MSc Urban Management and Development

Why study Master Urban Management and Development


Cities are in a constant state of unprecedented change. Nowadays, the majority of the population lives in cities, and by 2030 urban areas are said to triple in surface. That is as if we built a city the size of Rotterdam every day for the next ten years. As cities continue to grow and evolve, they face complex challenges on multiple levels. For cities to stay sustainable and competitive in this ever-changing urban environment, they need to balance economic, environmental and physical, and social challenges with forward-looking urban management policies. 

But what is urban management? 

In a nutshell, urban management is a very complex process that encompasses multi-level strategies, activities and instruments designed to create safe, inclusive, resilient, accessible and sustainable cities. Successful urban management means, for one,  to ensure sound policies on infrastructure as well as tools to secure finances for implementing these policies. It can be that the resources and services, which citizens need, are available and divided equitably among the population; or that interests of the different stakeholders, especially of the inhabitants, are well represented and factored in the decision-making process of the local authorities. For a city to work, one needs sound policies that generate and regulate investments and partnerships to ensure the financial health of cities. This way, a city can improve its social, environmental and economic climate, offer more livelihood options and support small & medium scale entrepreneurship and other local economic development actions. Improving living conditions means having affordable and accessible housing options and considering environmental sustainability, waste management, green area conservation and last but not least, climate change mitigation and adaptation. All these aspects need to be planned and managed at a local administration level, but with a broader context in mind.

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. 

Why study at IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam?

Earn your MSc degree from a top 100 university

Known for its academic rigors and high quality of education, Erasmus University Rotterdam is consistently ranked in the top 3% of the world’s best universities.

Our teaching methods are unique

Alongside IHS teaching and research activities, our faculty members work in the field on real-life cases around the world. Challenges, learnings, and questions from these different contexts are brought back to the classroom and woven into our curriculum. 

You apply everything you learn - no dry theory

Students learn through a blend of lectures, real-life case studies, discussions, debates, simulation environments, written assignments, and group work. Field visits and projects in Rotterdam and other Dutch cities provide first-hand exposure to local urban problems. Students have the option to complete their thesis fieldwork abroad and immerse themselves in a relevant urban context to collect data.

We offer a truly international and diverse environment

The IHS classroom is comprised of mid-level professionals and fresh graduates with rich and varied experiences from more than 45 countries. Typical backgrounds include architecture, engineering, planning, economics, social science, environmental science, and housing. 

Study in Rotterdam - a hub of sustainable urban innovation

Iconic architecture, pioneering urban planning, and a celebrated multicultural population have thrust Rotterdam to the forefront of innovation and cultivation within the urban world. 

Enjoy guest lecturers from UN-Habitat and other key stakeholders in the urban field 

IHS works with global leaders in the field of urban development, including UN-Habitat, Cities Alliance and ICLEI as well as with leading universities in the Netherlands and around the world to ensure additional academic resources for our students.

What do our alumni have to say about it?

IHS student from Peru talks about his experience in the MSc in Urban Management and Development. 

Cesar Escudero, Peru

IHS student from India talks about her experience during the MSc in Urban Management and Development.

Rozita Singh, India

IHS student from United Kingdom talks about his experience during the MSc in Urban Management and Development.

Max Russell, United Kingdom

IHS student from Kenya talks about her experience during the MSc in Urban Management and Development.

Lindah Njani, Kenya

#70 Worldwide

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#2 for Public Administration

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#48 for Development Studies

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#5 for Planning & Development

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