IMPORTANT: Please be informed that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the start of the 4CITIES 2020-2022 cohort has been postponed one year. No new students will begin 4CITIES in 2020, and those who originally planned to do so will now begin in 2021. The application window will therefore not open again until 01 November, 2021.
It is possible that a small number of places for the next cohort will become available for self-paying students only. Should you be interested in joining 4CITIES in September 2021 as a self-funded student, please consult this website starting in January 2021 for eventual updates and information on the application procedure.
For students applying to begin 4CITIES in September, 2022, the application window will open on 01 November, 2021. For students applying for a scholarship, the deadline is 15 January, 2022. All students applying before this deadline will automatically be considered for a scholarship. Self-paying students are invited to submit their applications during the second application window from 16 January, 2022, until 15 March, 2022. 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. Scholarship applicants will be notified of their admission status by 01 March, 2022; self-paying applicants by 15 April, 2022.
The information here is provided as a guide to the application process. All official application instructions are included within the online application module, which will be made available when the application window opens. Please read through the entire online application module before beginning the application process, as it contains essential updated information not found on the website, and also before contacting us with questions. Any emails asking questions that can be answered by reading through the application module will be disregarded.
How to Apply for 4CITIES
STEP 01: register for the online application module once the application window opens. You will receive a link to the module via the email address you register with. Once you’ve received it, click the link and begin the application process. IMPORTANT: read through the entire online application module as soon as you register, as it contains updated information not available on the website.
STEP 02: complete the online application module before the application deadline, including uploading all required documents. This is the most time-consuming part of the process. Make sure you leave plenty of time for gathering and preparing all required documents. We strongly advise you to start this process well in advance of the application window, particularly in regards to the English language proficiency requirement. You can save your progress and come back to the online application module as often as you like.
Required documents include:
- Diploma from previous studies (PDF)
- Marks list from previous studies (PDF)
- Motivation letter (PDF)
- 2 Recommendation letters (PDF)
- Proof of English language proficiency (PDF)
- Proof of relevant activities (PDF)
- Valid passport (PDF or JPG)
- Passport-style photograph (JPG)
Note on languages: 4CITIES is an English language program. However, the diploma and marks list will be accepted in English, Dutch, French, or German. If either the official diploma or official marks list is in another language, then two versions must be submitted: the original and a certified translation into English, Dutch, French, or German. Recommendation letters and description of activities must be submitted in English. Other required documents may be submitted in their original language.
See below for a more detailed description of all required documents.
STEP 03: wait. All applications will be reviewed and ranked by the academic board. Three outcomes are possible: selected, waiting list, not selected. Scholarship applicants should be notified of their status by 01 March; self-paying applicants by 15 April.
All of the following are required as per the regulations detailed in the online application module. No exemptions are possible.
01 / Diploma: Eligible applicants must have previously completed at least a 180 ECTS academic bachelor degree (or its equivalent). A scanned copy of the official diploma of each academic degree earned must be submitted online. Accepted languages include Dutch, English, French, and German. If the official marks list is in another language, two versions must be submitted: the original and a certified translation.
02 / Marks list: An official marks list from all universities you have attended. As with the diploma, accepted languages include Dutch, English, French, and German. If the official marks list is in another language, two versions must be submitted: the original and a certified translation.
03 / Motivation letter: The motivation letter is perhaps the most critical part of your application. It should be no more than two (2) pages and should focus on both your academic interest in 4CITIES and what you hope to achieve by studying in 4CITIES. Why do you want to join 4CITIES? Why are you interested in urban studies? What specific issues or questions motivate you and how do you intend to address them? Additional relevant information can also be included, and you may refer to your CV to save space. Please refrain from describing the 4CITIES program unless doing so is relevant to your argument.
04 / Recommendations (2): We need two reference letters from academic referees (i.e. your former teachers at university or other academic personnel that is able to judge your academic qualities and potential). Recommendations from employers or secondary school teachers are not eligible and will be disregarded. We make use of an online referee module which you can activate through the online application module. You only have to fill in the email address of your referee, and he/she will receive an email with a link to the online referee module. To allow referees enough time to respond we advise all candidates to activate the online referee module as one of the first steps to do after they have gained access to the online application module.
05 / Proficiency of English: All prospective students need to provide a proof of sufficient knowledge of English. This proof can be provided by presenting a language test or a certificate that your current/former language of instruction is/was English (see list below).
You should meet one of the following criteria:
- having a diploma of secondary or higher education where English was the language of instruction
- having successfully completed at least one school year of secondary education where English was the language of instruction
- having successfully completed programme units in higher education with at least 54 ECTS-credits where English was the language of instruction
- or having successfully completed one of the following language proficiency tests corresponding to the Common European Framework of Reference with minimum level B2:
- TOEFL iBT with minimum level: 79
- IELTS with minimum level: academic module 6.5
- ITACE with minimum level: B2
- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE), grade B
- Proof of previous studies in English (see option above) should be signed and stamped by the Educational Institution
- Only the language tests mentioned above are accepted; no exceptions will be made
Note: emails asking for exemptions will not be answered
06 / Proof of activities: List all relevant activities you were involved in over the past five years (professional or independent work, internships, voluntary work, official unemployment) and upload proof for each of these activities. These activities should not include hobbies or leisure activities, but only those concerned with earning a living or gaining experience. Include dates for when each activity began and ended.
Most students ask their (former) employer(s) to write the original letter in English, print it on company paper, and sign it. To limit their workload you could prepare the contents of the letter. July and August do not have to be accounted for, but during the other ten months there can be no gap of more than one month. These documents can be in French, English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, German or Portuguese.
07 / Copy of valid Passport (PDF or JPG): a scanned copy of your passport with all relevant information clearly legible. Passport must be valid for the duration of the 4CITIES program.
08 / Photograph of yourself (JPG): in accordance with EU regulations for passport photographs, 3.5cm x 4.5cm.
For more information on the application process, see Admission FAQs.