Vrije Universiteit Brussel logo
  • Tuition Fee:
  • Local: $ 4.55k / Year
  • Foreign: $ 9.1k / Year
  • Languages of instruction:
  • English

    Photos of university / #vubrussel

    The Master of Science in Urban Studies (4Cities) is a unique two-year interdisciplinary and international programme. 4Cities takes students to Brussels, Copenhagen, Vienna, Madrid and a number of surrounding cities. The master adds a European perspective to the field of Urban Studies: it wants to break up and to open the national perspective on urban problems. The growing importance of globalisation and the shift towards a world of flows calls for a new approach in important fields of urban policy like culture, economy, planning

    Strength of the programme

    The strength of the programme results from the integration of analytical skills typical for the (social-) sciences and the more design oriented skills of planning and architecture. The need for interdisciplinary knowledge and skills as opposed to the more narrowly defined academic disciplines is strong.


    • Globalisation - the processes of globalisation and localisation - as a general context leading to a renewed importance of the city and urbanity in the 21st century. The city is considered a nodal point in post-national developments.
    • Europe as the unit of analysis: Europe and the European unification process is seen as part of and a reaction to this globalisation processes. Our scope is Europe seen through its cities and urban networks.
    • Interdisciplinarity and internationality as a surplus value. The Unica master is a thematic masters programme focused on transdisciplinary approaches and transdisciplinary practices (not the least bridging urban planning and urban sociology, geography, etc) with a focus on the socio-spatial analysis of cities.
    • An education build on strong cases: Brussels (capital of EU, small global city) Copenhagen (the Scandinavian mode of regulation), Vienna (metropolis at the centre of Europe: gateway to the East), Madrid (the Mediterranean cities) and a number of surrounding cities.
    • The importance of fieldwork: research experience in each city and comparative or transnational research as the basis for a final masters thesis.
    • A number of excursions and visits: a central attractor will be that we incorporate well prepared excursions in each block. Each excursion will incorporate a socio-spatial introduction to the city (a city walk) and an institutional visit with a focus on certain aspects of policy or management. Moreover a number of projects and institutions will be visited.

    Program structure

    During a period of two years, students take part in an interdisciplinary programme and study in four cities: Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid and Vienna. Students live in each of the cities for one semester, except for the first block (Brussels) which takes a few weeks longer and the last block which consists of a short intensive stay in Madrid. Students spend most of the last semester in a location of their choice, where they are able to work on their master thesis.

    In each city the programme consists of:

    • academic courses
    • fieldwork
    • excursions & visits
    • exams


    Analysing urban society and space (urban forms) with adapted methodologies, making diagnoses, understanding data, describing problems
    Proposing solutions for urban problems and design alternatives (planning, project management, scenario research)
    Making a presentation of analysis and proposals
    Working in a multidisciplinary team and to take the position of interface; intermediate
    Adopting a critical attitude

    Career opportunities

    • Research and teaching on issues of urbanity and urbanism
    • Urban policy advice
    • Urban project management
    • Urban planning and design

    Our Student Service

    Students at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel are not just mere numbers. A lot of attention goes to making sure that you can study in the best possible situation. There are numerous staff members ready to assist you and give advice on all topics related to student life: practical information, medical assistance and finance, study planning, sports and culture, health, transport, housing and food, etc.

    University requirements

    Program requirements

    Academic requirementsYou can apply for this programme if you have a 180 ECTS bachelor degree in geography, sociology, literature & cultural studies, architecture & planning, economy, political sciences, public management, tourism, history, criminology, leisure studies, media studies or a similar discipline. Please note that the number of students is limited.For information regarding admission requirements and application, contact info@4cities.eu.Language requirementsA good knowledge of English is a prerequisite. Proof of proficiency in English has to be provided if previous studies were in a different language.A language test: only TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS, CPE, CAE are accepted. The minimum requirements are TOEFL: paper-based: 550, computer-based: 213, internet-based: 80; TOEIC: 860; IELTS-academic module: Band 6.5; CPE: Grade C; CAE: Grade B. English Language Requirements IELTS band: 6.5 CAE score: (read more) Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is part of the Cambridge English suite and is targeted at a high level (IETLS 6.5-8.0). It is an international English language exam set at the right level for academic and professional success. Developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment - part of the University of Cambridge - it helps you stand out from the crowd as a high achiever. 75 (Grade B) TOEFL iBT® test: 80
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