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Folkwang University of the Arts

Faculty of Design

Germany Full Member Institution

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Mission Statement

The Folkwang University of the Arts has been home to the most varied arts and art disciplines since 1927. Today, this institution is a centre for artistic training in music, theatre, dance, design and academic studies. Its unique concept has made Folkwang a cultural brand name – both nationally and internationally.

The name ‘Folkwang’ has become synonymous with a one-of-a-kind concept for artistic learning and communication. Over 100 years ago, Karl Ernst Osthaus had a vision: He wished to form a democratic backdrop and foundation for the interdisciplinary cooperation of all the branches of art.


International Role

Folkwang University of the Arts is deeply rooted in the heart of Europe, and is internationally oriented. European benchmarks as well as the immediate confrontation and experience gained in internationally developed projects are an integral part of study. Partnerships, exchange and projects specifically in collaboration with universities in China, the Middle East and the United States form a fixed component of student life. At Folkwang University of the Arts, students and teachers with European as well as international backgrounds enrich the overall profile. They provide an environment of creativity far beyond national borders.

“The idea for interdisciplinary cooperation is entirely unique in terms of an artistic-pedagogical concept. Folkwang University of the Arts has therefore taken on a leading role as international contact partner for artistic learning and practical application as well as for development projects in the areas of art and science. The communication and establishment of the Folkwang idea in international networks and institutions have become an integral part of our future-oriented strategy.”

Prof. Kurt Mehnert, President of the Folkwang University of the Arts

It is essential that international cooperation as well as a corresponding positioning of the Folkwang University of the Arts addresses the current pressing political and social challenges. The Folkwang concept advocates the indispensability of the social anchoring of art – particularly in those countries, in which art and cultural activities are free and a matter of course – together with the strong conviction of being able to achieve long-term change by means of exchange and dialogue.

To give just one example of this philosophy, since 2009 the Folkwang University of the Arts has been supporting the development of the first professional drama school in Ramallah, Palestine with great success. Our commitment has provided a key contribution in the development of a peaceful society based on dialogue. In 2012, the first students graduated with Bachelor degrees. An extension of the cooperation with universities in Tunisia, Jordan and Iraq is in preparation.


National Role

The Folkwang idea of combining various disciplines is a unique concept in terms of understanding and teaching art: The various disciplines interact with each other – in terms of learning as well as practical application. For over 80 years now, Folkwang University of the Arts has been following societal realities, and has thus helped the arts become a living and breathing factor of society by setting innovative as well as creative accents. Folkwang University of the Arts prides itself in training and mentoring personalities that are characterised by their excellent artistic competence, a broad horizon of knowledge and a vast degree of individuality, creativity and societal responsibility.


Main Focus

Well-trained designers make an important contribution to designing our environment by virtue of their holistic practical and critical thinking, their sensibility and capacity to think ahead, and their knowledge of culture, art, technology, ergonomics, science and the marketplace. The Folkwang’s training in Design aims to educate this kind of designer, to give them the basis for new perspectives and approaches and to encourage them in establishing their own individual attitudes and approaches to design – all within the context of a unique cross-disciplinary course structure and the fusion of theory with practice.


Faculties and Departments

– Communication Design (Graphic Design, Screen Media, Three-dimensional Media)

– Industrial Design (Consumer- and capital goods, furniture, vehicles, ships)

– Photography


Bachelor Level Programs

B.A. in Industrial Design (3 years) http://www.folkwang-uni.de/en/home/gestaltung/courses-of-studies/industrial-design/

B.A. in Communication Design (3 years) http://www.folkwang-uni.de/en/home/gestaltung/courses-of-studies/communication-design/

B.A. in Photography (4 years) http://www.folkwang-uni.de/en/home/gestaltung/courses-of-studies/photography/photography-ba/


Master Level Programs

M.A. Photography Studies and Practice (2 years) http://www.folkwang-uni.de/en/home/gestaltung/courses-of-studies/photography/photography-studies-and-practice-ma/

M.A. Photography Studies and Research (2 years) http://www.folkwang-uni.de/en/home/gestaltung/courses-of-studies/photography/photography-studies-and-research-ma/

M.A. Art and Design Sciences http://www.folkwang-uni.de/en/home/wissenschaft/institute-for-art-and-design-science/art-and-design-science-ma/

M.A. Industrial Design (2 years) http://www.folkwang-uni.de/en/home/gestaltung/courses-of-studies/industrial-design/

M.A. Communication Design (2 years) http://www.folkwang-uni.de/en/home/gestaltung/courses-of-studies/communication-design/

Research Activity and Main Areas

Scholarly reflection and applied research have always been important factors in the Folkwang University’s artistic canon, as can be seen in subjects such as design science, communication theory, media theory, design philosophy and aesthetics, photography, art and its didactics. All Folkwang programs are supported by analysis, reflexivity and historical awareness regarding the subject area in question.  Doctoral studies are possible in the art and design sciences. The Folkwang University of Arts is currently developing a doctoral program in artistic research.


Subject Areas for Exchange Students

All subject areas

Application Deadlines

1 May for winter term

1 December for spring term

Teaching Languages

German. Professors and tutors are familiar with English.

Basic knowledge of German is highly recommended.

Semester Dates

Winter semester: October-February (2 weeks Christmas break)
Spring semester: April-July

Cost of Living Per Month (Studying and Living)

900 Euro (rent approx. 300-400 Euro)


Bachelor: 309
Master: 158
Doctorate: 9

Exchange Students

Incoming: 20
Outgoing: 25

Teaching Staff

Professors: 19
Lectures: 20
Other permanent teachers: 3
Part-time Teachers: 14

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