Why this Study programme

Urban Governance

This social sciences master track is part of the Master of Science in Public Administration of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. A unique asset of this urban studies track is the collaboration between the Department of Public Administration of Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (ESSB) and the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS).

What is this master track about?

Cities are complex, challenging and fast-growing. They are major economic and development drivers that generate vast amounts of wealth and are home to more than half of the world’s population (estimated to be closer to 70% by 2050). Cities are at the heart of economic, social and political innovation. They play a key role in discovering answers to social issues such as sustainability, poverty, inequality, housing, migration, social segregation and urban growth in a just way. Sustainable urban governance policies are crucial to securing global resilience to these issues and to secure the well-being of people who live inside and outside of cities.

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Cities require competent managers who are able to develop and implement innovative policies to tackle these issues. They need experts who understand the importance of involving the community in urban governance and decision-making. Experts who are able to employ cross-jurisdiction solutions to land and environmental issues, who drive the sustainable economic development of cities while protecting public interest, and who oversee the development of international, public and non-profit organisations.

Within the governance of cities, governments do not act alone. They rather involve a variety of public, private and social actors with their own interests during the process of urban development. The MSc in Urban Governance offers insight into this new way of governing and seeks to equip students with expertise in public administration, political sciences, urban economy, sociology and urban planning. In this master you will learn how to analyse urban governance issues.  Furthermore, you will develop specific skills and strategies for the management and design of urban governance processes that enable stakeholders to effectively and legitimately deal with various issues.

Public Administration

Why choose this programme?    

1. Get your MSc from a top 100 university. Benefit from the knowledge of two renowned partners; The Department of Public Administration was # 3 in the 2021 Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities on Public Administration. IHS was honoured in 2007 with the UN-HABITAT Award for ‘leading the way as a global center of excellence and knowledge through its high-quality teaching programmes in urban management and planning’ and which has over 60 years of experience in educating and training local and national governments officials.

2. Learn from both leading scholars in the field and active urban policy advisers. 

3. Join in our interactive urban governance labs where you will use your theoretical knowledge to solve real-life examples of urban governance issues.

4. 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.

5. 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.)

6. Apply and develop your knowledge globally by learning from international case studies, staff and classmates.

7. Conducting your own research (thesis) using social scientific research methods.

8. Take the unique opportunity to conduct your thesis abroad within our partner network.


This master programme offers an opportunity to learn how to develop innovative urban policies and appropriate management strategies to deal with major societal issues of our time.

#3 worldwide for Public Administration in 2021
Shanghai rankings

#5 worldwide for Planning and Development
Center for University Ranking (CWUR)

#72 worldwide in 2022
Times Higher Education (THE)

The courses that constitute this master build up on a critical reflection of today’s public administrations and lay down innovative ways of dealing with urban problems.
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
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.
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.

Students collaborating with the municipality of Alkmaar 

The municipality of Alkmaar regularly collaborates with universities and colleges for knowledge exchange. The Alkmaar Canal programme has started a joint track together with students from the Urban Governance Master programme.

Students think along for the Alkmaar Canal Programme

Alkmaar Canal Programme: Findings

Why study at Erasmus University Rotterdam?

Welcome to the highly-ranked Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), a research university located in the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. EUR offers 13 selective bachelor programmes, and more than 50 top master programmes, taught in English.

Erasmus University traces its origins back to 1913. The university has become internationally recognised for its distinct social orientation in education and research. Our 30,000+ students come from more than 100 countries all around the world.

Erasmus University Rotterdam. Make it happen.

Rotterdam: Make It Happen

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