Universiteit Leiden

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First University Bachelor’s programme in Urban Studies in the Netherlands

Leiden University has launched a unique new interdisciplinary study programme: Urban Studies. Studying Urban Studies, students will research present-day and future urban issues. It’s the first Leiden University programme that’s a collaborative effort of five different faculties.

The modern city

Leiden University’s new English-taught Bachelor’s Programme in Urban Studies is the first bachelor’s programme in the Netherlands to teach students how to handle current and future urban issues. This programme is unique in combining language and culture, social sciences, criminology, ecology and law. Urban Studies will be based in the city of The Hague.

Modern cities need people who can approach these problems from a range of different perspectives, and in this way formulate solutions. The Leiden University programme will officially start in September 2018. It is taught entirely in English and is open to both Dutch and international school graduates.

Conceptualisation and image

The programme focuses not only on practical functionality and interests, but also on the conceptualisation and image of a city. Unlike other Dutch Master’s and University of Applied Sciences’ programmes in Urban Studies, this programme focuses primarily on culture and cultural differences, the language and slang spoken in big cities, sustainability, safety, and administration, and much less on geography and urban planning.

Professor of Comparative Urban History, Manon van der Heijden, and Programme Director of Urban Studies: ‘This programme teaches students to look at cities from various angles, which leads to surprising new insights. We know for instance that cities are increasingly becoming safer and less violent. We also know that big cities like New York offer children a much longer life expectancy.’

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Interdisciplinary approach

This study programme teaches students to approach the complex issues facing cities worldwide from different angles and work on finding solutions. The first year focuses on basic knowledge of Urban Studies, while the second year introduces the programme’s four core themes: the multicultural city, the safe city, the healthy city and the sustainable city.

Students then graduate in one of these four themes. The programme is interdisciplinary. As the world becomes increasingly urbanised, there is a growing need for graduates who can consider a problem from a number of perspectives and work towards finding solutions.

New broad bachelor’s programme

The study programme in Urban Studies brings together and combines the perspectives of the Leiden University Faculties of Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Science, Law, and Governance and Global Affairs. This new broad bachelor’s programme trains graduates to formulate solutions to urban issues.

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