Master in Urban Systems

Starting in fall 2025

The program is designed to equip students with backgrounds in engineering and architecture with the foundations needed to tackle the complex challenges of sustainability in urban areas and their surrounding territories. It will prepare them to navigate the interactions between technological and physical systems, regulatory frameworks and human behavior, and to become primary actors in the implementation of sustainable urban agendas in the private and public sector.


Program overview

The transition to sustainability of cities and urban areas presents challenges that require interdisciplinary thinking and a wide range of problem-solving strategies. This process relies increasingly on the availability of data, whose growing volume calls for innovative design approaches to apprehend a system as a whole and find relevant solutions.

This Master’s program prepares graduates for key professional roles in sustainable transition with the skills needed to:

  • identify values that should guide the transition
  • analyze the interactions among various stakeholders
  • understand the opportunities presented by legal frameworks
  • recognize the conditions necessary for social acceptability of transition projects
  • identify associated economic risks
  • plan the implementation of measures

2-year program – 120 ECTS:

> Core courses – 34 ECTS

Core curriculum overview:

  • Territorial design and analysis
  • Systems engineering in urban and territorial contexts
  • Policy and governance for sustainable agendas
  • Computational thinking for transition

> Specialization courses – 30 ECTS

Three specializations available:

  1. Mobility and transportation in a changing climate
  2. Sustainable transitions in urban systems
  3. Health and well-being in the urban environment

> Core project – 10 ECTS

> Specialization project – 10 ECTS

> Project in social and human sciences – 6 ECTS

> Master’s project – 30 ECTS

Candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, architecture, environmental science and engineering or a related discipline from a recognized institution with an excellent academic record. The program is consecutive for EPFL bachelor degrees in environmental and civil engineering, so students from these two sections are directly admitted. EPFL students with architecture and other engineering bachelor degrees, as well as those students applying from other institutions, are required to submit candidature dossiers and may require prerequisite courses.

Further information about admission criteria

Upon completion of their Master’s curricula, students obtain an EPFL Master of Science MSc in Urban Systems. The diploma also gives graduates the right to use the title of EPF qualified Engineer.


The core program is strengthened with a choice of three specializations:

Mobility and transportation in a changing climate

This specialization aims to train specialists in the sustainable transition of transportation and mobility systems. Students will approach transport from different angles, including analytical methods, planning practice, infrastructure design and its impact on land use, and will discover new methodologies to foster the ecological transition of mobility.

Sustainable transitions in urban systems

Students will acquire the comprehensive transdisciplinary skills needed to shape the cities and territories of the future in the context of a changing climate. This specialization equips students with a comprehensive skillset in urban design and analysis that will enable them to implement sustainable solutions in urban and territorial development.

Health and well-being in the urban environment

There is a growing recognition of the impact of the built environment on health and well-being, in particular in urban contexts. Students will explore this relationship by building an interdisciplinary knowledge base, learning about effective interventions in the built environment at a variety of scales and how new technologies in sensing and environmental analysis can aid in the pursuit of healthier environments.

Career prospects

Graduates’ versatility and expertise allows them to pursue a wide variety of positions in urban, environmental, and territorial planning. The program emphasizes project-based learning and practical experience in order to prepare students for active roles in the implementation of sustainable agendas:

  • Managers of sustainable urban and territorial planning at all levels
  • Developers of public policies and strategic development plans at local, cantonal, and federal levels
  • Project managers in large-scale urban transition projects
  • Consultants in transportation and mobility operators and urban infrastructure providers
  • Consultants in medical institutions focused on health and urban environments
  • Careers in NGOs focused on sustainable urban practices and transitions
  • Careers in research and development, either at a research institution or university

More information: [email protected]