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Master of Human Settlements (Leuven)

KU Leuven
Program overview
1 year
Full time/part time
Master's degree
Scholarships available
Start dates
6,000 EUR
September 2022

6,000 EUR
September 2023

6,000 EUR
September 2024

About this program

Space is an increasingly limited resource. KU Leuven's Advanced Master of Human Settlements provides you insights into the challenges and opportunities of worldwide settlements in an era of rapid change. The intensive programme seeks to expose you to the multi-faceted challenge of contemporary human settlements, from multi-disciplinary and multi-scalar perspectives. You will also be encouraged to develop a critical and interpretative approach towards developing your own position within the field.

What is the Advanced Master of Human Settlements all about?

The Master of Human Settlements addresses rapid urbanisation in the developing world and contemporary urban transformations. Architecture, urbanism, landscape architecture and spatial planning are the core disciplines underpinning the programme.

Contributions from economics, geography and anthropology, among others, complement the core, prepare you to better understand the interplay of human and natural ecosystems. The programme thrives from its truly international body of students and the faculty’s long-standing research expertise in worldwide contexts.


The structure is organised around:
· Compulsory courses
· Optional courses
· Design studios
· Thesis (research- or design-based)

The design studios form a significant component of the programme. They are organised as two full days of work on Mondays and Tuesdays providing an intensive and immersive working environment, such as is the norm in most professional practices. A balance between teamwork and individual contributions is developed and students are subdivided into small, mixed groups from the outset.

Core courses are directly related to studio practice: you select a more research-oriented trajectory, a research thesis can be developed in line with a specific programme profile and supporting courses.


  • The Postgraduate Centre for Human Settlements (1976-2005) is now absorbed into the International Center for Urbanisms: Settlements & Environments (ICU). ICU has intertwined educational and research activities which studios draw on to scenario building to realities on the ground. The MaHS programme boasts a broad network of alumni who actively collaborate in design studios and theses.
  • The quality and quantity of visiting faculty and international speakers, either as part of lecture series, studio juries and/or showcase events such as Belgian Urbanisms (January) or World Urbanisms (June), provide a state-of-the-arts global knowledge base.
  • Fieldwork is a fundamental component of studio work. The first semester studio is based on a Belgian site, while the second semester offers European and non-European sites.

KU Leuven Online Open Day

We are organising an online open day on Wednesday 1 December 2021 to inform students about our English-language programmes. Discover Europe’s most innovative university and learn more about our international programmes, admissions, housing and much more. For more information, google “KU Leuven Online Open Day”.

Find out more about Master of Human Settlements (Leuven) by filling in your details and the school will contact you.

Admission requirements

Please consult the programme website for recent information on admission requirements.

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Scholarships & funding

Please consult our website for recent information on available scholarships.


Please consult our website for recent information on tuition fees.

Career paths

The programme produces interdisciplinary graduates capable of understanding and managing the complexity of urban development as well as promoting sustainable territorial transformations. The MaHS programme's graduates find employment across numerous and widespread areas.

Many of our alumni work as civil servants in urban development agencies in cities or national governments. Others are independent professionals in the field of urban design, planning, and community development. Yet others join private architecture or urban design offices or take on in leadership and policymaking positions in regional, national, and international human settlements institutions, such as UNCHS or UEPP. A small number of graduates continue the academic trajectory by obtaining a PhD.

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About this institute

KU Leuven. Inspiring the Outstanding

KU Leuven is Europe’s most innovative university. Located in Belgium, it is dedicated to research, education, and service to society. KU Leuven is a founding member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and has a strong European and...

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Why study at KU Leuven

A Highly Ranked University

According to international rankings, KU Leuven is among the best 100 universities in the world. Moreover, KU Leuven was ranked as most innovative university of Europe by Reuters four years in a row (2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019). All of KU Leuven’s disciplines proudly belong to the top 100 of their field. Scholars and researchers, teachers and visionaries, thinkers and makers all have their place in KU Leuven’s fertile intellectual habitat.

Most Innovative University in Europe

KU Leuven has been identified as Europe’s most innovative university for four years in a row by Reuters. By developing the most important drug against HIV, a new type of solar panel that converts oxygen into hydrogen and uncovering the secrets of Sagalassos, KU Leuven researchers have a profound impact on our everyday lives in nearly all fields of research. That innovative character is deeply embedded in the way we teach our students, by integrating relevant guest lectures, taking an Interdisciplinary approach and opening the most advanced research and education facilities.

A Comprehensive University

As a comprehensive university, KU Leuven offers a wide range of disciplines organized by 15 faculties. Each of these disciplines is ranked in the top 100 of its field according to the THE World University Rankings by subject. Half of the university’s faculties are even in the top 50 within their fields of study.

Contact info

KU Leuven

Oude Markt 13
3000 Leuven

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