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Education Bachelor's degree programmes Human Geography and Planning
Header image Human Geography and Planning

Human Geography and Planning

Do you want to know where to build what types of houses to solve the housing crisis? Do you wonder why climate change has different consequences in different regions?

Do you dare to ask critical questions about how different places develop to help remake a better world? Then Human Geography & Planning is the right choice for you!

During this programme, you learn to investigate society in its geographic context. You will learn to explain how and why cities and regions develop differently, and how this relates to where and when these developments take place. For example, why do some regions benefit more from globalisation than others? Or, what are the consequences of population decline for people living in shrinking regions? And, how can you work together with different organisations to plan and build suitable residential areas?

You will learn to answer such questions and use this knowledge to create new ideas and develop the places that we live in today and in the future. The programme covers a wide variety of topics, including urban development, globalisation and labour markets, migration, and urban and regional planning. Geographers and planners combine these topics with a spatial perspective to make the world we live in a better place; making places better together.

During the first year you learn academic skills and are introduced to various themes of human geography & planning. During the second year, you deepen your knowledge about spatial developments and improve your skills to answer spatial questions. In the third year, you can specialise by following extra faculty courses, broaden your view by taking a minor or doing an internship, or widen your horizon by studying abroad. Finally, you will finish your studies by writing a bachelor’s thesis where you combine your knowledge and skills to become a human geographer or planner ready to make a positive contribution to the world around you.

Open day
Interested in learning more? Sign up for the Bachelor's Open Day on Friday 2 February or Saturday 13 April , or sign up to attend a Student for a Day.

Facts & Figures
Degree
BSc in B Human Geography and Planning
Course type
Bachelor
Duration
36 months (180 ECTS)
Croho code
50974
Language of instruction
English
Start
September
Faculty
Spatial Sciences
Studie in Cijfers
Why study this programme in Groningen?

If you want to study Human Geography & Planning, Groningen is the perfect choice. The strength of the programme lies in its combination of five fields: Economic Geography, Real Estate Studies, Population Studies, Cultural Geography and Planning. There is an open atmosphere and it is easy to contact other students and lecturers.

Programme
Semesters
CoursesCourse Catalog >1a1b2a2b
Reflecting on Human Geography and Spatial Planning (5 EC)
Urbanism and Planning (SP) (10 EC)
Economic Geography (10 EC)
Statistics 1 (5 EC)
Introduction to Academic Research (5 EC)
Population Geographies (10 EC)
Geographic Information Systems (10 EC)
Rural Geography (5 EC)
Semesters
CoursesCourse Catalog >1a1b2a2b
Migration and Development (10 EC)
Physical Geography (5 EC)
People, Place and Culture (10 EC)
Related Elective: Healthy Ageing, Geographies of the United States, Population and Development or Real Estate Principles (5 EC)
Governance Dynamics (SP) (5 EC)
Philosophy of Social Science (5 EC)
Statistics 2 (5 EC)
Landscapes (5 EC)
Methods of Academic Research (HGP) (10 EC)
Semesters
CoursesCourse Catalog >1a1b2a2b
Minor or Optional Modules (30 EC)
Geography, Planning and the European Union (5 EC)
Planning Dynamics (5 EC)
Bachelor's Project (15 EC)
Fieldwork Abroad (5 EC)

Curriculum

For more information about the courses in this programme, please visit: https://www.rug.nl/frw/education/bachelor/ Confused about the differences between our Bachelors? See an overview here: https://www.rug.nl/frw/education/related/bachelor-programme-differences You can also contact our Student Ambassadors for more information: https://www.rug.nl/frw/education/student-ambassadors/student-ambassadors-fss

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional
  • For an average of 15 weeks
  • Maximum of 30 EC

Studying abroad is not the same as the field work course in the third year, fieldwork abroad is mandatory. Every year dozens students of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences go on exchange with a foreign university to take electives and/or write their thesis. The faculty has exchange arrangements with universities in Europe, New-Zealand and the USA.

Entry requirements

Admissible Dutch diploma profiles

  • VWO Natuur & Techniek
  • VWO Natuur & Gezondheid
  • VWO Economie & Maatschappij
  • VWO Cultuur & Maatschappij

    aangevuld met wiskunde C

  • HBO propedeuse

    You only have access with a HBO-propedeuse when you have mathematics C and English on a VWO level. Please contact the study advisor (study.advice.fss rug.nl) for more information.

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
language test

Students without English on a VWO level have to take a language test:

  • IELTS International English Language Testing System (Academic version) 6.0, with a minimum score of 6.0 on each section
  • TOEFL: minimum overall score 80 (reading: 18, listening: 18, speaking: 20, writing: 21)
  • Cambridge English C1 Advanced / C2 Proficiency

See the international tab if you have an international degree.

