Urban Governance

Why study Master Urban Governance

This Master’s specialisation is part of the MSc in Public Administration of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. A unique asset of this Master’s specialisation is the collaboration between the Department of Public Administration (Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, ESSB) and the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS).

What is this specialisation 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). They are at the heart of cultural, social and political innovation and play a key role in discovering answers to social issues such as migration, social segregation, poverty, climate change, health, unemployment, and terrorism. Sustainable 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, 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 but 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. Students will learn how to analyse urban governance issues and 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. Benefit from the knowledge of two renowned partners: The Department of Public Administration, which has an excellent reputation in interactive governance and public management (#1 in the 2017 Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities on Public Administration), and IHS, 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. Follow courses and lectures offered by leading scholars and active urban policy advisors in the field of urban governance.

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, 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 new Master’s specialisation offers an opportunity to learn how to develop innovative urban policies and appropriate management strategies.
Ingmar van Meerkerk
Programme coordinator
Read more about Ingmar van Meerkerk


#1 worldwide for Public Administration
Shanghai rankings

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

#69 worldwide
Times Higher Education (THE)