What will I learn

Urban Ecological Planning (Master's Programme)

What will you learn?

Collage with a woman with children and a photo of an urban area

Urban Ecological Planning (UEP) is a multidisciplinary practice-based program for future urban professionals that focuses on leaving no one behind, particularly in rapidly changing social, cultural, political, and environmental contexts. Candidates gain experience in managing community and citizen engagement processes, planning for uncertainty, combining social and environmental solutions, and bridging research and practice. 

Urban planners are responsible for creating and implementing plans and strategies that guide the growth and development of urban areas. They play a critical role in addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time, such as climate change, rising inequality, and access to housing and services. The program stresses an integrated approach to strategic spatial change, with a specific focus on participatory, inclusive, and developmental planning practice. We believe that the only way to address urban challenges effectively is by working directly with communities at an appropriate scale, that people are best placed to understand and respond to challenges in their own areas, and that incremental change can best meet people’s livelihood needs over time.  

UEP approach is relevant to urban realities in both developed countries and the Global South. Developed countries face challenges such as aging and declining population, health hazards and exclusion of ethnic minorities. Low- and middle- income regions struggle with rapid population growth, socio-spatial inequalities, deficient infrastructure, environmental degradation, and weak institutional capacity. All contexts in the Global North and South will be heavily influenced by climate change. Consequently, the program focuses on the complex interdependence between people, institutions, and the built environment in pursuit of equity, efficiency, and sustainability.  


Main areas of study

Icon of a building structure

Various aspects of informality in urban areas

Icon of a handshake

Planning in situations of crisis, such as natural disasters and post-conflict reconstruction

Icon of a face, dollar sign and clock

Institutional alternatives for planning in resource scarcity

Icon of a house

Access to land, housing and basic services for the urban poor

Icon of a warning sign on a board

Participatory processes in planning for excluded and marginalised communities

Degree in Urban Planning

In the first semester, students spend around 6-8 weeks on fieldwork, typically abroad, to understand the strengths of neighbourhoods within cities, and evaluate possibilities for spatial, environmental and livelihood improvements. In subsequent semesters, the students undertake various other courses designed to address theoretical and practical aspects of urban planning and to further progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations.  

A degree in UEP can put you in a unique position to address some of the world's most pressing challenges – including poverty, climate change and urban growth. You will: 

  • Gain an understanding of complex urban issues and relate these issues to key theoretical concepts in planning and international development; 
  • Be able to plan in the face of uncertainty and contingency 
  • Thrive in multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural teams, and 
  • Build you competencies for a rewarding career that makes a difference. 

Screenshot of the booklet

Read more about the Urban Ecological Planning study programme in our brochure (PDF)


Master Thesis Topics

Master Thesis Topics

UEP recognizes the diversity of fields that come together in the urban sphere, therefore the topics that are accepted for the students’ master thesis are very diverse. Explore the idea bank below to see some of the proposed topics and the study backgrounds that are relevant for these theses!  

Idea bank for master thesis topics

Get ideas for master thesis topics in our booklet