The 2-year practice-oriented and transdisciplinary study course is an educational framework for designers that aim to contribute to more sustainable, resilient, solidary and just futures — both locally and trans-locally.
Eco-Social Design is not only about more eco-efficient products and services but is striving for future-viable modes of production, consumption and life – for sustainable economies and cultures. Based on these general aims and values the design of products, spaces, processes, interactive applications and transmedia communication is understood as an integrated task. Design as a catalyst of desirable and necessary change.
With your projects, you try to approach today's issues effectively by (co-)designing concrete future-viable practices today and visions for tomorrow. You are encouraged to experiment with existing and emerging practices of collaboration and co-creation. The overarching goal is to encourage a good life for all! – humans, other living beings all over the planet now and in the future. Additionally, to this web page, you can get more insights by this presentation (PDF) and on our blog.
You will learn how to use instruments of diverse design practices and research combined with perspectives and competencies derived from social sciences and economics, and from sectors such as business, activism, technology and craft. This equips you to develop your ways to approach complex issues with reflection, creativity and pragmatism.
You have the possibility to set your personal focus, by choosing what to deepen within the rich set of design disciplines and sciences offered in the study program.
Degree class: LM-12
ECTS credits: 120
Duration of the course: 2 years
Courses will be taught in: English
Places available: 24 EU + 10 non-EU
Tuition fees: ca. € 1350 per year
During the first semester, you do a project starting off from a given local and provincial context. The aim is to create a shared basis for team/group work preparing you for more complex projects, to stimulate inspiration, and to facilitate your landing in unibz and the environs of Bozen-Bolzano. It is also an opportunity to meet the diverse network of students, teachers and external partners.
In the second semester, you develop an autonomous project, in teams or individually, together with external partners you choose. Throughout the course of studies, you will select courses from the areas 'Observe, Analyse & Apply' and 'Make & Intervene'. The former provide you with theoretical foundations, critical thinking and methods from the social and economic sciences. Through the latter, you will learn how to use tools and techniques for your creative work as a designer. Experienced designers, with various specializations, will support you with the development of your project along two lines: object-space-services and communication-interaction-services. The course in Design Research supports your project development and teaches basic approaches and methods of the field. All other courses you choose can contribute to the development of your project, too. If you want to extend your study plan further, you can choose courses from other faculties.
In the third semester, you carry out research through design and creative experimentation on a topic of your choice that acts as a foundation for your final thesis project. The integrated course in Design Research will be particularly helpful in this semester. This development process is accompanied by the 'Master Colloquia', during which you discuss your work-in-progress with teachers and with experts from outside the university.
In the fourth and last semester, you will focus on your final project including a comprehensive written thesis.
Freelance designer, researcher and blogger, Vienna/Berlin
“Studying at unibz in the Master Eco-Social Design with its rich facilities helped me find my personal way of working as a non-conventional designer while giving me two great years. I enjoyed spending time in the marvellous mountains around Bozen-Bolzano with my co-students and friends and loved the intimate atmosphere in this small university and city. I really appreciated the diversity of languages and the wide range of learning opportunities in and out of university. After completing my master studies in Eco-Social Design I moved to Vienna where I now work as a freelancer for several projects in the field of eco-social design, among them neuland21, a Berlin-based association for which I remotely work as a graphic designer, researcher and blogger. I enjoy my work there since through design I can help finding new ways to enhance quality of life and societal participation in the countryside. At the same time I am putting forth an effort to develop a little business out of my master thesis project "Zukunft Hinterland", a participatory and interactive audio-guide that promotes future-oriented initiatives in rural areas and therefore a positive image of the countryside.”
The spacious and sunny ateliers are open spaces for creative development and collaboration. Here you work in teams on your projects, in constant exchange with other students and the teachers. Supervision and constant consultation with experts and stakeholders is a crucial part of this study programme.
Our superbly equipped workshops offer a wide range of technologies for your design work, such as workshops for wood, metal, plastic, materials, digital modelling, plaster and mold making, surface treatment, printing (screen, tampon and high pressure), paper and bookbinding, photography, video and access to the Fab Lab BITZ.
Supervision and constant consultation with experts and stakeholders is a crucial part of this study programme.
Degree course director: Prof. Aart van Bezooijen
Student Representative in the Course Council: Yeva Kupchenko
Currently we offer exchange programmes with partner universities all over the world and we are part of a large network of collaboration with employers in Italy and abroad where you can undertake your internship. However, this study programme does not require a compulsory internship.
The MA Eco-Social Design supports students to invent and co-develop the professional practice that fits with them and with today's realities, challenges and potentials.
The variety of jobs in the traditional domain of design is already very broad and continues to expand. Eco-Social Design offers the possibility to set up your own design agency, work for interdisciplinary design agencies and/or collaborate with partners who are committed to environmental, social and political progress, such as NGOs, foundations, and public institutions, citizen groups, cooperatives and social enterprises. The expanding market of organic, eco-friendly and ethical products and services, the sharing economy and other innovative “alternative economies” create emergent fields for work opportunities to our graduates. For example, Community Economies and Commoning provide exciting contexts to contribute to, and to benefit from, new modes of work, production and consumption.
