Urban Governance

Is this the programme you're looking for?

Do you wonder what role cities play in discovering answers to major social issues such as climate change, poverty, health, unemployment, housing and inequality? Then this urban studies master track is the right choice for you. 

Key Facts & Figures

Type
Master
Degree
MSc
Mode of study
Full-time
Instruction language
English
Duration
1 year
Study points (EC)
60
Application Deadline (EEA)
15 June
View all

The study programme in a nutshell

Today, cities are dynamic and fast-growing. They can pose challenging governance questions. Professionals who possess the right knowledge and skills to tackle complex urban governance and development issues are therefore urgently needed to develop sustainable governance policies. This unique master in Urban Governance is a collaboration between the Department of Public Administration and the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), combining Public Administration expertise on urban policy, politics and governance with Urban Planning and Management expertise. 

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Student perspective - Urban Governance

What you will learn

The programme offers a varied set of courses (obligatory and elective), seminars, working groups sessions, and a series of guest lectures by internationally well-known scholars. Furthermore, you conduct your own research project (thesis) in which you apply theories and social scientific research methods to examine urban governance issues.

Programme overview

Is this the right programme for you?

  • Get your MSc from a top 100 university Benefit from the knowledge of two renowned partners; The Department of Public Administration was #4 in the 2022 Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities on Public Administration. 
  • Learn from both leading scholars in the field and active urban policy advisers. 
  • Join in our interactive urban governance labs where you will be trained to use your theoretical knowledge to solve real-life examples of urban governance issues.
  • Prepare for your career and network during your project work and field visits to local stakeholders such as the Port of Rotterdam, Housing Associations or the Municipality of Rotterdam.
  • Gain knowledge on current trends, topics, innovations and tools from various disciplines in the field of urban governance (such as the circular economy, place-making, co-production and self-organisation etc.)
  • Apply and develop your knowledge globally by learning from international case studies, staff and classmates.
  • Exchange opportunities at our partner institutions – leading universities across Europe.

Want to know more? Meet us here

Students meeting each other

Find out everything you need to know at one of these (online) events.

All our education events

Career opportunities after graduation

Graduates are able to both analyse governance issues and develop strategies for the management and design of urban policy and governance processes. Alumni of our programme become project managers working on urban development, policymakers or advisors working at the local, regional, national and international level for both public and private organizations on themes such as mobility, sustainability, city planning, infrastructure and citizen participation.

This could be your future

What do our students think?

Stela Hristova - Student Urban Governance

Stela Hristova

Stela Hristova - Alumna Urban Governance

I believe that there is no better place to learn about innovative governance approaches for tackling complex urban issues than the Netherlands, and especially the city of Rotterdam
Stela Hristova - Student Urban Governance
I believe that there is no better place to learn about innovative governance approaches for tackling complex urban issues than the Netherlands, and especially the city of Rotterdam

After finishing my bachelor degree in Economics, I wanted to follow a master programme where I could combine my interest for public policy, sustainability and economics. The Urban Governance master programme at Erasmus University Rotterdam was the perfect choice - cities face complex social, economic and environmental challenges and studying how those can be tackled requires a multidisciplinary approach, innovative decision-making and implementation.

One of the most interesting features of the programme is that it is a collaboration between Erasmus University and the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, which means that students get the opportunity to learn from leading scholars and professionals actively involved in researching and finding solutions for urban challenges. Through the programme students gain knowledge about the latest theoretical developments in the field of urban governance, while also acquiring practical experience and competences through simulations, fieldwork and study trips. During the urban governance labs for example, we worked on various case studies and focused on developing essential personal skills. In addition, the governance lab culminated in a real-life advisory project: we had the opportunity to consult the Utrecht Region which was an exciting and challenging task. I appreciated the opportunity to experience how advisory work is done and to meet and talk to urban professionals. Another important aspect of the programme which I value highly is the variety of course assignments that touch upon different disciplines, thus creating the opportunity to familiarize with the most relevant topics in urban governance from different perspectives. The fact that I studied together with people with diverse backgrounds and nationalities made the whole experience even more interesting and enriching.

