Content of the Master's in Spatial Engineering

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In essence, this Master’s is about tackling complex, large-scale challenges with spatial information.

How can you make cities resilient to climate change? And how can you ensure food and water security in East Africa? Through various case studies, you will learn to break down a problem into manageable pieces and come up with creative and multidisciplinary solutions. To be able to do this, you will need specialist knowledge in the field of spatial engineering, but general competencies and skills are just as important. These two aspects are represented in the curriculum through the core knowledge domains and the skill learning lines.

Core knowledge domains

In this Master’s, you will gain knowledge in three core domains: Spatial Information Science, Technical Engineering and Spatial Planning & Governance. These fields are highly intertwined. You will need knowledge in all three domains, but throughout your studies, you can choose your own focus. At the end of your Master’s, you should be able to demonstrate in-depth knowledge of at least two of the three domains, and adequate knowledge of the third.

  • Spatial Information Science

    When mapping out the implications of a wicked problem, whether you are talking about flooding, food shortage, deforestation or biodiversity loss, you often have to work with massive amounts of spatial data. So how do you process these datasets? And how can you visualise the problem and discover patterns? You need knowledge of Spatial Information Science to know where, when and what is happening. In this Master’s, you will become familiar with techniques for e.g. spatial data visualisation, remote sensing, image classification, spatial statistics, vegetation mapping and monitoring, 3D/temporal visualisations and crowdsourcing.

  • Technical Engineering

    The domain of Technical Engineering is closely linked to Spatial Information Science. Once you have collected and processed data, you need to be able to model and understand the physical (environmental) processes. For example, how can you estimate which areas are most at risk of flooding? What are the underlying principles of seismic waves, resulting from earthquakes? And how can you simulate ecological systems to monitor climate change and biodiversity loss? Within this knowledge domain, you will learn about flood modelling, systems analysis, dynamic modelling, processing UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) images, and more.

  • Spatial Planning & Governance

    No intervention can be successful without taking into account spatial planning and governance. For example, you need to know what stakeholders are involved and what their (conflicting) needs are, as well as the governance structures within the networks: who is in charge and who is not? And, moreover, how do you plan interventions? And does implementing an intervention in one location actually solve a problem, or will it just shift the problem to another location, harming other stakeholders? This knowledge domain covers topics such as social vulnerability, markets and value chain analysis, evidence-based policy analysis, spatial knowledge management and legal frameworks.

Skill learning lines

In your future career, you cannot just rely on expert knowledge in the field of spatial engineering. You need general competencies as well. For example, you need to be able to work in multicultural and multidisciplinary teams, manage large-scale projects and you need a scientific approach in solving problems. The skill learning lines are embedded throughout the whole programme and will help you gain competencies within these various fields.

For example, within the Academic and Research Skills learning line, you will learn more about academic writing, research methods, conceptual frameworks, data management etc. The International and Intercultural Competences learning line will familiarise you with e.g. cultural theories and biases, social processes, and values. In the Project Management and Teamwork Skills learning line you will learn about project planning and (the basics of) budgeting, identifying personal strengths, monitoring and evaluating performance and becoming familiar with various support tools for project management.

Programme video

In this 9-minute video, Programme Director Thomas Groen tells you all about the concepts, content and structure of the Spatial Engineering Master's programme.

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