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The University of Design Schwaebisch Gmuend (HfG)

Germany Full Member Institution

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Mission Statement

The aim of today's education is not the transfer of specific reproductive skills but in the cultivation of creative skills based on practical and scientific knowledge. The University has a generalist approach aimed at the encouragement of lateral thinking across a wide spectrum, from communication to product systems and environmental design, and at thrusting the designer to the forefront as a critic, mediator, and developer. In a rapidly changing culture an essential component of the philosophy is to enable the students to become autonomously self-developing and thus adaptable to continuous change. The University disposes of wide network of prominent industry partners.

International Role

For design to transfer knowledge and develop added value it must cross boundaries between disciplines and cultures. The development of key qualifications such as self-management, team working skills, language and intercultural competencies is thus also a natural part of the University’s courses of study. Internationalisation is an integral part of the University's strategic orientation; the school is a most active player in a network of more than 50 partner institutions in Europe and worldwide.

National Role

The University draws its dynamic and power from the fields of topical scientific, social, and economic developments and from its long and continuous tradition. This tradition is influenced by the teaching methods of the Bauhaus and particularly of the Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm.
It aims to ensure that students reach the highest level of professional qualification and go on to play an active role in representing the interests of the users of design services. In the future the HfG intends to pursue this aim by offering professional further education courses.

Main Focus

The HfG’s holistic educational concept is based on the structural combination of: design methodology, science and technology. The teaching programme aims to encourage curiosity and thirst for knowledge, to develop methodical thinking, to transfer established professional content, and to strengthen students’ social and intercultural competences.

Bachelor Level Programs

The Gmünd Model: passionate, rational, and responsible.
The HfG considers design to be an innovative discipline with scientific, social, and technological aspects.

B.A. Product Design: 7 semesters
B.A. Communication Design: 7 semesters
B.A. Interaction Design: 7 semesters
B.A. Internet of Things – Design of Networked Systems: 7 semesters



Master Level Programs

MA Strategic Design – transcending design, technology and theory programs : 3 semesters


Research Activity and Main Areas

The HfG values application oriented design research highly. All research activities are concentrated centrally in an Institute for Applied Research (IAF). This focuses on research and development questions related to the three major areas of Interaction, Communication, and Product Design. Current research projects include the ergonomic design of medical equipment and systems, communication in space (exhibition design) and the aspects of the interaction between humans and designed products and systems.

Doctorate Level Programs

Co-operative PhD program

Subject Areas for Exchange Students

B.A. Product Design
B.A. Communication Design
B.A. Interaction Design
B.A. Internet of Things – Design of Networked Systems

Application Deadlines

May 1st for the winter semester, November 1st for the summer semester

Teaching Languages

German and English

Semester Dates

Winter semester: First week of October – mid-February
Summer semester: mid-March – mid-July

Cost of Living Per Month (Studying and Living)

approxiately 900 Euros


Bachelor: 720
Master: 50
Doctorate: 2

Exchange Students

Incoming: 60
Outgoing: 70
Others: 60

Teaching Staff

Professors: 27
Lectures: 70
Part-time Teachers: 80

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