USP students listening to a lecture in their teaching space, Urbarium

The Master’s Programme in Urban Studies and Planning prepares students to excel as professionals capable of understanding and addressing complex urban development challenges. Students learn to address such challenges through a curriculum and pedagogical approach that includes interdisciplinary breadth as well as depth in core areas of knowledge, skill and practice. The program balances theoretical, historical and conceptual knowledge with the acquisition of methods, skills and experiences. Thus, students gain a broad understanding of urban phenomena as well as practical experiences in collaborative and concrete situations. This is the basis both of the structure of the programme and of elements in the curriculum.

USP students say

Taking full advantage of the joint university structure, the program joins leading expertise from the University of Helsinki and Aalto University into three major study lines: Peoples, Plans and Systems. Signature elements in the program are studios crossing these study lines to address urban challenge themes. Themes relate to current and urgent contemporary issues articulated not only in Finland but on the European and global scale, including controversies intrinsic to urbanization. Urban challenge themes may be attached to focus areas, research projects or collaborations within our universities, municipalities and regions in order to provide a constructive and critical framework for study and practice. Urban challenge themes are transdisciplinary and trans-professional, uniting the core areas as joint effort towards a common challenge and emphasizing an outward and forward-looking perspective.

USP learning objectives

 Upon completion of the USP master’s programme, students are able to: 

  • apply relevant concepts and frameworks to analyze, and critically evaluate urban questions in their own professional fields; 
  • recognize and acknowledge the multidisciplinary foundations of urban studies and planning; 
  • apply rigorous methods and tools to address practical and scientific research questions and solutions; 
  • use relevant methods to collect, analyze and produce knowledge concerning urban challenges; 
  • recognize and develop their disciplinary roles; 
  • identify and develop interdisciplinary interaction; 
  • participate in public discussions on contemporary urban challenges.