What will I learn?

Cities and regions throughout the world face challenges that require integrated knowledge of urban geography, economic geography, international development studies, and planning. In this Research Master’s programme in Urban and Economic Geography (previously known as Human Geography and Planning), you will gain a broad theoretical and methodological background that will allow you to become an academic or professional researcher of ongoing social, spatial, and economic developments in cities and regions. You can specialise in your preferred geographic sub-discipline while maintaining a broader perspective on the functioning of cities and regions, as well as the relevant theories and methods.

Programme Objective

In Urban and Economic Geography, you will study the reasons behind the diverse developments in the globalised and urbanised world, and you will learn to translate up-to-date theoretical and methodological developments into empirical research. You will also formulate effective policy recommendations to make cities and regions more viable and sustainable.

As a graduate, you will have an excellent basis for completing a PhD in the fields of urban geography, economic geography, development studies, and urban and regional planning. You will also qualify for senior research functions within international and national organisations, such as the United Nations, Dutch ministries, regional and local bodies, NGOs, and multinational companies. You will be able to perform advanced scientific research within the fields of human geography and spatial planning.

This programme will equip you with the ability to critically assess research designs and results and policy implications. This will give you an excellent basis for either a PhD research position at a university or a senior position in national or international companies and research institutions.

Possible Prospects

As a graduate, you will be eligible for PhD research or senior research and other positions in organisations such as government ministries, regional and local authorities, urban and country planning consultancies, and private research institutes.

Many of our recent graduates find jobs in companies (31%), while the second largest group of our graduates chooses an academic career by entering a PhD programme in the Netherlands or abroad (26%), or by starting research-teaching activities at a university (10%). A few of our students found employment with non-academic research institutions (18%).

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Geosciences

Study options

Full Time (2 years)

Tuition fees
€17,078.00 (US$ 20,275) per year
Start date

Expected September 2021


Utrecht University

Heidelberglaan 8,

Utrecht Science Park / De Uithof,


3584 CS, Netherlands

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applications for admission to the double-degree Master's Programme in European Governance will be welcomed from candidates with a BSc or BA in disciplines such as Social Studies, Law, Economics, Governance and Organizational Science, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Sociology, Political Science, International Relations or European Studies, and who can demonstrate a previous interest in European issues. Previous degree: The minimum requirement for admission is a Dutch, German, Irish or Czech Bachelor’s degree in one of the above fields (or international equivalent). University College Dublin requires a minimum GPA of 3.08. English language requirements: International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) – Academic test: A minimum score of 7.0 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component (including writing); Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) – A minimum of 100 on the internet-based test; Cambridge EFL examinations – A minimum of grade B in the Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English; or a minimum of Grade C in the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English.

For international students

The minimum capacities that are required in prior education concern:

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 (on a scale of 1-4) or at least 7.0 under the Dutch system. The foreign equivalents ar A-/B+ (USA/Canada) or B/B- (UK)research skills;
  • knowledge and experience with basic methods and techniques in geographic or social-science research.

Please note that no one will be admitted to this programme directly. A decision will always be made on a case-by-case basis to determine whether there are sufficient grounds for admission. Applicants should preferably hold a university degree in a related subject, such as:

  • University Bachelor's degree in human geography and/or urban and regional planning
  • University Bachelor's degree in another spatial, social or economic science discipline with at least a minor of 30 ECTS in human geography and/or urban and regional planning; this requirement includes students from a University College
  • University Master's degree in a human geography or planning specialisation
  • University Master's degree in another social or economic science field with a substantial amount of ‘spatial’ and ‘research’ content

Other English language requirements: Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English, at least a B grade; Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English, at least a C grade.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.