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EducationMaster's and PhD degree programmesArts and CultureHistory of Architecture and Town planning
Header image History of Architecture and Town planning

History of Architecture and Town planning

The Master's track History of Architecture and Town Planning explores the evolution of cities, villages and park- and landscape design in Europe within the changing global setting.

Cities, buildings, parks and landscapes define the setting of our everyday life. Some are fascinating works of art, and no other man made artefacts document the evolution of social relations, economic trends, technological innovations, philosophical views on man and nature, politics and culture more eloquently than architecture and urbanism. Cities and buildings impact our everyday lives. They define where and how we live, how far we have to travel to reach our working places, our daily rhythms of our movements, the things we see when we are on our way. Their impact on health is self-evident – urban planners gave us our sewage systems, architects decent public housing and healthcare buildings. This master track provides students a rich and varied introduction in the history and theory of architecture and urban planning. Since healthcare architecture requires a thorough understanding of the history and theory of architecture, and the world of healthy cities can only be analysed against the background of urbanism, the Expertise Centre Architecture, Urbanism and Health is embedded in a classical approach of architectural and urban history and theory. It allows students to specialize in classical history and theory, the health impacts of architecture and urbanism, or a mixture.

Facts & Figures
MA in Arts & Culture
Course type
12 months (60 ECTS)
Croho code
Language of instruction
February, September
Why study this programme in Groningen?

The course positions the evolution of the European city (including the post-socialist cities in Central and Eastern Europe) as intimately linked with trends and tendencies at the global scale. The input of the Thomassen a Thuessink Chair results in a clear focus on the health effects of the built environment and the phenomena summarized in the healthy cities concept (ranging from yesterday's hygienic measures to tomorrows urban guerilla gardening campaigns)

  • In Groningen, the history and theory of architecture and urbanism is taught within the context of social, economic, cultural and philosophical phenomena and geared towards active participation of the students in the discourse on global urban tendencies. Embedded in a classical art historical context, this so-called 'Groningen school' expands the envelope of it scientific explorations and targets planners and policy makers as well as historians and art historians.
  • Past, present and future are seen as a continuum, the historian's expertise and research tools as constituting a methodology that is applicable throughout this continuum, its essence being the conviction that man-made changes should always be attributed to those responsible for them.
  • Groningen University promotes cooperation with universities and institutions in the Netherlands and abroad: Delft University of Technology, Gent University of Technology, Berlin University of Technology, ETH Zürich, Erasmus University Rotterdam, International New Town Institute and others.
  • The Master's track offers possibilities for students to take part of the courses at other universities
  • The city of Groningen is well-known for being the liveliest student city in the Netherlands, with an ever-growing international student population.

Starting with the European city, this Master's track provides students with the expertise and critical attitude to study both historical and contemporary tendencies in today's global setting. Historians, environmental scientists, architects, urban planners, medical professionals and policy makers may benefit from the courses offered in this track.

The Master's track has two distinct components. The first semester is organized around a number of courses that foster the intense cooperation between students (historians, architects, environmental scientists, etc.) and staff. The second semester urges the students to develop their personal skills, culminating in individual research projects. Here the personal preferences, skills and ambitions of the students are embedded in a custom made programme that includes interaction with a range of different institutions (architectural firms, urban planning boards, healthcare institutions, etc.).

CoursesCourse Catalog >1234
Architectural History: Origins of the Healthy City (10 EC)
Architect. History: Research & Excursion (10 EC)
Architectural History: Global Tendencies vs. Local Identities (5 EC)
Architectural History.: Typological Repertory (5 EC)
Architectural History: Internship / individual (research) project (10 EC)
Master Thesis Architectural History (20 EC)


'Origins of the Healthy City' examines the relation between healthy cities and urban policies. In 'Research Laboratory and Excursion' students will do research into a specific European city (Prague, Berlin) and present this during an excursion. 'Global Tendencies vs. Local Identities' studies the effects on city design, and the tension between global trends and local identities. 'Typological Exercises' presents a critical overview of thoughts on function (type) and thoughts on form and style.

Programme options
History of Architecture and Town planning (track)

The Master's track confronts architectural and urban history and theory of the European city, focusing on the period after 1750, with contemporary urban tendencies at the global scale.

This results in a critical international perspective and the capacity to combine the body of knowledge of various disciplines within an overall historical framework.

More information about this option

Master's Honours Programme (honours program)

The Master's Honours Programme was developed especially for students who want to get more from their studies.

It is a programme worth 15 ECTS that is followed in addition to the standard Master's programme. It is a one-year interdisciplinary programme that is designed to introduce students to various aspects of leadership.

Master's placement (specialization)

During this Master's track, you can follow a placement for ECTS credit points.

It is your responsibility to find a placement yourself, but the Mobility Office can offer help with this where necessary. Click the link above to find examples of placements completed by other Master's students.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is recommended

Students are encouraged to spend at least one half semester abroad to complement their personal curriculum; especially the 2d semester offers ample opportunities to opt for study, research or internship at a foreign university or institution, thanks to our international network en exchange contracts (Germany, Belgium, Colombia, Poland, Hongaria etc). Recently we started working together with International New Town Institute, offering our students exchange projects in China and Kenia.

