MUrCS Erasmus Mundus - Master in Urban Climate and Sustainability

January 15, 2022

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Location (s):

  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
Lahti, Dresden, Huelva, Glasgow


This 2 year Master in Urban Climate and Sustainability (MUrCS): gives you a critical understanding of the complexity of urban sustainability and the need for local action to combat global climate change; offers several professional pathways in leading sustainable urban climate change adaptation/mitigation enables you to operate in senior positions – in both the public and the private sectors – to lead sustainable and climate oriented planning; is open for both existing urban professionals as well as those with multidisciplinary environmental backgrounds.


MUrCS is a 2 year, 120 ECTS Master Programme, offered by;

  1. Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) in the UK (coordinator)
  2. LAB University of Applied Sciences (LAB) in Finland
  3. University of Huelva (UHU) in Spain
  4. University of Applied Sciences Dresden (HTWD) in Germany (new partner from academic year 2021)

The progamme integrates three main streams; Planning, Management and Science.

Under an innovative staff/student mobility scheme, students will first undertake core modules together with developing transverse skills (inter-cultural awareness, foreign language competencies, research methods and communication and employability skills). Further, core modules and electives, relevant to each student’s main and second specialisms, are taught by the most relevant partner university. Students will finally develop a thesis project covering both their specialisms, jointly supervised by two academics from different partner institutions.

The programme language is English.

Course rationale and objectives

Rapid urban growth and sprawl in many developing regions, as well as urban decline in the post-industrial developed world places high demands on contemporary urban policy makers, managing authorities and urban planners. While this in itself is a huge challenge, the changing climate – especially in cities – places even greater demand on professionals to mitigate and adapt to climate change while enhancing the quality of life of urban dwellers. In the EU, the key challenge is to retrofit cities to adapt to changing climate in the short term, while contributing to the mitigation of climate change in a sustainable manner in the long-term. The knowledge base exists in pockets within cities, but the call to begin the planning and redesigning of urban areas with much more attention to climatic considerations is yet to be systematically attempted. Scientific knowledge about urban climate, pollution, ventilation and the implications of climate change needs to be integrated with urban planning and urban design while being mindful of practical planning and management barriers to implementation.

At the same time, issues needed to be addressed by urban planning and design are becoming increasingly complex – from sustainability issues, the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, global and local (Urban Heat Island) warming and GHG/carbon reduction. Such a growth in issue coverage is far beyond the capacity of the fragmented knowledge of today’s urban development professionals. Managing urban climate change in a sustainable manner is a vital need for the 21st Century and new professionals able to lead and manage this process are urgently needed.

The current multiplication of specialists cannot answer the core need for a professional with an overview of the issues of urban quality of life, with ability to manage the development process and give leadership. Central to this is the promotion of sustainable, climate sensitive urban growth with mutual understanding between professions. Such an inclusive and integrated education program targeting urban and global climate change did not exist until now.

In light of the above, a need exists for a common qualification which allows:

  • existing urban professionals to establish new knowledge and skills, and
  • those with a multidisciplinary environmental background to specialise in urban sustainability and climate change in an intercultural context.

Course structure

Mobility of both students and staff is instrumental to a rich learning experience and is a key added value to the already well-established postgraduate education pathways at partner institutions. MUrCS offers a range of mobility experiences under different educational, professional, geographical, socio-cultural and language environments along the study path. The overall objective of creating a new skill/profession by integrating knowledge to manage the complex task of leadership in Urban Climate and Sustainability makes interactions between the streams necessary throughout the whole course. Even if students focus on their respective specialisms during different parts of the programme, the cohort is kept together as much as possible, to encourage cross-subject activities – crucial for an integrated approach. This will be further strengthened by the continuity of the transverse skills modules.

This philosophy underpins the innovative system of mobility, described below.


