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Education Master's and PhD degree programmes Economic Geography
Header image Economic Geography

Economic Geography

Global Transformations, Local Impacts

The world is changing at a rapid pace and the consequences affect regions and people unevenly. Technological changes, such as digitalization and automation, affect the way jobs are organized and how the economy is structured. Climate change increases the risk of food shortages, water scarcity, and the occurrence of natural disasters. These, in turn, affect people’s wellbeing and businesses’ production decisions and possibilities. In many places, demographic changes, such as ageing and migration, challenge the provision of services and call for a new organization of the society. The effects of these global megatrends are not symmetric, some people benefit some do not, some place benefits some do not.

Economic Geography in Groningen is about understanding these inequalities across space and people: regional differences in economic structure and performance as well as in socio-economic outcomes in a broad sense. Our starting point in understanding these inequalities between places and people are the actions of three main economic actors: Firms, People, and the Government. Understanding their behaviour (e.g., migration, firm location, policies) is an important pillar of the programme.

The master in Economic Geography develops your academic research and professional skills so that you can analyze such regional developments and formulate policy avenues to govern these processes locally, nationally, and internationally. This makes Economic Geography in Groningen an empirical and pragmatic programme that is relevant for society.

Our graduates are specialists in regional economic development with a keen eye on the role of policy. For those interested in the role of international trade and globalization in regional economic development we offer a track in Regional Competitiveness and Trade, where you will specialize in a quantitative and model based economic approach. We also offer a track in Sustainable Rural Futures, where you will explore the rural-specific socio-spatial impacts of global transformations and how rural regions and communities deal with such transformations in socially and environmentally sustainable and place-specific ways.

If you are interested in following a two-year programme in Economic Geography in two different countries (the Netherlands and Germany) where you get two master's degrees, then our Double Degree Master International Programme in Economic Geography is the master programme for you!

If you are looking for a two-year programme and are interested in doing research, you can also integrate the master in Economic Geography with our two-year Research Master in Spatial Sciences.

Facts & Figures
Degree
MSc in Economic Geography
Course type
Master
Duration
12 months (60 ECTS)
Croho code
60657
Language of instruction
English
Start
February, September
Faculty
Spatial Sciences
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • Best master's programme in geography in the Netherlands according to the National Student Survey
  • Groningen is the 3rd Regional Science Center in the world
  • Interdisciplinary approach due to the cooperation between the Faculties of Spatial Sciences and Economics and Business
  • Positive and open study atmosphere
Programme
Semesters
CoursesCourse Catalog >1a1b2a2b
Economic Geography: Theory and Practice (5 EC)
Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Regional Development (5 EC)
Optional courses (10 ECTS) (10 EC)
Advanced Statistical Analysis OR Advanced Qualitative Research Methods (5 EC)
Global Transformations Local Impacts (5 EC)
Master's Thesis Economic Geography (20 EC)
Regional Labour Market Dynamics (5 EC)
Transport Geography (5 EC)

Curriculum

Programme options
Regional Competitiveness and Trade (track)

Do you want to become a specialist in regional economic development in an international context with a keen eye for the role of policy?

The track in Regional Competitiveness and Trade prepares you for a career in regional economic strategies and research in regional science.The track, which is part of the Master in Economic Geography and organized in cooperation with the Faculty of Economics and Business, focusses on regional and global competitiveness related to trade and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Trade and FDI importantly govern the interconnectivity between countries and regions and their subsequent economic development. The ongoing fragmentation of value-chains - an iPad is manufactured all over the globe - leads to increasing trade between countries and a growing global presence of multinational firms.How do global linkages between regions and countries influence their competitiveness? You will learn the latest theoretical (New Economic Geography) and methodological (Spatial Econometrics) approaches to address the issues of interconnectivity between regions through trade and FDI.Our graduates are specialists in regional economic development with a keen eye for the role of policy. They are well versed in the latest theoretical and empirical Economic models of regional growth.If you are interested in following a two-year programme in Economic Geography in two different countries (the Netherlands and Germany), then our Double Degree Master International Programme in Economic Geography is the master programme for you!If you are looking for a two-year programme and are interested in doing research, you can also integrate the master in Economic Geography with our two-year Research Master in Spatial Sciences.Master Open Day Interested in learning more? The next Master Open Day is on Thursday 21 March. Sign up for the presentation via the Master's Week webpage (sign up opens on 1 March).

