Study options

Master's Programme in Urban Studies and Planning in Real Estate Economics

Urbanization is a global force that determine the future of societies, as most of society's key challenges are met in cities. Cities provide enormous economic, technical and cultural opportunities, but are also stages for social conflicts and segregation, as well as environmental and health problems. No discipline or profession can tackle challenges of this magnitude alone - urban development requires collaboration.
Students meeting at Aalto University


Master of Science (Technology)

Application period:

1.12.2021 – 3.1.2022

Language of instruction:



2 years, full-time


Relevant Bachelor's degree

Field of study:

Technology and Engineering


120 ECTS

Organising school:

School of Engineering

Tuition fees:

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

The application period has closed

Scholarships and Tuition Fees

Study language

All teaching is given in English. Exams can also be taken in Finnish or Swedish, and the Master’s thesis can be written in English, Finnish or Swedish.

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

Study Programme

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 two intakes: for degrees of Master of Science (Architecture), and Master of Science (Technology) 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 real estate economics, urban studies and planning from related fields of social sciences, humanities, ecology, engineering and architecture
  • Analyze real estate and real estate market related phenomenon using relevant frameworks and tools
  • 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, and develop responses to urban problems using relevant tools and techniques for representing, modeling, prototyping, testing and evaluating solutions
  • Work productively and cooperatively in multidisciplinary, multiprofessional and international environments

Structure of studies

The Master of Science (Technology) degree is 120 credits (ECTS). The program includes 64 credits of major studies, 26 credits of elective studies and 30 credits master's thesis.

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 programme balances theoretical 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 structure of the programme and of elements in the curriculum.

The program takes full advantage of the joint university structure by connecting leading expertise from the University of Helsinki and Aalto University. The signature element of the programme is studio courses, which cross different fields of expertise to address urban challenge themes. These themes relate to current and urgent contemporary issues found not only in Finland but in Europe and all around the world, including some conflicts within urbanization itself. 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.

Studies in the real estate specialisation provide students with skills for analyzing the real estate markets and understanding the dynamic processes that determine supply, demand and prices. Students learn the basic methods used in the valuation of real estate and gain insight into the business logics of various actors. The specialisation provides a professional capabilities relevant to real estate related position in both private and public sector.

Career opportunities

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 roles in real estate markets (such as real estate development, real estate investment, strategic planning, 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, firms, research institutions and NGOs.

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 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 in 2022:

Academic performance
What is evaluated: Grades of the previous degree/CGPA
Admission requirements: Grades need to mainly very good or 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 excellent 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

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.
Motivation letter in mandatory. Please see further instructions for the motivation letter below.
Evaluated documents: Motivation letter (mandatory)
Criticality: Critical

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.

The applied pedagogic approach relies heavily on multi-disciplinary group work, dialogue and co-creation. Thus, students are expected to participate in the teaching sessions and studios, and participation is in many cases obligatory. This characteristic assumes that students in the program commit to full-time studying and active participation. Applicants are encouraged to discuss this also in their motivation letter, and students who present a credible plan for full-time studies are given priority.

Contact information

For enquiries regarding the application process, please contact [email protected]

For enquiries regarding the content of the programme and studies, please contact [email protected]

Programme director: Adjunct Professor Anssi Joutsiniemi

Programme professor: Heidi Falkenbach


Applying to master’s programmes

The application period has closed

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