Career perspectives

PhD programme
Graduation ceremony of the IHS PhD candidate Hung Viet Ngo

Cities are expanding at a rapid rate. More than one billion people have been urbanised in the last half a century, and experts are predicting that this number is only set to increase. As the population expands and an increasing emphasis is put on creating “smart cities”, urban professionals and planning experts are being called upon to ensure that our cities can accommodate their growing populations and implement sustainability and technology initiatives.

Whether working to improve housing opportunities, fixing transport links or creating ways to make our cities more environmentally friendly, as a PhD graduate in Urban Development and Governance, there are many directions that your urban career could take.

Our alumni work in the public, education and private sectors, including ministers, mayors, NGO specialists, architects, urban planners and lecturers. Meet our alumni to see how IHS graduates are doing.

PhD Alumni Spotlight: Vicky Ariyanty

Vicky studied how to protect water resources in the event of a volcano erruption.

IHS PhD alumna Vicky Ariyanty

Take your urban knowledge from the classroom to the boardroom

The educational programmes at IHS are designed to equip students with the knowledge and the skills to become competent urban professionals. Many of our academic staff are still practising in the field, and their teaching material is made up of their real-life case studies. This learning context ensures that our students are experienced in applying theory learnt in the classroom to actual situations. Once they become graduates, they have the practical skills that employers are looking for.

Participating in any of our programmes provides a gateway to an international network of urban professionals, institutes and capacity building initiatives. Graduates and students will benefit from the extensive network of IHS, including an alumni association with over 9,000 members and contacts with donor agencies and training centres. IHS is engaged in over 100 urban programmes and projects at any time, enabling a direct link between theory and practice. IHS lecturers have worked all over the world, thus creating a possibility to discuss and initiate programmes and projects in your country and your cities.

Urban career opportunities in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is home to many urban architecture and planning organisations such as Swenco Nederland, MVRDV and Stantec, making it a great place to start your urban career. If you are an international IHS graduate, you could be eligible for a “Zoekjaar”, which is a one-year residency permit to give you the time to find a job once your studies are over. If you are interested in finding out more about how this works, you may find our Orientation Year/Search Year post useful.

Being one of the most densely populated nations globally, the Netherlands uses urban planners to ensure that the space available is used effectively. The Netherlands is also one of the greenest countries and is constantly striving to ensure that new developments are as carbon neutral as they can be. This provides exciting opportunities for urban professionals who are interested in climate change and eco-efficient urban practices.

Career Orientation Year in Holland By Nuffic Neso

Urban career opportunities further afield

Wherever you go in the world, every city needs urban managers. In fact, 45% of our alumni are currently working in the public sector to implement urban planning initiatives in their city.

Recent urban population growth predictions have revealed that the amount of urban space in developing countries needs to expand by 326 per cent by 2050. With such drastic city expansion on the horizon, these countries will be looking to urban planners and development professionals to make it a reality.  

With urban planning and development opportunities in many different places, where will your post-graduate education take you?

For more information about applying to study at IHS, read our educational programmes information page. You may also find our frequently asked questions page useful.  


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