The aim of the Cologne International School of Design (KISD) is to overcome traditional design boundaries and combine different approaches, perspectives and practices in order to address problems and questions that cannot be solved within the boundaries of a single design discipline. Design is an integral part of every facet of the physical and virtual world. It is responsible for and works through products, environments, systems and services within political, social, economic and cultural contexts. We see design not only as an opportunity to intervene in these processes and question them, but also as the production, acquisition, communication and documentation of knowledge.
As part of the “Integrated Design” Masters, we deal with how design can deal with issues of contemporary culture, politics, media, ecology and urbanity. A key component of the program is the development of a thesis within one of the four thematic clusters. Following your research interests, you will come into contact with various specialist areas, expand or deepen your skills, and focus your own creative research.
We welcome applicants who deal with these overarching clusters and perspectives, who want to research and pursue them. They aim to push, transform and recalibrate the boundaries of design, theory, practice and disciplinary methods. As a master’s student, you can immerse yourself in an integrated, intercultural and interdisciplinary environment and work in research and practice-oriented design processes.
The Cologne International School of Design - KISD - as an institute of the Technical University of Cologne, is part of one of the largest state universities in Europe. It offers a project and student-centered learning and research environment that leaves plenty of room for independent study design.
Study integratively . Since KISD was founded, we have relied on a structure that consistently overcomes traditional and outdated subject boundaries within design and combines various design approaches, methods and practices. Our “Integrated Design” master’s degree systematically brings together different design perspectives and combines theory and practice.
Study interdisciplinary . As an integral part of our everyday and knowledge culture, design is integrated into complex relationships. In our holistic approach, design can only be viewed and developed using different scientific and creative disciplines. In the master’s program, the variety of theories and methods forms the basis for working out your own research approaches, design and development work. The KISD is therefore pursuing a systematic expansion of interdisciplinary interfaces at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences and in its international network of partner universities and economic cooperation partners.
Study internationally . In its study programs, the KISD relies on an internationalization strategy in which projects are implemented with international partners and guests and inter- and transcultural phenomena and processes are examined and designed. At KISD, too, with a high proportion of international students, we focus on promoting intercultural skills. As part of the master’s program, KISD cooperates with international partner universities within and outside Europe and offers the opportunity to complete the course with a double degree by extending it by one semester.
The master’s program comprises the three study sections “Integrated”, “Interdisciplinary” and “Elaborated”. In all study phases, the students are accompanied by several university professors and, when they decide on their own project, they are intensively supervised by two supervisors in the second and third semesters.
"Integrated" course of study. In the first semester, the students deal intensively with the concept of integrative design and independently carry out design-related drafting and development work. After intensive research phases, they develop their own questions in projects and studios, work on prototypes and models in the KISDlabs and develop their own perspectives on the theory, action and design field of »Integrated Design«. At the same time, the students explore opportunities for professionalization by learning about and evaluating a range of career perspectives in design in the “Professional Opportunities”.
"Interdisciplinary" course of study. In the second semester, the students develop their own research, development and design approaches and place them in a meaningful interdisciplinary context for their topic. Using design-specific drafting tools such as drawing, text, modeling or mapping, the students develop their own approaches and relate them to other disciplines. The social, cultural and global dimensions of design are also addressed and discussed with partners from industry, culture, teaching and research. Enriched by your own teaching experience, the semester ends with the presentation of a formulated topic approach and a draft presentation for further work.
"Elaborated" stage of study . The third semester concentrates entirely on developing the thesis independently. The thematic approaches of the second semester will be further developed, located in at least two subject areas of the KISD and systematically placed in an interdisciplinary context. Part of the work is a detailed and well-designed documentation, its public presentation or exhibition and a colloquium.
Study-related Relate & Reflect . All stages of the study are accompanied by a mentoring program and a colloquium, which gives the students the opportunity to discuss their development and projects with one another. We see peer learning as an essential aspect of the course. The colloquium combines personal reflection with an open discussion and feedback culture in which KISD teachers, students and external partners are involved. Mentoring and colloquium are therefore groundbreaking elements in the formation of a comprehensive range of skills.
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