Bachelor's Programme in Design
Are you looking to shape tomorrow’s society and the design of 21st century products, services and systems? The Aalto Bachelor’s programme in Design is an international degree programme to prepare you for a future working creatively with physical and digital media while building a rich portfolio of work addressing commercial and societal challenges and developments in the private, public and cultural sector. In preparing for life after graudation, you will also have an opportunity to carve out an identity and locate a professional niche for yourself as a designer, either working with clients independently as a design consultant or as a member of a team within a larger organisation.
The curriculum embraces the expanding nature of design and the power of designers to locate opportunities and creatively craft possibilities. Throughout your three years of study, you will develop skills and knowledge to design with complexity and uncertainty as well as to prototype ideas and materialise solutions. You will learn to use contemporary tools, methods and processes for design as well as develop practices for acquiring new skills in the future. You will also learn to make more informed and responsible decisions as a designer through studies in business, with new technologies and in regards to sustainability. Building on the ethos of Finnish and Scandinavian design, you will learn to work in teams and co-create with others to develop solutions that are more human-centred, societally relevant and environmentally conscious.
As a student in the programme, you will study in English together with an international group of students and faculty. Twenty students are admitted to the programme each year. The curriculum is student-centred and allows you to tailor your degree through elective studies and studios, as well as collaborate on projects with a small group of peers. As a student at Aalto University, you will also be able to expand on the content of your degree by pursuing more in-depth studies in other disciplines at the other schools and programmes of the university.
The language of instruction is English.
Major or specialisation fields
The major is in design.
Non-EU/EEA students accepted to the programme will be charged tuition fees. The tuition fee is €12 000 per academic year. Students can apply for scholarships from the Aalto University Scholarship programme. The scholarships are in the form of tuition fee waivers, which are awarded based on the merits of the students selected to the programme. More information on Scholarships and Tuition Fees page (aalto.fi).
A degree from the Bachelor’s programme in Design gives you a foundation for pursuing a professional career in design as well as further studies in the field. Graduates from the programme are expected to pursue creative careers in areas such as product, service and digital development in both the public and private sector. They are expected to work well individually with clients on design projects and in teams together with other designers and professionals in areas such as communication design, digital design, industrial design, interaction design, product design, service design, strategic design and sustainable design. Additionally, as future-oriented designers, they are expected to be entrepreneurial and self-directed in their endeavours and explore opportunities in new and emergent areas of design in academia, industry and the government.
Post-graduate study options
The curriculum prepares students for further studies in the Aalto University Master’s programmes in Collaborative & Industrial Design, Creative Sustainability, International Design Business Management, New Media Design & Production and Visual Communication Design. As a student in the Bachelor’s programme in Design, you are entitled to continue your studies in one of these programmes upon completing your degree.
You will apply for and be accepted to a master’s programme during your third year of study. Sudents will be allocated study places in the master’s programme based on how they have tailored their bachelor’s degree and their performance in courses and studios. Students who want to develop their research expertise further upon completing their master’s studies have an opportunity to apply for doctoral studies.
Content of the studies
The curriculum for the programme is structured to help you acquire a rich understanding about the role and functioning of design in society, while furthering your expertise and knowledge of design in different areas. At the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, you will have access to world-class studios and workshops for production of both physical (including workshops for textiles, metal and wood) and digital (including equipment for 3d printing, electronics and web) projects. Working in these facilities, you will develop hands-on expertise in designing and learn contemporary tools and processes for working with different types of material. Through projects and courses, you will also develop your skills in working and facilitating others in collaboratively developing solutions, exploring problems and forming opportunities. Building on the world-class research in design and media at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, you will also have an opportunity to work and experiment with cutting-edge tools and methods for design as well as experience how to conduct research in design.
Understanding – and being able to operate within – the broader societal and industrial context for design forms an important part in preparing you for a changing future and in developing your ability to work with others and impact the environment around you. Much of the curriculum is structured so that theory and practice inform and strengthen each other. You will learn to analyse and explicate the meaning of design for users, for business, for society and for environment. You will also learn to identify and develop a personal specialisation within design in relation to industry and societal developments. Courses and studios are grounded in a combination of hands-on design work, lectures, seminars, workshops, group projects and self-studies.
Studio courses in which you creatively and critically explore contemporary phenomena in design projects run throughout the curriculum. These studios – together with your bachelor’s thesis – provide you opportunities to develop expertise in specific areas of design as well as to inquire into topics of interest to companies, non-profits and governmental organisations.
You will collaborate with an international group of students and teachers throughout your studies. We encourage you to allocate part of your studies abroad by applying for internships and exchange studies, as we believe it will enrich your journey towards becoming a designer. The Aalto School of Arts, Design and Architecture is among the most prestigious design schools in the world and the leading design school in Northern Europe and as such, nurtures agreements with a number of leading design schools and universities across the globe. We recommend that students schedule exchange studies during their third year of study.
Corporate and other collaboration
The School of Arts, Design and Architecture has a long tradition of successfully collaborating with external partners in projects and courses and nurture close relationships with a number of companies and public sector organisations. Companies, non-profits and public organisations frequently reach out to Aalto University as the leading design school in the Nordic region, to to work with students from the School on real-world societal problems and business opportunities. Many members of the faculty also nurture collaborations with companies and public organisations through their professional practice and research.
Focus of the research
The curriculum for the programme is directly informed by the world-leading research at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, and the Department of Design and Department of Media in particular. Many of the teachers and professors are leading researchers and professionals in their respective fields and bring this expertise into the classroom. If you are interested in research, there is an opportunity to pursue more in-depth studies by aligning your bachelor thesis with ongoing research at the Departments of Design or Media.
The research foci of the Department of Design are collaborative and human-centred design, design for sustainability and research through design practice. In addition, design management and cultural and historical studies of design are researched at the department.
For more information about the research at the Department of Design, see designresearch.aalto.fi
The research foci of the Department of Media are new media, visual communication design and photography. Media is approached from various starting points, including audiovisual communication, art, media design, expression and storytelling, interaction, production and new and experimental forms of media, as well as the development of tools, instruments and procedures for creative media design and production, and their application in various multidisciplinary fields. For more information on research at the Department of Media, see the research blog https://blogs.aalto.fi/mediatutkimus/