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First Year

The first year comprises courses that provide a general overview to introduce students to the field of the BA Urban Studies and its four themes. The eight knowledge-based courses are taught in both semesters in the form of lectures and tutorials. The lectures provide the big picture, while the tutorials address specific topics and use readings to explore these. Apart from the knowledge-based courses are the three methodology courses which aim to acquaint students with academic skills and methodologies such as writing and presenting as well as quantitative (statistics) and qualitative research methods through lectures and tutorials.

Alongside the lectures and tutorials, mentoring is a compulsory part of the first year. Here, first-year students receive more information on matters such as how the programme works.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

Academic Writing and Presenting 10
Cultural Diversity in Urban Contexts 5
Determinants of Human Behaviour 5
Governance of Cities and Citizens 5
Urban Studies Foundations 5

Second semester

Imagining the City 5
Methodological Seminar 10
Philosophy of Science and the City 5
The Material City 5
Urban Development and Planning 5

Second Year

In the second year, the focus shifts from introductory courses to courses revolving around the four themes: The Healthy City, The Multicultural City, The Safe City, and The Sustainable City. Each semester sheds light on two themes through the mandatory Lecture Series. Complementary to these lectures, the students have the option to specialise with the option of two Thematic Electives and two Methodological Electives per semester.

Apart from the thematic courses, students need to take Advanced Qualitative Methods and Reading the City, where they hone their skills in qualitative research methods and urban history.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

Mandatory Courses

Multicultural City Lecture Series 5
Reading the City 5
Safe City Lecture Series 5

Thematic Electives

Choose one of the following courses:

Elective Safe City: Crime, Criminalisation and the Right to the City 10
Elective Multicultural City: The Production of Belonging 10

Methodological Electives

Choose one of the following courses:

Humanities and Urbanism: Productive Methodologies 5
Inferential Statistics 5

Second semester

Mandatory Courses

Advanced Qualitative Methods 5
Healthy City Lecture Series 5
Sustainable City Lecture Series 5

Thematic Electives

Choose one of the following courses:

Elective Sustainable City: Biodiversity in the City 10
Elective Healty City: Population Health Management and Health Behaviour Change 10

Methodological Electives

Choose one of the following courses:

Linear Models for Urban Research 5
Spatial Analysis and Modelling in the Urban Environment 5

Preparation for internship in year 3 (optional):

Organisational Theory and Workplace Preparation 5

Third Year

During the third year students continue their specialisation in a number of ways: first and foremost, by writing their Thesis in one of the two themes selected in the second year. Additionally, the Elective Credits Space can be used to take up a minor, an internship, a study abroad or an elective package worth 30 EC. For more information on the different options, see the course description below.

Apart from the course which count towards the specialisation, the student must take a Literature Seminar, aimed at familiarising students with landmark works within Urban Studies, as well as a Research Lab, where the student reflects on ongoing urban debates and broadens their understanding of analytical approaches in their discipline.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

Elective Credits (Urban Studies) 30

Thesis Seminar

Urban Studies Thesis Seminar 5

BA Thesis

Urban Studies Thesis 10

Second semester

Literature Seminar: Theorising the City 5

Thesis seminar

Choose one of the following courses:

Urban arts, culture and society Thesis Seminar 5
Urban Behavioral Science Thesis Seminar 5
Urban History and Development Thesis Seminar 5

Research Seminar

Choose one of the following courses:

Urban arts, culture and society Research Lab 10
Urban Behavioral Science Research Lab 10
Urban History and Development Research Lab 10


Choose one of the following courses:

Urban arts, culture and society Thesis 10
Urban Behavioral Science Thesis 10
Urban History and Development Thesis 10

Urban Environmental Science graduation project

Urban Environmental Science graduation project 25

Additional information


First year

During the first year the programme will focus on the basic concepts and knowledge of cities and urbanization, as well as skills in academic writing and presenting, and basic methodology. Group mentors will give intensive supervision.

