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Organised by KU Leuven

Master of Human Settlements




Sept 2024 - sept 2025



Do you want to understand the challenges and opportunities of worldwide settlements in relation to current rapid urban changes? The Master of Human Settlements (MaHS), situated within the International Center of Urbanism (ICoU), is just what you are looking for.

Stemming from the recognition that space is an increasingly limited resource and, thus, needs to be utilized effectively, the MaHS provides insights into human settlement design in an era of rising social inequalities, global warming, and rapid change. This one-year intensive program tackles the multi-faceted challenges and opportunities of contemporary urbanisation patterns, from multi-disciplinary and multi-scalar perspectives. Architecture, urbanism, landscape architecture and spatial planning are the core disciplines underpinning the program. Contributions from fields such as economics, geography and anthropology complement the core disciplines in order to better understand the interplay between human and natural ecosystems.

Furthermore, the MaHS thrives from its truly international body of students and alumni, as well as the faculty’s long-standing research expertise in contexts worldwide. Its development as an ICP Connect programme is supported by a trans-local network of partners and alumni that has continued to grow for over three decades. Partners from around the world, primarily those in Kenya, South Africa, Mozambique, Palestine, Vietnam, and Ecuador act as regional hubs (composed of interconnected, multi-stakeholder alliances), that collaborate with the MaHS to promote inclusive territorial transformations by means of a design-driven and context-based approach to spatial change (intertwining social and ecological dimensions). It does this with the aim of delocalizing and decolonizing its learning and teaching components and environments. Through design studios where fundamental and applied knowledge within a research-based approach is used, real-world problems are tackled, and students develop critical and interpretative approaches towards developing their own position within the field. 


Can I apply for this scholarship?

Candidates that meet the following criteria* may apply for an ICP Connect scholarship:

  • Nationality and country of residence: Candidates must be nationals of one of the 29 eligible countries and must be a resident of one of these countries (not necessarily the same country) at the time of application.
  • Age: Candidates cannot be older than 35 on January 1 of the year of intake for an initial master and 45 for an advanced master.
  • Professional background and experience: Preference will be given to candidates employed in higher education, government or civil society, or those targeting a career in one of these sectors. Candidates employed in the private sector or newly graduated candidates with no work experience may also be considered if they provide a strong motivation and profile.
  • Scholarship applications: Candidates may apply for only one ICP Connect scholarship application per year. Candidates cannot receive any other scholarship or grant to participate in this study programme or another programme simultaneously.
  • Previously awarded scholarships: Candidates may not have previously received a scholarship from the Belgian government to attend a study programme and may not have enrolled in a study programme at a Belgian higher education institution before January 1 of the year of intake.

*Please note that additional criteria may be imposed by individual institutions. These can be found under the drop-down menu 'more detailed information & application' on this page.

What are the selection criteria?

Within the ICP Connect framework, scholars are seen as potential agents of change that may contribute to societal change in their home country (or region) after completing their studies. Scholars are selected following an objective evaluation of their scholarship applications based on the following criteria:

Motivation: Candidates' motivation and professional goals must reflect their competence in transferring knowledge/skills or setting up extension activities and highlighting themes relevant to sustainable development and pertinent to the study programme. Not only are academic results important, but so are - especially - the potential and commitment of the candidates to become an 'agent of change' after completing their studies.

Professional experience: Preference will be given to candidates who can demonstrate a greater chance of implementing and/or transferring newly gained knowledge/skills upon completion in a sustainable development context, such as in the higher education sector, government, civil society or the private sector, thereby contributing to positive societal change.

Gender balance: A balance between male and female candidates awarded ICP Connect scholarships is targeted. VLIR-UOS strongly encourages female candidates to apply. Read more about our gender policy here.

Regional balance: A reasonable cross-section of scholars from different countries and regions is targeted, provided there are sufficient qualified candidates.

Leave No One Behind (LNOB): In case of equally qualified candidates, preference will be given to candidates from vulnerable groups.

Previously awarded scholarship: Preference will be given to candidates who have never received a scholarship to study in a higher income country (bachelor or master).

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Get to know this programme

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