Nordic Urban Planning Studies, Master’s Programme (Two-Year)


What is a city and who are the key actors in urban development? How do cultural, political and economic conditions define urban life? How can we develop innovative, collaborative and sustainable approaches to urban challenges and possibilities? This programme studies Nordic urban planning in a global context and its distinctive perspectives to urban sustainability, liveability, mobility, ‘smart’ cities, welfare, citizen empowerment and more. The programme is offered by Roskilde University in collaboration with Malmö University and Tromsø University.

Admission requirements

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


Urval enligt särskild instruktion.



Please note that you apply directly to Roskilde University.

  • Application deadline for non-EU/EEA students is January 15. 
  • Application deadline for EU/EEA students is March 1. 

Read more about the programme and how to apply at Roskilde University's website

Taught by leading researchers from the universities of Roskilde (Denmark), Malmö (Sweden) and Tromsø (Norway), you will develop international and interdisciplinary perspectives on urban planning and development.

You will also gain expertise in a range of research and communicative skills suitable for employment in private or public organisations working with cities and their futures.

Distinctive features of the programme include:

  • drawing on the distinctive research and teaching strengths of the three universities, while allowing immersion in a wide range of cities and planning cases;
  • developing skills in working collaboratively and imaginatively with other students as well as with diverse communities, organisations, companies and municipalities;
  • offering flexibility by combining core training with opportunities to specialise, including in terms of where to research your thesis;
  • providing training in appropriate theories and qualitative methods as well as techniques of spatial visualisation and geographical information systems, including through a field course on Arctic cities and their planning; and
  • emphasising creative and experimental methods as well as problem-oriented project work for addressing planning issues. 

Endorsed by The Nordic Council of Ministers, Rambøll, Siemens, Cowi, Niras, Realise and BIG.

Study structure

Nordic Urban Planning is a flexible, two-year programme that combines core training across the three universities with opportunities to specialise at each. Recognising that sustainable solutions for major future challenges cannot be solved with one professionalism alone, the programme takes an interdisciplinary approach that equips you to solve real-life complex problems through group and individual research projects.

The first semester at Roskilde University provides grounding in urban theory and approaches to planning. Following the distinctive RUC way of teaching, the study structure is based on 50% courses and 50% group project work. During the project work you learn how to identify and frame a problem of your own choice and, guided by one of our talented researchers, work with a group of students who are passionate about the same issues and findings as you.

In the second semester you choose one track from those offered at RUC, Malmö University or Tromsø University.

The third semester provides further core training. At Tromsø University this involves working with fieldwork methodologies and methods to explore urban development and planning in an Arctic context in practice. You will be part of an extended field course in northern Norway that allows you to study urban challenges, opportunities, development trends and planning practices of Arctic cities.

At Malmö University you will work with process management and sustainable urban development. You will conduct a pre-study for an urban development project and develop methodological skills and theoretical understandings of urban issues, including skills in identifying and communicating urban contexts in dialogue with varied urban actors.

In the final semester you will conduct a master’s thesis at the university of your choice.

What career will you be prepared for?

Nordic Urban Planning qualifies you for a wide range of job opportunities. Graduates will be attractive for businesses, public authorities and organisations working nationally and internationally with cities, regions and urban life. Potential job opportunities include: 

  • project leaders and entrepreneurs in urban consultancies;
  • managers, facilitators and coordinators of city development in international planning, design and consultancy companies; 
  • urban planners and social innovators for international organizations and NGOs;
  • urban planners for local, regional and national public authorities and municipalities;
  • advisory positions in public and private sectors working to build urban futures; 
  • research positions, including within universities (providing a strong basis for PhD studies).


Syllabus for students admitted autumn 2020

Programme Code:
SANUP revision 2
Swedish name:
Nordisk urban planering, masterprogram
Date of establishment:
07 January 2019
Date of ratification:
05 October 2020
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
31 August 2020

Entry requirements

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


The programme is offered in a collaboration between Roskilde University, University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway and Malmö University. All students study parts of the education at all three institutions. Location of courses can be seen from the table of contents below.
The objective of the master's programme in Nordic Urban Planning Studies offers Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish students as well as other international students, a research-based international interdisciplinary and scientific master's degree in urban planning with a global perspective aimed at PhD education and employment in the public and especially the private sectors.