Everything you need to know as a degree-seeking applicant or as an incoming exchange student
You can book a Campus Tour with one of our Student Ambassadors and have the chance to visit unibz and get a glimpse of your future student life. Tours are available every working day from 8 May until 5 July 2023.
You can find all you need to know in order to apply and gain admission to this study programme by browsing through the information below.
Application: 01/03 - 27/04/2023 (by noon local time)
Language exams: 17/03/2023 (registration: 1-10/03/2023) and 13 - 14 and 17- 18 - 19/04/2023 (registration: 23/03-03/04/2023)
Interviews (on-line): 11/05/2023 (subject to change)
Publication of ranking lists: by 16/05/2023
Payment of the 1st instalment of the tuition fees: by 25/05/2023 (by noon local time)
Enrolment: 12/07 - 13/10/2023 (by noon local time)
Application: 17/05 - 06/07/2023 (by noon local time)
Language exams: 26/06 - 01/07/2023 (registration: 17/05 - 18/06/2023)
Interviews (on-line): 19/07/2023 (subject to change)
Publication of ranking lists: by 27/07/2023
Payment of the 1st instalment of the tuition fees: by 03/08/2023 (by noon local time)
Enrolment: 27/07 - 13/10/2023 (by noon local time)
Freshers Days: 02 - 03/10/2023
Classes: 02/10 - 23/12/2023
Holidays: 24/12/2023 - 07/01/2024
Classes: 08/01 - 27/01/2024
Exams: 29/01 - 05/03/2024
Classes: 04/03 - 28/03/2024
Holidays: 29/03 - 01/04/2024
Classes: 02/04 - 15/06/2024
Exams: 17/06 - 13/07/2024
Exams: 26/08 - 28/09/2024
EU citizens and citizens given parity of treatment
Early Bird Application: 15
Late Application: 9
Non-EU citizens (living abroad)
Early Bird Application: 10
The programme will only be offered if a minimum of 12 newly enrolled students is reached.
In order to gain admission to this programme you need one of the following qualifications:
1. a bachelor degree (*) in one of the following Italian degree classes or an equivalent qualification gained abroad:
(*) Italian citizen who have obtained their degree abroad must also have a secondary school leaving qualification.
2. a Diploma Accademico di primo livello of the “Accademie di Belle Arti” (DA1)
3. If you have another Italian degree, you need 10 credit points in the following scientific disciplinary sectors or in equivalent subjects – listed above under a) and b) - of the “Accademia di Belle Arti” (“Diploma Accademico di primo livello DA1”) or of the “Istituti Superiori per le Industrie Artistiche”:
4. a bachelor degree, university diploma or equivalent degree of another class or study qualifications earned abroad can be valued as adequate if, during your study career and before the beginning of the admission procedure, you have gained 10 credit points in the following fields: Design, Architecture and Spatial Planning, Landscape architecture, Interior Design, Cinema, Photography or Informatics.
A commission checks the validity and equivalence of the credit points.
If you have not yet graduated at the time of application:
You can apply, but you will be admitted conditionally, and need to submit your diploma by the enrolment deadline.
If you graduate after the enrolment deadline:
You cannot enrol and you will lose your place, which will be offered to the subsequent applicant in the ranking list. In this case you should not pay the tuition fees to secure your admission. You will be able to submit a late enrolment request and, only if there still are available places, you can enrol by 15 December 2023.
To be admitted you must fulfil the language requirements indicated in the section “Language requirements”.
According to national regulations, simultaneous enrolment in a maximum of 2 programmes is possible (however, the two programmes must not belong to the same class, e.g., LM-12/LM-12 and must differ for at least 2/3 of the course contents).
The official teaching language is English. Therefore, the following language requirements apply, otherwise you will be excluded from the admission procedure:
Entry level (to gain admission)
The levels of the Common European Framework of Reference apply.
You can demonstrate your language proficiency in the application portal (in the section “upload language certificates” and/or “enrol for language exams”) after you have created an application in the section “create/manage applications”.
You can demonstrate language proficiency through:
For information on studying in three languages also visit the following page.
Your application must be submitted online through the Application Portal. The deadlines are indicated in the “Deadlines” section.
Please note: Mendacious declarations will be criminally prosecuted and will result in the automatic exclusion from the ranking list.
You might apply for more than one study programme. If you are excluded in the first session, you might apply again in the second one.
Considered as equivalent are:
Only one application period is offered. After the deadline it is not possible to apply anymore. Application fee: € 50.
Once the ranking list has been published, if you have gained admission, secure it by paying the first instalment and then start your visa application on the Universitaly portal. The application on Universitaly is mandatory, otherwise you will not be allowed to enrol. On Universitaly you can apply for one study programme only.
The admission procedure includes two stages:
The first step is an evaluation of the documents that must be uploaded by the respective application deadline.