More information about this option

Sustainable Rural Futures (track)

Do you want to know how agricultural transitions, socio-cultural discontent, and climate change impact European rural areas? Come satisfy your curiosity in the master Sustainable Rural Futures!

More information about this option

DDM International Programme in Economic Geography (specialization)

A 2 year double degree master programme in collaboration with the University of Hannover in Germany

More information about this option

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional
Entry requirements

Transfer options

Transferring from...

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
All Universities of applied sciences

Via a pre-master

More information:

For more information about the pre-master please see https://www.rug.nl/frw/education/pre-master/

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Spatial Planning and DesignAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Human Geography and Urban and Regional PlanningAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Liberal Arts and SciencesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

Direct access with certain courses. Please contact our study advisors for more information (study.advice.fss rug.nl)

International BusinessAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Human Geography and PlanningAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Geography, Spatial Planning and EnvironmentAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Economics and Business Economics - Economic Development and GlobalizationAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
previous education

Bachelor degree related to the field of regional economic development. This includes Bachelor programmes in Human Geography, Economic Geography, Regional and Urban Planning, Regional Economy, Economics & Business Economics, Economy or related. Bachelordiploma's in Sociology, Business Administration, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Micro-Economics are sometimes admissible.

Graduates of the BSc Global Responsibility and Leadership (University Campus Fryslan) with a major in 'Responsible Governance' are admissible for the master.

If you are not directly admissible you can follow a pre-master programme. See more information in the pre-master guide: https://www.rug.nl/frw/education/pre-master/

additional subject

10 ECTS in Statistics required

language test

English on VWO level or one of the following equivalents:

  • IELTS overall band 6.5, no less than 6.0 on each section
  • TOEFL internet based:

Overall: 90 Reading: 18 Listening: 18 Speaking: 20 Writing: 21

  • Cambridge English: Cambridge certificate C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency (formerly known as CAE/CPE)
  • European Baccalaureate, English level L1 or L2
  • Please note that TOEFL MyBest Scores are not considered in the Admissions procedure

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.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students15 August 202401 September 2024
15 January 202501 February 2025
15 August 202501 September 2025
EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
previous education

Bachelor degree related to the field of regional economic development. This includes Bachelor programmes in Human Geography, Economic Geography, Regional and Urban Planning, Regional Economy, Economics & Business Economics, Economy or related. Bachelordiploma's in Sociology, Business Administration, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Micro-Economics are sometimes admissible.

Graduates of the BSc Global Responsibility and Leadership (University Campus Fryslan) with a major in 'Responsible Governance' are admissible for the master.

If you are not directly admissible you can follow a pre-master programme. See more information in the pre-master guide: https://www.rug.nl/frw/education/pre-master/

additional subject

10 ECTS in Statistics required

language test

English on VWO level or one of the following equivalents:

  • IELTS overall band 6.5, no less than 6.0 on each section
  • TOEFL internet based:

Overall: 90 Reading: 18 Listening: 18 Speaking: 20 Writing: 21

  • Cambridge English: Cambridge certificate C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency (formerly known as CAE/CPE)
  • European Baccalaureate, English level L1 or L2
  • Please note that TOEFL MyBest Scores are not considered in the Admissions procedure

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.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students15 August 202401 September 2024
15 January 202501 February 2025
15 August 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€ 20800full-time

Scholarships: For information about scholarships see the Nuffic website.

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

  • A fair share of the graduates is employed by governmental organizations at all geographical levels (cities and municipalities, regional, national and international governmental organizations). This includes organizations such as the EU, the city of Amsterdam or The Dutch Ministry of Environment and Infrastructure.
  • Another large share of the graduates is active on the commercial market, mostly in consultancies in economic development. This includes companies such as Twijnstra Gudde, Antea.
  • A smaller share of the graduates enters research, teaching and entrepreneurship.

