EME is an international research master degree in Planning and Sustainability Engineering with specialization on Urban and Regional Planning program.

This Master aims to help students to develop a critical understanding of contemporary planning challenges for cities and urban regions, in the context of climate change and growing human needs. The programme is designed so that students may confront up to date scientific knowledge on planning with their own cultural background and planning experiences. Through the Master, each student becomes familiar with the advantages and limitations of cross-national transfer of ‘good practice’ in the urban or regional policy field.

As a research Master, this programme trains students to deal with up to date research issues and methods. It prepares students to start a PhD or to take leadership roles in urban development and management, especially in an international context.

Since it opened, in September 2010, this Master has attracted 25 students, coming from the EU countries or from countries neighbouring the EU, but also from North America, from Asia, and from the Middle East.

This Master is offered by the Planning Department of the Polytechnic School, one of the largest planning schools in France, through its staff, its number of postgraduate students, or its number of graduates. It is of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) and of the French-speaking association of planning schools (APERAU Internationale) and also active within the Global Planning Education Association Network (GPEAN).

The curriculum interacts with research conducted by the laboratory Cities, Territories, Environnement, and Societies (a unit of the National Scientific Research Council and of Université François-Rabelais). The various research programmes carried out by one of its four research groups - the team “Urban and regional planning projects, landscape and environment”- provide the intellectual environment for the development and the discussion of each student’s individual research. The courses and research topics offered within this Master stem out from research carried out in the following axes: Planning systems and projects, Environmental and landscape dynamics, Risks and vulnerabilities, Sustainable local and regional development.

During the first semester, the curriculum is organized around 150 hours of seminars and workshops (30 ECTS).
The second semester is devoted to an internship of 5 months (30 ECTS). It includes the participation to a seminar and the presentation by each student of their research in progress.

Six Teaching Units dealing with urban and regional issues are offered:
  • Teaching Unit 1: Urban and regional issues, planning institutions: a cross-national approach
  • Teaching Unit 2: Cities, city-regions and strategic spatial planning
  • Teaching Unit 3: Risks, decision making and planning
  • Teaching Unit 4: Project, heritage and sustainable development
  • Teaching Unit 5: Urban aquatic ecosystems
  • Teaching Unit 6: Project sciences and analysis of space: planning process and complexity
Three thematic Teaching Units :
  • Teaching Unit 7: a methodological seminar, to help each student to design his own piece of research
  • Teaching Unit 8: an initiation to the French language and French culture
  • Teaching Unit 9: a field trip
  • Teaching Unit 10: Research training
Teaching Units 1 to 9 are organized around lectures, but also personal work, which includes reading, writing summaries and essays. Some modules include group work.
Teaching Unit 10 is assessed through the Master thesis.

Detailed content :Teaching Unit 1: Urban and regional issues, planning institutions: a cross-national approach (3ECTS)

This module is an introduction to the topics and approaches that are dealt with in the other modules. It mixes lectures on the institutional context of planning in Europe and in France, with presentations by students of planning issues in their own country. The module offers a first approach to the cross-national analysis of planning issues and systems, which is to be consolidated in the other modules.

Keywords: Planning systems, institutions, planning practice, comparative studies, cross-national approach, Europe

Teaching Unit 2: Cities, city-regions and strategic spatial planning (3 ECTS)

This module provides an understanding of the rise of the notion of city-region. It highlights the connections to debates regarding spatial dynamics in Europe, metropolitan governance and competitiveness. The consequences of the city-region for urban planning theory and practice are discussed through a discussion of strategic spatial planning exercises in various European city-regions, especially in England and France.

Keywords: Territorial competitiveness, city-region, strategic spatial planning, governance, sustainable urban development

Teaching Unit 3: Risks, decision making and planning (3 ECTS)

This module focuses on the goals of risks management, defined as a cross- sectors public policy integrating civil security, environmental or health policies. It also defines a territorial approach of hazard mapping and planning as part of a complex urban network system.

Keywords: Flood risk management, structural and non structural measures, flood risk maps, social vulnerability

Teaching Unit 4: Project, heritage and sustainable development (3 ECTS)

Heritage approach, territorial growth and sustainable development proceed from different theoretical perspectives and can be oriented by separated practices. The question is: how could they be hybridised within spatial planning and local development projects? The major purpose of this module is to offer a multidimensional and interdisciplinary analysis of the social and cultural environmental questions, in various territorial scales.

Keywords: urban project, heritage, sustainable urban development, energy

Teaching Unit 5: Urban Aquatic Ecosystems (4 ECTS)

Most cities have been built near to water sources that today have been channelized, or otherwise strongly modified. Fast growing cities often ignore their waterfronts, resulting in their “marginalization” in ecological and social terms. This module focuses on how open water surfaces can be re-integrated into the planning and management of rural-urban transition zones. Technical examples and socio-ecological challenges are highlighted. This module lasts one week and will be given at the university campus at Chinon (50km off Tours), in co-option with the Guyana Master in Ecology and Sustainability.

Keywords: aquatic habitats, riparian settlers, aquatic ecosystems

Teaching Unit 6: Project sciences and analysis of space: planning process and complexity (4 ECTS)

The growing number of stakeholders has largely contributed to changing the planning process, while the socio-spatial analysis of territories has seen the emergence of “sensitive” approaches. In response, this module offers a theoretical and methodological approach to address planning projects and space analysis through the prism of complexity.

