Master's Urban Geography (Human Geography)

In the Master’s in Urban Geography will are provided with a deeper understanding of global and local processes that shape cities in our current world. Increasing urbanisation and the growth of the world’s population gives rise to a number of new social, geographical and economic challenges. You will learn about urban inequality, social justice, socio-spatial dynamics and everyday urban geographies.

Urban Geography: Global and Local Perspectives on Cities

The Master's in Urban Geography provides students with a better understanding of the global and local processes that shape cities today. The 21st century will undoubtedly be an urban age. As processes of globalisation and economic restructuring have contributed to unanticipated urban growth across the globe, cities are considered to be key engines for innovation and economic growth and have been rediscovered as attractive places to live, work and play. This celebration of urban life and cities as places of infinite opportunities, however, is only one side of the story.

FMG Human Geography - Urban Geography - Rocinha Favela

Rocinha Favela - Photo: Flickr AHLN

Urban social challenges 

Cities are confronted with substantial social challenges related to polarisation and urban inequality, processes of segregation, fragmentation and privatisation of the urban landscape. Consequently, cities are places of both unanticipated wealth and concentrated poverty, deprivation and vulnerability, shaping the life experiences and opportunities of urban dwellers in diverging and complex ways. This raises important questions about urban inequality and social justice.

Themes in Urban Geography 

In the Urban Geography programme students will explore a number of interrelated themes:

  • urban inequalities and social justice
  • socio-spatial dynamics of the city
  • everyday urban geographies. 

These themes are explored in cities around the world, highlighting similarities and differences in the transformation of urban spaces and places 

FMG Human Geography - Urban Geography - Amsterdam

Amsterdam - Photo: Flickr Moyan Bren

Studying Geography in Amsterdam 

Geography is all about studying people, space and place - and Amsterdam is the perfect place to do that. First of all the city of Amsterdam itself is the perfect location and junction to study, explore, experience geography. Secondly, the University of Amsterdam, a major research university, offers a Master’s programme taught by one of the highest ranked geography departments in continental Europe. Last but not least, the Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS) of Amsterdam provides a vibrant and international academic community. The GSSS values diversity in both research and academic content, academic staff and student population.

Focus on research: academic staff

The lecturers in the Master's track Urban Geography are all active researchers involved in the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR), Amsterdam research centres such as Centre of Urban Studies, IMES, ACCESS EUROPE and numerous international research networks and projects. They bring this research expertise and their networks to the programme.

This track builds on cutting-edge research projects from the related research group of the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research. Insights from these research projects are integrated into the main thematic course, and the master thesis projects which take place in the second semester of the programme.

The teaching in this track is organised in small groups. This results in small scale research communities in which academic staff and students work closely together in a less formal and more open environment.

Student profile

The Master’s programme Human Geography welcomes

  • both international and Dutch students; 
  • both UvA alumni and students from other (Dutch and foreign) universities;
  • both students with a bachelor degree in Human Geography & Planning and students with a bachelor degree in a related discipline and field of study. 

This makes the group of students very diverse and results in an international classroom with attractive group discussions as all participants bring in their specific background and experiences.

The programme is very high-level and demanding, and we expect students to devote full attention to their studies during the entire year. Students are actively involved in the content of the programme by organising track seminar sessions, but are also continuously challenged by involved academic staff to explore the boundaries of human geography. 


Within various interdisciplinary and problem oriented projects, the programme encourages students to develop their skills in:

  • GIS – Geographical Information Systems
  • Social Science research methods – both qualitative methods, quantitative methods, and mixed methods;
  • Presentation and Communication – to pitch an idea or present research outcomes;
  • Cooperation – to work in teams and evaluate the work of peers.

The combination of taught skills, together with the specialisation track and the focus in the thesis will prepare students for their future career as a geographer in a wide array of institutional contexts: either public service, profit sector or civil society, either local, national, international or transnational organisations.

FMG Human Geography: Urban Geography

Favela - Photo: Flickr dany13

Ambition in research?

For students interested in this field of study, we also offer a two-year Research Master’s programme in International Development Studies and Urban Studies.

Degree certificate

Urban Geography is a track of the accredited degree programme Human Geography. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a legally accredited Master’s degree in Human Geography and the title Master of Science (MSc).

Key facts

Degree programme
MSc Human Geography
Regular study programme
60 ECTS, 12 months
Language of instruction
Starts in
CROHO code

Published by  GSSS