Pre-University Honours Programme: Urban Studies

Cities change constantly. If you grew up in a city yourself, it is likely that over the years your neighborhood has gone through some significant transformations. These developments entail the stories from many citizens who came, lived in, and left the city over time. By examining these social and spatial changes we can analyze small bits of the city at a time. What can we learn from the past? What major problems do cities deal with these days? Most importantly, what will the city bring us in the future? With neighborhoods gentrifying at a rapid speed, increasing rents, and a growing lack of affordable housing, how much longer will the city be a place for everyone?

Programme at a glance

Academic dates: 23 June - 4 July 2019
Housing dates: 21 June - 5 July 2019
Academic fee: € 1200
Housing fee: € 350 and € 75 deposit. For more information, see Housing and practical matters.
Who is this programme for? For current high school students (must be 16-18 during the programme) interested in urban studies, and the social and behavioural sciences.
Academic director: Daan Bossuyt
Early application deadline: 10 January 2019
Regular application deadline: 15 March 2019


Programme description

This two-week summer programme provides you with an introduction into urban studies.  To do so, we will use Amsterdam as a case, to see how social, political, economic, and physical forces reshaped the city over time.  By combining our full academic programme, including lectures, excursions and assignments with your personal experiences in your own neighborhood, you will be equipped with the essential tools to start your own research on urban changes. 

This two-week programme consists of (guest) lectures, workshops, walking tours, film screenings, excursions, museum visits, and site visits in and around Amsterdam. The city is used as a case to demonstrate the complexities of a growing city. Students will explore the following topics:

  • History of Amsterdam
  • Public space, and placemaking
  • Feelings of home & belonging
  • Gentrification
  • Urban design
  • Ageing in the city
  • Identity and place
  • Food and sustainability
  • 'Do-it-yourself' urbanism

This programme is designed for high school students to experience studying in a competitive, international environment at the Graduate School of Social Sciences of the University of Amsterdam. The lectures and all course materials are in English. Participants in the course will develop study skills and become acquainted with learning methods that will give them an advantage as they continue their education at University.

Study load

The programme schedule from Monday to Thursday includes:

  • Morning lecture (2.5 hours)
  • Lunch break (1 hour; provided by the University)  
  • Afternoon workshop (2.5 hours; includes film screenings, debates, and city excursions).


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Published by  GSSS Summer Programmes Office