Why do a PhD at IHS?

PhD programme
Graduation ceremony of the IHS PhD candidate Hung Viet Ngo
Erasmus University facts and figures

As part of the high-ranking Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Institute for Housing and Urban Management and Development Studies (IHS) is a vibrant international research community. With IHS' partner universities and over 11.000 alumni from more than 140 nations, the institute has built a strong global network of urban professionals. Our PhD programme offers a challenging research environment for those people looking to obtain a PhD degree in the field of urban development and governance.

University rankings

Find out where Erasmus University placed in the latest global rankings

IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam University Rankings - standing people

Am I suitable for this programme?

The heavy urbanisation of today's world means that contemporary society faces a set of complex problems for which no quick answers exist. While our Master's programme helps students become effective urban managers, our PhD programme offers an opportunity to analyse that complexity much more in-depth. The PhD programme expects students to critically engage in academic research and answer research questions concerning the topic of urban governance through their PhD manuscript. 

Our PhD programme in Urban Development & Governance is meant for those people who obtained excellent results in their accredited Master's programme and who are hungry for more knowledge. We welcome people looking to specialize in one of the many persistent issues in urban development and governance. 

Why get a PhD in urban development and governance?

A PhD degree gives a competitive edge to many professional and academic positions and may even be a requirement for certain positions. Graduates from our programme are well-positioned to continue their academic and professional careers as they have a wealth of skills and knowledge developed from their time at IHS. Our PhD graduates are highly skilled urban analysts and are extremely capable of training others, e.g., in capacity building. Many have found employment in governmental organisations, (international) enterprises, think tanks, and NGOs. Others have continued in academic careers as assistant professors, post-doctor, etc., in universities across the globe.

As much as a PhD is mandatory for an academic career, most of our graduates venture out into the world of urban management and governance. A PhD degree signals the ability to engage in deeply complex urban problems and the ability to come up with smart solutions. This is very attractive to prospective employers. Sometimes, a PhD degree is required for senior positions within organisations.

A PhD trajectory that suits your situation

At IHS, we look carefully at the training needs of PhD students. PhD students (in consultation with their supervisor) will agree and outline the logistics of their trajectory and academic training in a Training and Supervisory Plan.

No two PhD trajectories are the same, and so this Training and Supervisory Plan is also a tool to monitor your individual trajectory. We understand that PhD students may have to work from their home country for a period of the research time. However, we encourage you to spend most of your time in the Netherlands so you can benefit from close contact with your supervisors, IHS staff, other PhD students and the academic environment. Nevertheless, we will support you in finding a study style and location that works for you. IHS will also assist PhD students in their visa process. 

Academic training

All candidates will follow an individual training program at the Erasmus Graduate School for Social Sciences and Humanities encompassing mandatory and specialised courses and workshops. The latter will be tailored to your training needs. You may want/need more in-depth training on research and design methods, for example, qualitative methods, quantitative methods, or modelling. This can all be accommodated in the training programme you will follow.

What are some special features of this PhD programme? 

Next to earning your degree from Erasmus University Rotterdam, an institution that is consistently ranked among the top 3% of the world’s best universities, choosing a PhD in Urban Development and Governance at IHS also means that you can take advantage of: 

Two students looking at a book

Learn with our staff

Your supervisory team consists of two supervisors who are experienced in doing academic research. This enables you to learn from their experiences. At IHS, a PhD trajectory is very much a matter of co-production: we learn as much from you as you learn from us. 

Group of UMD students walking on the Erasmus University Campus

Extra-curricular activities

Apart from your PhD trajectory, you will also have the opportunity to attend the MSc in Urban Management and Development activities at IHS, including events like Urban Vision lecture series. These activities involve attending or giving guest lectures and the possibility of assisting in Masters thesis supervision so PhD students can learning what it means to be a supervisor.

Students exchange ideas to each other

PhD colloquia

PhD students meet in the regular PhD colloquia to discuss each other’s work, exchange tips and learn from the experiences of IHS staff. Explore a diverse range of topics and gain insight into their academic research thought the Spring and Fall Colloquia series.

Research graphs being reviewed by a person

Access to a wealth of information

As PhD student, you will have access to the large IHS’ library with a wealth of sources for everything urban. You will also have access to the university’s main library, as well as access to a vast majority of the world’s (electronic) scientific journals. There is more information than one read in a lifetime.

Campus from above with Mandeville Building
Ossip van Duijvenbode

Your working place

We understand the value of a conformable working space and at IHS, you will have your own working space in our big PhD office. This room is reserved for IHS PhD students only and is located on the 14th floor of the Mandeville (T) Building, Erasmus University’s Woudestein campus.

Student experience 

Cai Min IHS PhD candidate portrait image

"IHS provides us with free room to research our own topics of interest, giving us the opportunity to open our vision and mind. Thanks to this stimulating environment, we can work on the belief of better cities." 

Min Cai, China
PhD Student

PhD student experience

Tannya Pico is a PhD student at IHS, who is exploring nature-based solutions for her hometown.

Sign up for a series of informative emails about this programme!

Learn about the content, lecturers, career opportunities, Rotterdam and more.

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes