Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering, Master of Science (Technology)
Language of instruction:
Field of study:
As a student of the Master’s Programme in Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering, you will gain the skills you need in working for smarter, more livable and more sustainable cities and regions. You will be ready to face critically and creatively the dynamic challenges brought about by constantly changing nature of physical and social environments. You will also be able to seize the opportunities provided by the emergence of new technologies. You will learn a variety of planning and analysis methods, along with planning and management strategies for shaping land use and transportation systems.
Our interactive teaching methods give you hands-on experience in a range of themes and methodologies. Our studio courses encourage you to exercise systemic thinking, creative problem-solving, ethical reflection, and communication skills.
Language of instruction
In the Master’s Programme in Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering the language of instruction is English. More information and guidelines on the languages of the degree and instruction at Aalto University is available at the university's webpage.
Tuition fees and scholarships
Aalto University’s tuition fee for master’s programmes taught in English is 15 000 euros per academic year. Tuition fees apply to citizens of countries other than those of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
Aalto University has a scholarship programme to support non-EU/EEA citizens who study in a fee-charging degree programme. The scholarship may cover 100% or 50% of the tuition fee.
More information on tuition fees and scholarships at Aalto University is available at the Scholarships and Tuition Fees webpage.
Structure of studies
Master of Science (Technology) degree is 120 ECTS credits.
Common studies (35 credits) consist of six compulsory courses that form the foundation of your spatial planning and transportation engineering studies. Courses cover subjects such as the foundations of land-use planning systems and transportation systems, planning theory and land-use and transport policy. In addition, you will participate in the planning studio, engaging in hands-on planning work. From there on, you build your individual profile of expertise through advanced and elective studies. Advanced studies(25 credits) may be chosen among nine main courses, providing knowledge and skills in areas such as participatory planning, urban and regional policymaking, transport modelling and traffic flow theories and management methods and urban experience. You are free to choose your elective studies (30 credits) to support your profile. We will be happy to provide you guidance and support.
The structure of our programme enables you to study the major courses that the programme provides, i.e. common and advanced courses, during the first study year. This leaves the second study year for elective courses and Master’s thesis work. The programme structure also makes it easy for you to take a semester of student exchange during the second year. Alternatively, you can deepen your expertise by choosing elective courses from our selection of advanced courses, or broaden your expertise by choosing courses from Aalto University’s other Master’s Programmes and from other universities.
The choice of elective studies is entirely yours: the most important thing is that your elective studies complement your major studies and provide you with the expertise that you personally feel important and inspiring for your professional development.
The Master’s thesis (30 credits) is a piece of applied research you conduct independently. Its key goal is to solve a problem relevant to the field of study, based on existing scientific knowledge in compliance with the principles of responsible conduct of research. The Master's thesis should be written on a topic related to the advanced studies of the programme, and the topic should be agreed upon between the student and the supervising professor or lecturer. A Master's thesis may be, for example, a research and development project carried out for a public or private partner outside the university, or it can be connected with an ongoing research project of the Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering Research Group. Completing a Master's thesis usually takes six months of full-time work.
The major of this programme is Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering.
At Aalto University, you can participate in student exchange, and part of your studies can be completed abroad. There is also a good number of international staff members and students in the Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering Research Group.
Furthermore, a student of Aalto University has many other opportunities to make their studies more international, such as:
- by studying on a summer course or a school abroad
- 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).
Webinar | Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering
Watch the programme webinar recording from 26 Nov 2019.
Further study opportunities
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.
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
- citizen advocate
Deeply rooted in understanding the complexities of contemporary societal challenges reflected in our everyday environments, the Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering Research Group covers both practice- and science-based approaches to engineering. To account for wicked problems and grand challenges related to our future, this group is engaged in a wide spectrum of research topics in the area of sustainable cities and regions, systems design and planning.
Our research themes are:
- Everyday human behaviour and values in the living environment
- New planning and policy-making methods and processes
- Development and governance of urban technologies and services
Co-operation with other parties
Through elective studies, the students of our programme can include in their degrees studies from all disciplines taught in Aalto University. The programme also works in close co-operation with the University of Helsinki. We encourage our students to select courses for instance from the Urban Studies and Planning Programme which is a joint programme of University of Helsinki and Aalto University, and combines courses covering fields such as architecture, urban studies, urban sociology, urban ecology, urban ecosystem studies, urban geography and urban economics. For those interested in sustainable urban mobility and related new mobility technologies, we recommend taking courses in the international Master’s programme in Urban Mobility, in which we are involved.
We also co-operate actively with key actors in the fields of land use planning and transportation engineering, including cities in the Helsinki Capital Region (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa) and beyond, Helsinki Region Transport, Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, key ministries, business and non-governmental organisations. Our collaborators provide real-life planning and engineering problems for our courses as well as for thesis work.
Get to know us
Find out more about the field of study, the programme and what comes after from our students and alumni.
Three days of intense negotiations
Negotiation is an everyday skill, which becomes especially important in planning where multitude of stakeholders with diverse interests collaborate towards shaping the cities of tomorrow. A three-day intensive course Negotiation in Planning gathered future planning professionals together to learn what negotiation is about.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 2023:
What is evaluated: Grades of the previous degree/CGPA
Admission requirements: Grades need to mainly very good or excellent. Applicants are required to have a CGPA equivalent to a minimum of 3.0 (on a scale 1.0 - 5.0, 1.0 being the minimum passing grade)
Evaluated documents: Transcript of records
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 suits very well or excellent to the study option. Given the multidisciplinary nature of our programme, we particularly value the diversity of backgrounds of our students.
Evaluated documents: Transcript(s) of records, degree certificate(s)
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
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
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
-voluntary work in a field related to the study option
Evaluated documents: Curriculum vitae (CV), other possible relevant documents
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.
The motivation letter
- max 1 page
- should be written in English
Motivation letter is an important part of your application. It gives you an opportunity to
present relevant pieces of information that cannot be provided elsewhere in the application.
Examples of questions to consider when writing the motivation letter:
- Why are you applying for this master’s programme?
- What do you expect to gain from studies in this master’s programme?
- How will your previous education, work experience, knowledge and skills
support your success in your master’s degree studies?
- Describe your professional goals. How do you think this master’s
programme would support the development of your professional profile?
- What kind of career are you planning?
- Why do you want to study at Aalto University and in Finland?
If you already have completed another master's degree in a closely related field or have the right to study for another master's or doctoral programme, explain why you are applying for this master's degree.
Planning officer (content and studies of the programme)
Aalto University Admission Services
For enquiries regarding the application process, obligatory application documents or English language proficiency, please contact Admission Services at