The purpose of the programme is to create a holistic understanding of planning processes through theoretical insight and knowledge and understanding from concrete planning practices. This is sought through the explicit use of concrete planning cases and external actors with experience related to planning processes, in the teaching. The main focus is thus on students gaining insight into the many different dimensions of the planning process and being able to act as bridge builders between the many professional bodies involved in these processes.

International urban development and urban planning is today a constantly evolving field and the need for solutions on international scales to the many challenges of cities is great. On the basis of varying research areas and experts from the three universities, the programme offers a broad and solid research-based introduction to how varying perspectives on urban planning and different planning traditions in the Nordic welfare states create different frameworks and conditions for planning. Thus, the programme provides the students with a solid foundation to work holistically with urban development and urban planning projects on local, regional and international scales.

Students will acquire knowledge and understanding, skills and competences that enable them to engage in practical planning and offer solutions to urban challenges at the local, regional and global levels. The programme qualifies students to carry out consultancy and planning tasks around the world with a focus on innovation, development and sustainability.

Students will be equipped to study, develop and implement planning processes and strategies based on their knowledge and understanding of urban management strategies, everyday life and political, economic and social challenges and conditions. Students will be introduced to strategies and methods to effectively involve social actors and citizens in the analysis and preparation of holistic planning strategies as well as gain competences in project management. The overall aim is for graduates to be able to work with presenting solutions to develop cities and urban areas in the future and, on this basis, to be able to add value to the city's renewal projects for private companies and other stakeholders.

On an interdisciplinary basis, students will be able to translate knowledge and understanding into the analysis and design of planning strategies within a number of planning-related areas such as urban and regional (welfare state) planning, urban regeneration, local social work and design of different types of plans. Students will have a deep understanding of the market and the economic conditions related to planning as well as sustainability in urban regeneration projects.

The programme is specifically aimed at preparing students to work in the nexus between project developers, advisers and project operators in urban planning. Therefore, the programme is specifically geared towards employment in the private sector, in companies that work on all types of urban and regional development tasks on local, regional and international scales.

Content semester 1 (Roskilde University)

  • Critical Urban Studies, 5 credits, Compulsory
  • Livable Cities, 5 credits, Compulsory
  • Approaches to Urban Planning, 5 credits, Compulsory
  • Project work: Urban Planning in a Welfare Context, 15 credits, Compulsory
Content semester 2 (three alternatives (choose one of the alternatives))

Alternative 1 (Roskilde University)
  • Geographical Information Systems, 5 credits
  • Methods in Community Planning, 5 credits
  • Cities, Culture and Politics, 5 credits
  • Project: Mobilities and Globalizing Cities, 15 credits
  • or internship

Alternative 2 (Malmö University)

Alternative 3 (University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway )
  • Culture, Politics and Planning, 10 credits
  • Planning and Democracy, 10 credits
  • Arctic Cities, 10 credits
Content semester 3 (University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway and Malmö University)

  • Arctic Cities Field Course, 15 credits, Compulsory. University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway
  • OL631E Project and Process Management for Sustainable Urban Development, 15 credits, Compulsory. Malmö University

Content semester 4 (Roskilde University, University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway or Malmö University , choose one of the universities)

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
For a Degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall
• demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the main field of study, including both broad knowledge of the field and a considerable degree of specialised knowledge in certain areas of the field as well as insight into current research and development work, and
• demonstrate specialised methodological knowledge in the main field of study.

Competence and skills
For a Degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall
• demonstrate the ability to critically and systematically integrate knowledge and analyse, assess and deal with complex phenomena, issues and situations even with limited information
• demonstrate the ability to identify and formulate issues critically, autonomously and creatively as well as to plan and, using appropriate methods, undertake advanced tasks within predetermined time frames and so contribute to the formation of knowledge as well as the ability to evaluate this work
• demonstrate the ability in speech and writing both nationally and internationally to clearly report and discuss his or her conclusions and the knowledge and arguments on which they are based in dialogue with different audiences, and
• demonstrate the skills required for participation in research and development work or autonomous employment in some other qualified capacity.