Second year

The second year focuses on four key themes: Multicultural City, Safe City, Healthy City, and Sustainable City. You will have the opportunity to discover each of the four themes, by following compulsory introductory lectures alongside electives (knowledge-based and methodological) in two of the themes.

Third year

In the first semester of the third year you can make your own choices in the Elective Credits Space: studying abroad, a minor, an internship or electives. Your focus and thesis will be on one of the four themes. By choosing electives that fit your chosen theme, you can determine your own career path. You will also be able to work towards fulfilling the entry requirements of your preferred master’s programme after the BA Urban Studies.

Students conclude the programme by following a research lab and by writing a thesis combined with a thesis seminar.

General learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

The student

1) has a general understanding and orientation of the foundations of Urban Studies (urbanisation, governance, urban economy, urban sociology) and its specialisations (multiculturalism, well-being and health, safety, and sustainability);
2) has basic knowledge and general understanding of the reciprocity between international, national and local aspects of socio-cultural urban issues;
3) has knowledge and understanding of the long term perspectives of urbanisation processes;
4) has basic knowledge and understanding of state-of-the-art methods and techniques used in at least two of the following disciplines: Humanities, Social sciences, Sciences.

Applying knowledge and understanding

The student

5) is able to apply and compare knowledge and understanding of at least two of the following specialisations within Urban Studies: multiculturalism, well-being and health, safety, sustainability
6) is able to systematically search and select relevant literature;
7) is able to apply basic qualitative and quantitative research methods and techniques in humanities, social sciences and (environmental) sciences and more advanced methods and techniques in at least one of these disciplines;
8) is able to analyse and conceptualise phenomena in a comparative perspective;
9) is able to formulate coherent solutions for urban problems based on existing scientific theories and contemporary research;
10) is able to set up and conduct research with limited complexity within the interdisciplinary context of Urban Studies.


The student

11) is aware of current ethical concepts and principles in the field of Urban Studies and of proper scientific conduct as part of a scientific attitude;
12) is able to judge the value of theories and research practice from a philosophy of science-perspective;
13) is self-critical, is particularly able to put culturally instilled attitudes into perspective;
14) is capable of analysis, conceptualisation, reasoning;
15) is able to formulate problems and (help) find solutions;
16) is able to assess (basic) research methods and research outcomes;
17) is able to judge his or her own research as well as the research of others;
18) is able to reflect on the profession and work of practitioners.


The student

19) is able to report comprehensively, correctly and critically in English on matters pertaining to Urban Studies;
20) is able to present research results in a comprehensive manner both written and verbally to a specialist and non-specialist public;
21) is able to discuss, and come up with arguments;
22) gives feedback to peers in a constructive fashion.

Learning skills

The student

23) is sociable and communicative when working with others;
24) uses feedback and reasoned criticism from peers to revise his/her own point oview or argumentation;
25) takes on board the instructions and criticism of supervisors, and takes previous instructions and criticism into account in comparable situations;
26) is able to make a realistic schedule and to stick to the agreed schedule and prioritisation.
27) is able to make a conscious choice in favour of continued studies (e.g. master’s programme) or of a position in the labour market.

Additional requirements BSA

To be issued with a positive Binding Study Advice (BSA), students of the BA Urban Studies must obtain at least 45 EC and meet the additional requirement of passing the course Academic Writing and Presenting (semester 1) in their first academic year.

Follow-on Master's programme

Career Preparation

Career Preparation in BA Urban Studies

The programme

The curriculum of Urban Studies is characterised by training our students to analyse, discuss, and solve challenges that arise due to rapid global urbanisation. By merging together expertise from humanities, social sciences, law, and science for the first time, we mirror the interdisciplinarity and complexity of urban issues.
How can you use this knowledge and the skills that you acquire? Which specialisation should you choose within your study programme and why? What skills do you already have, and what further skills do you still want to learn? How do you translate the courses that you choose into something that you’d like to do after graduation?
These questions and more will be discussed at various times during your study programme. You may already have spoken about them with your study coordinator, the Humanities Career Service or other students, or made use of the Leiden University Career Zone. Many different activities are organised to help you reflect on your own wishes and options, and give you the chance to explore the job market. All these activities are focused on the questions: ‘What can I do?’, ‘What do I want?’ and ‘How do I achieve my goals?’.


