175.
  • Fang, C., & van Liempt, I. (2021). ‘We prefer our Dutch’: International students’ housing experiences in the Netherlands. Housing Studies, 36(6), 822-842.

Extra opportunities

Utrecht University offers several honours programmes for students looking for an extra challenge. Honours education is followed on top of your regular Master’s programme and goes beyond the regular curriculum. Honours programmes are available at interdisciplinary level and allow you to go deeper into subjects or work on projects that transcend your own discipline.

Read more about the honours programmes