Contemporary Design


Master of Arts.
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120 ECTS

Field of Study:

Art and Design


2 years, full-time


An appropriate Bachelor´s degree or an equivalent qualification.
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Tuition fees & scholarships:

Yes, for non-EU citizens.
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Language of Instruction:

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Organising school/s:

School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Application period:

2017-12-15 - 2018-01-24

Publication of Results:



Description of the programme

The Contemporary Design Programme enables designers to nurture an artistic mindset in a multidisciplinary environment that fuels design innovations as well as personal and business engagements. In the program design is understood in a broad sense including experimental and conceptual works from the spheres of critical and speculative design, experimental design, contemporary craft and product design.

The education prepares the students to develop their own creative and experimental processes to explore and materialize ideas, concepts and final designs. Alongside their own creative work, students study in multidisciplinary teams and develop their skills to present, exhibit, produce and commercialize their design works and talent.

The education is studio-based with close connections to real life, critically merging features of hands-on material exploration and fabrication with observations of contemporary and emerging phenomena. Students tackle the phenomena through collaborative exploration in the field, material experimentation in the studio, reflective discussions and documentation with fellow students, faculty and collaborators. This approach leads the students to discover the value of research, studio experimentation and argumentation skills.

Learning outcomes

The Contemporary Design Programme supports students to discover and advance their individual creative processes and in linking them to the problem-solving processes and methods of others. Students are working in a multifaceted learning environment that provides support for creativity, as well as critical and analytical thinking. The program bridges research and design, and it provides students with strong foundation in practice-based research. It educates sensitive and visionary students who have skills to propose radical solutions and responsible innovations for the future.

After graduation the students:
• have strong practical design skills for material productions and experiments

• can critically reflect and innovate on established design traditions, emerging interpretations of design and their own design practice

• display a strong artistic vision and are able to take responsibility, argument and stand behind their work as a designer

• are able to profit from emerging technologies and materials in their artistic and design practices

• understand how the field of contemporary design works internationally and how their own work is connected to broader developments in society and commercial opportunities

• have experience in exhibiting and curatorial practices in the fields of design and contemporary craft, as well as how to connect their work to external partners and sponsors

• are familiar with means to commercialize design and design driven innovations

Career opportunities

The program serves as an Academic Lab where contemporary design and a strong design heritage mix and integrate with research and technology, advanced materials and manufacturing methods and entrepreneurial mindset resulting nontraditional and innovation-focused solutions.

Contemporary Design Programme graduates an alumnni network of talents. The network support the graduate to pursue a career as a creative entrepreneur following one’s strong artistic vision and/or as a member of a collective or start-up together with others. The graduate is prepared for work in teams and projects in collaboration with companies, organizations and the public sector. The graduate may also continue to develop one’s design excellence and research skills through doctoral studies.

Admission procedure and criteria

The selection happens through the Aalto ARTS master student’s admission process. We seek candidates who already possess basic skills in some design field, and have a passion to both deepen and broaden their knowledge. In addition, the applicant should have:

• willingness to engage in critical thinking and to find one’s own path to contribute to the socially and ecologically sustainable world as a designer
• earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (Art and Design) or completed equivalent studies
• fluent English (oral and written)

Relevant former studies and working experience is appreciated, as well as art, design and craft related activities.

The application process consists of two phases. In the first phase students are evaluated based on the application as a whole, including portfolio, previous studies, CV and letter of motivation. In the second phase, the most suitable applicants are invited for an interview, from which a smaller subset of applicants is offered a study place.

Page content by: | Last updated: 20.12.2017.