Keywords: Project sciences, sensitive approach, stakeholders, spatial practices

Teaching Unit 7: Research methods (4 ECTS)

This module has three interrelated aims: (1) to improve the research skills of students; (2) to help students to plan their own research; and (3) to develop critical evaluative skills in relation to the research conducted by other scholars. It focuses firstly on how to conceptualise a research issue and how to carry out investigations. Second, it proposes methods for conducting a literature review as well as case-studies. It also prepares students to use quantitative or qualitative methods, according to the specific research questions they wish to investigate.

Keywords: research process, research design, methodology, quantitative and qualitative methods

Teaching Unit 8: Field trip (3 ECTS)

The purpose of the trip is to observe various towns, rural areas and natural landscapes, as well as to meet decision-makers in the planning field. This activity will provide students with experiences outside their everyday activities. Students will be involved in planning the actual trip and post-trip activities (including the organisation of an exhibition). The Loire Valley is to offer many specific site visits of cultural landscapes and of urban projects.

Keywords: non-experimental research, observation, photography

Teaching Unit 9: French language and French culture, job training (4 ECTS)

This module helps students of non-French language of instruction to develop language tools necessary for academic integration, but also social and cultural success. On the one hand, it focuses on French and Francophone cultures. On the other hand, it prepares the professional integration after the Master.

Teaching Unit 10: Research training (30 ECTS)

This unit validates the research placement that will be conducted within the research laboratory Cities, Territories, Environment and Societies, and especially the research team “Urban and regional planning projects, landscape and environment”.

A tutor will advise each student and supervise his/her research and seminars will be organised.

Keywords: research methods, research design, methodology


France requirements for international students

France propose a world-class higher education institutions in an international environment. The application process for international students is exactly the same as it is for french students but it's indispensable to contact with a platform “Etude in France” and the regional department of “Campus France” (a public institution in charge of promoting higher education and managing the reception and international mobility of students).

Higher education is thus provided by two main types of institution: universities and "grandes écoles". «Grandes écoles» are the most reputable of the French education system. To win admission students get in by competitive examination, the institutions are relatively small, and classes in them small too. French universities are open to all “bacheliers”, or a student whom has passed their baccalaureate, and it's also easier to apply for the university program. 

It is necessary to point out that the European local or an international student have to complete the application process in its entirety,  as well as submit all documentation at the time of submission so the procces suit to the ground for the students all over the world. Students are eligible for grants and other financial assistance from the governement to support study in France.


Program requirements

Candidates must take care of the administrative steps required to enter to the international research master program. Roughly speaking, candidates will go through 3 major steps :1. Admission step : candidates are invited to send their international research master application form directly to the secretary of the international research master program. This application will be examined by a jury and accepted candidates will be authorized to enter the second step. Candidates from a CEF country must also follow the Campus France procedure.2. VISA & accommodation applications : candidates may have to request for a student VISA and look for an accommodation in Tours. Student rooms are available via the CLOUS in Tours.3. Registration to the international research master program : this step needs candidates to be in Tours to complete their registration at Polytech Tours, the Polytechnic Engineers School of the University François Rabelais of Tours, to enter the international research master program. Afterwards, the courses start.In parallel of these steps, candidates may apply for a grant in order get financial help during their study year in Tours.The above steps depend on the nationality and the residence country of the candidate. Check your situation! English Language Requirements IELTS band: 5 TOEFL paper-based test score : 577 TOEFL iBT® test: 87
  • Find a grant: There are a lot of programs to do so. Here is a list of possibilities..
1. Look to the CAMPUS France website which provides with some useful help even on financial aspects. A list of grant programs is also available depending on your country. Don’t hesitate to apply!
2. There are some Regional grants (distributed via the University of Tours) which can be allocated upon application:• Grants for the 1st semester: two scenarios:
1. regional ordinary grants, grants of about 500€/month for the duration of the first semester;
2. regional cooperation priority areas (see list below), grants of about 625€/month for the duration of the first semester. Depending on the year there can be some extra grants, according to funded research projects and specific actions (ex. between 2013 and 2016 some specific funds, focusing Tamil Nadu incoming students, are available via the ARCUS project).
Any candidate accepted to the International Research Master program can apply. Applications are done after the acceptance notification to the program.
• Grants for the 2nd semester (internship):- Erasmus Internship grants: if your internship is in a lab located in Europe, then you can apply to Erasmus grants. The grant is about 350€/month for the duration of the internship and can be received even in the case of a granted internship. Applications are done in Tours at the beginning of the academic year.
- Mobicentre : if you are less than 30 years old and are a national of an European country (or a national from another country but in the Region Centre since 2 years), then you can have a grant of 240€/month if you do your internship outside Europe. It is of 170€/month if your internship is in a European country. Applications are done in Tours at the beginning of the academic year.
Regional cooperation priority areas: Germany: Saxe Anhalt; Poland: Malopolska, Czech Republic: Pardubice; Mali: Mopti; Mauritania: Gorgol; Morocco: Meknès Tafilalet Region; China: Hunan; India: Tamil Nadu; Laos: Luang Prabang.
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