The best design school is not one school.

The MEDes is a unique network of seven leading European design schools. During the five year programme, students are integrated into three design education systems and join a strong international community. These diverse experiences provide them with different approaches to design, multi-national perspectives and sensitivity to cultural differences. The MEDes course encourage and enables students to develop- their creativity and imagination, their design research and investigation skills, and their professional executive practice.


The Master of European Design, also known as MEDes, is a peculiar program provided by seven european schools of design. The students, part of this network follows a course of studies in three of the seven partner institutions.

The study structure
The first and the second year are spent at the home institution, where a Bachelor degree is started. The third year is the first exchange abroad which results in the conclusion of the Bachelor degree, that is prepared at the partner institution in collaboration with the home institution. The second year abroad is spent in a third partner school, and it's the first Master year. The students return to their home institution in the fifth year, to combine the diverse experiences to write the final thesis. During their stay abroad each student follows the particular curriculum the the individual partner schools. The studies take place in English or in the respective national language.
How to apply
Every MEDes student starts his journey by being regularly enrolled in one of the institutions, where he or she will be officially studying for the whole course of the study programme. To apply to the MEDes programme, first of all you have to find out at which institution you want to start your journey. Being a network of diverse partners, each school has its own application procedure.


Every school is different and has its peculiar strengths.
That's what makes the Master of European Design so special. Every student has the opportunity to deal with very different approaches to design, but also personal growth. Use the menu beside or scroll to read about each single school.

MEDes' schools map
Aalto University
School of Arts, Design and Architecture
Founded in 2010
69 teachers
3000 students
Aila Laakso:
The School of Art, Design and Architecture (ARTS) is part of the multidisciplinary Aalto University. Aalto Arts is located in Helsinki but will move to new spaces in Otaniemi, Espoo in 2015 (estimate) where the main campus of Aalto University will reside.

Helsinki is a city where nature and the sea are always close. In the summer you get to experience the sunny nights and in the winter the short, snowy days. Since it is fairly small, moving around with public transport is easy and biking is popular. If you take the time and make the effort to get to know this nordic city and its people, you'll discover interesting events and beautiful places. Living expenses are quite high, but student organisations offer affordable apartments.

MEDes students are part of the master degree program in Collaborative and Industrial design in the Department of Design. The program focuses on design innovation. It enables in-depth understanding of design’s role in society, and provides its students advanced skills to work as designers in both corporative and entrepreneurial roles. Project-based learning is emphasized, the modules often include a project to take the design inquiry into real world contexts. Students learn empathic, critical, strategic and technological skills needed in design innovation processes. They are also encouraged to explore roles unforeseen in design industry.

The program offers studies in three different competence areas: Advanced Industrial Design (AID), Collaborative Design (CoD) and Design Strategy and Leadership (DSL). AID develops skills to work with contemporary product development and manufacturing processes, high-quality form giving, prototyping and concrete industrial collaboration through projects. CoD focuses on user as the starting point for design action, and expands the scope towards collaborative design processes, the use of interactive technologies, and the design of services, in societal context and in business. DSL instills and develops the attitude and capability to successfully utilize design in the creation, development and management of contemporary business practice.
ENSCI - Les Ateliers
Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle
Founded in 1982
80 teachers
240 students
Elisabeth Davis:
ENSCI - Les Ateliers is recognized for its innovative approach to design education, based on the following principles: diversity of student profiles, individualized curricula, mixed year groups, project-based learning, international experience.

Les Ateliers was designed to provide Masters-level design education. The School offers a balance of academic study and professional experience via a generalist, industrial design program. Rather than channelling learning according to separate design disciplines, each student experiences a broad range of project contexts, areas and partnerships, gradually developing a personal design profile.

The academic year is divided into two semester blocks of 5 months during which students organize their work between classes, seminars and a studio-project. Orientation tutorials close the semester and fix a personal study program for the semester ahead, according to each student's background, progress and design interest. Consequently, project teams and some classes are mixed-level and every students benefits from the experience of the others.

