Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics: Urban and Regional Economics

Regions, cities and buildings: Understanding the spatial and economic dimensions of urbanization, agglomeration, and regional decline and development

Urban and Regional Economics is a specialization of the Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics master's programme

This specialization focuses on the economic dimension of regions, urban areas and real estate. Some examples of fundamental questions that we address: why and where do which types of people and firms increasingly want to cluster in space? Why do some cities thrive, while others struggle? What does economic theory teach us about policy challenges that metropolitan areas face, such as crime, segregation, traffic congestion and environmental pollution? How is the growth and decline of cities impacting the building stock? What are the consequences of spatial planning for a region's development potential? What are the costs and benefits of constructing ‘green’ buildings?

The master's programme equips the students with the state-of-the-art of academic insights to analyze these and related policy questions and provide them with an evidence-based foundation.

In the courses we take a microeconomic perspective and use applied econometric techniques. Hence, this high-quality one-year programme offers students the theoretical knowledge and applied methodological skills to tackle complex problems at a high level of abstraction, while emphasizing the need to translate theoretical solutions into clear-cut evidence-based policy advice.

AACSB

Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics is a one-year master’s programme worth 60 EC credits.

First semester
This time period provides you with a thorough knowledge of the fundamentals of economic theory and research methods. After 6 weeks, you select at least four core and/or optional courses, two of which to be followed in the first semester. The programme offers you the possibility to specialize in various combinations of urban and regional, transport and environmental economics. The first semester is concluded with a research project, during which you write a literature review of a coherent set of scientific papers.

Second semester
In the second semester, you continue taking core and/or optional courses. A large share of the second semester is devoted to writing a Master’s thesis. You write your thesis individually, while participating in a thesis seminar, in which students present and discuss their research findings. Although an internship is not obligatory, you may combine your thesis with an internship. Our teaching staff can help you find a suitable place.

Four 6 EC core courses:

  • Applied Econometrics for Urban, Transport and Environmental Economics
  • Microeconomics for Urban, Transport and Environmental Economics
  • Regional and Urban Economics
  • Urban Economic Challenges and Policies

Two elective 6 EC courses, choosing from:

  • Transport Economics
  • Empirical Transport Economics
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Environmental Economics

Research Project (6 EC)

Master's thesis (18 EC): You perform your own empirical research, based on a topic of your choice. You also have the option of combining your thesis with an internship. Teaching staff has contacts with various companies and government agencies, and can help you find a suitable place.

Note: A refresher course “Mathematics and Statistical Analysis Using STATA” is offered before the programme starts.

Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics courses in the study guide.

A master's in Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics offers excellent career prospects. Many graduates find jobs as policy economists at government institutions or consultancy firms such as KPMG and Ernst & Young. Also transport organizations such as KLM, Schiphol and Dutch Rail offer great opportunities for work. Others opt for positions as economic researchers at institutes such as CPB (the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis).

You may also want to pursue an academic career. Options are then a research Master’s programme in Economics (MPhil), or a PhD position at the Tinbergen Institute (a joint graduate school of VU Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam).

High Student Satisfaction
The Keuzegids – the Netherlands’ influential higher education guide for prospective students – has awarded the programme the distinction of ‘Top Rated Programme’. Students are particularly enthusiastic about the quality of the teaching staff, the internal communication within the programme, and the course content.

Renowned Teaching Staff
The Department of Spatial Economics at VU Amsterdam houses internationally renowned professors such as Erik Verhoef (Transport Economics), Cees Withagen (Environmental Economics), Jos van Ommeren (Urban Economics) and Henri de Groot (Regional Economics). Our teaching staff actively contributes to policy debates and their expertise is regularly called on by policy makers in order to implement and evaluate public policy.

Experienced in Policy
Staff members of our department are in close contact with economic policy making in practice. Their experience as scientific researchers and policy advisors is beneficial to students in the programme.

Intensive Supervision
The department is well-known for the intensive and accessible supervision it provides. Experienced staff members are there for you to provide you with support and assistance if you need help with the theory, or writing your thesis.

