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Urban Geography (Human Geography)

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The Master Urban Geography provides students with a deeper understanding of global and local processes that shape cities across the world. In our programme, we study processes of urbanization, urban inequality and every day urban life through a geographical lens, exploring how seemingly global phenomena take on place-specific forms and contribute to place-specific social and spatial challenges. You will thus learn to study cities not only from the perspective of the global, but also from the perspective of the local.

Online open day

Do you want to know more about Urban Geography? You can visit our online open day page any time to delve into this study programme. Watch videos, talk to students and deepen your knowledge. Or sign up for an online event or open day.

About the programme

The 21st century will undoubtedly be an urban age.  Cities are celebrated as key engines for innovation and economic growth in the global economy and have also been rediscovered as attractive places to live, work and play. Local housing markets are attracting international investment and gentrification is revitalizing formerly run-down urban areas. Yet, this representation of urban life and cities as places of infinite opportunities is only one side of the story. It is increasingly clear that not all cities share in this success story. Urbanization is, in fact, highly uneven and urban economic growth even more so. Moreover, we see growing disparities within cities. Processes of polarisation, segregation, fragmentation and privatisation of the urban landscape form substantial political and social challenges for urban governments and local residents.

Cities are thus understood to be 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. Students will explore these themes in cities around the world, learning to critically reflect on the similarities and differences in the transformation of urban spaces and places.

FMG Human Geography - Urban Geography - Rocinha Favela
Rocinha Favela - Photo: Flickr AHLN

Student profile

The programme is very high-level and demanding, and we expect students to devote full attention to their studies during the entire year. It is founded on the principles of interactive learning between students and staff: through student-led seminars, shared fieldwork projects and practical assignments, students are continuously challenged by involved academic staff to explore the boundaries of their own knowledge and of Human Geography as an academic discipline. The Master programme Human Geography welcomes international and Dutch students from all universities with a bachelor’s degree in Human Geography & Planning or a related discipline. This makes the group of students very diverse and results in an international classroom with stimulating group discussions, as all participants bring in their specific background and experiences.


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 acquired skills with thematic specialisation and the opportunity to strengthen your personal profile in the thesis, prepares 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 - Amsterdam
Amsterdam - Photo: Flickr Moyan Bren

Studying Geography in Amsterdam 

Geography is all about studying the relationship between people and place and Amsterdam is a great place to do so. The city of Amsterdam itself is the perfect location and junction to study, explore, experience geography. In addition, the University of Amsterdam is a major research university and the Master programme is 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, where academic staff and students work closely together in a less formal and more open environment.

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).

‘Doing Geography’
Amsterdam as a laboratory
Specialise in Urban Geography
Geographic fieldwork abroad
Facts & Figures
Degree programme MSc Human Geography
Type Regular study programme
Mode Full-time
Credits 60 ECTS, 12 months
Language of instruction English
Starts in September
CROHO code 66620