The project studios are led by practising designers who represent different specialist areas and design focus. Students change project groups each semester, thus benefiting from a range of professional approaches throughout their course of studies.
For the main part, studio projects are run in partnership with companies, public services, research laboratories etc., with clients who are actively involved at each stage of the project's development. Each project benefits from input from a broad range of experts and users, thus encouraging transdisciplinary team working. Wood, metal, plastic and model workshops are available to students and most projects end with the realization of prototypes or models.
University of Aveiro, Departamento de Comunicação e Arte
Founded in 1996
26 teachers
360 students
Teresa Franqueira (coordinator MEDes at UA):
Pedro Almeida (responsible for ERASMUS Design):
The new member of the MEDes program, the Communication and Art Department of the University of Aveiro (UA) is one of the leading programs in Portugal. It is a relatively young school, but one on the rise. The bachelor's program offers a general design degree incorporating graphic and industrial design. The school has a strong profile that is more focused on the theory and the design process rather than on pure technical skill. There is also an emphasis on the conceptual thinking and strategic vision, oriented towards business. The strength of the program is that it teaches students to think and it is very rooted in contemporary culture, as evidenced by its situation within the communication and art department at the University of Aveiro. Materials, technology, management, communication and art are considered as contexts in which designers must work and this idea is the basis of the interdisciplinary teaching at UA. However, this does not means that production technique is forgotten.

The first cycle (bachelor) focuses on the development of a personal project methodology. This provides a good foundation, and offers students the opportunity to figure out their preferred direction, even if they are not sure what aspect of design holds their interest. The second cycle(master) aims to entrench students in the "state of the art" of a particular field of knowledge in design. An area of specialization is chosen from service design, identity design or product design. The professors, who are usually practicing designers, are a strength of the school, and often hire students for small projects. The university environment also offers networking outside of art and creative practice, if students are interested in other fields.

There is a large end-of-year exhibition in the main building of the school. Many people (including professionals in design fields) visit the exhibition, so it is a good opportunity for the students to be noticed and meet people in the field. The city of Aveiro is dynamic, medium-sized city with about 75,000 inhabitants, with students making up the majority of the population. It offers much of what big cities can offer, but without the urban chaos or loss of quality of life. It has a great deal to offer visitors such as great examples of Art Nouveau, the Aveiro lagoon and the saltpans, the canals, the long beaches a few minutes away from the city and the many green spaces.Though students have to travel to Lisbon or Porto for most major cultural events.
Glasgow School of Art
Founded in 1845
80 teachers
650 students
Ian Grout:
The Glasgow School of Art is a dynamic school that serves to broaden the minds of the designers who go there. The emphasis in the product design department is on the social aspect of design, and many projects are orientated around the exploration of how people and things interact. Often working beyond 'things,' at GSA you are encouraged instead to design 'experiences' in 2,3 or 4D, both material and immaterial, concerning both product and service. If you are keen on investigating context, designing in the frame of experience and social innovation, then you'll love GSA!

GSA has just under 2000 students in three main schools, the school of fine arts, design and architecture. This mixture of disciplines means that the school is diverse and there is always something interesting happening! The Product Design department sits within the school of design and is comprised of around 80 students. Each class is approximately 20 students.

Most MEDes students join the third year of the PD department. This year is focused during the first semester on service design and social innovation, often working in transdisciplinary teams. During the second semester students tend to do projects based on products as experiences.

Usually students follow a linear style course with one or two projects running simultaneously for a few weeks to a few months at a time. The class really become your team at GSA and it is important to communicate your process, discuss your work and support each other. Tutoring is offered on a regular basis and critique is often given in the form of project presentations with the relevant stakeholders. Glasgow is Scotland's largest city and as you get to know it you'll discover its wealth of pop up galleries, cafés and buzzing underground music scene. The Art School really drives many of the cultural activities in the city, so as a student there you're in the hub of the action. Glasgow has some of the friendliest people in Britain, and also the most rain! It is quite a cheap city to live in, and it is easy to access the beautiful countryside that surrounds the city. The social scene in the city is great and the academic year culminates each summer with the degree show, and a massive party!
Köln International School of Design
Founded in 1991
22 teachers
450 students
Oliver Baron:
Lisa Janßen (International Cooperation Center):
The Köln International School of Design offers a study program of integrated design that embrace twelve areas of expertise, the basis for interdisciplinary and project-oriented design program, in which the students can develop their own main focuses. A different study program is released every semester, including successful classes repeated every year, as well as new projects providing ways to experiment, learn and discover things. Every student can choose his own study path, consequently students with different experiences and backgrounds are working together in each class. A large range of courses and projects are held in English, which is really convenient for internationals.

