Urban Studies and Planning - M.Sc. Degree in Technology


Master of Science (Technology).
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120 ECTS

Field of Study:

Technology and Engineering


2 years, full-time


An appropriate Bachelor´s degree or an equivalent qualification.

Tuition fees & scholarships:

Yes, for non-EU citizens.
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Language of Instruction:

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Organising school/s:

School of Engineering

Application period:

2017-12-15 - 2018-01-24

Publication of Results:



Urbanization is a global phenomenon that determines the future of our societies. Most of the key challenges of contemporary societies are encountered and addressed in cities. Cities provide enormous economic, technical and cultural opportunities, but they are also places of social conflicts and segregation as well as environmental and health problems. The magnitude of such challenges implies that no single field of research or profession can tackle them alone. Urban development requires an integrated approach.

Two prominent Finnish universities, Aalto University and University of Helsinki, have joined forces in this unique and interdisciplinary master’s programme. Aalto University admits students to the programme through three channels: for degrees of Master of Science (Architecture), Master of Science (Landscape Architecture) and Master of Science (Technogy) for the real estate specialisation. The real estate specialisation is oriented towards applicants with a Bachelor’s degree in planning, urban economics, real estate or economics.

Learning outcomes

After completing a degree in the master’s programme in Urban Studies & Planning, the student can:

  • Identify theories, concepts and empirical research methods relevant to urban studies and planning from related fields of social sciences, humanities, ecology, engineering, architecture, design and art
  • Demonstrate a working understanding of the role of urban government, policy-making and planning in urban development
  • Critically and creatively pose and answer significant research questions relevant not only within but across multiple fields of theory and practice
  • Gather, process and develop relevant conclusions based on information from multiple sources
  • Produce, collect and analyse cases and data relevant to urban phenomena
  • Use digital and other tools to collect, analyse and share data
  • Develop responses to urban problems using relevant tools and techniques for representing, modeling, prototyping, testing and evaluating solutions
  • Understand and develop integrated approaches within and across urban research and applied planning
  • Communicate understanding of and responses to urban phenomena visually, graphically, verbally and in writing
  • Write academic, professional and popular texts on urban themes based on relevant literature
  • Apply and develop skills for co-production of knowledge and co-design
  • Work productively and cooperatively in multidisciplinary, multiprofessional and international environments

Education content

The Master’s Programme in Urban Studies and Planning prepares students to excel as professionals capable of understanding and addressing complex urban development challenges. Students learn to address such challenges through a curriculum and pedagogical approach that includes interdisciplinary breadth as well as depth in core areas of knowledge, skill and practice. The program balances theoretical, historical and conceptual knowledge with the acquisition of methods, skills and experiences. Thus, students gain a broad understanding of urban phenomena as well as practical experiences in collaborative and concrete situations. This is the basis both of the structure of the programme and of elements in the curriculum.

Taking full advantage of the joint university structure, the program joins leading expertise from the University of Helsinki and Aalto University into three major study lines. Signature elements in the program are studios crossing the study lines to address urban challenge themes. Themes relate to current and urgent contemporary issues articulated not only in Finland but on the European and global scale, including controversies intrinsic to urbanization. Urban challenge themes may be attached to focus areas, research projects or collaborations within our universities, municipalities and regions in order to provide a constructive and critical framework for study and practice. Urban challenge themes are transdisciplinary and trans-professional, uniting the core areas as joint effort towards a common challenge and emphasizing an outward and forward-looking perspective.

In the real estate spezialisation, the program provides students with skills for analyzing the real estate markets and understanding the dynamic processes determining supply, demand and prices. Student learn the basic methods used in the valuation of real estate and gain understanding in the business logics of various actors. The specialization provides professional capabilities relevant in real estate related position in both private and public sector.


Career prospects

The programme prepares you to be a professional in a field that is meaningful, growing and in demand. You will acquire the knowledge, skills and experience needed to fill both traditional and emerging urban roles (such as urban planning, real estate business and development, strategic planning, environmental planning, management, leadership, policy and service design). To these established or emerging roles, you will bring an integrated understanding of, and training in applying, more interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to urban development. As a graduate you will be prepared to compete for local and international positions within public, private and non-profit organisations, planning, consulting firms, research institutes and NGOs.

Student selection

Aalto University's student selection process is competitive and paper-based. Applications that pass the eligibility check (administrative evaluation) conducted by Aalto University Admissions Services proceed to the school's programme-specific academic evaluation. The programme is planned for full-time studies and preference is given to applicants who are committed to this. The following are used as criteria for academic evaluation:

  • University or Higher Education Institution
  • Degree and relevance of studies
  • Academic study performance
  • Motivation and commitment to the programme (Motivation letter)

In the first phase, the applicant’s degree that is used as grounds for the application and the related institution of higher education are evaluated. We encourage applicants with diverse backgrounds to apply to the programme.

To ensure that the students have sufficient skills and knowledge for the Master’s studies, a miminum requirement in student selection is that earlier studies (either bachelor's degree or other studies) include at least basics of economics. Priority will be given to students whose prior studies include courses in real estate, urban studies or urban geography. If completed individual courses or studies on these topics that are not included in the degree that is used as grounds for the application, the certificates should be attached on these studies in the application.

See the general admission criteria of Aalto University

Contact information

Pekka Heikkinen
antti.heikkinen [at] aalto [dot] fi (pekka.heikkinen@aalto.fi)
Programme Director

Kauko Viitanen
kauko.viitanen [at] aalto [dot] fi
Professor in charge (Real Estate Economics)

Heidi Falkenbach

Heidi.Falkenbach [at] aalto [dot] fi
Professor (Real Estate Economics)

For enquiries regarding the application process, please contact admissions [at] aalto [dot] fi

For enquiries regarding the content of the programme and studies, please contact masters-eng [at] aalto [dot] fi (masters-eng@aalto.fi.)

Page content by: | Last updated: 20.12.2017.