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Political Geography (Human Geography)

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The Master Political Geography focuses on three core themes: geopolitics, globalisation and governance. By examining these concepts, political geographies in our current globalised world are analysed and researched. Theories and methods in political geography are thoroughly studied before a thesis project in the field is conducted.

UvA online Open House

This year, you won’t be able to attend any busy on-campus events with lots of people. But our online Open House is the perfect way to get to know UvA study programmes and university life from the comfort of your own home.

Every study programme has an Open House page with videos, FAQs and live events. On the main Open House website you can discover all our programmes,explore the city and campus, and get inspired during our theme weeks.

Political Geography: Geopolitics, Globalisation and Governance

The Master's in Political Geography focuses on three core concepts (geopolitics, globalisation and governance) to explore the political geographies of our globalising world. These pertain to the dynamics of the spatialities of politics, including domestic politics, international relations and transnational politics, and how they can be understood through key geographical concepts such as territory, place, scale and network.

The programme will assess theories and methods in these dynamic fields of scholarship and students will be familiarised with political geography and geopolitics before working on their thesis project in the field.

What is Political Geography?
Programme director Hebe Verrest and Associate Prof. Virginie Mamadouh explain what Political Geography is about in this video.

Political Geography will examine the origins, trajectory and contemporary significance of geopolitics, and the varieties of geopolitical approaches to the material and representational aspects of geopolitical agency. Special attention will be devoted to othering processes and the constraining and empowering character of geopolitical representations and geographical imaginations of risks and opportunities. The programme also attempts to account for the role of new technologies such as the internet and the interconnection between the virtual and physical world.

The programme will explore the complex geographies of territory, territorial claims, borders and sovereignty and the way that they are transformed through the ongoing economic, financial, political and cultural processes of globalisation and interconnectivity. The focus will be on specific places and flows.

The programme will also study efforts to develop new systems of multiscalar governance and to combine different types of political and legal systems that address local, national, macro-regional and global challenges of the 21st century

FMG Human Geography - Political Geography
USA-Mexican border. Photo: Frederick Dennstedt
FMG Human Geography - Political Geography
Photo: Ed Uthman

Studying Geography in Amsterdam 

Geography is all about studying people, space and place - and Amsterdam is the perfect location and junction to study, explore and experience geography. Furthermore, the University of Amsterdam, a major research university, offers a Master’s programme taught by academic staff of one of the highest ranking geography departments in continental Europe. Last but not least, the Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS) of Amsterdam provides a vibrant and international academic community. The GSSS values diversity in both research and academic content, academic staff and the student population.

Focus on research: academic staff

The lecturers in the Master's track Political Geography are all active researchers involved in the  Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR), Amsterdam research centres such as Centre of Urban Studies, IMES, ACCESS EUROPE and numerous international research networks and projects. The programme is enriched by the staff‘s research expertise and networks.

This track builds on cutting-edge research projects from the related research group of the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research. Insights from these research projects are integrated into the main thematic course, and the master thesis projects which take place in the second semester of the programme.

The teaching in this track is organised in small groups. This results in small scale research communities in which academic staff and students work closely together in a less formal and more open environment.

Student profile

The Master’s programme Human Geography welcomes

  • both international and Dutch students; 
  • both UvA alumni and students from other (Dutch and foreign) universities;
  • both students with a bachelor degree in Human Geography & Planning and students with a bachelor degree in a related discipline and field of study. 

This makes the group of students very diverse and results in an international classroom with stimulating group discussions, as all participants bring in their specific background and experiences.

The programme is very high-level and demanding, and we expect students to devote full attention to their studies during the entire year. Students are not only actively involved in the content of the programme by organising track seminar sessions, but are also continuously challenged by involved academic staff to explore the boundaries of human geography. 


Within various interdisciplinary and problem oriented projects, the programme encourages students to develop their skills in:

  • GIS – Geographical Information Systems
  • Social Science research methods – both qualitative and  quantitative methods, and mixed methods;
  • Presentation and Communication – to pitch an idea or present research outcomes;
  • Cooperation – to work in teams and evaluate the work of peers.

The combination of acquiredskills, together with the specialisation track and the focus in the thesis will prepare students for their future career as a geographer in a wide array of institutional contexts: either public service, private sector or civil society, in either local, national, international or transnational organisations.

Ambition in research?

For students interested in this field of study, we also offer a two-year Research Master’s programme in International Development Studies and Urban Studies.

Degree certificate

Political Geography is a track of the accredited degree programme Human Geography. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a legally accredited Master’s degree in Human Geography and the title Master of Science (MSc).

Facts & Figures
Degree programme MSc Human Geography
Type Regular study programme
Mode Full-time
Credits 60 ECTS, 12 months
Language of instruction English
Starts in September
CROHO code 66620