I want to send my application form to apply for a Master's programme before the first of April. I expect to graduate before the end of this academic year. Is it possible to apply without having my Bachelor's diploma yet?
Yes, that is possible. Your eligibility can be assessed without the actual diploma. After (conditional) admission to one of our MSc programmes, we will contact you and ask for the original and official documents for registration at the university. One of these documents is the official diploma (or certified copy of it).

I have graduated from a Dutch HBO. Is it possible for me to get admission to one of the Master's programmes?
Unfortunately, if you hold a HBO BSc diploma you cannot get direct admission to one of our Master's programmes. We have a specific Premaster’s programme for some of our Master’s programmes. The Premaster’s programmes are entirely taught in English. Apart from you HBO BSc you need a GMAT score of at least 550. Some Master’s programmes have other entry requirements if you hold a Dutch HBO. Please check ‘admission and application’ on the Master’s page to see if there is a specific Premaster’s programme available. You can find more information on our pre-masters here.

Is it possible to study one of the Master's programmes part-time?
All Master's programmes open to international students are full time programmes, which means that you are expected to spend at least 4 days a week at the university. There are two part-time Master's programmes both taught in Dutch.

Can I apply for a MSc programme starting in February?
No, all our Master's programmes start in September.

Can I apply online?
International students can apply online. See the webpage "Admission and application" of your respective master's programme for more information.

Application deadline
International degree students: 1 April (different deadlines may hold for other category students). Dutch degree students: Application in Studielink before 1 June.

Do you require work experience to get admission to one of the Master's programmes?
No, we do not require work experience. Sometimes it might help to have some work experience to get admission if your Bachelor's diploma does not cover all the academic requirements (see admission requirements in the left menu).

Do you require GMAT or GRE to get admission to one of the Master's programmes?       
In some cases we might require a GRE or GMAT. For the Master’s programmes in Economics and Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics a GRE might be required. The admission board will let you know if a GRE is required. At other Master’s programmes a GMAT or GRE is not required. This does not mean that we do not pay any attention to your grades. If you have obtained a good GMAT or GRE score it is recommended to mention this in your application and to enclose a copy of the results. 
 
Please note: To be admitted to one of our specific Dutch taught pre-master's programmes you have to score at least 550 on the GMAT. 

Is it possible to pay the tuition fee in installments?
Yes, that is possible. The registration period is in August after your arrival in the Netherlands. You can pay the tuition fee either at once before 1 September or you can choose to sign a contract that you will pay it in installments during the academic year.

Keuzegids Masters 2019

Overview Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics: Urban and Regional Economics

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

1 year

TUITION FEE

APPLICATION

1 April for international degree holders from non-EU/EEA countries (different deadlines may hold for other category students);

1 June for Dutch degree holders and international degree holders from EU/EEA countries

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

SPECIALIZATIONS

Urban and Regional Economics is a specialization of the Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics master's programme

FIELD OF INTEREST

Economics, Business and Law

For more information, please contact the programme director Jos van Ommeren: jos.van.ommeren@vu.nl.

Information days
Order the brochure

Daniel Hörcher

PhD Student at the Centre for Transport Studies, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Imperial College London

Testimonial Daniel Hörcher

"The year I spent at VU Amsterdam completely changed the way how I approach transport-related problems and their interrelations with spatial economic and environmental phenomena. I strongly recommend the programme for those who wish to complement earlier studies with deeper understanding in the economics of transportation and other network industries."

Jochem Brons

Product Developer at Mobility Card Services, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Spatial Economics Jochem Brons.jpg

"The Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics master's programme is a valuable and fundamental opportunity for my personal growth and scientific development. It allows me to improve and deepen both theoretical and empirical knowledge by attending the lectures and by working under the supervision of international worldclass professors and researchers."

Admission with a Dutch degree

We welcome and look for motivated students who are interested in Urban and Regional Economics. In order to be successful in this programme you will need a solid academic basis in, for instance, economics, but bachelor students with sufficient technical expertise, e.g. Engineering are also very welcome.

Admission requirements
With a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Business Economics, Econometrics and Operations Research, (International) Business Administration from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam you are admitted to all specializations provided you successfully meet the requirements in this document.
Bachelor students with a Minor in Economics are also admitted.

Application procedure
To enroll in the programme submit your enrolment application via Studielink.

Step 1:
Apply for the programme MSc Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics via Studielink before 1 June.

