Universiteit Leiden

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Urban Studies (BA)

About the programme

After an introductory first year, in the second year you will learn more about the four themes: the sustainable city, the safe city, the multicultural city and the healthy city. In years two and three you will have elective options, including a minor, studying abroad and an internship.

Study the urgent urban challenges of our time

In the Urban Studies bachelors programme, you will study urgent urban challenges from the perspectives of humanities, social and natural sciences and law. As a result, you will receive a broad, well-rounded education that will put you in excellent position for entering the labour market or pursuing an academic career.

Student Support

Our students are encouraged to work independently and to take responsibility for their study progress. At the same time, if you experience any problems, our student support services are always available to help you find a solution. Your personal Urban Studies study plan allows you to map out your personal study path, which you will discuss with our study advisor. We will monitor your study progress and reach out to you if necessary. Apart from study advice, we offer many more support services. Our international office and career service offer support in making arrangement that allow you to study abroad or do an internship.

The POPcorner is an accessible study support point with locations in Leiden and The Hague, focused on creating an inclusive and diverse learning environment. As well as organising POPtalks on D&I related topics, the POPcorner helps students develop study skills through workshops, create social and support networks, establish personal and academic goals, and connect them with university resources and services.

Read more about Leiden University’s student support services on this webpage. If you have questions about student support, you can contact the Study line or our study advisor.

Educational methods

All our lecturers will encourage you to follow your curiosity, while challenging you on an intellectual level. To this end, our programme includes lectures and tutorials, as well as individual and group assignments. In lectures the lecturer discusses specific topics, which are tackled and further elaborated upon in tutorials with groups of about 20 students. During tutorials you participate in group discussions and work on group assignments, the outcome of which you will present to your fellow students. Our lecturers provide a safe environment in which you are able to practice and build the required skills.

Programme structure

The first year will provide you with a sound foundation in Urban Studies. While gaining the knowledge and skills you need for your further studies, you will also have the chance to find out where your interests lie. In this year, you will learn the basic concepts and theories of urbanisation. You will gain insights into the rise and fall of cities, and how they have developed from earliest times.

Additionally, you will focus on cities’ ecological footprint and how to reduce this, and on economic, social and cultural aspects in relation to cities. Of course, you will also develop the skills needed for your academic work. This includes methodology, such as developing questionnaires and holding interviews, using and understanding statistics, as well as academic skills, such as writing, conducting research, interpreting data, finding and using sources. Our staff members will take you on several exciting field trips to The Hague and other Dutch cities.

In year two you will deepen your knowledge on the many-sided issues confronting local governments, companies, and the people living in the cities. By the end of this year you will be a specialist in urban issues.

You will take classes in the programme’s four themes: the sustainable city, the safe city, the multicultural city and the healthy city. In the course of this year, you will choose two of these themes as your specialisation.

Methodological and academic skills are important topics in this second year, while there will be excursions to major Dutch cities and various hands-on assignments, allowing you to put those skills into practice.

In our Professional Orientation Course you will be encouraged to think about your future career. You will meet inspiring people working in a wide variety of professions. There will be specific attention for the skills you need when entering the labour market, such as developing a CV and preparing for an interview.

You have several options for structuring your first semester: you can either opt to study at a university abroad, you can take a minor according to your interests or you can do an internship, gaining valuable work experience.

In the second semester, you will give evidence of your capacities as an urbanist in two different ways. In your thesis, you will focus on one of the four themes, demonstrating your ability to conduct academic research on a specific issue. In the course Urban Studies in Practice, you and several of your fellow students will be part of a team of consultants, working on a real-life challenge presented by one of our urban partners. If you want to continue with a master’s programme, the third year offers the opportunity to work on the master’s programme’s entry requirements.

Study load

The Urban Studies programme takes a full working week of about 40 hours. This includes an average of 14 hours for lectures and tutorials. The remainder will be spent on independent study.

Comar Beulens


Comar Beulens

"Urban Studies is linked to a lot of different areas, there is a high level of interdisciplinarity. In the beginning, I found it complex, but throughout the year you can see that all these pieces do seem to fit together: every course, lecture, or workgroup is linked to each other in one way or another. Whether that is professors that work together or the authors of papers you read, they come back in multiple courses across different disciplines: from health to ecology."

Ciarán Meers


Ciarán Meers

"I particularly enjoyed Cultural Diversity in Urban Contexts, and Imagining the City. Cultural Diversity was nice because we dealt with case studies of a variety of different cities from around the world, as well as the specific and unique types of diversity that can be found in each. It felt like one of those courses that really broadens your knowledge. As for Imagining the City, I think it proposed a really interesting approach to how we perceive cities, and how this links with a lot of different philosophical and theoretical approaches. It was also a very fun class to take, with a very enthusiastic lecturer, and the reading was quite literally tailor-made to the course."

Ciarán tells you everything about the Urban Studies programme

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