Society, Sustainability and Planning

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

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Deze opleiding

!Deze opleiding communiceert alleen in het Engels.
We tonen daarom de Engelstalige opleidingsinformatie.
The master programme in Society, Sustainability and Planning centres around understanding the human factor in spatial interventions.

open_in_newstudy website

typeregulier, 60 EC
start1 februari, 1 september
taalvolledig English
opleidingsduur12 maanden voltijd
numerus fixusnee

Society, Sustainability and Planning promotes a novel understanding of how to transform the built environment in collaboration with its users. Our courses pay attention to the social, cultural, political, and economic environment in which decision-making on spatial interventions takes place.

The emergence of self-organizing citizen collectives is a critical change in today's societal strive for sustainable places and futures. SSP emphasizes the role of citizens in shaping places. We interrogate why different stakeholders and social groups embrace, contest, or reject spatial changes, and how we can design their surroundings in such a way that it meets their diverse needs. We present spatial justice is a leading principle to design cities of the future. Moreover, we pay explicit attention to the ways in which spatial planning can contribute to achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals, such as healthy ageing, a clean environment, and eliminating poverty, in collaboration with citizens and civil society actors.

Our programme highlights the social aspects of the global transition towards a more sustainable society. Sustainability challenges are interconnected with the communities that face them. As such, our students learn to adopt new methodological and interactive approaches to problem-solving in different contexts. This exchange does not only take place outside of the classroom, but also within our small-scale, international department.

You learn to analyze, develop and negotiate innovative institutional designs and policy solutions to support and lead complex transformations in light of international sustainability and planning debates. Core of our focus on the human factor in society, sustainability and planning is using real-life cases and working with and engaging people in real-world living labs.

Through this framework, our graduates are able to utilize spatial planning in solving urgent social problems, such as inequality and climate change. Our alumni are critical and engaged consultants and researchers, who are in high demand on the labour market. They are employed by NGOs, consultancies, governments, and businesses.

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

Waarom aan de RUG?

  • Unique focus on designing socially sustainable spatial solutions
  • Numerous 'hands-on' assignments, field-visits and contacts with practitioners
  • An emerging societally relevant field within Spatial Planning research and practice


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opbouwMore information can be found at
Interaction, Society and Space
5 EC
Planning Theory
5 EC
City Matters
5 EC
Engaging Society in Spatial Transformation
5 EC
Optional courses
10 EC
Master's Thesis Society, Sustainability and Planning
20 EC
Revitalising Neighbourhoods
5 EC
Living Lab Sustainable Places (ID)
5 EC


taal van onderwijs100% en
onderwijsopzet50% zelfstudie
25% theorie
25% praktijk
literature study, oral presentation, research, research project, tutorial, group assignment, individual assignment, practicum, self study
study guidance
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

Toelating en kosten


1 februari 2024

aanmelding deadline : 15 januari 2024
collegegeld nog niet bekend

1 september 2023

aanmelding deadline : 15 augustus 2023
wettelijk tarief : € 2314 (€1157 in het eerste jaar)
instellingstarief : € 17000
niet-EU/EER studenten : € 17800

1 september 2024

aanmelding deadline : 15 augustus 2024
collegegeld nog niet bekend


Access with research university, bachelor degree: Human Geography and Regional and Urban Planning, Spatial Planning and Design, Urban studies, Land Use Planning and Management, Landscape Architecture, Public Administration and Cultural Geography. You might also have access with Urban/Rural Sociology (with a focus on place-space theories and governance), Environmental Management (with a focus on governance/policy/public administration). Environmental Psychology (with a focus on governance/policy/public administration). This will be assessed individually.

If you are not directly admissible you can follow a pre-master programme. See more information in the pre-master guide:

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

De stad


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.

aan het woord: studenten en docenten

Giovanni Kiewiet
I have had the opportunity to study interesting topics on how to maximize the livability in neighborhoods and how to cope with the urge of cities becoming more sustainable

In June 2022, I obtained my bachelor degree in Human Geography and Planning at the University of Groningen. During my time as a bachelor student, I figured out that my interests in Planning are within the social aspects and how we can make neighborhoods and therefore cities more and more sustainable. Therefore, in September 2022, I started with the Master's program in Society, Sustainability and Planning at the University of Groningen, and it has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience since.

So far, I can conclude that the program has been well-structured and all courses have been carefully designed to help me gain a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of the matters at hand. From discussions, lectures and the projects, I gained insight into the theories and practices that lay under the surface of society, sustainability and planning. The professors at the university are extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter, and their guidance was valuable to develop a comprehensive understanding of all the topics. Overall, I am satisfied with my decision to pursue the Master’s program in Society, Sustainability and Planning at the University of Groningen. It has so far been an invaluable experience, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking to deepen their knowledge on these topics.

lees verder ...
Alegna Malave
The master has been an eye opener into the many possibilities to consider as we create better living spaces


lees verder ...
Wolbert van der Haar
werkzaam als project manager and consultant bij Arcadis Design & Consultancy
The Master provided me with the necessary insights to understand and actively contribute to changes within the dynamic built environment


The Master 'Socio-Spatial Planning' provided me with the necessary insights to understand and actively contribute to changes within the dynamic built environment, after obtaining a technical (bachelor) degree in construction engineeringWhat I like about the program, next to the excellent quality education it provides, is the degree of flexibility to select courses that fit my interests. Through the broad mix of courses I could select in addition to the core courses, I gained strong analytical and research capabilities that prepared me for my current job...
I experienced a great deal of interaction among students, professors and alumni, which had beneficial effects on my professional development and perspective as an urban planner.Wolbert van der Haar is currently a consultant and project manager at Arcadis Design & Consultancy, Department of Real Estate and Urban Development.

lees verder ...


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1/2 RUG
Society, Sustainability and Planning
€ 303 gemiddelde kamerhuur
3 eerstejaars
66% vrouw
? uur contacttijd/week
2/2 RUG
DDM Urban Planning, Society and Sustainability
€ 303 gemiddelde kamerhuur
? eerstejaars
NAN% vrouw
? uur contacttijd/week
disclaimer: bovenstaande cijfers en beoordelingen zijn aangeleverd door de opleidingen zelf. Wij kunnen de juistheid niet garanderen.

Na de studie

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Beroepsperspectief / arbeidsmarkt

Graduates of Society, Sustainability and Planning can start a career in:

  • Different levels of government
  • Consultancies, housing associations and developers (private sector)
  • NGOs (environmental, social, heritage)
  • Universities and research institutes

We support you in developing a rich set of analytical tools and practical skills that allow you to create innovative solutions for just and sustainable cities. Society, Sustainability and Planning makes you a critical (even a little activist) professional who knows how to engage citizens in the major spatial transformations of our times. We do so in various ways:

1. Strategic partnerships with organizations in planning practice: the City of Groningen, several municipalities in the north of the Netherlands, several housing associations, the PeerGroup.
2. Guest lectures, international field trips and workshops embedded in the courses
3. 3x per year 'A day in planning practice', with company visits
4. Excursions and 'Meet-alumni' events organised by our student organizations
5. 2x per year the Graduate Research Day. A networking event to meet future employers

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.

See where our alumni end up in this graphic!


Reinier Schoep

Study advisor

T: 050-3633906
Saskia Enuma

Study advisor

T: 0503633906
Drs. Nienke Harteveld

Study advisor

Meer informatie?
Bezoek de website van deze opleiding.

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