Entry Requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
language test

Additional requirements English: A VWO diploma or a subject certificate for VWO English (mark 6 or higher), minimum requirement of TOEFL iBT 90 (with a minimum of 21 on all items), or IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6 on all items). Language Centre English Test (LCET) level C1 (B2 for no more than two components). If you have a VWO diploma a language test is not required.

previous education

Students and professionals with a background in architectural and urban history, urban studies, architecture, urbanism, urban design, public health, urban health, etc.

Transfer options

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Art HistoryUniversity of GroningenNo additional requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
language test

Additional requirements English: A VWO diploma or a subject certificate for VWO English (mark 6 or higher), minimum requirement of TOEFL iBT 90 (with a minimum of 21 on all items), or IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6 on all items). Language Centre English Test (LCET) level C1 (B2 for no more than two components).

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students15 August 201901 September 2019
15 January 202001 February 2020
15 August 202001 September 2020
EU/EEA students01 May 201901 September 2019
15 October 201901 February 2020
01 May 202001 September 2020
15 October 202001 February 2021
non-EU/EEA students01 May 201901 September 2019
15 October 201901 February 2020
01 May 202001 September 2020
15 October 202001 February 2021
Tuition Fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2019-2020€ 2083full-time
non-EU/EEA2019-2020€ 12500full-time

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

The master's track opens a myriad of career opportunities, in the Netherlands and abroad, as has been proved over the years. For instance:

*jobs in the field of urban history and consultancy for municipal agencies and scientific institutions

*jobs for private or public architectural and urban platforms

*jobs in the field of journalism and public relations

*the master prepares students for a scientific career

*jobs as advisors for healthcare institutions


The research of the Expertise Center reflects its roots in the history and theory of architecture and urbanism: it focuses on architectural and urban objects, their cultural values, and their performance (specifically in terms of health impacts). Topics range from urban biographies to designers' monographs, from building typologies to the issues at stake when modifying cultural heritage, from the morphology of post-war housing estates to the use and reuse of public space.

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If you want to know more about the programme History of Architecture and Town planning, please contact:

								Testimonial of Alumnus Maarten Groenbroek

    Project Officer at Platform GRAS

    – Alumnus Maarten Groenbroek
    Read more

    I am fascinated by cities and urban development. During a city trip to Paris, I made the decision to actually do something with my fascination. The links between people, buildings and the complexity of infrastructure like the city's metro network intrigued me enormously. That's really why I started a Master's track in History of Architecture and Town Planning at the University of Groningen.

    During my studies I did a placement at AIR architecture centre in Rotterdam. I worked on a project in which I used timelines to chart a number of locations in the centre of Rotterdam. With the help of archives I searched for stories and illustrations, and one of the things I was able to show was why there are still empty spaces in the middle of Rotterdam without any plans for them.

    I completed my degree in Prague, where I wrote my Master's thesis on 'The development and preservation of nineteenth-century neighbourhoods in post-Communist Prague'. I researched how actors such as property developers, designers, architects, officials and citizens influence the preservation of the historical fabric of the city, the city's typology and the importance of historical buildings and monuments during the design and construction of new complexes in and around the nineteenth-century neighbourhoods of Prague.

    I am currently working as a volunteer for Platform GRAS, the architecture and urban planning platform here in Groningen. I am organizing events such as the Architecture Day and Open Monument Day. I also write texts for the Big Groningen Building Questionnaire. I'm really enjoying it and would love to keep working here. I would also like to do something with urban development or architecture with a municipality or province.


University of Groningen OTS/Talent Grant Faculty of Arts

Are you a non-EU/EEA student from Mexico, Russia, China, India, or Indonesia, starting a Master's programme at the Faculty of Arts? If so, you could qualify for the University of Groningen OTS/Talent Grant, Faculty of Arts, a partial scholarship which helps you to finance your studies.

Read more about the OTS/Talent Grant Faculty of Arts

Research Master

Are you interested in a research oriented career? Please also check our Research Master's Programme of Arts & Culture.

Read more

Study associations


Meander is the study association for students following the History of Art & Architecture programme at the University of Groningen.
Members receive discount on textbooks, an annual Meander almanac and 3-4 editions of LUX magazine per year. They can also go to all the parties, lectures, excursions, symposiums and other activities organized by Meander at discount prices. In addition, Meander regularly organizes trips both in and outside the Netherlands.
Read more
Study support

Each Master's degree programme has a study advisor whom you can contact if you have questions or need advice about your degree programme and other study-related matters. Everything you discuss will be treated confidentially. If you have a more complex problem, for example study delay, a performance disability or if you are ill for a long time, you should contact a student counsellor.

In addition, you can also follow various courses at the Study Support section of the Student Service Centre (SSC), for example on study stress and holding presentations.