About the education

The programme engages with current intellectual and political concerns about urbanisation and urban spaces from international and interdisciplinary perspectives. Situated in core debates around these issues, the programme responds to current demands for training informed urban researchers and practitioners able to address urban challenges and potentials. It has a strong research basis and courses provide a number of novel and exciting dimensions.

In the first year, students will acquire an overview of the field of urban studies and its development. Students will then deepen their knowledge on current urban challenges in a global perspective as well as the growth of different urban conditions and forms. After this, students will hone their ability to investigate the relation between people's everyday lives and the physical forms of the city. At the end of the first year, an independent project is conducted.

During the second year, students will take elective courses amounting to 30 credits. To complete this part of the programme, students can choose to do an international exchange at one of Malmö University's partner universities or take elective courses at the Department of Urban Studies. The second year concludes with a master's thesis (30 credits).

The aim of the programme is to deepen students' knowledge of urban studies, preparing them to participate in research or qualified urban development investigations. It is aimed towards those genuinely interested in cities, urban life and all expressions of urbanity. The way that methods and skills are taught in the programme makes the curriculum particularly suited for students who dare to explore and to experiment.

The field of urban studies involves interdisciplinary studies of urban areas' content, form, planning and development.

You will learn about cities both as stable and slow-changing structures and as dynamically crossing flows of people and goods. You will also learn about urban visions, programmes and plans, and the various processes and projects that shape them. In addition, you will learn that the city is expressed and constructed through everyday life and through the unplanned and spontaneous actions that contribute to its atmosphere and attraction.

A distinct characteristic of the programme is the multidisciplinary foundation with roots in social sciences, arts, architecture and planning. Training students to switch between and combine modes of reasoning in these different domains is a distinct quality. The approach includes the development of critical understandings of the roles of different actors and processes in the making of cities and urban spaces. Students are trained as experts in urban research and/or the identification of current urban challenges. Unpacking urbanity by applying varied – and at times unorthodox – methods is a key signature of the programme. An important starting point is that students must be able to follow their own interests where possible.

The education takes place in the heart of the Öresund region, an area offering an abundance of examples of global urban development issues.

Working with urban development has increasingly come to require an understanding of social and spatial processes, rather than viewing the city as a static physical entity. Urban studies provide such an understanding of contemporary urban development, planning and management strategies, based on broad and advanced expertise. This is important, since projects that consciously deal with time, experiments and development processes question results of planning in the form of specific products and thus leave more space for spontaneity and creativity. Furthermore, participatory processes involving wider and alternate groups in society open up possibilities for deepening democracy and increasing equality, not least by making use of everyday users' experiences.

Theoretical studies are alternated with empirical field studies, conducted independently or in groups.

The programme is based on active student learning, and students are expected to contribute creatively and enthusiastically. Your experience of urbanity, ranging from everyday use to academic studies, forms an important starting point for the programme. You will present, comment and discuss your work and be the critic of your fellow students' work. You will — both independently and in groups  — carry out studies of environments and contexts in the city and the region. You will present results in the form of texts, illustrations, oral presentations, sketches, maps and suggestions for concrete designs.

The programme is structured around core training in theory, methods and urban issues through common courses during the first year. Options in the third semester then allow students to choose either a route that connects more with practitioners, through relevant courses that address forms of practice, or one that provides experience of academic research through acting as an intern with a current project at the university. The fourth term will be devoted to essay writing and seminars on essay topics chosen by students.

After completing your education, you will be qualified to work with questions of city development in many different types of organisations. This may involve working projects spanning across different sectors, from public authorities to companies. You might work as a researcher, coordinator or project leader. Your future employers may be found in businesses, public authorities and organisations working with buildings, cities and regions.

The master’s programme also provides a solid basis for PhD studies.

Courses within the programme

In the syllabus, you can see the courses offered during the different semesters of the programme.

Entry requirements and selection

Here you can find the entry requirements, as well as how the available study places are distributed between applicants in the selection. 

If you have any questions about general admission, you are welcome to contact us.

Contact form

Entry requirements

Bachelor's degree, consisting of 180 credits. The equivalent of English 6 in Swedish secondary school.


Applicants are selected in rank order based on the submitted three-part supporting document.

Apply with a supporting document

It is recommended that you submit a supporting document with your application to this programme. If you meet the eligibility criteria but do not submit a supporting document, you may only be considered for admission if places are available.

To complete your application with the supporting document, follow the steps below:

  1. create an account and apply to the programme via universityadmissions.se or antagning.se (in Swedish).
  2. upload your documentation as a PDF on universityadmissions.se, antagning.se or send the document by post. You will need to demonstrate both a bachelor's degree and English proficiency to be considered eligible for the programme.
  3. Download and fill in the supporting document for Urban Studies, master's programme. We only accept submissions that use this document.
  4. Upload the supporting document to universityadmissions.se or antagning.se (in Swedish) by the deadline. 