Selection criteria of stage 1:
The following documents need to be uploaded in the application portal:
1. academic background:
2. curriculum vitae in English (pdf);
3. outline of a project proposal (pdf), on which you would want to work for a semester. In max. two A4 pages, the main points must be explained and visualized concisely and appealingly. You may include text, images, graphics, etc. The required language is English;
The project outline should describe and contain:
4. portfolio in English (pdf) or conversion of a web-based portfolio (e.g. Behance) in PDF format indicating the URL.
It can contain also non-design projects in relevant fields (activism, social work, culture, volunteering, etc.)
Based on the documents received, the commission will decide, after judging the attitude and experience, which applicants will be admitted to the second stage of the admission process.
Max. 20 points
The second stage consists in an online interview designed to have a dialogue to get a deeper understanding on the candidate's ideas, experiences, motivations and points of view.
In the interview we will discuss:
Candidates must achieve a minimum score of 30/60 total points to be eligible for the enrolment.
In the event of equal total points, priority shall be given in the following order:
Only in case of equal scores, the youngest candidate will be chosen.
The Admission Committee will only evaluate the documents uploaded in the portal by the application deadline. The ranking lists with the admitted students will be published here: https://www.unibz.it/en/applicants/ranking-lists/ and are only valid for the respective academic year.
If you have been admitted to more than one study programme, you can secure your admission for a maximum of 2 programmes by paying the designated rate twice. By confirming your place, you renounce admission to the other programmes.
1. Choose the study programme and pay the fees (to secure your admission) in the application portal.
The deadlines are indicated in the “Deadlines” section.
If you do not meet this deadline, you will automatically be excluded and the next applicant in the ranking list will be admitted.
For EU citizens and citizens given parity of treatment only: any remaining places of the early bird application, will be offered in the late application.
Please note that you do not gain full student status by only paying the tuition fees. This status will only be acquired upon enrolment. If you have secured your admission, there will be no refund of the tuition fees unless you do not pass your secondary school final exam or, in the event of non-EU applicants living abroad, you do not receive the documents necessary for enrolment from the Italian authorities in your country.
2. Enrol online in the application portal.
The deadlines are indicated in the “Deadlines” section.
Enrolment is recommended as early as possible, so you have the possibility to upload incomplete documents before the deadline.
If you do not meet the enrolment deadline, you will be excluded and the next applicant in the ranking list will be admitted.
Admission with reservation:
If you do not have the required academic qualification, you will be given a conditional offer for a study place and you must submit your qualification upon enrolment. If you achieve your qualification after the enrolment deadline, you cannot enrol, and you will lose your place which will be offered to the subsequent applicant in the ranking list. Advice: If you achieve your qualification after the enrolment deadline, you should not pay the tuition fees to confirm the study place. You will be able to submit a late enrolment request and, only if there are study places still available, you can enrol by 15 December 2023.
If you have gained your qualification abroad, you must certify that at the universities in the country where you gained your qualification, you can access to a study programme similar to that chosen at unibz. Therefore you must upload (if not uploaded upon application):
and one of the following:
Please note that if you do not possess a valid admission qualification, you could be excluded with Rector’s decree even after enrolment.
If you are a non-EU citizen living abroad:
If you are eligible for admission (check the ranking lists) and have also applied on Universitaly, the Italian Authorities in your own country will issue you the entry visa for studies/university.
This will allow you to arrive in Italy to enrol for the study programme that you have applied for, after passing the admission procedure.
According to Italian law, within 8 working days of your arrival in Italy, you must have applied for the residence permit: as soon as you arrive, get in touch with the Advisory Service and you will be given the necessary information for starting the procedure.
Once you will obtain your residence permit (permesso di soggiorno), you have to hand it in at the Student Secretariat personally or via e-mail.
Students intending to transfer from another Italian University to unibz must submit to the Student Secretariat - at the beginning of the academic year - a copy of the transfer application presented at the university of provenance.
Fees amount to € 1364
Delayed payment of the second instalment will result in a fine being levied. If you have not paid the tuition fees, you will be unable to take exams and will not be able to transfer to other universities or other study programmes.
If you drop out of a programme, interrupt your studies or are excluded from studies, you are not entitled to reimbursement of the fees.
Exemption from the tuition fees (and the provincial tax) is granted to:
Students who benefit from a scholarship granted by the Autonomous Province of Bozen-Bolzano are entitled to receive a refund of the tuition fees.
Credit points from previous university studies can only be recognised after enrolment if the exams taken at the university of provenance are equivalent in content to those offered at unibz. You can fill out the application after enrolment.
The Advisory Service provides support regarding your choice of study. In many cases a simple call or a short request is enough to get the relevant information (Tel. +39 0471 012100).
Photography: Stefania Zanetti, Andrea Dieck | Illustration: Insa Keilbach, Giulia Bencini | Infographics: Lisa Borgenheimer ('Arena' based on an idea of Alvise Mattozzi)