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Master in Spatial Planning

Program Structure & Content

The standard period of study for the Master's degree in Spatial Planning is two semesters. In order to graduate with the academic degree "Master of Science", a total of 60 credit points (LP) must be acquired in the following four modules:

  • Module 1: General Spatial Research and Planning (8 CP)
  • Module 2: Master Project / Master Design Studio (12 CP)
  • Module 3: Specialization (20 CP)
  • Module 4: Master Thesis (20 CP)

The course of studies can be designed individually, since no formal participation requirements are set for any module.

Module Master Spatial Planning


Module 1 provides knowledge of current spatial research and planning from a regional, national and international perspective and consists of two elements. Element 1 includes an examination of questions related to planning ethics and planning philosophy. In addition, content from current research on structural change and spatial development is taught. Element 2 offers courses that either draw from lecture content or provide advanced knowledge and skills in working and research methods, as well as key competencies that are essential for the professional field of urban and spatial planning.

The module offers students orientation at the beginning of their M.Sc. studies, a scientific-critical examination in the field of research activities of the Department, and guides them towards an activity in spatial and planning research. Students who have not completed the bachelor's degree program in spatial planning at the TU Dortmund University will also gain an insight into the content of current research on structural change and spatial development.

In Module 2 students can choose between a project or design work, which is carried out independently in small groups of usually 4 - 6 students and is supervised by teachers of the department. The topics are based on current research fields of the department. Students learn to work on complex spatial problems in a cooperative manner using scientific methods within a given time frame and to demonstrate possible solutions.

In the Master's project, the focus is on the theoretical-analytical or planning-conceptual processing of a current issue in spatial research and planning. In the master's design element, the focus is on spatial-conceptual planning at different scales. The core of the element is a practical design assignment that addresses current issues.

The module is completed in one semester with a total of 12 CP. The development of project and design work enables students to profile themselves more strongly in terms of content. As a rule, several groups are supervised by one teacher and the progress of the work is discussed at regular joint meetings.

The conclusion of the one-semester work is either a written final report with a disputation or the preparation of a draft with an explanatory report and disputation. In consultation with the lecturers, a further deepening of the topic or an aspect in the Master's thesis is also possible.

Module 3 of our master pro­gram is „Specialization“. Students can choose lectures in eight specialisations, two of them fully English-taught. Advanced knowledge of central topics and challenges of urban and spatial planning is conveyed, students can (but do not have to) specialize individually in this module. They learn how to deal intensively with the current state of research and how to work on it together with university lecturers or postdocs from the department.

The students have to choose four lectures in total, which can be distributed among one to four specializations. Two of the four lectures are graded with 6 credits, two are ungraded with 4 credits. All courses have close reference to current topics of spatial research and planning and help students for the preparation of the Master's thesis.

The following eight specializations can be chosen:

  • Urban Transformation (fully English-taught)
  • Planning in the Global South (fully English-taught)
  • Strategic Urban and Regional Development
  • Urban Planning
  • Landscape Ecology and Landscape Planning
  • Spatial and Mobility Research
  • Real Estate Management
  • Renewable Energies

More Information about the specializations are here


The Master's thesis in Module 4 (20 CP) is a scientific paper in the field of spatial planning. The thesis can have a theoretical, empirical or conceptual-design focus. The thesis should show that the student is able to independently work on a complex spatial planning issue according to scientific standards and methods.

Students who wish to have a specialization on their transcript must successfully complete both graded examinations in the chosen specialization and write the master's thesis under the supervision of teachers in this specialization.

More Information

Course of studies and prerequisites

For further information on the course of studies and the prerequisites, please refer to the graphic on the study structure or the PDF file with the information on the course of studies and the calculation of credits & accreditation. Information on the course content, competencies and the form of examination can be found in the current module handbook and in the examination regulations

The current event, project and seminar topics and descriptions can be viewed in the LSF.  Even without a login, these can be viewed under Events > Course Catalog > Spatial Planning.