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Pforzheim University

School of Design

Pforzheim , Germany Full Member Institution

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Mission Statement

The School of Design – DesignPF – is a vibrant institution with both, a strong vision for speculative futures and future making and deep historical roots in craft and industrialisation. Founded in 1877 as Ducal School of Craft, it started as an ‘educational laboratory’ of crafts, industrialized production and trade. Being devoted to creativity, experimentation and excellence, throughout the decades the School of Design established new educational components with a solid base on the principles of “Bauhaus” and “Ulmer Schule”.

DesignPF provides an interdisciplinary, transferable and holistically formed expertise. A unique range of art-related core classes are offered to all students challenging their elastic and creative minds and fostering a design engagement of intellectual, experimental and tacit rigor. Inter- and trans-disciplinary ventures, collaborative projects, crossover activities foster critical, research-focused, innovation-led processes, strategies and global design approaches. 

International Role

We cultivate an active exchange with selected partner schools worldwide, some are individually study program specific and others applicable to several study programs. Participation in internationally well known trade fairs opens our activities to a larger audience, providing participating students with invaluable, international feedback and experience. We also place a high value and emphasis on participation in international competitions, take part in international symposiums, and are actively involved in organizing them as well, such as the biannual international Transportation Design Symposium.

National Role

We are content to have qualified and vivid cooperations with industries and universities such as international operating companies (e.g. Daimler, VW, Audi, Miele, Kärcher, Duravit…) and nationwide workshops involving students from faculties of architecture, design and art (funded by Bayer, Grohe, Henkel…). On the other hand we also connect to regional business´ coining a Corporate Identity for the region of northern black forest or being an active member in chamber of commerce.

Main Focus

Inter- and transdisciplinary collaborations with both international institutes and design-studios as well as with recognized industry partners will provide a critical, blending insight. This will evoke disruptive design investigations embracing new technologies as well as environmental and social challenges. Students are trained to think holistically, to act critically and to collaborate interdependently – based on the principles of global responsible citizenship. This will be delivered to management through remarkable social skills, versatility, and professionalized communication tools as well as through the capacity to connect at speed.

Faculties and Departments

Pforzheim University School of Design hosts various departments with a focus on Accessory Design, Jewellery, Fashion, Industrial Design, Transportation Design, Visual Communication as well as Creative Direction and Design as Future Making. With its unique trans-departmental education, DesignPF offers a broad range of art-related core classes to all design students challenging the designers’ elastic and creative mind, provoking inspiring paradigm shifts and fostering an engagement of intellectual, experimental and tacit rigor.The project- and student-centered education assures hands-on, collaborative seminars and studio classes, interdisciplinary activities as collaborations with internal and external partners and stresses the cultivation of challenging sustainable engagement, working within limitations and interconnecting creativity and commerce.

Bachelor Level Programs

Pforzheim University School of Design offers six Bachelor degree programs in the area of

– Accessory Design, 

– Jewellery, 

– Fashion, 

– Industrial Design,

– Transportation Design,

– Visual Communication (with elective options of different minors)

Master Level Programs

Pforzheim University School of Design – DesignPF – currently offers three postgraduate degree programs, which takes 3 semesters to complete. The consecutive master’s program in Transportation Design requires an undergraduate degree in a similar field whereas the master’s programs in Creative Direction and Design as Future Making request an inter- and transdisciplinary design approach with a focus on creative making and leadership strategies.

Research Activity and Main Areas

Pforzheim University School of Design – DesignPF – focuses on two major areas: research through as with design and research about design. Both approaches comprise the fulcrum of creative, critical thinking and making. 

Creative THINKING Critical MAKING

Creative MAKINGCritical THINKING:

DesignPF Research entails critical as creative engagement taking in two conceptional as contextual approaches: the ‘disegno’ concept and the ‘design turn’. The appealing concepts comprise both, design as embodiment of all intellectual processes and creative principles and design as an integrative force with its synthetic and interdisciplinary potential of generating and imparting knowledge. Craftsmanship and the various ways of thinking are fundamentally interconnected capacities of future-oriented, innovation-driven design work.  

DesignPF Research approach requires Denkräume forming, ‘thinging’ and thinking spaces: encouraging, even provoking diversity, lateral exploration, experimental investigations, controversial sense-making and knowledge spans with a particular, reflective focus on process structures in art and design. Research a comprises various ways of thinking and interacting with speculation and situated knowledge.The internationally recognized lecture series "artefacts”, accompanied by the upcoming eJournal "artefakte.online" provide theme-oriented inspiring impulses for students, educators and researchers. 

In conjunction with EngineeringPF, the DesignPF Research Institute HEED operates as a pioneering hub, as an innovation laboratory incorporating trans- disciplinary design research, multidisciplinary skills and transfer knowledge in order to challenge empathic, holistic interactions, to strengthen a (joint) venturing culture and to encourage entrepreneurial activities in the field of design, technology and engineering.


PhD-collaborations possible on request.


Contact: [email protected]

Doctorate Level Programs


Subject Areas for Exchange Students

All courses / modules in the degree programs (inclusive the Fine Arts & Sciences) of the School of Design. Admission is based on recommendations of partner universities. Additional admission requirements for graduate programs – please check the requirements of the Master’s program

Application Deadlines

For summer semester: October 15

For winter semester: May 15

Teaching Languages

The teaching language is primarily German (selected courses and project supervision are also available in English). 

The Master’s programme Transportation Design is taught in English. 

Free German language classes are available.

Semester Dates

Summer semester: mid-March to mid-July

Winter semester: beginning-of October to mid-February

Cost of Living Per Month (Studying and Living)

fees for student services approx. 113€/semester [93€ Deutsches Studierendenwerk + 20€ student card]; 

living costs about € 550 per month


Bachelor: 700
Master: 40

Exchange Students

Incoming: 15
Outgoing: 20

Teaching Staff

Professors: 30
Lectures: 35
Other permanent teachers: 22

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