Judgement and approach
For a Degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall
• demonstrate the ability to make assessments in the main field of study informed by relevant disciplinary, social and ethical issues and also to demonstrate awareness of ethical aspects of research and development work
• demonstrate insight into the possibilities and limitations of research, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual for how it is used, and
• demonstrate the ability to identify the personal need for further knowledge and take responsibility for his or her ongoing learning.

Learning outcomes specific to obtain a master's degree in Urban Studies after completed education in the programme Nordic Urban Planning
Knowledge and understanding:

  • Research-based knowledge and understanding of and critical insight into how economic, political and cultural processes in practice create the conditions and frameworks for planning and urban development. That includes knowledge and understanding of the economy and profitability of urban development projects.
  • Advanced knowledge and understanding of business models, profitability, investment basis and preparation of tender documents
  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of strategic planning and urban planning strategies in local, national and global fields of tension
  • Solid knowledge and understanding of intercultural planning, everyday life and cultural diversity as the basic conditions for globalized cities and planning challenges
  • Knowledge and understanding of the practical application of geographic information systems (GIS), mapping and visualisation and quantitative and qualitative analytical methods
  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of citizen involvement, network management and participatory planning processes
  • Advanced knowledge and understanding of project management, innovation and negotiation in complex urban management networks
  • Knowledge and understanding of Nordic planning traditions and welfare planning challenges, opportunities and limitations
  • Ability to conduct an independent, advanced research or development project in accordance with current research ethics standards, under supervision.
  • Proficiency in the use of relevant theories and methodologies from a critical perspective as well as being able to translate knowledge and understanding into action, advice and innovation related to challenges in planning and urban development in an international perspective.
  • Proficiency in being able to reflect critically on strengths and weaknesses of relevant theories and methodologies, and to use them in analysing concrete urban issues in a local and global perspective
  • Ability to analyse urban research questions from the perspectives of multiple actors and from intercultural perspectives, and to propose holistic solutions and business models within urban development and planning.
  • Ability to carry out economic, political, social and intercultural analyses of urban research questions and to bring them together for collective analysis. That includes through economic profitability analyses of planning and urban development projects.
  • Proficiency in clearly communicating analyses and conclusions to different target groups as well as in engaging in dialogue with relevant actors in urban planning and urban development.
  • Proficiency in independently and creatively identifying, formulating and analysing the city as a spatial field and, against this background, proposing action strategies
  • Proficiency in being able to collaborate on and manage defined projects dealing with urban issues and urban regeneration
  • Competences to collaborate on new ideas and solutions to complex urban issues
  • Competences to engage in negotiation-oriented urban development networks and processes, and to be able to coordinate and implement urban development and planning strategies based on a holistic understanding of urban challenges
  • Competences to lead and implement urban development projects and enter into agreements with key actors
  • Competences to engage in interdisciplinary project collaboration and to be the bridge builder between many different professions in urban planning and urban development, including through being able to combine design, technical, economic and wider social science knowledge.
  • Competence to translate, in practice, business, technical and methodological skills into innovative and alternative solutions to urban development and planning problems
  • Intercultural understanding and competences to navigate global urban development networks
  • Competences to identify, understand and involve relevant actors in international urban development projects


Master's Degree (120 credits).

To obtain a master's degree from Malmö University a completed education is required according to the table of contents above. After a completed education the student will obtain a Degree of Master of Arts (120 credits) with a Major in Urban Studies.

Other Information

To be able to participate in the tuition of the programme, i.e. to meet the requirements of the higher level courses of the programme, certain requirement criteria shall be met. The requirement criteria will be given in the course specific syllabi.

The language of instruction: English.

This syllabus is a translation from Swedish.


The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the Department of Urban Studies.

Further information

Karin Grundström, Programme Coordinator
Phone: 040-6657285