A prospective student can always apply for an exemption from the English language test. The student needs to explain, and if required show proof of, why an exemption would be justified. It is up to the Admission Board to decide whether an exemption will be granted or not.

math test

You should have at least Mathematics C. If this is not the case, you will be asked to prove your level of mathematics by obtaining one of the accepted mathematics certificates. List of accepted mathematics tests: https://www.rug.nl/education/application-enrolment-tuition-fees/admission/procedures/application-informatie/with-non-dutch-diploma/entry-requirements/bachelor-entry-requirements/

See the international tab if you have an international degree.

other admission requirements

Should you be interested in taking the Colloquium Doctum (21+) entrance test, please contact the Study Advisor (study.advice.fss rug.nl).

Choice of degree programme check

The degree programme will organize a matching procedure. Attendance is optional. The advice is not binding.

  • Prospective students must submit a home assignment.

Explanatory notes

If you want to apply for a bachelor programme, starting in 2022/2023, you have to apply at the latest on 1 May. The law prescribes this. You are then entitled to a so-called matching activity. With such an activity, you can check whether you and the study programme fit well together. For this bachelor, matching is not obligatory. Applications after 1 May of students with an international diploma can not be processed. For more information: https://www.rug.nl/frw/education/matching

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202501 September 2025
EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025

Choice of degree programme check

If you want to apply for a bachelor programme, you have to apply at the latest on 1 May. The law prescribes this. You are then entitled to a so-called matching activity. With such an activity, you can check whether you and the study programme fit well together. For this bachelor, matching is not obligatory. Applications after 1 May of students with an international diploma cannot be processed. For more information: https://www.rug.nl/frw/education/matching

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
previous education
language test
  • IELTS International English Language Testing System (Academic version) 6.0, with a minimum score of 6.0 on each section
  • TOEFL: minimum overall score 80 (reading: 18, listening: 18, speaking: 20, writing: 21)
  • Cambridge English C1 Advanced / C2 Proficiency

A prospective student can always apply for an exemption from the English language test. The student needs to explain, and if required show proof of, why an exemption would be justified. It is up to the Admission Board to decide whether an exemption will be granted or not.

math test

Knowledge minimum: We expect all international students to have had mathematics during their secondary education, up to their final year, just like all Dutch students have this mandatory in their secondary education. This is essential for several topics, and most evident for Statistics, which occupies a large place in the Bachelor's degree.

other admission requirements

Should you be interested in taking the Colloquium Doctum (21+) entrance test, please contact the Study Advisor (study.advice.fss rug.nl).

Registration procedure

Students with an international diploma have to apply both in Studielink and the university's Progress Portal before 1 May. After you apply for the programme of your choice in Studielink you will receive your login details for Progress. You will need to submit a complete application file in Progress (please see the Admissions website for the required documents) and the Admissions Office will then evaluate your educational background and assess your eligibility for admission.

You can find all relevant information regarding the application and admissions procedures at Admission and application

Please contact the Admissions Office if you have any admissions-related questions: https://www.rug.nl/education/contact/information-services/contact-form-admissions-office

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202501 September 2025
EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2024-2025€ 2530full-time
non-EU/EEA2024-2025€ 13100full-time

Scholarships: Check the Nuffic website for information about scholarships.

Students are expected to follow our Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. For more detailed information about laptop requirements, please visit this webpage

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

Graduates with a Bachelor's degree in Human Geography & Planning often decide to pursue a Master's degree in a related field. Our Master's degrees grant you access to careers in business, government and research.

Suitable jobs can be found in the world of local planning and government agencies, academic and non-academic research institutes, international organizations (or NGOs), advisory/consultancy agencies and elsewhere. For example, we have alumni working for housing associations where they investigate which types of housing should be built in new residential areas given the prospected residents.

During the programme at the University of Groningen we offer support for your career preparation.

More information about the FSS Career Services.

Job examples

  • Advisor spatial planning at a consultancy firm
  • Project manager at a local government agency
  • High school geography teacher
Research

Research

Human Geography Planning is based on research. Not only are you educated to become a researcher, lecturers also use their own research and others to keep the education as recent and relevant as possible. The education you receive is therefore partly based on the research being done at the faculty right now!

The research at the faculty consists of several themes that are summarized in the research programme: tWIST - towards Well-being, Innovation and Spatial Transformation. You will see these themes in your education.

Finding out new insights in research is not everything, though, for we also teach you to do research on your own. In courses such as GIS you learn to use maps in the analysis and presentation of spatial information, and you will also do fieldwork every year.

Apply nowBrochureEventsContact
Open Dagdiverse locatiesMore information

Contact

  • Saskia Enuma, Reinier Schoep, Nienke Harteveld (Study Advisors Faculty of Spatial Sciences)
    Email: study.advice.fss rug.nl

"Groningen changed my perception of what a city should be"

My studies in Human Geography and Planning (HGP) have equipped me with valuable knowledge and essential skills to fully appreciate and understand the city of Groningen. It has been over a year since I moved here, and I remain captivated by the city's beauty and its remarkable organization. Groningen has become more than just a place to study; it has been a stepping stone for personal growth, and I am proud to call it home.

The courses are meticulously planned by the faculty and its expert professors, providing me with a lens to see beyond the superficial aspects of the city and delve into the complex web of human interactions, sustainable urban design, and the vibrant student culture that makes Groningen a special place—a true 'global village.'

