The scope of the Master’s Programme in Urban Studies and Planning is 120 credits (ECTS), which can be completed in two years. The programme is designed for full-time studying. At the University of Helsinki, the curriculum consists of:
Core skills and methods coursework (20 credits)
Core skills for thesis research and professional practice are offered as basic courses. Students will become familiar with different approaches to urban studies and planning through a set of introductory lectures. Students will also acquire skills relevant to digital representation, analysis and communication, modalities and techniques of communication and argumentation, research methods and methodologies of academic research. Students will learn, for example, how to use digital tools to analyse and study urban phenomena and how to illustrate ideas and solutions visually and graphically. The core courses include:
- USP-301 Introduction to urban studies and planning, 10 cr
- USP-302 Research methods, 5 cr (can be replaced with another methodology course)
- USP-303 Urban GIS and visual tools, 5 cr
Core Urban Challenge Studios (20 credits)
Common urban challenge studios integrate multiple expert areas to study and address contemporary urban phenomena from different perspectives. The challenge-driven educational model of the studio crosses disciplines and specializations, prioritizing design thinking, learning-by-doing experimentation, transdisciplinarity and solving societal challenges. The students will produce research exploration.
- USP-304 Urban Challenge Studio 1, 10 cr
- USP-305 Urban Challenge Studio 2, 10 cr
Specialisation coursework (20 credits)
The specialisation coursework offers three interdisciplinary study tracks: Peoples, Plans and Systems. These study tracks offer courses to specialise within one of the three competence areas in the broad field of urban studies and planning. Both universities offer courses for each study track; these can be adapted to support student's advancement, background knowledge and skills. The courses cover topics such as urban geography, urban sociology, urban ecology, urban economics, urban ethnology and history, environmental policy, urban planning, urban design, landscape architecture, real estate economics, service and strategic design. Students choose to follow one study track during their first year of studies.
Read more about the study tracks Peoples, Plans and Systems.
Electives (30 credits)
Students can select elective courses according to their personal study plans. They can select electives to deepen knowledge in a specialisation or broaden exposure to additional areas (for architects and landscape architects, some electives will guide development according to the EU directive for these professions). Students can also take courses at other Finnish universities, in a student exchange abroad, or in an internship.
Master’s thesis (30 credits)
The master’s thesis is a piece of applied research conducted independently by the student. Its key goal is to solve a problem relevant to the field of study, based on existing scientific knowledge and in compliance with the principles of responsible conduct of research. Master’s theses are written on topics related to the advanced studies of the programme, agreed upon between the student and the supervisor(s). A master’s thesis may be, for example, an independent scholarly research project, a directed thesis within a larger research project in one of the universities, or a professionally-oriented thesis developed in the context of a cooperating partner.
Read more about the published Master's theses of the programme graduates.
You can check out the ongoing courses offered by the University of Helsinki at Weboodi, a student information system for studies and teaching at the University of Helsinki. You can also take a look at current USP courses through the link below.
See the published courses for 2020-2021