The 4CITIES Erasmus Mundus Master in Urban Studies is a unique two-year interdisciplinary and international program that combines sociology, geography, history, cultural studies, and humanistic urban studies. Students spend each semester in a different European city, experiencing “The City” as an immersive learning laboratory.
In our urban age, with the majority of the world population living in cities or urban regions, there is a clear need for research and education that investigates these sociospatial dynamics and the complex entities called cities from interdisciplinary perspectives. In addition to analytical education, there is also a strong need for more applied research in and on cities in order to inform urban policy and development strategies, and to prepare students for urban labor markets. In the European context, the percentage of the population living in urban areas is even higher than the global average, typically 70-90%.
At the same time, there are strong differences between cities and urban regions within Europe due to different local histories, national contexts, relations between state and society, relations between the urban region and its hinterland, etc. 4CITIES recognizes the need to provide comprehensive and comparative knowledge of European cities within different welfare state systems in a globalising world, underpinned by the interdisciplinarity and mix of analysis and action characteristic of the field of urban studies. The strength of this masters program results from the integration of theoretical skills typical for the (social-)sciences with applied fieldwork and visits. Cities are complex adaptive systems whose problems tend to be “wicked” and nonlinear, and the need for interdisciplinary knowledge and skills is great.
4CITIES aims to prepare graduates to:
- Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of the key concepts and theories in urban studies and related fields of research in the social sciences, humanities, architecture, planning and design.
- Demonstrate understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of urban studies as a field of research, education, policy, and practice, along with specialized knowledge of at least two of the subdomains of urban studies.
- Critically reflect on their own positionality as researchers and practitioners within the field of urban studies and to develop original and creative insights on this basis.
- Demonstrate an empirically grounded understanding of the similarities and differences, and connections and relations, between cities and processes of urbanisation across Europe and throughout the world.
- Evaluate the role of governments, businesses, and civic actors on different scales (local, regional, national, supranational) in urban development projects and strategies.
- Apply critical and original analysis to primary sources such as policy reports and regulations, architectural designs, interviews, fieldwork observations, maps, corporate accounts, archival documents, photography, and film.
- Apply qualitative or quantitative methods and techniques commonly used in urban studies and related disciplines in order to answer complex urban questions.
- Execute a basic or applied research project by developing a research question and plan, conducting a literature review, collecting and interpreting data, and presenting research results in written, visual, and oral formats.
- Operate professionally, cooperatively, and with a strong sense of social and ethical responsibility in interdisciplinary, international, and diverse settings.
- Communicate research results and an advanced understanding of urban issues to a wider professional as well as popular audience, using a variety of presentation techniques and media.