Urban, Port & Transport Economics
MSc Economics and Business

Study programme

The master’s specialisation consists of two elective seminars, one compulsory course, four elective courses, and a master’s thesis distributed over five blocks of eight weeks.

The compulsory course on analytical, spatial and statistical skills is essential in order to be able to properly analyse relevant data and to critically assess findings in available literature for the seminars and the master’s thesis.

The seminars are the central components of the master’s specialisation. They are highly interactive with several assignments where students are expected to analyse real-world cases and report their findings. The choice of seminars and courses allows students to tailor the master to their own interests. The courses acquaint students with a range of topics that are central in Urban, Port and Transport Economics.

You will write your master’s thesis during the last part of the programme. This is an individual task, performed under close supervision by a member of our academic staff.

The curriculum consists of:

  • 25% Analytical skills
  • 25% Foundations
  • 25% Real-life cases
  • 25% Deepening understanding and contextual knowledge

In class

How do you produce refrigerators?  Where should you produce them? Making optimal decisions requires understanding of: the organisation of the supply chain of refrigerator production, what inputs can be acquired cheaply at which locations, where labour is cheap and what the costs of transport are. It also forces you to make decisions on the location of your own production, including the acquisition of land and real estate. Is cheap assembly in an African country an option? If so, what routes and ports would be part of the preferred strategy? In an actual case, you study these aspects of the production and transport process, and devise an optimal strategy for production, which you could advise in real life.

Disclaimer: The overview below shows the programme curriculum for the academic year 2019/2020

    • Block 1

      • The Take-Off is the introduction event for all new students of Erasmus School of Economics. During this interesting introduction event, you will be provided with useful practical information and receive an introduction to your studies, meet your fellow students and our School.

      • This course covers quantitative analysis applied to the field of Urban, Port and Transport Economics.

    • Block 1 - 4

      • The electives represent a choice of supplementary but fascinating academic views from the specialisation that you have chosen.

        Students choose:

        1. two courses from the listed UPTE courses (see below),
        2. one TUD-Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics Master's course or one of the remaining listed UPTE courses,
        3. one other Economics and Business course, including the remaining listed UPTE courses.
    • Block 2 - 3

      • Students choose two seminars from the seminars listed below.

    • Block 3 - 5

      • The thesis is the crown on your Master’s degree programme.

        While you have to start in early December, the last two blocks of the programme are especially devoted to the Master’s thesis. The thesis is written individually under close supervision by one of our academic staff members.

    • Block 1


        Today both developed and developing countries are searching for ways to foster economic growth. Innovation is considered to be a major force for economic growth. The objective of this course is to provide students with a comprehensive and advanced understanding of what innovation is, how innovation is organised and diffused, how internal and external (industry) factors impact on innovation, and what the role is of different actors involved in innovation such as different types of firms (start-ups, small firms and large firms) banks and venture capitalists.

      • A large variety of economic activities take place in seaports and seaports are important locations in worldwide logistics. In the course the following issues are discussed.

        • The position of a port as a node in worldwide transport. A variety of commodities are handled in seaports. Each commodity is a specific market, with specific market conditions and characteristics.
        • Port competition: regulations, institutional structures, the structure of supply chains and the effects on seaports.
        • Port planning and forecasting of cargo throughput.
        • Ports as clusters of economic activities, including activities such as oil refining, chemicals production, logistics, trading, etc., and the competitiveness of these port clusters.
        • Strategic, tactical and operational aspects of (container) terminal operations.

        An excursion in the port of Rotterdam is part of the course.

      • The course integrates insights from industrial organisation and strategy research while building upon a strong theoretical and empirical foundation.

      • This course focuses on the identification and evaluation of policy efforts in urban and regional economics, with special attention to European regions.

    • Block 4

      • Urban Economics and Real Estate covers our build environment and the reasons why we are located close to each other.

      • The objective of this course is to provide students with a comprehensive and advanced understanding of concepts and characteristics of innovation, the organization and diffusion of innovation, incentives for innovation, and policies for fostering innovation. 

      • This course offers a comprehensive introduction to the global airline industry and a rigorous economic analysis of airline competition and pricing, the role of airports and the international regulatory environment. 

      • In this course the unit of analysis is the individual transport or logistics firm. During the course economic approaches like market analysis, organization economics, strategy making, financial decision making, and supply chain economics are applied within the various transport and logistics sectors.

      • This course provides essential insights for anyone interested in the organization of firm production which becomes increasingly complex in a globalizing world.

      • The aim of this course is to discuss the role of behavioural economics in transport policy. More specifically we will review the most important findings about some of the contextual factors influencing transport behaviour.

      • The aim of this course is to discuss the role of behavioural economics in transport policy. More specifically we will review the most important findings about some of the contextual factors influencing transport behaviour. The MINDSPACE framework  will be used as backbone structure of the course. MINDSPACE is a mnemonic for: messenger, incentives, norms, defaults, salience, priming, affect, commitment and ego.

        The focus will be in understanding the influences on transport behaviour. Additionally, students will learn to apply the major techniques of behavioural influence to transport related problems. How do you convince people to travel by public transport rather than by car? How can you stimulate cycling to work or school? Do car drivers react to traffic information? How should passengers be informed about travel delays? These and other transport-related problems will be used as an example to discuss major behavioural principles.

      • *after approval of the Examination Board ESE

        • Students choose:
          1. two courses (8 ec) from the listed UPTE courses,
          2. TUD-Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics master's course(s) or one of the remaining listed UPTE courses (4 ec),
          3. one other Economics and Business course (4 ec), including the remaining listed UPTE courses, with the exception of the core courses from the specialisation Data Science and Marketing Analytics.
    • Block 2

      • This seminar gives an overview of the most important developments in supply chains, and the management thereof.

      • The aim of this seminar is to gain understanding about the location decisions of multinationals and to what extent these decisions are influenced by local and regional governments.

    • Block 3

      • In this seminar, the objective is to develop the ability to give strategic advice to stakeholders in order to increase their competitiveness.