To see where our Economic Geography alumni end up, view this infographic

Throughout the year we offer support for practical career preparation and employability skills. Workshops are given about leadership, job interviews and how to present yourself. More information about the FSS Career Services.

Research

Research in the master Economic Geography

In the field of Economic Geography the emphasis of the research lays with regional labour market analysis, the demography of firms, Geography of Innovation and Sustainability Transition and well-being.

Regional labour market analysis addresses many themes, such as labour productivity and wage formation, the dynamic of the regional labour market, and migration, gender and the labour market. Demography of firms addresses amongst other subjects, starting businesses (including spin-offs) and the migration of corporations, and the factors involved in the decision of the choice of location. The relation between foundations and corporate migrations, and regional development is also part of the research.

Geography of Innovation and Sustainability Transition explores how institutions, regional policies, place-based capabilities, and firms' routines, along with their intra- and inter-regional relations, impact technological diffusion and sustainable practices. This field identifies how socio-institutional contexts, as well as geographic and relational factors, can promote sustainable development, leading to new opportunities for individuals, businesses, and regions to tackle grand societal challenges like climate change.

Apply nowBrochureEventsContact

Contact

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

"Economic Geography examines many different aspects of regional development and regional differences"

The master in Economic Geography examines many different aspects of regional development and regional differences, which makes the programme very interesting.

In addition, the master provides lots of opportunities to pursue your own interests; for example for individual assignments, but also for your master thesis. I personally focus on sustainability and the circular economy during my thesis, because I highly value these topics. Finally, Groningen is a wonderful student city with lots of associations that you can join and extra-curricular activities that you can participate in.

- Sophie van Bergen

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The theoretical basis pairs really well with the practical applications of the course, which makes this study not only enjoyable but also very useful for my future career"

Before applying for the Master program of Economic Geography, I completed my bachelor of Human Geography and Planning also at the University of Groningen. My decision to stay was fairly quick and easy. I love the city and the Faculty of Spatial Sciences, both of them due to their size and very friendly and casual atmosphere.

During my bachelor degree I already started orientating towards the economic aspects of geography, especially how the entrepreneurial ecosystem of a region contributes to its competitiveness. I find this topic fascinating to research and to examine it in practice. The Economic Geography master program gives you an insight into the economic drivers of a region, the underlying processes, as well as the practical knowledge you need to enable yourself to analyse such drivers and processes. In addition, you have the freedom to choose the topics you are most interested in, in my case, entrepreneurial ecosystems. The theoretical basis of the study pairs really well with the practical applications that are included in the course which made this study not only enjoyable but also very useful for my future career.

After my studies I am hoping to work at a small but fast paced company where I can build on my skills and prepare and guide the developmental strategies of cities anywhere around the world.

- Benedek Papp

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"The Master in Economic Geography offered me a chance of getting to learn the economic effects that planning decisions and policy decisions have on an area"

After finishing my bachelor in real estate at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, I decided I wanted to continue my study at the University of Groningen. Every time I think back of this choice, I am glad I made it. I wanted to broaden my knowledge on economics in a way that it related to my background in real estate. The Master in Economic Geography offered me a chance of getting to learn the economic effects that planning decisions and policy decisions have on an area.

The way the Faculty of Spatial Sciences operates is very nice. Contact with lecturers is very personal and they give you lots of freedom to specify your master in the way you want it. I chose to do elective courses at the Faculty of Economics and Business, which was no problem since various aspects of Economic Geography are closely related to International Economics.

When I graduate, I’d love to stay in Groningen and find a job. Because Groningen is a very young city, there is always something fun to do and this attracted me so much that I’d like to live here the next few years. At this moment I am orienting for a job in consultancy or policymaking, a field of work that gets well introduced during the Master in Economic Geography.

One thing that you should really do if you are interested in the programme of Economic Geography is take a look at the courses that are given in the master. The courses are very diverse and cover themes like economics, entrepreneurship and labour markets. If these topics suit you, then studying Economic Geography at the University of Groningen is a good choice!

- Menno Hunneman

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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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Study support

For any questions about your study planning, choice of study and personal circumstances that influence your study, you can contact the study advisors of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences. For more information, see https://www.rug.nl/frw/education/study-advice?lang=en