MFA Programme in Design
No fees are charged for EU and EEA citizens, Swedish residence permit holders and exchange students.
Design can shape fair and habitable futures. With strong emphasis on artistic research and practice, the MFA Design programme positions design in an expanded field of culture, ecology and politics. Instead of specialising in a specific medium, our aim is to outline urgent issues to explore how design can contribute to a diversity of knowledge disciplines and practices within the arts, sciences and humanities. Consequently, the studies cover a rich variety of formats, discourses and contexts driven by students’ interests and specialisation.
This two-year master’s programme aims to explore and redefine the positionality of the designer within complex social and hegemonic structures. While acknowledging that design can be leveraged for various purposes, we nurture a design practice that, in conjunction with other knowledge disciplines, has the capacity to create tangible imaginaries for forming just and long-term habitable societies. As an open, social, and relational practice, we believe design has the potential to both shape and reflect the world we inhabit. By recognizing the intricacies and challenges of our time, we view design as a tool to mediate conditions and possibilities in a diversity of professional contexts.
The programme curriculum directly engages with a variety of important themes and urgent questions. Working with and through a rich variation of design methods, students critically engage with issues concerning built and unbuilt environments, welfare, spatial justice, labour, heritage, and resilience to conflict.
An expanded design approach
We identify design as a subject that profoundly shapes our lives in many ways. As such, we teach design as an expanded field of practice with potential to contribute knowledge and critical perspectives to questions of social, political, and ecological concern. Simultaneously, we acknowledge the capacity of design to visually and materially respond to the relational dimensions of how we perceive the world. Led by practice, we connect with our surroundings while researching global emerging phenomena to engage with contemporary ways of designing for life together.
Committed to a diverse and sustainable future
At its foundational level, our programme historicizes and draws from concepts of democracy, participation, and social welfare in Scandinavia. As a student, you will engage in practical projects that investigate new and challenging ideas for how designers can situate themselves to work for liveable futures. This context is enriched by a multiplicity of perspectives, questions, cultures, and practices brought in by students and teachers from different national and international backgrounds.
Practice-led projects, both individual and group, are at the core of the studies. The intention and attitude of the program are exploratory and experimental.
Get to know teachers and other staff at the Design Unit.
Programme structure and content
The first year introduces you to relational and situated design practices and trains you to identify and formulate design questions, including developing research methods and material tactics in how to articulate your responses to these questions. Through practice and theory combined, you will study how designers can act and intervene for progressive social change. First-year courses:
- Relational Practice
- Design Studies
- Social Transformation
- Elective course
The second year comprises your thesis project with a range of assignments where you further connect to different design discourses and advancing your knowledge in your own field of interest. You will identify and formulate a variety of material responses to your identified design questions, with the intention to develop not just singular artefacts, objects, or media, but an area of practice and research which enable you to engage in diverse professional contexts.
- Master’s Degree Project in Design 1
- Master’s Degree Project in Design 2
Who should apply?
If you choose our programme, you will:
- be introduced to methods and attitudes in order to develop an artistically strong and sustainable practice that can contribute to urgent issues, both ecological and socio-political;
- expand your design knowledge and develop skills in an open and explorative environment that allows experimenting with ways of doing design and design research;
- and benefit from a professional staff who supports a studio culture that values and supports peer-to-peer learning.
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 recognized test, for example TOEFL, IELTS. In addition, approved work samples are required.
Find the portfolio instructions for the MFA Programme in Design here:
The selection is based on an assessment of submitted work samples.
Graduates of the programme receive the degree Master of Fine Arts with a major in Design.
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.