PLEASE NOTE: The 4CITIES program will end in 2025. The last application period was in 2023, and no further applications will be accepted. If you are interested in studying in Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen, or Madrid, we recommend the following programs:

General info

4CITIES is an international, interdisciplinary, two-year, full-time master degree program in Urban Studies. For Classical Track students, it offers a joint degree (Master of Science in Urban Studies) from six partner universities in Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen, and Madrid. For Research and Practice Track students, a double degree from Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the University of Vienna is offered. 4CITIES is taught entirely in English. The program was awarded the Erasmus Mundus Master Course designation and has been funded accordingly since 2013.

Here you’ll find an at-a-glance overview of general information, eligibility, the admissions selection process, application deadlines, fees & scholarshipsvisas, and housing. For more detailed information on application requirements please see How to Apply. Answers are provided to some of the most frequently asked questions.

All information concerning the application process contained on this website is meant as a guide to help prospective applicants inform themselves. Detailed information on each step of the process and each document required is contained within the online application module (available during application periods). All applicants should read through the module carefully before applying. Any emails that can be answered by reading through the module will be disregarded.


4CITIES seeks students who are informed, engaged, experienced, and highly motivated, and recognizes that aspiring urbanists travel many different roads. Applicants can come from anywhere in the world and are eligible for 4CITIES if they have at least a 180 ECTS academic bachelor degree or its equivalent in geography, planning, architecture, history, criminology, political science, sociology, demography, media & communication studies, cultural studies, or a similar discipline. Admission to 4CITIES will be based on equivalence of diploma, i.e. the diploma must be equal to at least a 180 ECTS bachelor degree (three years of full-time studies). Students with a background in engineering are also welcome to apply but must explicitly mention in their motivation letter how their former studies prepared them for 4CITIES.

Additionally, proof of fluency in English is required and should be sought well in advance of the application window (see all requirements in our How To Apply section).

Most questions concerning eligibility (as well as required documents and the entire application process) are answered in the online application module. After registering, please read through the module carefully and in its entirety before contacting us with questions.

If your field of studies is not mentioned (AND is not from a similar discipline), please contact us. BRIEFLY explain how your degree has helped prepare you for graduate-level urban studies and provide a full marks list. Emails that do not fulfill both requirements will be disregarded.

Students who have not completed their undergraduate degree at the time of applying but will do so before the enrollment deadline if admitted to 4CITIES are also eligible. In such cases offers of admission are conditional, meaning that successful completion of an undergraduate degree must be demonstrated before the offer of admission can be finalized.

In order to be considered, your application must be completed in full, in accordance with all stated specifications, and submitted before the application deadline.

Selection process

Each year, 40 students are chosen by the 4CITIES academic board from approximately 600-800 qualified applicants. Successful applicants combine a stellar academic record and excellent recommendation letters with a strong statement of motivation that clearly expresses their perspective on urban studies and specific areas of interest and engagement. Because the first two criteria are assumed, it is the statement of motivation that is perhaps most critical. The final selection of applicants also aims for both geographic and academic diversity.

Many successful applicants have gained relevant life experience, whether through additional academic study, professional employment, or civic engagement, before applying to 4CITIES. The average age of enrolled students is approximately 25, with students in each cohort typically ranging from their early 20s to early 30s.


The application deadline for students wishing to begin their studies in September, 2023, was 16 January, 2023. The application window is now closed. Applications can be submitted until 12:00 CET (midday in Brussels) on the deadline day. No applications will be reviewed until the application window closes. Admission decisions will be communicated by 01 March, 2023.

Students from all over the world (from all countries) are eligible to apply. Of the 40 places available, approximately 20 will receive Erasmus Mundus scholarships. All applicants are automatically considered for scholarships. Applicants also wishing to be considered as self-paying students should select this option in the online application module (available while the application window is open). Selecting the self-paying option does NOT impact a student’s chance of receiving a scholarship; the two selection processes are independent of each other. Please only apply for a self-paying place if you have sufficient financial means. See our How to Apply page for more information.


The participation fee for 4CITIES includes tuition fees at each university as well as a variety of administrative costs. It does not include the cost of housing, food, visas, certain excursions, travel, or other expenses.

The participation fee for 2023 – 2025 is:

  • 4500 EUR/year (four thousand five hundred euros) for Programme Country scholarship holders
  • 3000 EUR/year (three thousand euros) for self-paying EU nationals
  • 9000 EUR/year (nine thousand euros) for Partner Country scholarship holders and self-paying non-EU nationals

* Fees are per academic year; 4CITIES is a two-year programme.
** Self-paying EU nationals (those NOT receiving an EMMC scholarship) will receive a partial tuition waiver of 1500 EUR/year, and will therefore pay 3000 EUR/year instead of the normal 4500 EUR/year fee.
***Approximately 20 Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree scholarships are available each year.
**** Fees for scholarship students include an accident and health insurance satisfying the “Minimum requirements for the health and accident insurance coverage” as published by the EACEA in its guidelines for Erasmus Mundus. Self-paying students without an EMMC scholarship have the possibility to take the proposed insurance scheme if they are not already insured (approx. EUR 500/year).


EU students do not need any visa. If you come from a non-EU country (“third country student”), you will have to apply for a visa for each of the host countries (Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Spain, etc.). This process can only be started after you have received an acceptance letter from 4CITIES. It cannot be organized beforehand.

Accepted students requiring a visa should apply for a long stay multiple entry student D visa for Belgium to start with. The first entry to Belgium should be made on a student visa and NOT a tourist visa in order to avoid long administrative procedures and the risk of having to travel back to your home country once your tourist visa expires. Please begin this process as soon as you receive your acceptance notice, as it can be quite lengthy.

Students from China, please keep in mind that you need an APS certificate. We advise you to contact us before contacting the Belgian or any other European embassy.

For more information on student visas, please read through Admissions FAQs or visit the following sites:


You will receive information on how to search for student housing in the different cities once you are accepted to the course. In short, you will need to find private housing on your own in each of the countries.

The international relations & housing departments and/or student unions of the different universities will help you if possible, as will the local 4CITIES coordinators. You can also count on help from alumni and students in their second year of the program.

For more information, please see our Admissions FAQs.


What is 4CITIES?

4CITIES is an international, interdisciplinary, immersive master programme in urban studies. Supported by Erasmus Mundus, its perspective is European while its context is global. Students learn to see the city, to hear it, to understand it, to engage it, and to choose their role in shaping it.

Discover what 4CITIES is all about »

six universities

European Urban Studies in a Global Age

The interdisciplinary curriculum designed specifically for 4CITIES builds on the strengths of each host city, university, and department or research institute. Theoretical coursework is enhanced by field observation, applied skills, and a wide array of excursions. Students are challenged to connect readings and concepts from across the disciplinary spectrum and to analyse urban systems and elements at micro, meso, and macro levels.

How 4CITIES works »