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Master's Programme in Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering

The Master’s Programme in Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering focuses on planning of sustainable cities and regions, underpinned with such megatrends as urbanisation and challenges such as climate change. The programme combines technical and human-centered approaches in land use planning and transportation engineering. We study the field from a wide range of perspectives, focusing on questions ranging from everyday mobility to large-scale strategic and systemic planning.
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Degree:

Master of Science (Technology)

Application period:

1.12.2021 – 3.1.2022

Language of instruction:

English

Duration:

2 years, full-time

Eligibility:

Relevant Bachelor's degree

Field of study:

Technology and Engineering

Credits:

120 ECTS

Organising school:

School of Engineering

Tuition fees:

For non-EU/EEA citizens, €15000/y (Master’s studies)
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Study objectives

While urbanisation is attracting more people to live in cities, fighting the climate crisis requires making decisions that sustainably transform urban spaces and transportation systems. To answer the intriguing technical and social questions arising from these pressing challenges, the Master’s Programme in Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering educates future leaders with technical yet human-centred mindsets and toolboxes. It’s one of the world’s first programmes combining the closely interlinked fields of spatial planning and transportation engineering – something that the field’s leading practitioners have been suggesting for years. Thanks to this future-facing and unique approach, Aalto University graduates will leap to the forefront of modern practice and shape how people live and move in the modern world.

Upon graduating from the Master’s Programme in Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering, graduates will have:

Human-centred yet technical mindset. Graduates understand both the social and technical aspects of spatial planning and transportation engineering.

Extensive theoretical understanding. Graduates possess a strong scientific background for answering systemic questions from everyday mobility to large-scale strategies.

Strong skills in urban planning and engineering. Graduates are able to work for smarter and more liveable cities as well as other human-built environments and transportation systems.

Mastery of multiple planning and analysis methods. Graduates know how to use scientific methods as well as the latest technology and tools in the field.

An in-built sustainable approach to their profession. Graduates see planetary health, society and people as the starting point for successful spatial planning and transportation engineering.

Get to know us

Find out more about the field of study, the programme and what comes after from our students and alumni.

Studying transportation engineering was Henri Miettinen’s goal years before university

Studying in Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering Master’s programme has gave Henri better insights on how cities should be planned as a whole rather than only focusing on transportation engineering.

Portrait of Henri Miettinen

Oya Duman

With the help of my studies in the programme, I feel much more involved in my own living environment. Feeling like an active part of my own environment makes me feel empowered as a person.

Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering student Oya Duman

Jatta Lahtinen

I think the programme’s blend of spatial planning and transportation is a real benefit, as the two are inseparable in municipal and regional planning.

SPT student Jatta Lahtinen

Tuomas Toivio

I and many of my fellow students found work opportunities already during our studies. Employers really value the skills Aalto University graduates have to offer.

Spatial planning and transportation engineering alumni Tuomas

Niklas Aalto-Setälä

With urban planning, I feel that I can have an impact on how our cities will function and what kind of lives people will have in them.

Spatial planning and transportation master's student Niklas

Study languages

In the Master’s Programme in Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering, the language of instruction is English.

Exams are provided in Finnish or Swedish upon request.

More information and guidelines on the languages of the degree and instruction at Aalto University available here.

Content of the studies

The programme structure enables students to align their curricula with their interests. The first year is reserved for common and advanced major studies that give a broad overview of spatial planning and transportation engineering. In the second year, students obtain a broader expertise integrating both fields by completing their Master’s theses and elective courses.

The freedom of choosing elective studies gives students the opportunity to spend an exchange semester abroad, deepen their expertise with more advanced courses, or broaden their expertise by choosing courses from Aalto University's other master's programmes or from different universities. Forming a unique set of knowledge and skills is encouraged because it’s not only more motivating for students themselves, but also highly valued by leading employers in the field.

Topics

Although usually understood in an urban planning context, the field of spatial planning and transportation engineering varies on a very large scale from blocks and cities to nations and global systems. For example, smart cities, urban mobility and sustainable development as well as land use, regional planning and transportation systems are overarching themes for the programme. To give concrete examples of the topics covered, here are some courses picked from the programme’s extensive curriculum:

  • Land Use Planning Systems (5 ECTS)
  • Transport Planning and Policy (5 ECTS)
  • Systems Thinking for Sustainable Living Environment (5 ECTS)
  • Smart and Liveable City Studio (10 ECTS)
  • Participatory Planning (5 ECTS)

Methods

The programme follows a transdisciplinary approach emphasising team work, communication and negotiation skills, engagement with the practice world, and advanced project management skills. The interactive learning methods used within the programme form a dynamic combination of theory and practice, preparing students for the constantly changing environments and the emergence of new technologies.

A concrete example of where strategy-level thinking meets hands-on work are the various studio courses where students receive briefs from cities and companies, conduct stakeholder interviews, host and attend workshops, exercise systemic thinking, solve problems creatively and ethically, and discuss the end results in close collaboration with professors and stakeholders. Teaching methods don’t only mimic real-life scenarios but actually introduce students to projects with real problems and viable solutions.

Other methods include lectures by professors and visiting experts, individual assignments, group exercises as well as introductions to professional software and tools. All courses use some or all of these methods combined, resulting in a motivating environment and active peer learning.

Structure

Overall, the Master’s Programme in Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering comprises a total of 120 ECTS credits. The two-year programme consists of:
 

  • Common studies (40 ECTS)
  • Advanced studies (20 ECTS)
  • Elective studies (30 ECTS)
  • Master’s thesis (30 ECTS)
     

Personal Study Plan (PSP)

The Personal Study Plan (PSP) is a practical tool to define a student’s own study path, compiling an optimal selection of courses that are aligned with the student's interests and programme requirements. The PSP is also a useful tool for students to keep track of their studies. At best, it shows where students are with their studies and sets concrete milestones for them to follow.
 

