Programme structure

Programme structure Spatial Engineering

We offer a challenging programme with three case studies in the first year, and an internship and a fieldtrip in the second year.

year 1: master's spatial engineering

In the first year of the Master’s Spatial Engineering, you will work on three case study projects to develop (in a scientific way) sustainable interventions to help solve the problem.

Case study 1

(15 EC)

Quartile 1

Case study 2

(15 EC)

Quartile 2

Case study 3 

(15 EC)

Quartile 3


(15 EC)


Climate resilient cities

Kampala (Uganda)

Risk and resilience

Food and water security

Masai Mara (Kenya)


Man-induced earthquakes

Groningen (The Netherlands) and beyond


Topics in support of MSc research

Phases in a case study

General project structure: a 10 week period to develop (in a scientific way) sustainable interventions to help solve the problem. Each project has these phases.

Define the project

Fact finding and objectives

Find knowledge
  • Choice topics (1 EC)
  • Tutorials
  • Skill learning line workshops
Find answers / solutions
  • Modelling
  • Data generation
  • Stakeholder views
  • Design interventions
  • Discussions with specialists

Case studies

Within each case study project: group work | interaction with stakeholders | industry / consultants | international classroom | personal development dossier.    

Case study 1: Climate resilient cities

Worldwide, cities are challenged by water excess that can cause in widespread floods. In the global South, fast growing cities, many in low lying deltas, are under pressure to accommodate population pressures and to protect people that often settle informally on marginal lands. Moreover, urban drainage infrastructures increasingly have difficulties to cope with the imminent higher rain intensities caused by climate change. Cities need to become resilient for such changes in the hydrologic behaviour of urban catchments to provide stakeholders a secure environment to build up livelihoods and to sustain socio-economic growth.

In this case study, you focus on urban flood management by analysing the water system of a city in the global South, e.g. Kampala in Uganda. You built up skills in analysing an urban flood problem taking into consideration the perspectives of stakeholder and the government arrangements in place, and learn to design effective measures (engineering interventions) that make the urban environment more resilient for water excess situations.

You  are expected to develop, in a team, a Water Vision for Kampala that sets out a long term strategy for making the city flood resilient in 15-20 years and identify tangible engineering interventions that contribute to this goal. A design will be made for one of the engineering interventions that includes a quantification of the impact on the flood resilience and analyses of the feasibility (economic, social and institutional acceptability).

The case study is organised in an Inception, Analysis, Intervention and design and Advice and Presentation phases during which progress and final results are discussed in different formats (e.g. Q&A sessions, oral presentations, panel discussions, poster presentations). Keynote lectures are offered in the first week to frame the academic context of the various disciplines involved in the urban flood problems. In addition, a selection of choice subjects and non-compulsory tutorials are available to support the skills and knowledge development in the Spatial Engineering knowledge domains.

Case study 2: Food and water security

In the Mara River Basin (Kenya) natural resources such as water and primary productivity of the ecosystems are important for different stakeholders. Stakeholders all suffer from the effects non-sustainable use of these natural resources. They also suffer periodically from drought spells. However, the way in which they are affected and the solutions to mitigate the effects of this are not necessarily the same.

In this case study you will be working in a team at preparing a research report and a presentation for professionals assisting the local government (Narok County Council) in which you:

  • make an initial analysis of the problem of food and water insecurity as a result of non-sustainable use of natural resources; 
  • identify the different stakeholders;
  • describe the processes involved and develop at least three scenarios for the future of the area;
  • propose at least one effective and robust intervention to address the problem of food and water insecurity in the area from the view point of one stake holder;
  • analyze how this intervention affects mitigates the impact of food and water insecurity for the selected stake holder, and at least two other identified stake holders. Consider at least two concepts out of sustainability, equity, empowerment, equality and fairness in this comparison.

The report should clearly describe how research was set up to analyze this problem. Conclusions drawn from the analysis should be justified in a scientific manner and feed in to the proposed intervention.

You will argue from the viewpoint of one stakeholder what an effective and robust intervention would be. You will start by assessing what the impact of non-sustainable use of natural resources is for different stakeholders and how these impacts can be mitigated by possible interventions. You will develop at least three scenario’s for the next five years and assess the impact of at least one intervention under these scenarios to improve food and water security for the selected stakeholder in the area. The choice of used model (s) and data are justified and effects of uncertainty in data and models are described. This includes an assessment of how effective and robust the intervention possibly is.

Case study 3: Man-induced earthquakes

The north of the Netherlands has extensive gas fields in the subsurface.  The largest, and most actively explored, gas field is lying under the province of Groningen. Besides all the economic benefits for the region the gas exploration also results in gas exploration induced earthquakes. These earthquakes result in damage at several places in the region that has started a big public and political debate if the gas exploration should continue, be reduced or even stopped.

In this project you will be preparing a document for a public hearing in The Hague. It will be based on the viewpoint of one of the stakeholders in the problem but should also consider arguments by other stakeholders. You will prepare one technical document to be defended in a, simulated, public hearing, and an info document for the general public about your technical document.

You will be asked to represent the viewpoint of one of the stakeholders. To balance your analysis you will initially start with an analysis of all possible stakeholders. Through analysis (e.g. decision support methods) you select the five most influential stakeholders for your stakeholder perspective (so five others next to your stakeholder). For your stakeholder and each of the five most prominent stakeholders you identify, at least, five reasons for continuing, reducing or stopping with the gas exploration. Based on this analysis, and including subsurface conditions, technical aspects, and economic and social considerations, you prepare your final stakeholder perspective.

Choice topics

Personal (but balanced) selection 10 out of 20 topics.

  • Flood modelling
  • Hydrologicalmonitoring and statistics
  • systems analysis
  • Dynamic modelling
  • Structural vulnerability of the built environment
  • Seismic hazard above gas reservoirs (regional scale)
  • Spatial data visualization
  • Digital elevation models creation
  • Remote Sensing in general
  • Image classification
  • Spatial statistics
  • Vegetation mapping and monitoring
  • 3D/Temporal visualizations in collaborative environments
  • Crowdsourcing and citizen science
Planning and governance
  • Climate change and social vulnerability
  • Integrated urban water management and governance
  • Markets and value chain analysis
  • Evidence based policy analysis
  • Spatial knowledge management
  • Rights and restrictions in the built environment

YEAR 2: master's spatial engineering

After writing your own master’s thesis research proposal, you continue your master’s thesis research project throughout part of the second year. The Master’s thesis research proposal includes a fieldtrip. An other part of the second year is an internship.


The fieldtrip will provide opportunities both for connecting theory and practice, and for experiencing the physical and social realities which are the subject matter of the Spatial Engineering programme.


Internships offer you a hands-on opportunity to experience and work in your desired field. You will learn how your Master’s study applies to the real world and you can build a valuable experience that makes you a stronger candidate for jobs after graduation. You could look for internships at organizations like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), Nelen & Schuurmans (consulting company in the field of water management and IT), and SWECO (consulting company in the field of engineering, environmental technology and architecture).


Spatial Engineering is a new master’s programme. The University of Twente is still in the process of having the programme officially accredited and registered. We expect to have the programme officially accredited and registered in early 2018!

If you would like to be kept informed as soon as more information is available and registration to this programme is open we invite you to leave your name and email and we will keep you informed.

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