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Design education at Tongji University began in the 1940s, and for the first 70 years, the core design discipline was linked to architectural studies, mainly in the Bauhaus tradition. In 1993, the department of industrial design was established. In 2009, the University moved its design department out of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning and established a new school—the College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University (known as D&I).
The world’s digital, knowledge-based economies call for novel design methods and skills, networked approaches, and sustainable results. In addition to traditional artifacts, designers must create integrated services, processes, interactions, and mechanisms that coherently address complex systemic issues. The D&I initiative seeks to respond to the challenges the world faces today by cultivating leaders of sustainable design and innovation who pursue academic excellence while contributing to social development. Our goal is to set an international benchmark for design education and research grounded in China’s economic and societal transition. This goal includes contributing to the worldwide design community.
D&I is now one of the most internationally renowned design schools in China. From 2007 to 2010, Bloomberg’s BUSINESSWEEK listed Tongji Design three times as one of the world’s best D-Schools. In 2011, MONOCLE magazine introduced the Tongji/Aalto Design Factory as one of the five highly unique university innovation platforms. In 2013 and 2014, D&I was included in the FRAME Master class ranking of the “Top 30 World Leading Master’s Programs in Design.” In 2023, D&I was ranked No. 10 globally by QS World University Ranking by Subject (No. 1 in Asia).
D&I enjoys membership in the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design, and Media (CUMULUS); the World Design Organization (WDO, formerly the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design); the International Network of Design for Social Innovation & Sustainability (DESIS); the Fablab Network; and the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL).
Double-Degree Master’s Programs in cooperation with:
Polytechnico di Milano, Italy (Integrated Product Design)
Polytechnico di Milano, Italy (Communication Design)
Polytechnico di Milano, Italy (Digital and Interaction Design)
Polytechnico di Milano, Italy (Product Service System Design)
Polytechnico di Milano, Italy (Interior and Spatial Design)
Polytechnico di Torino, Italy (Ecodesign)
Bauhaus-University Weimer, Germany (Interactions and Interfaces for Digital Environments)
Köln International School of Design, Germany (Designing Urban Transformations)
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, (Industrial Design Engineering)
Double-Degree Doctoral Programs in cooperation with:
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
Polytechnico di Milano, Italy
Besides the above mentioned double degree partners, D&I has also established partnerships with over 40 world-renowned universities and schools in design, including Aalto University (Finland), Kolding School of Design (Denmark), Academy of Arts and Design Offenbach (HfG) (Germany), University of Applied Arts Vienna (Austria), Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), Royal College of Art (UK), MIT Media Lab (USA), Art Center College of Design (USA), the New School of Parsons School of Design (USA), College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP), University of Cincinnati (USA), Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Chiba University (Japan), among many others. The partnerships bring student exchange, faculty exchange, credit accreditation, faculty training, collaborative research, joint labs, workshops, etc.
Actively involved in the collaboration with other universities and industry and regional government. We are one of the best design school in China. D&I has also established cooperation with a variety of leading enterprises such as Autodesk, Alibaba, Tencent, Haier, CRRC, SAIC Motor, Aston Martin, BMW, Dyson, Ecovacs, WorldUnion, Shenzhen IBR, Vanke, Uniqlo, Huawei, Siemens, etc., with the aim of educating design innovation talent with global vision and competency.
Both undergraduate program & postgraduate programs
Faculties and Departments
By the end of November 2018, D&I had around 700 full-time students (including undergraduates and postgraduates), 74 full-time faculty members, and 16 adjunct or visiting faculty members. About 60 international students attend D&I every year—approximately 50% of the total number of graduate students. Over 70% of D&I’s master’s students gain overseas or exchange study experience.
The College focuses on “smart, sustainable design for industrial transformation and future living.” It has 3 undergraduate programs, 9 master’s programs, and 1 doctoral program in design. D&I developed a 3-dimensional, T-shaped educational framework, based on the prevailing undergraduate-master’s-doctoral degree system, to better explore possible approaches to cultivating design innovation talent.
Bachelor Level Programs
Industrial Design (B.E.) / Product Design (B.A.)
Environmental Design (B.A.)
Media and Communication Design (B.A.)
Master Level Programs
Advanced Industrial Design (M.E.)
