BSc in Human Geography and Planning


Program Description

Human Geography and PlanningAre you interested in the world around you? Are you fascinated by maps? Do you dare to ask critical questions about the world that you are living in?

Do you believe you can help to further develop our world into a sustainable society? Then Human Geography & Urban and Regional Planning (in Dutch: Sociale Geografie en Planologie) may be the right choice for you.

Why is unemployment higher in some regions than others? What are the social and economic consequences in depopulating areas? How do you deal with different institutions to plan and build new residential areas? Human geographers investigate society in a spatial context. Our students learn to focus on spatial differences because social phenomena happen in specific places, at specific times and with specific impacts. The bachelor degree program consists of four learning tracks; 'Spatial Design'. 'Spatial Planning', 'Water, infrastructure and Environment' and 'Research'. In the first year, you will be introduced to all themes within the fields of Human Geography & Urban and Regional Planning. In the second year, the program continues to deepen your knowledge and improve your skills. In the third year, you are allowed to partly fill in your own program. You can follow courses provided by our faculty but you can also take a Minor or do an internship in a related field. There are also possibilities to visit an international university and follow related courses. Finally, you will write your Bachelor's thesis to prove that you acquired the knowledge and skills necessary to become a human geographer and/or urban and regional planner.

Why study this program in Groningen?

If you want to study Human Geography & Urban and Regional Planning, Groningen is a perfect choice. The strength of the program lies in its combination of five fields: Economic Geography, Real Estate Studies, Population Studies, Cultural Geography, and Planning. There is an open atmosphere and it is easy to contact other students and lecturers.


Year 1


  • Reflecting on Human Geography and Spatial Planning (5 EC)
  • Urbanism and Planning (Spatial Planning 1) (10 EC)
  • Economic Geography (10 EC)
  • Statistics 1 (5 EC)
  • Geographic Information Systems (10 EC)
  • Introduction to Academic Research (5 EC)
  • Population Geographies (10 EC)
  • Rural-Urban Relations (5 EC)

Year 2


  • Migration and Development (10 EC)
  • Physical Geography (5 EC)
  • People, Place, and Culture (10 EC)
  • Related Elective: Healthy Ageing, Geographies of the United States, Population and Development or Real Estate Principles (5 EC)
  • Governance Dynamics (10 EC)
  • Statistics 2 (5 EC)
  • Landscapes (5 EC)
  • Methods of Academic Research (HGP) (10 EC)

Year 3


  • Minor or Optional Modules (30 EC)
  • Geography, Planning and the European Union (5 EC)
  • Philosophy of Social Science (5 EC)
  • Bachelor's Project (15 EC)
  • Fieldwork Abroad (5 EC)

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional
  • For an average of 15 weeks
  • Maximum of 30 EC

Entry requirements

Choice of degree program check

Students who apply before 1 May can ask the faculty for a matching assignment, but this is not obligatory. Students who apply after May 1st are obliged to do a matching assignment in order to get admitted to the program. Application after 1 May is only possible for students with a Dutch diploma.

Admission requirements

Specific requirements More information
language test

Only for international students:

Comparable to IELTS International English Language Testing System (Academic version) 6.0 (TOEFL: iBT 80), with minimum scores:

  • Listening 5.5 (TOEFL: 15)
  • Reading 6.0 (TOEFL: 18)
  • Writing 6.0 (TOEFL: 20)
  • Speaking 6.0 (TOEFL: 20)
  • Exemptions: Native English speakers or diploma holders from the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland.
math test Students should have a Dutch VWO diploma with Mathematics C, if not students should have an HBO diploma with English on a VWO level or international degree equivalent to a Dutch pre-university (VWO) degree with Mathematics C.
previous education Students should have a Dutch VWO diploma with Mathematics C and English, if not students should have an international degree equivalent to a Dutch pre-university (VWO) degree.
other admission requirements other admission requirements

Language requirements


Minimum score

IELTS overall band 6
TOEFL internet-based 80

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
Dutch students 01 May 2021 01 September 2021
EU/EEA students 01 May 2021 01 September 2021
non-EU/EEA students 01 May 2021 01 September 2021

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Program form
EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 2143 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 9500 full-time

The Dutch government intends to halve the statutory tuition fees for specific groups of first-year bachelor's students starting from the 2018/19 academic year.

Job prospects

Graduates with a Bachelor's degree in Human Geography & Urban and Regional Planning often decide to pursue a Master's degree in a related field. Our Master's degrees grant you access to careers in business, government, and research.

Suitable jobs can be found in the world of local planning and government agencies, academic and non-academic research institutes, international organizations (or NGOs), advisory/consultancy agencies and elsewhere. For example, we have alumni working for housing associations where they investigate which types of housing should be built in new residential areas given the prospected residents. During the program, we offer support for your career preparation. The Career Services are provided by the Careers Company and the UG Career Services.

Job examples

  • Advisor spatial planning at a consultancy firm
  • Project manager at a local government agency
  • High school geography teacher


Human Geography and Urban & Regional Planning are based on research. Not only are you educated to become a researcher, but lecturers also use their own research and others to keep the education as recent and relevant as possible. The education you receive is therefore partly based on the research being done at the faculty right now!

The research at the faculty consists of several themes that are summarized in the research program: tWIST - towards Well-being, Innovation and Spatial Transformation. You will see these themes in your education.

Finding out new insights in research is not enough, however, that is why we teach you to do research on your own in courses such as GIS, where you learn to use maps in the analysis and presentation of spatial information. You also do fieldwork every year.

Prominent researchers

  • Professor Dirk Strijker
  • Doctor Sierdjan Koster
  • Doctor Tialda Haartsen
Last updated Apr 2020

About the School

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astr ... Read More

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Central Bank. Geographically, the University is rooted in the Northern part of the Netherlands, a region very close to its heart. Read less
Groningen , Leeuwarden + 1 More Less