You find the supporting document here during the application rounds. 


The supporting document must be uploaded no later than:

  • 1 February for students applying in the first application round (international admission round, 16 October–15 January).
  • 15 April for students applying in the second admission round, (national admission round, 15 March– 15 April).

Supporting document submitted after these dates will not be accepted. 

Final year of bachelor’s studies

You can apply to the programme if you are in your final year of bachelor’s studies and will receive your diploma before the programme starts. To apply you must follow specific instructions.

How to apply in your final year of bachelor’s studies (Universityadmissions.se)

Planning bicycle-friendly cities

Upon graduation, Stephanie Patterson went on to work for Copenhagenize, an organisation that works to build better bicycle cultures and infrastructures.

Planning bicycle-friendly cities

Upon graduation, Stephanie Patterson went on to work for Copenhagenize, an organisation that works to build better bicycle cultures and infrastructures.

Having worked quite closely with urban planners in a development company in Melbourne for four years, Stephanie decided she wanted to do go back to school. She chose the Urban Studies programme at Malmö University because of its social focus. 

Between two cities

“I wanted to continue my studies in Europe. I moved to Copenhagen from Australia and started the master’s programme in Urban Studies in Malmö, so I would go back and forth on the train. It was very straight forward and I really like both cities. Malmö is a bit cosier and sleepier than Copenhagen, and I feel it has more of an underground scene in terms of culture and music.”

After graduating, Stephanie landed an internship at Copenhagenize, where she helped promote bicycles as a form of everyday transport.

“Copenhagen is applied as an example for other cities, and so the company has a wide, international client base. I was doing a mixture of mapping design work and communication for their blog.”

Finding a social purpose

The Urban Studies programme is an interdisciplinary programme which gives students broad theoretical perspectives as well as the opportunity to work with practical case studies. In the third term, students can choose to study abroad or take elective courses.

“There was a good mixture of fieldwork and analysis on the programme. I also did an exchange in Paris, where I picked up some useful design skills,” says Stephanie.

She also notes that the relaxed and self-driven teaching style at Malmö University suited her well.

“There are no strict guidelines for projects which means students can really follow what they’re interested in, and bring in their own local insights.”

For instance, one of her own projects looked at community gardens and integration agendas.

“The Urban Studies programme definitely gave me a gateway to further opportunities. The studies touch on urban planning, which was linked to my work, and the sociology side of it increased my passion to be involved in urban planning for a better social purpose,” she adds.

Researching cities and cemeteries

After working as a book publisher in Moscow, Pavel Grabalov decided to follow his dream and pursue an academic career in urban studies.

Researching cities and cemeteries

After working as a book publisher in Moscow, Pavel Grabalov decided to follow his dream and pursue an academic career in urban studies.

Urban studies has always been a passion for Pavel. After hosting exhibits and reading books on cities and urban landscapes for many years, he finally took the plunge and applied for the Urban Studies programme at Malmö University. The programme’s focus on research was ideal for him, and he’s now pursuing his PhD in Norway.

“I’ve lived in cities for all of my life, as have my parents, so I’m part of many generations of city dwellers and was always interested in how the environment around me developed. Before starting the programme, I thought urban studies was more connected to architecture, but now I realise how broad the field actually is,” he says.

Pavel’s choice of Malmö University was largely based on how open the application process was.

“It wasn’t a requirement to have a bachelor’s degree in something specific, the most important thing was your motivation for studying. This meant that the class was really diverse in terms of professional and educational backgrounds.”

Learning from the city itself

“Malmö was a great place to study Urban Studies because the city functions so well as a case study by offering examples of challenges and solutions you can find in urban spaces. Everything you read in books you can just go outside and experience in real life,” says Pavel.

His advice to prospective students is to come prepared for a flexible, open learning environment.

“It was very different to my Russian experience. In Russia I was used to a lot of seminars and lectures, but at Malmö University it’s up to you. The fact that you get to shape and control your learning, is something I personally appreciated. You get to study the way you want and pursue your interests, but you also have to be prepared to motivate yourself.”

Graves and recreation

During his studies, Pavel became more engaged in the social sciences side of urban studies, and his PhD project explores the role of cemeteries in contemporary cities.

“In Russia it’s not normal for cemeteries to be places for recreational activities, but in Scandinavia it’s quite normal for cemeteries to be used for leisure activities, like parks.”

“If you’re interested in the academic side of things, the programme really prepares you for a career in research. The PhD I’m doing now is based on a smaller study I did during the programme, on jogging in Swedish cemeteries,” he says.


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