The way
we do it


Course Structure

All our courses follow the Umeå University structure and are organised into 5, 10 or 20-week blocks. Within each block shorter course modules offer specific skills training, theoretical studies and practical exercises.

Studio Courses

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 3 days up to 2 weeks.

Applied Design Projects

Applied design projects form the backbone of the study programme. Each of the first three semesters includes a 10-week project carried out in cooperation with an external partner that can be a company, a research institution or other organisation. Projects run for half the semester and are structured to introduce theory and skills at points where they are most relevant. Projects usually include lectures, study visits, site visits, group method work, user studies and studio work. Our faculty cooperates with external partners to carefully formulate the content and direction of the projects. Project tutoring is given by our own faculty and visiting professional designers.

Examination Project

The fourth and final semester is devoted entirely to the examination project and runs for 20 weeks. The exam project is done 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 as commission. Students are expected to identify design opportunities, establish contact with a sponsor and write a project brief which includes project goals, description of methods, anticipated deliverables and outline budget. The process of defining the projects starts early in the third semester and is done in dialogue with faculty members and the Programme Director. A professional designer is assigned as external tutor to examination projects.

Corporate Sponsorship

Major semester projects and examination projects are done in cooperation with an external company, research group or other partner.

The project brief is usually drawn up in detail by UID and typically includes project description, goals, 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, Toyota, Scania, Volkswagen and Komatsu CE and also with many small and medium-size companies. Projects are also frequently done as part of our on-going applied research collaborations with Volvo Group (SET) and Umeå municipality.


Internships are not mandatory but students often take the opportunity during the summer months or by applying for a gap year. An elective internship course is offered during the third term. The students can do their internships at Swedish companies or organisations but it is increasingly common to work internationally