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University of Applied Sciences Potsdam

Department of Design

Germany Full Member Institution

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Mission Statement

University of Applied Sciences Potsdam
Founded in 1991, the University of Applied SciencesPotsdam (FHP) offers a variety of engineering, sociocultural and artistic programmes. The university’s education and research is dedicated to scientifically sound practice. About 3.500 students are enrolled in 26 practice-oriented BA and MA programmes and they are supervised and mentored by 100 professors and 200 staff members. Interdisciplinary projects enable collaboration within the university  structures and the regional, national and international networks facilitate practice oriented studies and research. Attributes such as pioneering and transparent, individual and practical, family friendly, cooperative and accessible as well as fully equipped laboratories and workshops characterise the atmosphere at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam.
The University of Applied Sciences Potsdam is honoured as one of the four best Universities of  Applied Sciences in Germany as part of the initiative »Exzellenz in der Lehre« (excellence in teaching).
The five departments of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam are located on one campus in the city of Potsdam.
    •    Department 1: Social and Educational Sciences
    •    Department 2: CITY | BUILDING | CULTURE  (Architecture and Urban Planning)
    •    Department 3: Civil Engineering
    •    Department 4: Design
    •    Department 5: Information Sciences

The University of Applied Sciences Potsdam also benefits from its location. The metropolitan region of Potsdam/Berlin, with its creative and start-up scene, has long  established itself as one of the most important science and media locations worldwide.  In addition to study and work opportunities, these two bordering federal state capitals have much more to offer.

International Role

The Design Department is internationally active and envisions to further raise the numbers of student and teacher mobility. The department currently has 23 partner universities worldwide. With 19 partners from all over Europe, the department is especially active in the framework of the Erasmus+ programme. A new perspective lies on the region of Southeast Asia, with partner universities in Taiwan and Thailand. The Research and study projects in this area  focus on the topic of smart cities.
Many students choose to spend their obligatory internship semester in other EU countries and abroad.    

The University of Applied Sciences Potsdam is also a regular host of international events, such as the Information+ conference in October 2018, which brings together researchers and practitioners in information design and visualisation.

National Role

The University of Applied Sciences Potsdam and the Design Department in particular are strongly rooted in the civic, industrial and science communities of Potsdam and in the federal state of Brandenburg. Naturally, strong connections have been established to many diverse institutions in the nearby city of Berlin.
Selected partners and collaborators in Potsdam, Berlin and Brandenburg:
·      Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
·      Volkswagen Design Center Potsdam GmbH
·      Technologie Stiftung Berlin (Berlin Technology Foundation)
·      Fraunhofer Institute Golm
·      Integrative Research Institute on Transformations of Human-Environment Systems (IRI THESys), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
·      BUND Berlin (Friends of the Earth)
·      About 30 regional manufacturers (Haus Brandenburg project)
·      Brandenburg State Police
·      Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation (SPSG), the Research Center Sanssouci (RECS), and Marbach Weimar Wolfenbüttel Research Association (MWW)
·      Theodor-Fontane-Archive
·      Deutsche Telekom
·      German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt – UBA)
·      Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft
·      BMW

Main Focus

Bachelor´s degree programmes in the Design Department
A distinguishing feature of the Design Department is the close connection between its programmes – Interface Design, Communication Design, Product Design and European Media Studies.
This interconnection enables a unique, cross-subject educational profile with a strong research and practical relevance; this is reflected in the various works, exhibitions and collaborations that have been successful on an international scale. Our educational model links artistic freedom with fundamental, career-specific skills, preparing and empowering our students for diverse job profiles: from the direct, qualified entry into professional life to a research-driven doctorate. Well-equipped workshops and studios, innovative research laboratories and the intensive staff-student ratio all contribute to a positive and cooperative atmosphere that fosters creative thinking and action.

Design (MA)
The master's degree programme Design (MA) gives students the opportunity to strengthen their scientific and creative skills and reflect on aspects of the theoretical content. Extensive research and development projects in collaboration with industry and international institutes allow students to participate independently and actively in design processes and to contribute to these processes as part of their master´s thesis.The master's degree programme  builds on the competences gained in the bachelors degree programme and provides the opportunity to deepen those skills through research.
A master´s thesis taking the form of an extensive design project is the main focus. This project allows students to explore a topic indepth, both in terms of  content and design, and to carry out a complex design project largely independently.

Faculties and Departments

Department of Design


Bachelor Level Programs

BA Product Design (8 semesters)
BA Communication Design (8 semesters)
BA Interface Design (8 semesters)
BA European Media Studies (6 semesters)    (in cooperation with the University of Potsdam)

Master Level Programs

MA Design (2 semesters)    
MA European Media Studies (4 semesters)    
MA Urban Future Studies (4 semesters)   

Research Activity and Main Areas

Interaction Design Lab (IDL)
IDL combines emerging technologies and data from all areas of our everyday life to create useable, highly aesthetic and interactive products, systems and services. Our work approach combines excellent academic research on HCI (Human-Computer Interaction), InfoVis (Information Visualization) Geovisualization with agile business oriented design methods (Human-Centered Design, Service Design, Design Thinking etc.).


Urban Complexity Lab (UCL)
The Urban Complexity Lab hosts research projects related to the visualization of urban and cultural data. Especially concerning big data and smart cities, interface designers and visualization researchers develop a responsible approach towards data and study innovative methods of interactive visualization to make sense of complex datasets.



Doctorate Level Programs

As a University of Applied Sciences, the FHP cannot award doctorates.  However, interested students may conduct their doctorate research in cooperation with other universities, for example with KU Leuven, TU Berlin, University of Potsdam, Berlin University of the Arts, etc.   

Subject Areas for Exchange Students

BA Interface, Communication, Product Design, European Media Studies
MA Design
MA European Media Studies
MA Urban Future Studies                    

Taking its interdisciplinary approach seriously, the FHP offers so-called “inter-flex” classes, where every Department opens up some courses to students from all other disciplines. Students can get an insight into Architecture, Design, Social Work, and so on. Each inter-flex course is taught by two or more teachers from different disciplines.


Application Deadlines

Winter semester and academic year: 1 June
Summer semester: 1 November

Teaching Languages

German, English

A level of B1 according to the European Frame of Reference in either language is required.

Semester Dates

Winter Semester: October – approx. mid-February
Summer Semester: April – approx. mid-July   

Cost of Living Per Month (Studying and Living)

Approx. 800 – 1000€


Bachelor: 600
Master: 140
Doctorate: 6

Exchange Students

Incoming: Approx. 20
Outgoing: Approx. 30

Teaching Staff

Professors: 25
Lectures: 30

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