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.
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)
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.
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.