All our courses follow the Umeå University structure and are
structured into 5-, 10- or 20-week blocks. Within each block
shorter course modules offer specific skills training, theoretical
studies and practical exercises.
Studio courses are usually part of a 5-week block and are aimed
at learning specific skills and applying them in practical
exercises. Students work individually or in groups. The duration of
studio courses can range from three days up to two weeks.
Applied Design Projects
Applied design projects form the backbone of the study
programme. Projects usually include lectures, field trips, site
visits, group method work, user studies and studio work. Our
faculty carefully formulates the content and direction of projects
in cooperation with the external partner. Project tutoring is given
by our own faculty and visiting professional designers.
We choose human-centered projects based on specific user groups
rather than product categories. Three categories of use are
defined; professional use, domestic use and public use. Examples
include Communication Tools for Truck Operators (cooperation: Volvo
Trucks), Health Care Support in the Home (cooperation: Umeå
Municipality), The Networked Home (cooperation: Electrolux, Italy)
and Living with Media (cooperation: IKEA, Sweden).
The fourth and final term is devoted entirely to the examination
project. The exam project is carried out in cooperation with a
corporate sponsor or other external partner usually on the
initiative of the student. It is important that the exam project is
seen as collaboration and not a commission. Students are expected
to define a problem area, establish contact with a sponsor and
write a project brief that includes project aims, description of
methods, anticipated deliverables and outline budget. The process
of defining projects starts early in the third term and is done in
dialogue with faculty members and the programme leader. A
professional designer is assigned as external tutor to examination
Major term projects and examination projects are done in
cooperation with an external company, research group or other
partner. Projects can be initiated either by Umeå Institute of
Design or by the company concerned and it is important that the
project is seen as collaboration and not a commission in order to
encourage experiment and avoid conflict with the company's on-going
product development activities.
The project brief is usually drawn up in detail by the institute
and typically includes project description, aims, suggested
methods, expected deliverables and presentation.
Since the establishment of Umeå Institute of Design in 1989 we
have cooperated with more than a hundred companies including major
corporations such as Volvo Cars, Saab Automobile, IKEA, Sony
Ericsson, Nokia and Electrolux as well as many small and
medium-size companies. Projects are also frequently done as part of
our on-going applied research collaborations with Volvo Trucks
(SET), ABB and Umeå Municipality.
Internships are not obligatory but students often take the
opportunity during the summer months. Internships can be with
Swedish companies or organizations but it is increasingly common to