From the intake year 2021, the MUrCS1.5 offers a slightly modified mobility structure (preliminary):

Each intake is structured as follows:

  1. Semester 1 at GCU in Glasgow, starts with core modules, common for all students and offered with the participation of partners and selected experts. This semester also includes research methods and transverse skills (professional orientation) blocks. At the end of this semester the students will choose their Primary specialisation stream.
  2. Semester 2 takes place at LAB in Finland for all students. This semester includes core or elective modules (different for each stream) and an integrated study project at HTWD in Germany.
  3. Semester 3 is an integrated, problem-based learning block, built around our Associated Partners’ core areas, and takes place at UHU in Spain for all students. The individual studies should here broaden into a second Specialisation.
  4. Semester 4 is devoted to thesis work at the partner institution best aligned with the primary specialism. This work will be supervised by two teachers from different institutions reflecting students’ primary and secondary specialisms. It is also possible to conduct the thesis research work at one of the Associate Partner Universities. Finally there will ge an Exam block with presentation of the theses.

MUrCS consortium is supported by Associate Partners; universities and Industry/Public Sector bodies, bringing in subject-specific specialist knowledge and regional expertise. Industry/public sector bodies enable a problem-oriented blended learning approach and bring working life perspectives. The academic partners will be the principal points of contact in the selected target regions to help contextualise the MUrCS curriculum to regional realities. Guest lecturers will be invited from among Associate Partner staff to enhance regional relevance and contextualisation of the MUrCS curriculum.

Thus, a MUrCS graduate will have earned a total of 120 ECTS, whereof;

  • Basic modules: 30 ECTS,
  • Core modules: about 45 ECTS,
  • Elective modules: about 15 ECTS out of 65 ECTS available,
  • Thesis, integrating the student’s primary and secondary specialisms: 30 ECTS.


The MUrCS consortium will award Multiple Master degrees;

  1. MSc in Sustainable Urban Environments (MUrCS), by GCU
  2. MEng in Urban Climate and Sustainability, by LAB
  3. MSc in Environmental Technology, by UHU

A Diploma Supplement appendix will indicate the joint nature of the programme.

All three are national Master degrees fully accredited in the respective programme countries. Steps will be taken to release a fourth degree (MEng in Environmental Engineering)  through HTWD during the preparatory period.

Tentative schedule for MUrCS 2022

The application procedure is divided into two steps:

1 – Pre-qualification

  • Opening for applications: mid-November 2021
  • Deadline for pre-qualification applications: January 15, 2022 @ 12:00 CET
  • Eligibility check and evaluation of applications: about one month thereafter
  • Selection of top-ranked candidates for final qualification: mid-February

2 – Final qualification

  • Submission of supporting documents for top-ranked applicants: mid-February
  • Interviews of Pre-qualified candidates: mid-February to mid-March
  • Final selection of accepted (and reserves): end of March
  • Accepted will then submit formal registration at GCU

Course start: Mid-September 2022

Selection results with motivation/comments will be communicated to candidates as soon as possible in each stage.


Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:


The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master in Urban Climate and Sustainability is open to students who meet the following minimum eligibility requirements:

  • Bachelor degree or equivalent in a field relating to Urban Sustainability, particularly one of the main streams of the programme; Planning, Managment, or Science.
  • At least three years working experience in any of the above mentioned fields.
  • English competence equivalent to at least IELTS 6.5 in average, and minimum 6.0 in any of the four components (listening, reading, writing, speaking). The required overall score corresponds to about TOEFL 80 or CEFR C1. You will be required to make a CEFR self-evaluation in the application form, which will be followed-up by an interview if you qualify for the second phase. Selected candidates must submit a IELTS certificate, which is also required by UK immigrant authorities.

Applicants not meeting any of these requirements will be rejected and given notice about the reasons soon after the eligibility check.

Finally selected students will be required to submit certified copies of university diplomas, proof of working experience and IELTS language test. Since the time frame between close of application and acceptance is limited, we recommend that you prepare for these certificates as soon as possible.


Deadline: January 15, 2022

Cost/funding for participants:

EMJMD scholarships

In case you do not expect to get other sholarships (see below) or you already have secured financing for the entire course, you may apply for one of the EMJMD scholarships managed by the programme.

NOTE: Each academic year you may apply for sholarships in maximum three EMJMD programmes, see the official EMJMD catalogue. These scholarships may not be granted to any previous holders!

The amounts for the entire course are:

Subsistence grants are paid only during months of study, and not during time spent in your contry of residence. Additional conditions apply. EMJMD scholarship holders are covered by insurance during the study period, including travel to/from the teaching institutions.

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