Read more on the programme pages

Internationalisation

In the Master’s Programme in Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering, the topics and themes are universal and global, although always applied locally. As a consequence, understanding different cultures and local systems is essential for an international career in the field, and students are highly encouraged to study a semester abroad. As one of the pioneering programmes worldwide, international standards are easily met and exceeded, resulting in a high number of exchange students coming over to Aalto University as well.

A student of Aalto University has many opportunities to make their studies more international, such as:

  • by going on study exchange to a university abroad
  • by studying on a summer course or a school abroad
  • by completing an internship abroad
  • by studying new languages and intercultural communication
  • by acting as a international tutor (kv-ISO) for exchange students at Aalto University and by taking part in the AYY Student Guilds' international activities
  • by doing their thesis at a university abroad
  • by completing courses from the Unite! -alliance universities via virtual exchange (Unite! - Opinnot - Into (aalto.fi).

Aalto University is international by nature, welcoming thousands of degree and exchange students from abroad every year. These students join the diverse Aalto community not only through their studies, but also through multiple free time events, celebrations and extracurricular activities around the campus. Active tutoring programs and support services work hard to help international students integrate to the Nordic culture and feel at home in Finland.

Multidisciplinary

The Master’s Programme in Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering is both human-centered and technical. This multifaceted approach draws students and professors from different backgrounds together, creating a highly multidisciplinary community around the shared topic. Students are also encouraged to take on very unique and personalised study paths, enabled by the large variety of elective courses available.

Overall, Aalto University is well-known for bridging disciplines of business, arts, technology and science. The lively campus and freedom of choosing elective courses across the university bring students from different fields under one roof. This spontaneous multidisciplinarity environment sparks new ideas, gathers enthusiasts around them and gives birth to friendships, networks, and every so often, startups.

Post-graduate study options

After graduating from the Master’s Programme in Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering you have an opportunity for continuing to studies leading to a doctoral degree in the Aalto University Doctoral Programme in Engineering, within which you can further specialise in the fields covered by our programme. The Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering Research Group is an internationally renowned and inspiring research environment. You can also apply to doctoral programmes in other universities in Finland or abroad.

Career opportunities

As a graduate of this programme, you will become a professional working for the sustainable future of cities and regions. You will be able to improve the quality of life of people, including the future generations, through sustainable environmental planning. 

Our graduates can specialise in various professional roles in both public and private sectors, including:

  • urban, regional and/or transportation planner
  • transportation and traffic engineer
  • land use and/or transport policy-maker
  • transportation and traffic modeller
  • intelligent transport systems engineer
  • public participation planner
  • urban and regional manager
  • consultant
  • researcher
  • citizen advocate

Aalto University has well-established career services to support students’ employment in Finland and abroad. Thanks to the flexible curriculum, many Aalto students work already during their studies and guarantee themselves entry positions before graduation. There is also a very active entrepreneurship community at Aalto, working as a springboard for founding a company.

Chat with Aalto students

Are you wondering what it is like to study at Aalto University? Or what student life is like at Aalto’s vibrant Otaniemi Campus or at the Mikkeli Unit? Come chat with our students about all things Aalto!

Chat with our students!
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Admission requirements

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 following are used as criteria for academic evaluation in 2022:

Academic performance
What is evaluated: Grades of the previous degree/CGPA
Admission requirements: Grades need to mainly very good to excellent
Evaluated documents: Transcript of records
Criticality: Critical

Relevance of previous studies
What is evaluated: Content and quantity in relation to the applied study-option-specific requirements
What we look for in an applicant: Content suit very well or excellently to the study option
Evaluated documents: Transcript(s) of records, degree certificate(s)
Criticality: Critical

Recognition and quality of institution
What is evaluated: Recognition and quality of the applicant's previous institution
Admission requirements: Recognized for high quality of education and research
Method of demonstrating competence: International and national rankings of higher education institutions
Criticality: Not critical

Suitability
What is evaluated: Applicant’s further applicability to the study option, motivation, and commitment for studies
What we look for in an applicant: The applicant should be motivated to study and commit to full-time studies with a plan to complete a master’s degree in two years. Motivation should be clearly related to the programme.
In the motivation letter applicant should clearly state the reasons for applying and why she/he would be a good candidate for this programme.
Please see further instructions for the motivation letter below.  Motivation letter is mandatory.
Evaluated documents: Motivation letter
Criticality: Critical

Other areas of competence
What is evaluated: Work experience and other acquired expertise as well as other relevant achievements such as publications and non-formal education
What we look for in an applicant: The applicant’s curriculum vitae is evaluated if documented in the application:
 -work experience in a field related to the study option
 -publications or posters
 -competitions in a field related to the study option
 -non-formal education
 -voluntary work in a field related to the study option
Evaluated documents: Curriculum vitae, other possible relevant documents
Criticality: Not critical

Your study background can be in urban and land use planning or transportation engineering but also a variety of studies in other fields related to planning and transportation engineering could prepare you for the programme. These studies can include, for example, architecture, geoinformatics, environmental studies, social studies, economics and geography.

Contact information

With questions regarding the content of the programme and studies: Programme Planning Officer [email protected]

With questions regarding admission to the programme, please contact Aalto University Admission Services: [email protected]

Programme director

The application period is open until 3.1.2022 15:00 (UTC+2)

Apply now
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