MSc in Urban Management and Development

The cities of today are complex, continuously evolving and face challenges on multiple levels. To stay sustainable and competitive in this ever-changing urban environment, cities need to balance their economic, environmental and physical, and social challenges with forward-looking urban policies. We think that contemporary cities need trained and innovative urban managers with skills in action and strategic planning, policy analysis, research methods and negotiation, and communication to be able to manage the complex urban multidisciplinary environment.    

This is why we designed our programme to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to become competent urban managers by offering an in-depth insight into urban issues, policies and trends around the world through a blend of lectures with case studies, discussions, working groups, group assignments and field visits and field work. More specifically, you will be looking into questions like (but not limited to):

What are the dynamics of urban growth? How do you manage a city in a holistic way? What about creating urban land and space use policies that reflect the “New Urban Agenda” goals? What are the theories that underpin good urban governance? Under what conditions are Public Private Partnerships (PPP) successful vehicles for urban development? How can local governments finance urban infrastructure? What is the right way to assess a social policy in the view of a paradigm shift?

The master programme is divided into three main periods: a core period, a specialization period and a thesis period. Below you can find more information about the programme structure and the knowledge you will gain during each period.

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Facts & Figures


1 year

Start of studies


Credits (ECTs)

68 ECTs




Accredited by the NVAO

Part- Or Full-Time Status



Erasmus School of Economics (ESE); Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (ESSB)

Tuition fee

EU/EEA & Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee 2018-19):

€ 13,900

Application deadline

Early bird: 15 April

Regular: 15 June

Want to save €1000 on your tuition fee?

Then be an Early Bird & submit your fee before 1 June.

Structure, Curriculum & Courses

Core period

During this period you get an in-depth insight into urban theories, policies and trends worldwide. This is offered in the form lectures and workshops on real world urban issues, urban governance and policy-making and the financial and economic aspect of tackling those. The course is divided into core modules and intermediary periods leading to a specialization period of 6 different areas of urban expertise. It will study cities from different multidisciplinary thematic perspectives such as “Complex City”, “Spatial City”, “Sustainable City”, “Green City”, “Livable City”, “Informal City” and “Competitive City”. 

block 1 

Urban Theory and

"Gaining from Land Use

Transactions - GLUT" interactive workshop

- 6 ECTS

Urban Governance, Policy, Planning and 

Public Private Partnerships - 5.5 ECTS



Finance and Investments - 3.5 ETCS

Action planning workshop - 1.5 ECTS


The specialization period allows participants to gain enhanced understanding of a certain aspect of urban management and development depending on their academic and professional orientation and interests. The specialization combines lectures and participatory methodologies such as workshops, simulations games, seminars and group work and it is designed to emphasize the link between theory and practice. 

block 2

Urban Strategies

and Planning

(USP) - 15 ECTS

Urban Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change (UESC) - 15 ECTS Managing and Financing Urban Infrastructure (MFUI) -15 ECTS


  • theory and conceptualization: collaborative planning, strategic planning, etc.
  • place-making and visioning
  • from vision and quality to objective and intervention
  • implementation plan


  • environmental and climate multi-governance
  • urban environment & climate change policy analysis & instruments 
  • assessment methodologies & decision support tools
  • framework for cost and benefits


  • management & governance of the infrastructure sector
  • links with other urban fields
  • key issues of infrastructure resilience, greening, energy efficiency, renewable energy
Urban Land Governance (ULG) - 15 ECTS Urban Competitiveness and Resilience (UCR) - 15 ECTS Urban Housing, Equity and Social Justice (UHES) -15 ECTS


  • land markets, policies and instruments
  • land and property; land rights, taxation
  • land use zoning
  • land, water and natural resources


  • theoretical background (relevant theories on UCR and the annual theme)
  • developing technical skills for answering research questions through data analysis
  • applied research


  • housing theory
  • functioning of the housing sector
  • livelihood theory
  • from welfare state to a participatory society
  • trends and paradigms in housing and social policies
  • creating liveable neighborhoods
  • Rotterdam field work


Master Thesis period

The thesis period opens with Research Methods workshops which offer the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to conduct academic research and complete the Master’s thesis. The students work under the guidance of their thesis supervisor and with the support of the IHS academic staff. See on what topics other students did their Master’s thesis here.

block 3 & 4 - Research Methods and Techniques | Research Workshops - 36.5 ECTS

Research Methods and Techniques

  • Problem statement
  • Introduction into academic research (research design, criteria for research questions, etc.)
  • Operationalization of conceptual framework, data collection methods and research instruments workshop
  • Data analysis workshop - SPSS/Atlas.ti (3 workshops)
Urban Social-Spatial Dynamics  (USP) Urban Sustainability and Climate Change (UESCC)

Sustainable Urban Infrastructure


Equitable Urban Land Governance


Urban Competitiveness and Resilience


Dynamic Urban Neighbourhoods


Need more detailed information? Contact us.

Top reasons to choose this programme

  1. Get your MSc from a high ranking university.
  2. Learn from active on-site urban policy advisors.
  3. Enjoy guest lecturers from UN-Habitat, etc.
  4. Expand your professional network with participants from over 45 countries.
  5. Tailor your study to your interests by choosing from 6 different specializations.
  6. Enjoy a practical training methodology of role-playing games, real case study analysis, class debates.
  7. Be inspired by the unique focus on urban development in the Global South.

Did we mention your lecturers are active on-site urban policy advisors? Also, some of your classmates will be mid-career professionals with interesting experience to share. This means that next to the readings, theories and assignments, you will be discussing current real-life cases. Meet them here!


Career prospects

IHS graduates work in the fields of urban academia, international consultancy, local and national governments and non-governmental organisations as lecturers, urban planners, sustainable urban development and design specialists, project managers, architects, government officials, urban policy analysis and development experts, capacity building trainers, land use advisors, renowned NGO heads and specialists and many others.

We listed some extra positions on our career opportunities page, if you want to get a better idea of what's in store for you. To see how IHS graduates are currently doing, have a look on our LinkedIn alumni page and read their stories on our alumni blog!


The Netherlands has one of the oldest and prestigious systems of higher education, ranking #7 globally. Erasmus University Rotterdam occupies position #6 in the Netherlands, #25 in Europe and #69 global. 

Subject specific rankings:

Shanghai ranking: #1 worldwide for Public Administration 
Top universities ranking (QS): #30 worldwide for Development Studies 
World University Ranking (CWUR): #5 worldwide for Planning & Development 

Times Higher Education - Global Employability University Rankings ranks Erasmus University at position #85 global and #2 in the Netherlands. Only the world’s top 150 universities are listed in this ranking. To read more on the different EUR rankings, click here!

Related courses

We think you might be also interested in the following courses:

Urban Management and Development Theories (UMDT) | International Course on Housing and Urban Development (ICHUD)Modular MSc Urban Management and Development | MSc Urban Governance