Basic information of the minor

Code: ARTS3087 

Extent:  15-25 ECTS 

Language: English 

Department in charge: Department of Architecture in cooperation with University of Helsinki. At Aalto, other departments and schools including the School of ARTS Department of Design and the School of Engineering Department of Built Environment are in charge of specific courses found in course listing. 

Professor in charge:  Adjunct professor Pia Fricker 

Administrative contact: Planning officer Tuula Jääskeläinen

Target group: Master level students 

Urban Studies & Planning minoris organized in cooperation with the Master of Urban Studies & Planning Programme of the University of Helsinki. Students selected to the minor will study together with the students of the USP Master`s Programme  during autumn semester, reaching 15 - 25 credits. 

The minor studies in Urban Studies & Planning prepares students to understand and address complex urban development challenges. The program balances theoretical and conceptual knowledge with the acquisition of methods, skills and experiences. Thus, students gain a general understanding of urban phenomena as well as practical experiences in collaborative and concrete situations. This is the basis both of the structure of the programme and of elements in the curriculum. 

Application procedure: Based on motivation letter that meets the demands of Urban Studies & Planning programme admission guidelines. Application may be supported by portfolio. All documents should be in English. 

The application time for the next academic year will be in spring. 

Include in your application: 

  1. Certificate of bachelor's degree 

  2. Motivation letter containing at least following information 

  3. What are your motives to apply for the USP Minor Studies? (1000 characters) 

  4. How do your previous studies enable you to succeed in the studies? (500) 

  5. How studying this minor relates to your career objectives and what you wish to achieve? (500) 

  6. Portfolio (not needed for students from non-design oriented fields). 


Please attach all the required application documents when you fill in the eAge application form.  


Selection criteria: The acceptance for minor studies is based on the academic assessment. The evaluation process is competitive and the number of available study places is limited. The used criteria is as follows: 

  1. The applicability of the previous degree, i.e. bachelor’s degree 

  2. The amount of relevant studies 

  3. The academic performance of the applicant 

  4. The quality of the application as a whole, including the portfolio 

  5. The motivation and commitment of the applicant on the basis of a motivation letter. 

The evaluation and selection is done by Urban Studies & Planning Programme Board. 

Quotas and restrictions: In case of equal candidates priority will be given to students from Department of Architecture, Department of Design and Department of Built Environment.  

Content and structure of the minor 

Learning outcomes 

Upon completing the minor in Urban Studies & Planning, the students will be able to 

  • Understand theories and identify concepts and empirical research methods relevant to urban studies and planning from the related fields of social sciences, humanities, ecology, engineering, architecture, design and art 

  • Gather, process and develop relevant conclusions based on information from multiple sources 

  • Produce, collect and analyse cases and data relevant to urban phenomena 

  • Use basic digital and visual tools to collect, analyse and share data 

  • Develop creative responses to urban problems using relevant tools and techniques for representing, modelling, prototyping, testing and evaluating solutions 

  • Communicate their understanding of and responses to urban phenomena visually, graphically, orally and in writing 

  • Apply and develop skills for co-production of knowledge and co-design 

  • Work productively and cooperatively in multidisciplinary, multiprofessional and international environments

Structure of the minor

The minor studies consist of courses as part of their electives, Personal Study Plan (HOPS) requirements or their major studies (if applicable):
USP-E0321Urban social studies 5


Urban and planning history 



Designing for urban governance and services 



Transnational spaces of planning and politics 



Planning Theory and Urban Studies 

5 + 5 


Urban Economics



Urban transitions and futures 



Urban ecosystems ecology 



Complex adaptive systems 



Green urban systems 



Digital urban 


Additionally, students can choose the following autumn semester courses which may consist prerequisite studies in one or more above mentioned courses:


European Metropolitan Cultures



Urban immaterial/soft systems *



Urban modelling and simulation 



Urban environmental assessment *


  • *Not organized academic year 2018-2019