Step 2:
Please complete your application in VUnet by answering additional questions and uploading the following documents:
•    A formal transcript of your bachelor grades. Your transcript must include an average score (GPA).

Please note: we can only process your application when uploaded all documents. 
 
More information regarding registration WO-bachelors, see the VU website (in Dutch).

Services for international (IBA) students / Residence permit:
If you are planning to continue your studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam after your IBA, please contact the Central Admission’s Support Team of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam for further information and specific questions about the offered services for international students like extending your residence permit. You will need to apply for extension of your residence permit if you continue your studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

  • We welcome and look for motivated students who are interested in Urban and Regional Economics. In order to be successful in this programme you will need a solid academic basis in, for instance, Economics. Bachelor students with sufficient technical expertise, e.g. Transport Engineering are also very welcome.

    Admission requirements
    The specialization Urban and Regional Economics which is a part of the masterprogramme Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics is open to students with a university Bachelor's degree that provides sufficient knowledge of microeconomics or a solid background in mathematics and statistics for economics. You need to have successfully completed courses and studied literature related to the core of this programme, as listed below (or equivalents):
MicroeconomicsSnyder C.M. and W. Nicholson,  Microeconomic Theory: Basic Principles and Extensions, Mason, OH: South-Western, Cengage Learning, 11th edition (except Chapters 6-8, 16-18). 
Mathematics
Sydsaeter, Knut and Hammond, Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis, Prentice Hall, 3rd ed., 2008
EconometricsStock, J.H. and M.W. Watson's Introduction to Econometrics Addison Wesley, New York

Applicants may consider reading the following books to become familiar with the topics which will be taught per specialization.

Urban & Regional EconomicsMcCann, P. (2001) Urban and Regional Economics Oxford University Press, Oxford
Transport EconomicsBoyer, K.D. Principles of Transportation Economics Addison Wesley, Reading
Environmental EconomicsKahn, J.R. (1998) The Economic Approach to Environmental and Natural Resources (2nd edition). The Dryden Press, Forth Worth. Parts I, II and III

Approval is in general given to students who hold a:

•    Bachelor’s degree in Earth and Economics
•    Bachelor’s degree in Econometrics, Environmental Sciences, Transport Science, Engineering, but also Geography (with sufficient background in economics and statistics)
•    Bachelor’s degree with a Minor in Economics

Other applicants (e.g. with a polytechnic degree) may be required to complete preparatory courses, before they can be admitted to the programme.

Application procedure
To enroll in the programme submit your enrolment application via Studielink.

Step 1:
Apply for the programme MSc Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics via Studielink.

Step 2:
After application in studielink you will receive a VUnet-ID and password via email. Please complete your application in VUnet by answering additional questions and uploading the following document:
•    A formal transcript of your bachelor grades. Your transcript must include an average score (GPA).

Please note: we can only process your application when your transcript is uploaded.

Step 3:
The admission committee will assess if you meet the admission criteria and will inform you about the decision via email.

For the full description of the registration procedure see the VU website (in Dutch).

We welcome and look for motivated students who are interested in Urban and Regional Economics. In order to be successful in this programme you will need a solid academic basis in, for instance, economics, but bachelor students with sufficient technical expertise, e.g. Engineering are also very welcome.

If you have a Dutch higher vocational (HBO) degree you need to enroll in a transfer programme, which is specifically designed to bridge the gap between higher vocational education and university-level education. The transfer programme consists of 3 courses in Mathematics and Economics and a GRE test.

To apply for admission you should send a request to the admissions board with a transcript of your grades. The admission board then will decide whether admission is possible through a specific transfer programme. You can send your request to toelating.sbe@vu.nl

Information days and activities 
contact@vu.nl
Admission questions 
toelating.sbe@vu.nl
or on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 15:00h and 16:00h: Tel. 020 5985873
Tuition fees, Studielink, VUnet 
Central Student Desk 
Application 
Studielink 
Other questions 
contact@vu.nl

Visit our information day

Master’s Day
March 9th, 2019
Please register later

Admission with an international degree

We welcome and look for motivated students who are interested in Urban and Regional Economics. In order to be successful in this programme you will need a solid academic basis in, for instance, economics, but bachelor students with sufficient technical expertise, e.g. Engineering are also very welcome.

