The key challenge of the MSc thesis is to set up and carry out a scientific research project individually and in an (almost) fully self-responsible manner. The research program of the Land Use Planning group offers challenging possibilities for MSc thesis research. Within the context of this program you are invited to develop your own thesis proposal in consultation with a thesis supervisor.
The MSc thesis guidelines Land Use Planning are the main reference for the MSc thesis. The guidelines describe the common steps and procedures for preparing and organising a MSc thesis Land Use Planning. The main steps in the preparation process, administrative issues and the assessment and grading procedure are explained. The annex of the guidelines provides a checklist of actions and responsibilities, the thesis agreement and the thesis evaluation sheet with assessment rubric. The MSc thesis guidelines can be downloaded with the links at the bottom of this page.
Finding a topic
There are several ways to find a potential topic for your MSc thesis. First of all, the topic can be derived from the research program of the Land Use Planning group. The research program includes four domains, which are: (a) landscape governance, (b) sustainable food planning, (b) ecological network planning and (d) landscape adaption to climate change. Below some main research topics within these domains are described, but we expect students to develop their own proposal within the context of the research program.
a) Landscape Governance
Nowadays, land owners, users and other stakeholders in the landscape take a central position in building visions and organizing interventions to create sustainable and resilient landscapes. New landscape planning approaches are strongly embedded in and related to concepts such as self-governance, community-based planning, landscape services and social-ecological networks. Research in this domain includes topics such as discourse analysis, scaling issues, regional learning processes and ecosystem services.
b) Sustainable Food Planning
Sustainable Food Planning is a rapidly growing domain in planning research. Food is increasingly seen as an issue that can help to develop integral plans as it connects issues like public health, green public space, infrastructure, climate change and food security. Research in this domain addresses a wide range of topics including urban agriculture, food governance, sustainable livestock farming and the landscape impact of food production.
c) Ecological Network Planning
Enlarged and connected ecosystems can counteract fragmentation and help species to cope with threats of climate change and intensified land use. In the European Union, large budgets are spent on planning and realization of such enlarged and connected ecosystems. The process of allocating land for this objective is a complex one, as the ecosystem network should be able to provide other services besides the promotion of biodiversity. Topics in this domain include biodiversity assessment, tipping point and regime shifts and land use change modelling.
d) Landscape Adaption to Climate Change
Planning plays a key role in the adaptation of landscapes to climate change and the minimization of the relevant risks involved. At a global scale, urbanised deltas are among the most vulnerable areas but also of eminent value from economical, ecological and socio-cultural perspective. Against this background, we adopt a risk-based approach to landscape planning whose aim is identifying effective analytical and normative approaches to the transition of sustainable and climate-resilient landscapes. Topics of research in this domain are, for example, enhancing sustainable energy transitions, flood risk management, integrated water management and urban climate adaptation.
Another option to search for a potential topic is to explore the personal pages of the scientific staff members of the group. These pages show the research interests of individual staff members and the type of scientific publications they work on. If you are interested in the research of one of the staff members, you are free to make an appointment and discuss the options for a MSc thesis topic. Furthermore, potential topics can also be derived from topics and literature that were lectured throughout courses of the Land Use Planning group. In general, the topic of any MSc thesis needs to be embedded in the scientific debate taking place in international scientific journals and books. Finally, the MSc thesis showcase shows some examples of recent MSc thesis reports.