MSc Specialisation: Urban Competitiveness and Resilience

For future Students

The Competitiveness and Resilience (UCR) Specialization provides students with a strong theoretical foundation and develops their quantitative research skills needed to perform urban-focused economic analyses.

How is the specialisation taught?

The teaching throughout the specialisation period consists of two “strands” - a theoretical one and a technical one. The theory and content focused strand of the specialisation is based on discussions and debate and covers topics of economic competitiveness and resilience in cities as well as urban policy analysis. During this part of the specialisation, students gain a strong foundation for future learning and execution of skills for urban managers. The technical strand of the specialisation, on the other hand, teaches students quantitative research techniques and aim to train students to translate research questions in this field into applied economic analysis.

Both the theoretical and technical aspects of the specialisation are taught in lectures followed by tutorials, which are focused on highly interactive discussions, practical exercises and group work. Designed to teach shared responsibility and reflect future working environments for students, the tutorials provide the necessary room to debate, reflect and put theory into practice.

Students will have their lectures taught by leading experts in the field such as Prof. Frank van Oort, Dr Jan Fransen and Dr Paula Nagler. The accompanying work is broken down into intensive weekly sessions that include small group discussions, hands-on skills tutorials, as well as group assignments. On top of this, the students will also go on a one-day excursion to a city in the Netherlands or nearby in a neighbouring country at the end of the specialisation period, where they will be exposed to debates with experts in the field.

What can I expect as a student?

Students can expect to walk away from the class with the ability to perform the following:

  • Statistics and econometrics
  • Urban economic analysis
  • Policy analysis
  • Economic geography
  • ArcGIS
  • Network analysis

Connecting skills and theory will be the main focus of the studies, with the aim of highlighting the importance of evidence-based research and policy advice. At the end of the specialization, students will have been exposed to the skills and knowledge they will need to work in a research/academic or policy environment in the future.

What experiences do the experts of the specialisation have?

Past students have cited the specialisation as helping them acquire the skills to conduct quantitative analyses for their master thesis that is embedded in the discourse of urban competitiveness and resilience. The specialisation has also taught them how to use a variety of software, such a STATA and ArcGIS, which is not only helpful in the context of the specialisation but also in other areas in their future careers.




IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Prof. Frank van Oort

Academic Director

IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Dr Jan Fransen

Deputy Director

IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Dr Paula Nagler


Wageningen University

Alex Levering

Associate Lecturer