Admission requirements
In order to gain admission to our Master’s programme, you need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 EC or equivalent. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score. The programme is open to students with a university Bachelor's degree that provides sufficient knowledge of microeconomics or a solid background in mathematics and statistics for economics. You need to have successfully completed courses and studied literature related to the core of this programme, consisting of (or equivalents of):

MicroeconomicsSnyder C.M. and W. Nicholson,  Microeconomic Theory: Basic Principles and Extensions, Mason, OH: South-Western, Cengage Learning, 11th edition (except Chapters 6-8, 16-18). 
Mathematics
Sydsaeter, Knut and Hammond, Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis, Prentice Hall, 3rd ed., 2008
EconometricsStock, J.H. and M.W. Watson's Introduction to Econometrics Addison Wesley, New York

Applicants may consider reading the following books to become familiar with the topics which will be taught per specialization.

Urban & Regional EconomicsMcCann, P. (2001) Urban and Regional Economics Oxford University Press, Oxford
Transport EconomicsBoyer, K.D. Principles of Transportation Economics Addison Wesley, Reading
Environmental EconomicsKahn, J.R. (1998) The Economic Approach to Environmental and Natural Resources (2nd edition). The Dryden Press, Forth Worth. Parts I, II and III

English language proficiency
The admission board wants to stress the intensity of the programme: reading scientific articles and writing papers will be a key part, all in a very high pace. Your English language skills, both oral and written, are extremely important in this programme. As you will have to communicate frequently with your fellow students and you will be working with and for international companies.

VU Amsterdam requires all applicants to take an English test. You can already apply online without having the test results. We do advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the programme:  

IELTS (academic):
•    Minimum general score 6.5
•    Minimum writing score 6.0

TOEFL :
•    Paper based test 580
•    Internet based test 92

Cambridge English :
•    Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C
•    Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C

The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers the TOEFL ITP English-language proficiency test. The test is offered by the VU Taalloket. You can find more information and register for this test at www.taalloket.nl

See our language requirement page for the general requirements regarding the English language test.

If you have read the admission requirements and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required. You can already apply online without having completed your Bachelor’s degree. After admission, you will have until 31 August to send a proof of graduation by postal mail.

Step 1: Prepare documents and apply online
Please prepare the following documents and arrange the payment of the non-refundable €100 application fee. You can find a more detailed explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English, and preferably in .PDF format.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU citizens)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Motivation letter
  • Transcript of records
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education, with the main literature used for those course. You can use this format.
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing). If your thesis was not written in English, please submit the original with an added summary of about 3 pages in English.

After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. After you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via e-mail. Please refer to the application page to see which application deadline applies to you.

Step 2: Await decision on admission
After submitting your complete application, the Admission Board will review all your documents to assess your eligibility. In general, we can inform students of the admission decision within 4 weeks. Around deadlines, this can take a bit linger, so we always recommend to apply as soon as possible. If you are admitted, you will receive your letter of conditional admission by email. After that, you can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 3: Finalize your enrolment and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your enrolment as a student before the start of the programme. Here on our website, you will find an explanation of all things to arrange after admission. When all enrolment requirements have been met you will be ready to start your programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam!

Further information about:

Our international student ambassadors are happy to tell you all about their experiences with studying at VU and living in Amsterdam. Our student ambassadors come from all over the world and are currently attending various bachelor's and master's programmes.

Our student ambassadors are listed here.

Reach out to them and hear their stories about being a VU Amsterdam student!

International students can apply to several scholarships. For all VU scholarships, please see www.vu.nl/scholarships. Any available external grant or scholarship can be found through www.grantfinder.nl.

Visit our Master's Events

Central International Office
For detailed questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure, please contact one of your International Student Advisors at the International Office: masters.sbe@vu.nl

Leanne Schrijver
Leanne Schrijver
Tel +31 20 59 83032
Paul Steeman
Paul Steeman
Tel +31 20 59 88739
Amu Shrestha
Amu Shrestha
Tel +31 20 59 84296
Lotte de Winter
Lotte de Winter
Tel +31 20 59 89072


For general information about VU Amsterdam:
Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 09:00 to 17:00).
You may also e-mail us at study@vu.nl .

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