M.Sc. On Campus

The 4 CITIES - Master in Urban Studies

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

24 months
9000 EUR/year
4500 EUR/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The 4 CITIES - Master in Urban Studies from Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) 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.


The interdisciplinary curriculum of The 4 CITIES - Master in Urban Studies from Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) 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.

What do 4CITIES students do after graduating?

With the graduation of Cohort 09 in September 2018, 4CITIES now has more than 175 alumni. There is no general profile of 4CITIES graduates, or 4Citizens, as the wide variety of geographic and disciplinary backgrounds, skill sets, and personalities leads to many different paths. That said, here’s a rough breakdown of what alumni have been up to:

  • Approximately 90% of 4CITIES alumni are employed, with 76% of those employed having found work in six months or less.
  • 81% of employed alumni work in a field related to urban studies.
  • 93% report that 4CITIES prepared them well for their current employment.
  • The most common employers are public sector (39%), private sector (24%), and nonprofits or NGOs (17%). Several graduates have also founded their own research, planning, or consultancy firms.
  • 48% of graduates have continued their studies after 4CITIES, with half of those pursuing doctoral degrees and half another master’s degree to further develop specific skills.

It is important to note that 4CITIES is an academic program in urban studies, not a professional program in urban planning. Students engage in an interdisciplinary curriculum that prepares them to be scientific generalists. While an array of skills are introduced and developed, it is common for 4CITIES graduates to build on their master’s degree in urban studies with more sector-specific education, experience, and skill certification.


All degree programmes offered by VUB are accredited by the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO), ensuring that they meet the highest predefined quality standards. Alongside this official quality control system, VUB has an internal Quality Control Commission in charge of permanently monitoring the quality of education.

Programme Structure

Some of the core courses included:

  • European Cities in a Globalizing World
  • Urban Social Geography
  • Urban Sociology
  • Urban Economic Geography
  • Urban Analysis 
  • Principles in Urban Planning and Urbanism
  • Contemporary Challenges in Urban Development
  • Urban Diversity 


4CITIES is made possible by a dedicated teaching and administrative staff from six different universities.

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 24 months

Start dates & application deadlines


120 ECTS


On Campus

Academic requirements

We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.

Other requirements

General requirements

  • 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.

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    9000 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 9000 EUR per year during 24 months.
  • EU/EEA

    4500 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 4500 EUR per year during 24 months.
  • 4500 EUR/year (four thousand five hundred euros) for EU nationals
  • 3000 EUR/year (three thousand euros) for self-paying EU nationals

Living costs for Brussels

885 - 1305 EUR /month
Living costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Our partners

The 4 CITIES - Master in Urban Studies
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)


Go to your profile page to get personalised recommendations!