• Application Deadline
  • 24 months
Urbanism, spatial planning and intervention in landscape systems are in urgent need of renewed approaches to tackle social exclusion, unequal distribution of resources and spatial contradictions, and be inspired by the multiple and (trans)cultural expressions of worldwide urbanisms. The Master of Urbanism and Strategic Planning focuses on multi-faceted and -scalar issues of urban development.


The programme develops a critical understanding of the contemporary conditions of settlements, cities and urban regions. It introduces students to innovative concepts and strategies for qualitative interventions in urban territories through projects, plans and policies across different scales.

The programme is part of the European Postgraduate Masters in Urbanism (EMU). MaUSP students can apply to spend the third semester abroad at one of our partner universities—UPC Barcelona, TU Delft or IUAV Venezia—to obtain the EMU certificate.

Programme outline

The programme is organised according to the following format:

  • Compulsory and optional courses
  • Urbanism studios (year 1)
  • Thesis studios (year 2)

Design and thesis studios form the heart of the programme. They are organised as two full days of work on Mondays and Tuesdays to provide an intensive and immersive working environment such as occurs in most professional practices. These courses build a balance between teamwork and individual contribution, since students are subdivided into small but varied groups from the outset.

Depending on the track students choose (urbanism, planning or landscape), certain optional courses become compulsory.


  • The programme benefits from the department’s worldwide contacts in the fields of urbanism, planning and landscape. Professionals involved in teaching, design, and consultancy from different corners of the world enhance and reflect the international character of the MaUSP curriculum. A strong network of alumni and a sound reputation fosters an active system of collaborations supporting urbanism and thematic thesis studios.
  • Fieldwork is an essential component of the program. In urbanisms studios, fieldwork is an essential foundation for design interventions. In the first semester, work occurs in the Belgian context. In the second semester, the sites are non-Belgian (one European and one non-European). Fieldwork is also a fundamental part of these projects, which are developed in various sites under umbrella themes proposed by faculty members. 

Career perspectives

The master prepares you for leadership roles in urban design, urban development and management, and strategic planning, with a special focus on European-wide urban problems.  

MaUSP graduates are highly valued in urban design offices, consultancy firms for urban development and management, real estate agencies that develop public-private partnerships and the public sector. 

Graduates are recognised in Flanders as urban planners, if they comply with certain rules pertaining to their choice courses, thus being eligible for certain positions such as public servants.

Graduates will be able to provide professional architectural and/or urban design experience to design offices, consultancy firms, or work as public servants. Urbanism is closely related to current and rapid social transformation and there is a continual need for professionals capable of responding with new interpretations, strategies and designs in response to emerging trends. 

The Urbanism and Strategic Planning programme is offered at Urbanism and Strategic Planning.

Questions about student life in Belgium, life at KU Leuven or more information about a specific course? Chat with our students: www.kuleuven/be/chatwithourstudents.

Programme Structure

General Compulsory Courses

  • Theory and Practice of Urbanism since 1945
  • Strategic Spatial Planning
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Project Development and Management
  • Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Development and Cultures
  • Urban Design Strategies
  • Landscape Urbanism
  • Studio Landscape Urbanism
  • Studio Urbanism

Spatial Planning

  • Institutional Aspects of Spatial Planning
  • Critical Review of Sustainable Development Policies and Planning

Optional Courses (examples)

  • Geomatics for Urbanism and Spatial Planning
  • Built Heritage Conservation
  • Independent Study
  • Colonial & Postcolonial Urbanism
  • Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
  • Tropical Forestry
  • Design Thinking and Making
  • Critical Review of Sustainable Development Policies and Planning

Master's Thesis

  • Design Thesis Studio


The ideal prospective student has a firm foundational knowledge of architecture and planning, exceptional results from previous studies, and a special desire to address European-wide urban problems. Practical experience in design offices, consultancy firms, planning or policymaking councils is beneficial. 

Detailed Programme Facts

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

    Schedule TOEFL®

Academic Requirements

  • This programme does not recognise GRE® scores.

    The GRE® General Test is a widely administered admissions test that measures the skills needed in today's graduate and business school programs worldwide. The GRE® General Test contains three sections - Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Three scores are reported: a Verbal Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, a Quantitative Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, and an Analytical Writing score on a 0 - 6 score scale in half-point increments.

General Requirements

All applications are evaluated by both KU Leuven admissions office and the relevant Master programme director.

Applicants should fulfil the following formal requirements

  • Be a graduate (with minimum 5 years of university education) in Architecture, Architectural Engineering, Civil Engineering, Urban or Physical Planning with a good academic record. The relevance of the academic record will be compared for each university and/or country of origin.
  • Have a good command of English
  • Submit a letter of motivation and a portfolio which clearly demonstrate their sound professional intentions and relevant experience
For more information, please visit the homepage of the programme.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    6000 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 6000 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • EU/EEA

    6000 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 6000 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Leuven

  • 810 - 1280 EUR/month
    Living Costs

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


Check the programme website for information about funding options.

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.

Urbanism and Strategic Planning
Visit programme website

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