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TH Köln – Univiersity of Technology, Arts, Sciences

Köln International School of Design (KISD)

Germany Full Member Institution

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Mission Statement

Integrated, Interdisciplinary, International

In the last decade, the idea of design has made quite a name for itself. The scope of things to design has become broader and is no more just limited to everyday objects. Social structures, communication processes, and services are also characterized, determined, and shaped by design.
KISD offers its students the possibility to explore and create the diversity and complexity of design in a profound and systematic manner. During the studies, future designers acquire practical and theoretical design knowledge, which qualifies them for present and future spheres of activity in design. For more than 20 years, KISD has been offering its students a unique project-oriented learning and research environment aiming at strengthening the students’ individual interests. Therefore, all study courses at KISD can be described as integrative, interdisciplinary, and international.

Integrative Studies

Design of real-life situations is a complex process that is subject to the integration of different design-specific perspectives and the integration of theory and practice.

Since its foundation, KISD has relied on a structure that consistently overcomes traditional design boundaries and combines different design approaches, practices, and techniques.

Interdisciplinary Studies

Design is an integral part of our everyday lives and knowledge cultures and is thus incorporated into complex structures, which can only be regarded and developed by means of different scientific and design-related disciplines. Thus, design is in itself interdisciplinary.

In twelve areas of expertise and throughout their studies, KISD students learn about the prospects of design-related subjects and disciplines. These include, among others, the following sciences: engineering, materials, economics, semiotics, sociology, psychology, culture, as well as information, media, and communication. Interdisciplinary cooperation can be explicitly tested and becomes tangible by numerous project works with our cooperation partners in industry and science.

International Studies

Design processes and artifacts are locally and globally effective. Hence, KISD pursues a distinct internationalization strategy– cross-cultural phenomena and processes covering projects with international partners and guests. A total share of currently 40% of international students, international cooperation with more than 45 schools of design, and a close network of strategic partners inside and outside Europe reflect our strong ambition of internationally-shaped student life at KISD.

We understand experiencing the unfamiliar as supporting awareness and sensitivity to cultural differences as an influential aspect of the studies.

International Role

Partner of the MEDes-network of seven European universities (ENSCI, Paris; Konsfack, Stockholm; GSA, Glasgow, Aalto, Helsinki, DeCA, Aveiro, and POLIMI, Milan).

MA double degree programs with Tongji, Shanghai, Chiba, Tokyo

Global Design Initiative with 5 global leading design schools (see www.kisd.de/gdi)

Intensive strategic partner programs (including joint projects, student and professor exchange) with Taipei/Taiwan, Tokyo/Japan, Curitiba/Brazil, Sydney/Australia, Hong Kong/SAR of PROC, and New York/USA.

National Role

Cooperations with companies like Motorola, Bayer, Johnson Controls, Nokia, BMW, McDonalds, Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, Philips etc.

Main Focus

Research-based design education in interdisciplinary courses in cooperation with national and international organisations and cooperations.

Faculties and Departments

KISD offers a six semester BA program "Integrated Design" – including communication, product or industrial design. The MA "Integrated Design Research" is an internationally- and research-oriented Master's course that can be studied either consecutively or after a Bachelor's or higher academic degree. Furthermore, a BA / MA course "Master of European Design" (MEDes) is offered with 6 European partner universities. A two-year Master course in Product Design and Process Development is offered in collaboration with the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering Science.

Bachelor Level Programs

BA Integrated Design 3 years (with study track MEDes European Studies in Design)

Master Level Programs

MA Integrated Design Research 2 years  (with study track MEDes European Studies in Design). The MA Integrated Design Research  also offers Double Degree tracks with Tongji University, Shanghai (China), Chiba University, Tokyo( Japan). Applicants relate their work to one of the four thematic clusters: Material Systems & Lab Culture, Social & Pubic Innovation, Urban Intensities & Resources and Visual Cultures & Politics

Research Activity and Main Areas

Every area of expertise works on research.

KISD aims to overcome traditional design boundaries and combine different approaches, perspectives, and practices, in order to deal with problems and questions that cannot be solved within the boundaries of a single design area of expertise. Design is an integral part of every facet of the material and virtual world. It is responsible for and operates through products, environments, systems, and services within political, social, economical, and cultural contexts. We see design not only as a way to interfere in and question these processes, but as the production, acquisition, communication, and documentation of knowledge.

We currently offer four clusters:
Visual Cultures & Politics
Urban Intensities & Resources
Material Systems & Lab Culture
Social & Public Innovation



Subject Areas for Exchange Students

All subject areas.

Application Deadlines

Application deadline MA/BA: April
see also:https://kisd.de/apply

For exchange students:
For studying in the winter term (beginning around September 15) please apply until June 15.
For studying in the summer term (beginning around March 15) please apply until December 15

Teaching Languages

German and English

Semester Dates

September-February and April-July

Cost of Living Per Month (Studying and Living)



Bachelor: 450
Master: 50
Doctorate: 5

Exchange Students

Incoming: 60
Outgoing: 50

Teaching Staff

Professors: 14
Lectures: 4
Other permanent teachers: 5
Part-time Teachers: 5

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