Through my involvement in various projects, I gained a hands-on understanding of what a city should aspire to be and the profound impact of human interactions with the urban environment. The creative freedom granted by the professors is unlike any I have encountered before. That's why I owe this transformative experience to the exceptional programme and the incredible city of Groningen.

- Arkhat Almetayev

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"Studying HGP was parallel to my personal pursuit of playing a part in facilitating socially and environmentally sustainable development"

Having moved almost every 2-3 years, I often can't help but be captivated and intrigued by people and their intricate narratives. Not only including their cultures, and unique perspectives but the roles they play in their own communities and environments. From then on, It was clearer that my passion was less about engineering and designing individual buildings but observing and facilitating people's everyday geographies through a more multidisciplinary, flexible lens.

To better understand how people breathe life into their contextual environments, integrate it into the urban fabric's plans and policies. Hence, I decided to study this program, because it was parallel to my personal pursuit of playing a part in facilitating socially and environmentally sustainable development through the disciplines of geography and planning.

- Kharisma Pratama

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"The internship has been a real addition to my education"

In your third year you have the possibility to take the elective 'Internship' (10 EC). The internship I did at the city of Westerveld at the department of Spatial Planning has been a real addition to my education. It has given me the experience in the work field I needed to better understand, in combination with the theories learned, the design of the space surrounding us. Professionally speaking the internship has given me a network that I can use in the future when I graduate.

The internship has helped me to develop myself personally as well. Working in a team has taught me that I really do already know a lot about everything involving their work. It has made me more confident and given me the believe that I will make it in an organisation like the city of Westerveld. I also found out exactly which master programme I am going to do and I have a better idea of what my future will be in this work field. In short, the internship had taught me things that you can't learn in class. I recommend everyone to step out of the classroom and find out what the future might hold by doing an internship.

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"Moving to the Netherlands was easier than I thought"

My name is Zuzana, I am 20 years old and I come from Slovakia. I chose the University of Groningen because the city has a large international student population, which is always an advantage for someone coming from abroad. Most people here speak English, which is accommodating for internationals.

Moving to the Netherlands was easier than I thought. I was able to get a room in one of the student accommodations where I share a building with people from all around the world. It is an amazing experience because I am exposed to many different cultures and manners. As daunting as it sounds, I feel at home now.

The university offers a wide range of extracurricular activities and associations where I was able to meet new people and make friends. The faculty's student association organizes many events that create a welcoming environment for first-year students and unforgettable experiences. Groningen offers a diverse range of facilities that are student-friendly such as cheap sport centre memberships, lively bars and wild nightlife. From an academic perspective, Groningen has a variety of modern and comfortable study places like the Forum, University Library and many study cafés. No matter what type of student you are, you can certainly find your new home here.

- Zuzana

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Learning Communities: visit to the North/South subway line in Amsterdam

For our first Learning Community activity of the year we visited the North/South subway line in Amsterdam. A former project manager showed a short film about the plans for the North/South line and how this new subway should be realized. The beginning of the presentation showed that many economic and technical setbacks were faced during this project. All these setbacks have led to the planned opening of the North South line in 2018 (10 years later than initially planned!).

After the film and presentation we went on site to take a look at the infrastructure project. We all got a helmet, a pair of boots and a jacket on for safety. After this we were shown a part of the subway line which still was still under construction. After the tour we got the opportunity to ask some questions and we made a nice group photo. As first year students this was a fun way to learn something relevant to our study programme and got an first impression about where we might end up later in the work field.

Read more about the Learning Communities at Spatial Sciences.

- Arnout de Haan

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Study associations

Ibn Battuta

Ibn Battuta is the Faculty Association of Spatial Sciences
Becoming a member of Ibn Battuta means you can join the social drinks, foreign trips, lectures and all other activities organized by the Association. At these events you come into contact with students from all years, which is a great way to make friends that can last a lifetime! Ibn Battuta also organizes informative and career-focused activities. Our informative activities, such as lectures, In-Housedays and the Career Day will help you to orient on your future.
https://www.ibnbattuta.nl/
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(Binding) study advice
  • A minimum of 45 EC in the first 12 months (binding)

You will be offered study advice after the first year of study. You can expect a positive result if you have earned more than 45 ECTS credit points (out of a total of 60 ECTS). If you have earned fewer than 45 ECTS and are issued a negative result, you will not be allowed to continue with your degree programme.

You will receive preliminary study advice in December to make sure that you know where you stand. Please contact your study advisor as soon as possible if you have any questions about the BSA system. N.B. Some degree programmes use a tutoring system; please check with your study advisor.

Study support

The Faculty of Spatial Sciences takes a small-scale approach and we help our students to learn how to work independently. You will be assigned to a mentor group together with other first-year students whom you will get to know very well. A mentor is a senior student who can teach you all the ins and outs of our faculty. The Faculty has three study advisors, who can think along when you experience difficulties when studying, personal issues or when in need of more information about your studies.

You will be able to use our Career Services during your programme. For more information: https://www.rug.nl/frw/education/career-services/

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