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Do you picture a dynamic, ever-changing, and unconventional future career in design?

MFA in Design with Specialisation in Embedded Design

Master’s programme
2 years
120 credits (ECTS)
Study pace
Study form
Application open
Application code
Full education cost: 568 000 SEK
First payment: 142 000 SEK

No fees are charged for EU and EEA citizens, Swedish residence permit holders and exchange students.

More information about tuition fees

In this education, we address issues related to sustainability. The content of the course or program fits into at least one of our 10 sustainability criteria. For you as a student, the sustainability label means guidance, quality assurance, and a guarantee that courses or programs contain a pronounced sustainability perspective.


The master’s programme in Embedded Design encourages you to critically reflect and speculate on the role of design within diverse organisational contexts and meets growing demands for sustainable, innovative, and disruptive design. You will become a maker of change, able to work as a collaborative partner while actively taking a critical stance and questioning the status quo. By merging strategic and artistic design practices, you will be prepared to follow both conventional and unconventional design careers.


Companies and organisations in private, public, and non-profit sectors are increasingly seeking competence and knowledge in meeting the challenges of globalisation, digitalisation, and sustainability. In response to these global challenges, organisations and communities must rethink their models of action and their current approaches to value creation. This requires going beyond innovation for novelty's sake to fostering a deeper understanding of designing for change in and with organisations, markets, and economies.

The master’s programme in Embedded Design addresses the field of design that is particularly situated in complex and systemic contexts. It prepares you to be a friendly collaborator while simultaneously taking a critical—and even disruptive—stance in your role as a designer. This stance, the program’s linchpin, emphasizes designerly actions in terms of both material form-giving (gestaltning) and the reconceptualization of systems of relations. This reconceptualization emphasizes an explorative and reflective search for alternative configurations. The programme highlights the situated and messy character of organisational life and the role of material agencies in collapsing or connecting the micro level of practices and routines with the macro level of institutional systems. Therefore, within an embedded design practice, the contextualisation of organisations constitutes an arena for experimentation and intervention whereby artistic skills are crucial.

Sustainability focused

In this programme, you will gain the skills to use design in and around corporations, institutions, public organisations, and society, providing sustainable and long-lasting design solutions involving artefacts, services, social interventions, and organisational changes, among other possibilities. The design process is based on interdisciplinary collaboration, where design tools act as enablers to productively unpack and reframe challenges, as well as, to understand and reformulate complex problems. You will develop a deeper understanding of how design can be used on the organisational level and for social renewal, learning how to approach your projects with a critical perspective and considerations of social, ecological, and economical sustainability issues. 

A collaborative and interdisciplinary learning environment

Lectures, seminars, and workshops are influenced by collaborations with partner organisations and other departments at the University. This interdisciplinary approach contributes to a dynamic learning environment where the studio is a hub for open dialogue and teamwork is a foundational aspect. Our aim is to develop the field of design and to critically reflect upon the role of a designer as collaborator-yet-critical-consultant. Thus, you will learn how to balance working with teams and real-life project partners in a collaborative manner, while also provoking the status quo by employing design skills and methods via, e.g., visualization and communication techniques, interventions, form-giving, experience design and proposals for change, to name just a few. Companies, organisations, and communities enrich the education through our collaborations, lectures, workshops, and real case projects. Volvo Group, Lynk & Co, Afry, Rise, Urban Futures, Act! Sustainable, The Swedish Public Employment Agency, and the City of Gothenburg are recent partners. While the University, itself, provides opportunities and accessibility to other educations, multi-disciplinary research, researchers, and networks. Discussions on the role of the designer happen throughout the programme and can shift as you form your individual career path. Get to know teachers and staff at the Design Unit.

Programme structure and content

The programme intertwines theory with practice, where real projects provide a foundation for reflection on your future role as an embedded designer, and where theory underlines learning within an experimental setting setting. You will develop and deepen your role as a designer by problematizing and reflecting on your role with various critical perspectives. Norm critique and questions surrounding intersectionality will be a part of the teaching, and you will learn to disrupt discriminating power structures through design.

The first year progresses from foundational knowledge to the use of methods and tools, with specific focus on deepening theoretical knowledge about sustainability. In the second year, you will work with organizations and clients in a long, explorational design project. Your final project will be focused and in-depth, where you will conduct and disseminate a design project together with a written component, all of which contribute to the field of Embedded Design.

Who should apply?

Are you interested in how global social issues like sustainability, circular economy, or digitalisation can be influenced on a local level by design?
Do you have an interdisciplinary background and want to apply your various interests to create disruptive design work within an organisational context?
Do you picture a dynamic, ever-changing, and unconventional future career in design?
If you believe design can be a process of change and want to collaborate and disrupt the status quo by addressing global, social, and organisational challenges, then apply for the master’s programme in Embedded Design.

Prerequisites and selection


Bachelor's Degree in Design of at least 180 credits or equivalent. Applicants must prove their knowledge of English: English 6/English B from Swedish Upper Secondary School or the equivalent level of an internationally recognised test, for example TOEFL, IELTS. In addition, approved work samples are required.

Special instructions for application

Here you find application instructions for our  Master of Fine Arts in Design with Specialisation in Embedded Design.

More information about Special instructions for application


The selection is based on an assessment of submitted work samples.

After graduation

Graduates of the programme will receive the degree Master of Fine Arts in Design with specialisation in Embedded Design.
You will be prepared to work in academic research as well as at design consultancies, with titles of consultant positions such as, yet not limited to, Service Designer, Strategic Designer, Design Researcher as well as in-house positions in companies, municipalities, or
governmental agencies. Moreover, and revealing the programme’s core motivation, you will also gain the competence to apply your skills in unconventional realms that go beyond the above list of job titles. We expect that you will be able to use your skills from the embedded design practice to make change in new organisational contexts, adapting to an increasingly global, sustainable, and digitalised society.


HDK-Valands facilities on Kristinelundsgatan, where the programme is situated, are situated in the middle of Gothenburg in the same building complex as Röhsska Museum of Design and Crafts. It is an international study environment with well-equipped workshops close to the arts.

More information about facilities

Exchange opportunities

Exchange studies are possible in the third semester of the programme, providing the opportunity to study at several interesting universities around the world.