ARUS - Advanced Research in Urban Systems

Advanced Research in Urban Systems (ARUS)

For quite some time the University of Duisburg-Essen has regarded  the ever-expanding process of global urbanization as a central challenge for present and future societies. Thus, it dedicates a substantial part of its research and teaching efforts to meet the manifold challenges and to solve the problems that accompany this megacity trend. Hence, as early as 2005, the University of Duisburg-Essen decided to establish the topic area “Urban Systems” as one of its university-wide Main Research Areas. The purpose of this concentration is to fathom the most important aspects of urban development in scientific depth as well as in a comprehensive, inter- and transdisciplinary manner. The structured PhD programme ARUS established in the autumn of 2010 is based on previous academic achievements in selected fields within the Main Research Area "Urban Systems”. It offers doctoral students the opportunity to explore their research interests in this interdisciplinary and international framework.

The establishment of ARUS was funded by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) with funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF); initial funding period 10/2010-4/2014.

Participating Departments:

The following Professors and departments involved in ARUS:

Graduate students in the ARUS programme

Graduate students are admitted to the PhD programme by means of a competitive admission  process consisting of two steps. As an interdisciplinary programme, ARUS appeals to those graduates of engineering, planning, spatial, social and humanities courses, who locate their objects of study in an urban context. For further information see “Application”.

International orientation

ARUS cooperates with the following universities:

University of Oregon, Portland
Prof. Dr. Hajo Neis
School of Architecture and Allied Arts
University of Oregon Portland Center

Qingdao Technological University
Associate Prof. Dr. LIU Chong
School of Architecture

Universidade Federal do Rio Grande del Sul (UFRGS) in Porto Alegre
Prof. Daniela Marzola Fialho
Faculty of Architecture
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande del Sul
Porto Alegre


As a structured PhD programme ARUS is seeking to shorten the graduation process. At the same time it offers a heightened quality of supervision. The main features of the supervision system are, e.g. the combination of group and individual supervisions, the offering of seminars and the formal monitoring of the graduates’ work in progress.

Students are also offered a non-academic support programme with various forms of support and events.

Purpose of ARUS

Development of expertise and reflexive competences (including occupational prospects in science and practice) for the sustainable development of urban spaces. The scientific studies will enable the graduates of ARUS to work in highly responsible positions due to their competences in identifying, describing and analyzing complex urban problems, in developing solutions and supporting their successful implementation.

Target Group

ARUS offers graduates of engineering, planning, spatial, social and humanities courses a structured three-year research programme at a high scientific level while reducing the time to completion of a PhD.

Main features

  • international orientation (German / English language;  research contacts e.g. with ARUS partner universities),
  • interdisciplinary approach,
  • combination of individual and group supervision,
  • structured admission process,
  • broad research horizon in urban research,
  • participation in accompanying courses,
  • participation in international conferences,
  • formal monitoring of the progress,
  • possibility of acquiring teaching experience (through a competition for teaching assignments in the "Urban Systems" Masters programme),
  • regular PhD colloquia,
  • close organizational and professional ties to the degree programme “Urban Systems”.


six terms (three years)