Design, Master's programme, 120 credits

This programme offers a studio-based, interdisciplinary approach to design, tackling societal challenges. Established and innovative design concepts are incorporated in a unique collaborative setup across campuses.

Design, Master's programme, 120 credits

Autumn 2017, Full time 100%, Linköping


Design, Master's programme - Second admission round mainly for Swedish and EU/EEA students

Autumn 2017, Full time 100%, Linköping


Design, Master's programme, 120 credits

Autumn 2018, Full time 100%, Linköping


Businesses, organisations and government agencies are facing ever more complex challenges that require innovative approaches. Increasingly, the field of design is expected to come up with answers and help achieve progress. The purpose of this programme is to train qualified and confident designers who can enter these complex contexts, take on a leading role and co-create solid, sustainable solutions.

We are reaching out to students with different backgrounds, not necessarily with previous academic design qualifications, but with excellent design abilities and a desire to develop design beyond specific materials and disciplines.

Please be advised that this programme has a multi-campus setup, with courses offered in Linköping and Norrköping, as well as through blended learning.

Theoretical courses and studio work

This programme incorporates established and innovative design concepts in a unique interdisciplinary setup. Studio courses form the backbone of the programme, providing the fundamentals of working with societal challenges. The challenges are defined on a yearly basis, ranging from Food Waste and Civility to Nomadic Welfare.

Theoretical courses and design projects run alongside studio work. You develop generic design skills and knowledge of design facilitation, co-creative practices and design history. You learn about designing and change, and how to make design a strategic practice that is embedded in organisations. Projects are carried out in mixed-competence groups, sometimes with students from other programmes, across campuses with blended learning, using physical and digital resources. You will work and interact with companies, organisations and entrepreneurs.

Sustainability, service and visuality

Elective courses are structured into tracks allowing you to develop skills and knowledge within an area of speciality.

The current tracks offered are:

  • Sustainable Futures
    Design of sustainable systems, with accompanying business models, products and services. Project-based exploration of future solutions that may promote a transition to a sustainable society and empower people interacting with those systems.
  • Transformative Service
    Design and innovation for the service sector, including welfare and industrial service. Engaging humans at the centre of design projects and developing service concepts and social innovations to facilitate transformation of practices and co-creation of value.
  • Visual Media
    Design of interactive visual environments, going beyond screens and handheld units towards augmented and immersive approaches. Studio-based exploration of advanced concepts at the intersection of graphic design, interaction design and information visualisation.

A leading design research university

Linköping University is one of Sweden’s leading design research universities, with world-class research into design for services, a state-of-the-art facility for visual media research, and a strong team devoted to design and sustainability.

Syllabus and course details

The backbone of each semester is a challenge-based studio course, where students apply and develop design skills and knowledge to create understanding of the challenge and work towards solutions.

Challenges, such as Food Waste and Nomadic Welfare, vary across semesters and provide a platform for collaboration and engagement with citizens, companies and organisations, as well as with other master’s programmes.

Semester 1-4

Studio courses are supported by a set of core courses, currently covering knowledge areas of Co-design, Design Research Methodologies, and Norm-Creativity. 
Track courses allow you to engage with a specific knowledge area. We currently offer the following knowledge areas:
• Sustainable Futures: Sustainable Strategies, Physical Computing, and Disruptive Technology
• Transformative Service: Contemporary Forms of Value-Creation, Thinking with Representations, and Change for Design
• Visual Media: Advanced Visualisation, Augmented Information Spaces, and Immersive Information Spaces.
During the second and third semester, you also have the opportunity to select three single courses from our wide range of course offerings across all faculties.
This gives you a chance to explore knowledge areas that you are curious about, or to dive deeper into a familiar subject.
The fourth semester will mainly consist of the final project and your thesis. For your thesis, you are expected to create an individual project consisting of practical design work as well as a written research piece.

Career opportunities

You may find employment

  • as interaction designer or product designer
  • designing for service or policy
  • in the public or voluntary sectors
  • as an entrepreneur or with start-ups
  • with social innovation initiatives
  • in urban planning or design for sustainability
  • in the communications field
  • with established industrial actors seeking to overhaul their innovation processes.

Naturally, you will also be eligible for a career as a PhD student in Design.

Application and admission

We are accepting about 30 students to this programme each year. Admission is based on your portfolio, various documentation and a combined video/essay assignment.

General entry requirements

In order to apply you must meet the basic entry requirements. Read about them here.


To register a full application to the Design master’s programme, all steps below must be completed. Partial/incomplete applications will be rejected.

  1. Apply at no later than 15 January.
  2. Make the following available to us by sharing it on Dropbox, Google Drive, Sprend or a similar service:
    a) Your resume
    b) Your portfolio, curated and annotated to demonstrate your aptitude for the Design programme. At the top of your portfolio, please state clearly which of the design tracks you are aiming for. We are looking for demonstrated interdisciplinary skills, a demonstrated ability to explore and learn through design, and demonstrated craft skills in design process execution, finishing and presentation. Please indicate your individual contribution to all team-based portfolio items. If you wish to submit an online portfolio, please state the URL clearly in one of the uploaded documents. Include a description of your portfolio pieces as a supplement, should your portfolio media not allow for annotations.
    c) Samples of academic writing (if available). You may include up to five samples. Your bachelor’s thesis can be a very useful sample. You can also submit term papers and other academic writing assignments. Please include a clear statement on your individual contributions to all multi-authored texts.
  3. Use this form to submit the URL to your shared online folder/zip file. Also enter your University Admissions application number. We will notify you within 48 hours after successfully having received your files and links.

All texts must be in English. Documents and work samples should be in PDF format. Files can be zipped.

Video/essay assignment

The frontrunners with the most interesting profiles will be asked to submit a short video and accompanying essay on the topic “What I see as design-worthy challenges”. Applicants who did not include writing samples with the initial application will also be asked to submit an essay.

The video should be 60-120 seconds in length and pitch the key points of your argument. You must be visible in front of the camera for at least 50 % of the running time. The video should be recorded in a noise-free environment and feature a neutral background.

For the essay, you should present in a concise and coherent way the reasoning, motivation and criteria behind the key points of your argument. Write 600-900 words and save as a PDF.

Uploading/sharing instructions for your video and essay will be provided via email.

Our assessment will focus on the value and relevance of the design-worthy challenges you identify, the communication skills manifested in your video and essay, and the coherence and strength of your argumentation.

Key dates

15 January: Deadline for applying at
1 February: Last day for supporting documents to arrive at Deadline to submit CV, portfolio, descriptive essay, and writing samples to us
19 February: Email notification with the results of our first-step assessment
6 April: Notification of selection results from

Contact Us