PhD level courses

Here you can find all current and previous PhD courses given at UID, and the ones previously given within the national PhD school Designfakulteten (or D! for short).

UID mandatory courses

Third-cycle studies in industrial design that are to be concluded with a doctoral degree consist of a course component of 70-100 credits which is divided up so that mandatory courses constitute a minimum of 40 credits, of which UID seminar participation constitutes 8 credits. Faculty level mandatory courses comprise a total of 10 credits. The remainder of the credits are comprised of elective courses.

The subject-specific courses are divided between four thematic areas (at least 5 credits within each area). The mandatory courses are given at UID on a regular basis of 1-2 courses per semester, so that enrolled PhD students can plan their participation in these over the course of their education:

  • Use and users: Deepened insights into user studies, user-centred design, participatory and user-driven design processes, including basic insights into methodology from the behavioural and social sciences.

  • Design history: The history of design and design research, including basic insights into the relevant research methodologies stemming from historical studies and the humanities.

  • Design research methodology: Practice-based design research, including deepened insights into the research methodologies of artistic and experimental design research.

  • Design theory: Deepened understanding of the theory and philosophy of design, including basic insights into methods and ways of working with theory development.

  •  Seminar participation:  The research seminar provides a forum for presentation and discussion of ongoing research, as well as and in relation to other work in design research and other relevant discourses. 


Faculty of Science and technology mandatory courses:

Each term, the Faculty of Science and technology gives several of the below mandatory courses. These are announced online.  For course dates, information and application, click here

- Oral Presentation (Muntlig presentation), 1ECTS. Syllabus can be found here.

Introduction to research ethics, (Etik och redlighet) 2ECTS. Course description can be found  here.

- Communicating Scientific Research (Kommunicera vetenskaplig forskning), 3 ECTS.Syllabus can be found  here.

- Philosophy of Science (Vetenskapsteori), 2ECTS.  Course description can be found  here.

- Writing Science (Vetenskapligt skrivande), 5ECTS. Course description  here.

Previous courses:

Philosophy of/on/in/through Design 

Credits: 7,5 credits
Responsible:  Johan Redström

philosophy img

This course aims a deepened understanding of the theory and philosophy of design, including basic insights into philosophical methods and ways of working with theory development. Including both historical works and contemporary examples, the courses gives the student a more developed ability to understand, articulate and critique conceptual and philosophical matters in design. In terms of research abilities, this is also about how to achieve a more consistent and coherent argument, and how to structure and articulate the logic of a design inquiry. The purpose of the course is not to give the students a comprehensive overview of all philosophy relevant to design, but rather to inquiry into the relations one might establish between design and philosophy. As such, the course will focus on philosophical works and positions that have had a historical impact on design discourse.

Course Syllabus 


Design Fictions and Design Histories

Credits:  6                                                                                                                                       Responsible:   Finn Arne Jørgensen 


A PhD course at Umeå Institute of Design exploring the past futures and future pasts of technological gadgets. Read more»

[course syllabus]


Methodology in Artistic & Practice-Based Design Research 

Credits: 7,5                                                                                                                                       Responsible:  Johan Redström 

The course deals with methodological issues in contemporary artistic and practice-led research with focus on interactions between theory, practice and knowledge in experimental design research.

[Course syllabus]
[Course additions]


From Lines to Designs, 4,5 credits

Responsible: Gareth Paterson
Dates: 22-23 January 2013

This course focuses on developing a grounded, critical and intellectual understanding of shape creation, one of the core competencies of design practice. It responds to a growing interest in embodiment as a creative process, rather than simply as the employment of technical ability. It assumes that practical engagement with shape creation activities will lead to a fuller intellectual understanding of more general theories of creativity, as well as an appreciation of the nature of shape creation in design.

The course will require students to examine how shape creation can be understood as both an internal process of reasoning, and one where authorship can be seen as distributed between the head and the world. It will critically investigate physical and virtual shape creation practices as a means of developing a theoretical understanding of the reasoning employed in them. This will be achieved by reading relevant texts, experiencing shape creation at first hand and reflecting on the set texts in the light of that experience.

The overall purpose of the course, therefore, is to give students a grounded view of shape reasoning by reflecting on the embodiment of designs as an intelligent (though a-verbal) activity comprised of interlocking processes of perception, action and cognition.

The course format consists of two days of classes and exercises, and tasks to fulfill individually.

[course syllabus] 


Tools and Methods in Early Design Process, 5 credits

Course responsible: Canan Akoglu
Start: October 23, 2012

This course focuses on creating an understanding of   collaboration among design professions such as industrial design, interaction design and service design in early design processes. During the course, we will focus on especially the tools and methods that these three professions use throughout the early design process. The course will end examining whether a common approach in terms of tools and methods might enrich the design process for all.

The overall purpose of the course is to support PhD students to get an understanding of the nature of industrial design, interaction design and service design professions; to examine the tools and methods that the three professions use throughout the early design process; to establish a critical and reflective view on how to use and/or develop tools and methods for common use.

[course syllabus] [schedule/overview]


  • Previous PhD projects

    Søren Rosenbak
    The science of imagining solutions: design becoming conscious of itself through design (2019) more»

    Christoffel Kuenen
    The Aesthetics of Being Together (2018)  more»

    Rouien Zarin
    Faster. Stronger. Better? Designing for Enhanced Engagement of Extreme Sports (2017) more»

    Lorenzo Davoli
    Presence and participation in the transformation of industrial infrastructures (2016) more»

    Tara Mullaney
    Thinking beyond the Cure: Experience Design and Healthcare (2016) more»

    Guido Hermans
    Opening Up Design: Engaging the Layperson in the Design of Everyday Products
    (2015) more»

    Camille Moussette
    Simple Haptics: Sketching Perspectives for the Design of Haptic Interactions (2012)  more»