Finally, I believe that there is no better place to learn about innovative governance approaches for tackling complex urban issues than the Netherlands, and especially the city of Rotterdam, which is often used as a source of inspiration by other cities with regards to novel social and environmental policies, and actions for promoting the circular economy.

Hugo Hegeman - Student Urban Governance

Hugo Hegeman

Hugo Hegeman - Alumnus Urban Governance

This master combines both insights from urban management practices all around the world as well as from the newest publications in the field of public administration.
Hugo Hegeman - Student Urban Governance
This master combines both insights from urban management practices all around the world as well as from the newest publications in the field of public administration.

After my bachelor in Public Administration and Organisational Sciences in Utrecht I was looking for a master that focused more on resolving concrete societal issues. In my view, the most urgent societal challenges occur in cities: dealing with climate change, smoothing urban mobility and the digital transformation to smart, inclusive cities. Therefore, I decided to follow the Urban Governance master at the Erasmus University.

The master started as a collaboration between the Institute of Housing and Development Studies (IHS) and the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB) and therefore combines both insights from urban management practices all around the world as well as from the newest publications in the field of public administration. This way, I not only learnt what the dynamics are behind the most important challenges in cities nowadays, but also how to deal with these problems from a governance perspective. During classes, papers and the individual thesis, there is a lot of free space to zoom in on the topics of your interest. This led to the fact that I was able to write on smart city concepts, the use of urban big data and smart mobility practices.

There is also the possibility to follow an internship as part of the final thesis. However, this is something you should pro-actively search for as it is not something that is facilitated by the programme. I personally have been interning at the municipality of Rotterdam in the team ‘the digital city’.

One of the main characteristics of the master is that a lot of the papers and projects are concentrated on group work. Therefore, it is essential that you like to collaborate with others and that you are a team player. In the near future, I see myself working at a major Dutch city to solve urgent societal problems or as a consultant trying to advice cities around the world to foster their urban development. Despite the fact that it was the first year that this masters was up and running and there are still a few kinks that need to be worked out, I would certainly recommend to apply for this master!

Shelley Wilson - student Urban Governance

Shelley Wilson

Shelley Wilson - Alumna Urban Governance

I personally consider the international environment also to be an advantage. Because of this, you get a broad perspective and get to apply your knowledge also to other cities.
Shelley Wilson - student Urban Governance
I personally consider the international environment also to be an advantage. Because of this, you get a broad perspective and get to apply your knowledge also to other cities.

After finishing my bachelor’s in Public Administration at Erasmus University, I decided to follow the master Urban Governance. The main reason to apply for this master was the fact that it combines two topics I am interested in: urban development and governance. How do cities develop? And how can these developments best be governed? Growing up in Rotterdam, I have seen many challenges that the city faces and I want to become part of the solution. In addition, the programme is offered by Erasmus University and the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies. This offers you the opportunity to gain knowledge from two worlds!

Now that I have followed the master’s programme for almost nine months, I can say that I definitely made the right choice. Especially interesting are the different fields you will learn about, for instance, urban economics, spatiality and interactive forms of governance. Furthermore, the study offers a more theoretical as well as a more practical side. That makes that you not only have to learn theories from the books, but you will also get the opportunity to actually use these skills. Finally, I personally consider the international environment also to be an advantage. Because of this, you get a broad perspective and get to apply your knowledge also to other cities, for example, the ones your fellow students are from. And, not to forget, it is fun to get to know new cultures and people!

It might be the first year the master programme is running, but it definitely does not feel like that. All teachers – and students – are excited and more than willing to share their knowledge. If you are interested in cities, urban development and governance: I can assure you that this is the right master track for you!

Choosing a study is quite a challenge! Still in doubt about this study and want to have a good overview? Receive a clear digital brochure for this study.

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