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The Master’s in Spatial Engineering is not quite like any other master’s programme. Instead of serving up a curriculum that consists of several (elective) courses, this Master’s is based on the premise of challenge-based learning. Within various case studies, in your final research project, in fact, during your whole Master’s, you will choose what knowledge and skills you need to gain in order to come up with sustainable interventions for certain challenges. This self-directed learning approach will help you to develop your own learning path and prepare you for the many challenges that will come your way, during and after your studies.

The Master’s in Spatial Engineering consists of two years, in which you will collect a total of 120 EC. The first year consists of two case study projects, elective courses, a mandatory foundational knowledge subject, an international module, and thesis proposal writing. The second year allows for a more personally oriented curriculum and consists of a Master’s research, an internship project and electives.

European Credit Transfer System

Student workload at Dutch universities is expressed in EC, also named ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System), which is widely used throughout the European Union. In the Netherlands, each credit represents 28 hours of work.

Year 1

During the first and third quartile of your Master’s, you will work on two case study projects, reflecting real-life challenges likeurban flood problemsfood and water insecurity, human-induced earth movement or other human-induced (nutrition, energy) crisis. Together with your team, you will develop your own take on the problem and come up with a sustainable intervention. In the second quartile, you will gain mandatory core knowledge; including data mastery on a core knowledge area that was not included in your prior education. You will gain specialist knowledge by choosing a course that will help you prepare for your final research project in the second year of your Master’s

  • Case study projects

    Within the case study projects, you and your team will try to tackle actual challenges currently faced by society. These two case studies will increase in levels of wickedness. The degree of wickedness is defined by the knowledge that is available on the processes and the level of consensus that can be created among stakeholders.

    Teamwork is key when it comes to the case study projects. You will develop your own role within the team and make sure to gain the knowledge and skills needed to contribute to possible solutions and designing an intervention. In order to do so, you can choose from choice topics within a case study project or gain knowledge from other sources. For example, one team member might delve deeper into remote sensing, while another focuses on stakeholder analysis.

    The choice topics will help you lay the foundation in certain fields of study, and through self-study and applying what you learned in the group project, you will deepen your knowledge and skills. You can be sure of the support and guidance of your personal mentor and the tutor that guides your team during the project. For example, they could help you in choosing the right choice topic or connect you to professors who can help you further in the self-study process.

  • International module

    The international module at the start of the fourth quartile consists of a (virtual) field trip along a series of institutes and agencies in Europe to see how they deal with wicked problems in their work. The types of organisations you will visit vary from governmental to private organisations to research institutions. This module serves as a preparation for the professional field and will provide you with valuable contacts for finding an internship and for your future career.

  • Core knowledge development

    In the first year, you will be able to choose some courses to start off on your individual profile in the second year’s MSc Research and Internship project.

  • Proposal writing

    The last quartile of your first year revolves around preparing for your Master’s research project. During the case study projects, you might have already found a research topic of your interest.

Case study projects
Human-induced Earth movements

The impact of human activities on our environment increases dramatically. Think, for example, of the gas exploitation in the northeast of the Netherlands, which results in induced subsidence and earthquakes. In this case study project, you will explore the complexity of conflicting interests in problems caused by human-induced earth movements.

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Food and water security

Global food and water insecurity is a growing problem, which is influenced by various factors, including population growth, natural hazards, conflicts, and uneven distribution of resources over people. You will explore this issue in detail in the case study Food and Water Security, aimed to improve sustainable access to sufficient food and water for specific stakeholders.

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Climate resilient cities

Cities worldwide face challenges from excess water and flooding, especially in low-lying deltas and fast-growing areas in the global South. Urban drainage systems struggle with increased rain due to climate change. How can we make cities more resilient to floods, ensuring a secure environment for stakeholders? This is the focus of the Climate Resilient Cities case study.

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Year 2

Curriculum overview

Find out more

Are you interested in this Master’s and do you want to know more about your study programme and how to compose it? For example, are you curious about the choice topics, or the learning outcomes? You can find out all about it in our Online Study Guide*. 

* You are looking at the Study Guide of the current academic year. We always have the desire to strive for improvement. Therefore the course structure is subject to change.


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