In general, studies at the KISD are project-oriented. Besides these projects the studies are stamped by scientific seminars, which are accompanied by lectures, technical seminars and workshop introductions, all involving both theoretical al practical aspects. The week is scheduled so that students can attend the "Friday presentations" where every project are shown and discussed in front of the entire school. An unique experience inside KISD is the strong sense of community between students, who cooperate, discuss and share knowledges and experiences, under the unwritten code of the “KISD Spirit”. Everyone is involved in the running of the school, creating events, taking part in AGs: working groups responsible for different aspects of the school life such as workshops, international activities and the coffee shop, called Gute Stube, that is the center of gravity for both students, professors and staff.

Studying in KISD also means living in one of the most exciting and liveable cities in Europe. Köln is a city “with heart and soul”: its unique cheerful mood starts in November to explode in the third biggest Carnival in the world, during February, as a proper balance with the local Kölsch beer, to the grey winter sky and the hasty post-war architecture. Köln offers to its inhabitants a wide range of recreational opportunity: museums, art galleries, beautiful parks, as well as a wide range of clubs, from the oldest jazz club in Germany to the exciting nightlife of Ehrenfeld, all under the magnificent architecture of the Dom, the heart of the city.
University College of Arts, Crafts and Design
Founded in 1844
70 teachers
600 students
Konstfack is Sweden's largest university college of arts, crafts and design comprising of around 800 students. Located in what was once the Ericsson factory, the school has immense workshops dealing in everything from metal and wood to glass and ceramics. Due to Sweden's culture of traditional design methods and craftsmanship, this is followed through in the teaching of design at the school yet combined with modern approaches to the design process and in particular, sustainability.

The industrial design department at Konstfack is comprised of around 70 students, split into year groups and on two different programs, the bachelors and the masters. Most MEDes students join the first Masters year, as this is taught in English. the class size is around 14, and the same class is kept throughout the year, however there are options to do elected courses in other areas within the school. The Industrial Design masters at Konstfack concentrates on the identification and positioning of you as a designer in the wider design context. Students follow an initial course which investigates different theories on design processes which is then put into practise by designing in the realms of service, commercial and critical product. This enables the students to reflect upon their own practises and develop a position within the design world. There is a encouragement at Konstfack towards the academic side of design, with courses in research through artistic practise, as well as design strategy and working with businesses. However there is always the opportunity to get busy in the workshops and put the theory into practise! Another important aspect at Konstfack is sustainability, and how our impact as designers will shape the future.
The masters course is fairly linear in style with one project at a time but with interjecting short courses and workshops with guest lecturers. The pace is such that there is also a little time for personal projects and reflection time.

Stockholm is branded the 'capital of Scandinavia' and it does seem that good design is appreciated in the city, with a vibrant design community - many of whom are graduates from Konstfack and so becoming involved in the design scene is relatively easy! The city is culturally rich, very clean and close to nature (which you learn to appreciate as a free activity.) One minute you are walking through the city centre and the next you find yourself in the middle of a forest or swimming in a lake! Winter is very long and dark, but there are always things happening at Konstfack as well as in the city; there are many Swedish festivals and celebrations throughout the year! In summer time everything opens up and people enjoy spending time outdoors or taking a boat out to the archipelago.
Politecnico di Milano
Founded in 1993
700 teachers
4000 students
Anne Schoonbrodt:
Politecnico di Milano is one of the most important schools of applied sciences in Italy: it historically started as an engineering school, then expanded into the field of architecture and finally in design. Since the school comes from such a technical background as engineering, a lot of importance is given to problem solving and functional approaches over styling and decoration.

The classes are usually very big, with around 50 students per class. This entails that most of the projects are made in groups, where collaboration and teamwork are the basis for a successful project. Another aspect is the importance given to the combination of cultural knowledge to practical projects: while there are many different beautiful workshops used to support every project, lectures play an important role and deal with a span of topics, from history of art to marketing.

The school is divided in several specific courses; both at the bachelor and at the master level students follow classes according to these disciplines: product design, communication design, fashion design and interior design. As a MEDes student you are free to take part in your own cocktail of classes from these courses or to attend the Product-Service System Design course. The PSSD approach consists in looking at the design process with a comprehensive perspective and plan the overall system that surrounds a product or a service in all the aspects of its lifecycle. The classes have a particular outlook for innovation and internationality.

The campus has very pleasurable outside spaces, where students can lie down on the grass and enjoy their free time in the sun, while in the streets all around you can find all kinds of food... Something very important for Italian people! For what concerns the city... Milan is certainly the poshest Italian city! You'll have plenty of fun and always find someone ready to get an evening aperitivo with you. Don't forget to take some time to travel around Italy: the lake region and cities like Rome, Florence or Venice are a must while you live here!