Product design
in the making

MFA in Advanced Product Design

Programme Structure

All our programmes follow the Umeå University structure, and courses and projects are organized into 5, 10 or 20-week blocks. Within each block there are shorter course modules that offer specific skills training, theoretical studies and practical exercises. Project work forms the backbone of the Advanced Product Design Programme. Each of the first three terms includes a major project, which is usually carried out in cooperation with an external partner that can be a company, a research institution or a local authority. The fourth term is devoted entirely to the degree project. In total 50 of the 80 weeks of studies are dedicated to practical project work.

Group and Individual Work

A major part of the pedagogical philosophy practiced at the Advanced Product Design Programme is the conscious use and mixture of both group and individual work. All creative courses and term project involves a combination of group work and individual work. We have received acknowledgement from our professional network that this quality is evident and appreciated when our students are employed or out on internships.

Skill-based and Creative Courses

Both skill-based and creative courses are usually planned in 5-week blocks and are aimed at learning specific skills and applying them in practical exercises.

Realistic Projects with Industry and External Partners

The goal of the project work is to train the students in strategic areas of the product development process, and the projects are structured to introduce theory and skills at points where they are most relevant, each project has its own theme and emphasis. The main themes are: Design for user experience/people-centered design, strategic design and technological innovation.
Projects usually include lectures, study visits, site visits, group method work, user studies and studio work. The complexity of the projects increases during the study program to culminate in an independently conducted MA degree project.

Individual Degree Project

The fourth and final term is devoted entirely to the degree project and runs for 20 weeks. The degree project is often carried out in cooperation with a corporate sponsor or other external partner, usually on the initiative of the student. It is important that the degree project is seen as collaboration and not as commission. Students are expected to identify design opportunities, establish contact with an external partner and write a project brief that includes a problem definition, goals and wishes, description of intended work methods, anticipated deliverables, a time table and a budget overview.
The process of defining the projects starts early in the third term and is done in dialogue with the programme director.

Facilities Accessible 24 Hours a Day

Umeå Institute of Design is open for the students, 24 hours a day, 10 months per year. This implies that the students, after completed training and obtained licenses, are entrusted access to all the computer labs, various workshops and studios at any time.

External Tutors for Creative Courses and Projects

Besides the involvement of faculty members, experts and professional designers are brought in nationally as well as internationally to provid the best possible knowledge, inspiration and tutoring within their fields.

Corporate Sponsorship

Term and degree projects are often carried out in cooperation with external partners. The project brief is usually drawn up in detail by UID and typically includes a project description, expected goals, defined work methods, anticipated deliverables and a time schedule.


Our students are encouraged to carry out one or more internships, between their first and second study year.