You will be notified via the Humanities website, your study programme website and email about further activities in the area of job market preparation. The following activities will help you to thoroughly explore your options, so we advise you to take careful note of them:

First year

Second year

Third year

Transferable skills

Future employers are interested not only in the subject-related knowledge that you acquired during your study programme, but also in the ‘transferable skills’. These include cognitive skills, such as critical thinking, reasoning and argumentation and innovation; intrapersonal skills, such as flexibility, initiative, appreciating diversity and metacognition; and interpersonal skills, such as communication, accountability and conflict resolution. In short, they are skills that all professionals need in order to perform well.
It is therefore important that during your study programme you not only acquire as much knowledge as possible about your subject, but also are aware of the skills you have gained and the further skills you still want to learn. The course descriptions in the e-Prospectus of Urban Studies include, in addition to the courses’ learning objectives, a list of the skills that they aim to develop.

The skills you may encounter in the various courses are:

  • Collaboration

  • Persuasion

  • Research

  • Self-directed learning

  • Creative thinking

Courses of BA Urban Studies

Courses of the study programme obviously help to prepare you for the job market. As a study programme, we aim to cover this topic either directly or less directly in each semester. Within Urban Studies, this takes place within the following courses:

Second year

  • Professional Orientation stimulates students to think about their own interests, strengths and prospective career through individual research and site visits to relevant future employers.

Third year

  • Elective Credits Space allows students to opt for an integrated internship where they gain valuable work experience.

  • Urban Studies in Practice gives our students the opportunity to turn their experience into practice by collaborating with peers on an actual consultancy project from the field. They will write pitch their findings for the client, and practice with writing an advisory policy document.


If you have any questions about career choices, whether in your studies or on the job market, you are welcome to book an appointment with the career adviser of the Humanities Career Service, or with your Study Advisers.

Transitional Arrangements

  • Students who have not yet completed Professional Orientation before September 2024, should take Reading the City in semester 1. If they have already completed Reading the City as a methodological elective, they should instead follow Humanities and Urbanism: Productive Methodologies.

  • Students who have not yet completed Urban Studies in Practice before September 2024 should take one of the three Research Labs in block 3.

Year 3 Course 2024-2025 Admission requirement
Urban Environmental Science graduation project Methodology Elective: Inferential Statistics & Elective Sustainable City: Biodiversity in the City
Linear Models for Urban Research Methodology Elective: Inferential Statistics
  • Students who started their BA Urban Studies before September 2023 and have not yet completed both Introduction to Methodology and Data Collection Methods should take the Methodological Seminar in its entirety.

  • Students who started their BA Urban Studies before September 2023 and have not yet completed Introduction to Methodology should take the new Methodological Seminar in block 3, including the midterm exam and the two work group modules of that block.

  • Students who started their BA Urban Studies before September 2023 and have not yet completed Data Collection Methods should take the new Methodological Seminar in block 4, including the final exam and the two work group modules of that block.

Year 3 Course 2022-2023 Admission requirement
Thesis and Thesis Seminar: Sustainable City Methodology Elective: Inferential Statistics
Year 1 Course 2021-2022 Retake in 2022-2023 Remarks
Exploring Archival Sources Methodology Elective: Reading the City Name change
Year 1 Courses 2019-2020 Retake in 2020-2021 Remarks
The City in Long-term and Conceptual Perspectives Urban Studies Foundations Name change
Individuals, Groups, and Urban Institutions Determinants of Human Behaviour Name change