In order to better facilitate the academic and aspirational diversity of our students, 4CITIES offers a Research Track and a Practice Track in addition to the Classical Track. The idea is to enable students with an advanced interest and skill-set in either research or practice to dig deeper into a particular specialization of urban studies while also getting “real-world” experience outside the classroom. Students in these tracks combine an internship or work-placement with self-selected courses relevant to their focus area during the second year of 4CITIES.

Research Track

For those students who already intend to pursue a PhD and/or research career after their master’s degree, we offer a Research Track that allows for more specialization during the second year of 4CITIES. Students in this track will spend part of their second year in 4CITIES interning at a research institution (for which they will receive 15 ECTS) and part completing 25 ECTS of coursework relevant to their research focus. The organization of this second year is flexible. A student could choose to spend the third semester doing the internship and the fourth semester taking courses, or else to spread both the internship and coursework across both semesters. The internship and coursework could be conducted in different cities or in the same city, and could include Brussels or Vienna as well.

Our extensive network of academic partners enables students, to name just a few examples, to do a research internship and/or follow courses on urban construction and infrastructure (HafenCity University Hamburg), small and medium-sized cities (University of Bern), health and urban green space (University College Dublin), suburbanization and polycentric city regions (Charles University Prague), land use and mobility (Aalto University), or European territorial cooperation and cross-border projects (University of Lille).

Practice Track

For students with a particular interest in gaining relevant work experience, we offer a Practice Track. Whereas the Research Track guides students towards a research career, the Practice Track caters to students who want to apply their urban expertise to settings such as city administrations, NGOs and associations, cultural organisations, consultancy work, or architectural and urban design offices. Practice track students will choose a work placement (15 ECTS) in a non-academic organisation engaged in urban issues. This work placement can be anywhere in Europe. 4CITIES will play an important role in first assisting students in finding the right placement and then in coordinating and monitoring the placement. Students in this track will also choose 25 ECTS of elective courses offered by one or potentially more of our academic partners (see list of partner universities below).


Students must decide which track(s) they would like to join during the application process for 4CITIES. Once accepted and enrolled, changing tracks is not allowed. Research and Practice Track students are required to submit a proposal for their internship / work placement and coursework to the 4CITIES coordination team before the end of the Brussels semester. While 4CITIES provides a list of internship and work placement opportunities, students are also free to select their own (pending approval by the 4CITIES coordination team). 4CITIES will assist with coordinating internships and work placements, but students are expected to be proactive and engaged in the process. Exact details are discussed with students directly during the Brussels semester.

Coursework must be undertaken at one of the 4CITIES partner universities (see list below). It is up to students to explore the course offerings and include in their proposal a list of courses totalling 25 ECTS. For students interested in applying for Erasmus+ traineeship grants, please be aware of application deadlines (currently 15 February). Once the proposal is approved, much of the coordination of internships / work placements and course enrollment will take place during the second semester, while students are in Vienna. Student proposals will be evaluated partly on merit and consistency and partly on feasibility. The research internship or work placement should play a critical role in the development of the Master’s thesis, as should the proposed coursework.

4CITIES Research & Practice Track Partners

The partners listed below are divided into three categories. Research partners offer research internships but do not courses. Practice partners offer work-placements, and also do not offer courses. Partner universities offer both research internships and coursework. This means that all students in the research and practice tracks must complete their 25 ECTS of coursework at one of the partner universities listed below. Students are, however, free to complete their internship or work-placement at an organization not included in our list of research and practice partners, pending approval from the 4CITIES coordination team.

Non-University Research Partners

Practice Partners

Partner Universities


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.

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