Advanced Environmental Design (M.F.A.)
Advanced Media and Communication Design (M.E.)
Interaction Design (M.E.)
Product Service System Design (M.F.A.)
Design Strategy and Management (M.A.)
AI and Data Design (M.E.)
Design History and Theory (M.A.)
Innovation and Entrepreneurship (M.E.)
Research Activity and Main Areas
In order to enable design education to better meet social needs when facing real world challenges, D&I further proposes a cluster of research areas, which attempt to integrate undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral education within various research areas. These areas include, but are not limited to, design for healthcare, design for urban-rural interaction, design for new mobility and transportation, design for industrial transformation, and design for smart and sustainable cities. D&I has set a series of research centers and labs to facilitate relevant inquiries.
Design Competitiveness Research Center
Tongji University Design Art Research Center
Research Institute of Global Change and Sustainable Development
Chinese Culture Center
Shanghai International Institute of Design and Innovation
SAIC-Tongji Car Design and Engineering Center
SustainX Design Research Center
Inclusive Design Research Center
New Center of Contemporary Jewelry and Fashion Culture (NoCC)
Intelligent Big Data Visualization (iDVX) Lab
Tongji University Tezign Design A.I. Lab
Urban Future Lab
Center for Digital Innovation (Tongji-MIT City Science Lab)
Intangible Cultural Heritage Research Center
SHE JI Publishing Platform
Fablab O & Bio Builder Lab
Design Theory & Creative Culture Lab
Biomimetic Sustainable Design Lab
Asia Lifestyle and Asia Design DNA Lab
Creative Industry and Culture Research Lab
Tongji DESIS (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability) Lab
Behavior Cognition Design Research Lab
Ergonomics Design Research Lab
Integrated Media Design Research Lab
Public Design Lab
Experience Design Research Lab
Design Engineering and Computing Research Lab
Genealogy of Design History Research Lab
Next Mobility Lab
Design Management and Innovation Strategy Lab
Contemporary Furniture Design Lab
Material Innovation and Design Application Lab
Tongji-Dawawa Sound Lab
Jewelry Accessory Lab
Shang Xiang Lab
Tongji-SinoType Chinese Information and Typography Design Lab
De Boer Wang Studio—Branding Public Space Research Lab
Digital Animation and Digital Entertainment Lab
Doctorate Level Programs
Doctoral Program of Design: This program focuses on the connection between rigorous and evidence-based design research and the emerging practices addressing burning issues arising from
complex sociotechnical systems. The students are encouraged to apply knowledge, proactively, to tackle the real-world problems. To this end, this program provides an interdisciplinary learning environment that fosters systematic studies on theories, research methodologies, processes, and methods and tools. Based on three value pillars—human-centered design, design for sustainability, and open design—the program aims to advance knowledge in, but not limited to, the following areas: urban-rural interaction, healthcare, transportation, education innovation, community building, smart living, and industrial transformation.
Subject Areas for Exchange Students
Undergraduate Programs includes Industrial Design (B.E.) / Product Design (B.A.), Environmental Design (B.A.), Media and Communication Design (B.A.).
Master’s Programs includes Advanced Industrial Design (M.E.), Advanced Environmental Design (M.F.A.), Advanced Media and Communication Design (M.E.), Interaction Design (M.E.), Product Service System Design (M.F.A.), Design Strategy and Management (M.A.), AI and Data Design (M.E.), Design History and Theory (M.A.), Innovation and Entrepreneurship (M.E.).
Doctoral Program of Design (PhD) focuses on the connection between rigorous and evidence-based design research and the emerging practices addressing burning issues arising from complex sociotechnical systems. The students are encouraged to apply knowledge, proactively, to tackle the real-world problems. To this end, this program provides an interdisciplinary learning environment that fosters systematic studies on theories, research methodologies, processes, and methods and tools. Based on three value pillars—human-centered design, design for sustainability, and open design—the program aims to advance knowledge in, but not limited to, the following areas: urban-rural interaction, healthcare, transportation, education innovation, community building, smart living, and industrial transformation.
Application online at http://study-info.tongji.edu.cn/
Middle of December for Spring Semester Middle of May for Fall Semester
Cost of Living Per Month (Studying and Living)
About 400EURO an average student needs per month