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Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

Master in

Eco-social Design

In this 2-year course you will learn how to develop positive practices of eco-social change and make them visible. You will also help local enterprises to emphasise their value and productive potential in a globalised economy.

Illustration from the project "Pioniere" by Giulia Bencini & Insa Keilbach
From the project "Pioniere" by Giulia Bencini & Insa Keilbach

An eco-social designer does not just develop products and services that are more effective from a social and environmental point of view. Their professionalism serves an ethical vision of the future: design can indeed act as a catalyst for social development and promote change of lifestyles, consumption and production by making them more sustainable. In order to reach this goal, the creation of products, the discovery of new uses for these products and communicating to the public have to be dealt with across sectors.

Our students work independently on projects that address real current issues. While looking for effective solutions to contemporary problems, they are encouraged to envisage and create actual scenarios for a different future, experimenting with creative practices of cooperation and co-production. Their focus is on the impact of their creations on society and the environment, without neglecting design quality, from a functional and aesthetic point of view.

Think laterally to create effective solutions that can easily turn into reality

From the project "Malszeit" by Johanna Perret & Lena Rieger
From the project "Malszeit" by Johanna Perret & Lena Rieger

You will learn how to use the tools of designers, besides incorporating into your creative work also perspectives and competences borrowed from the social and economic sciences and sectors such as: business, society, technology and the crafts. This interdisciplinary study programme merges theory and practice. For those projects on which you will work during the two years of the course, you will be required to work independently and look for creative solutions to complex issues. The study programme includes an in-depth study of various aspects of design and offers you the opportunity to customise your study plan, focusing on specific techniques and fields.

From the project "Hemphasis" by Stefania Zanetti & Andreas Sebastianelli
From the project "Hemphasis" by Stefania Zanetti & Andreas Sebastianelli


At a glance

Degree class: LM-12
ECTS credits: 120
Duration of the course: 2 years
Courses will be taught in: Italian, German, English
Places available: 20 EU + 2 non-EU
Campus: Bozen-Bolzano
Tuition fees: €1.343,50 per year

Structure: Your project is everything

Il progetto è tutto!

During the first two semesters, you will be required to develop a project. For this reason, we recommend that you choose modules from the areas 'Sciences and Discourse' (in black) and 'Skills and Technologies' (in red). The former provide you with theoretical foundations, critical thinking and practical methodologies from the social and economic sciences that are relevant to your project. Through the latter, you will learn how to use the most important tools and techniques for your creative work as a designer. Specialists in the field, with various competences, will support students with the development of their projects along two aspects: object-space-services and communication-interaction-services. The modules you choose and help from lecturers will all contribute to the development of your project. If you want to customise your study plan further, you can choose modules from other faculties.


In the third semester, you will have to carry out a research project about a topic of your choice, experimenting with innovative approaches and developing a project that will turn into your dissertation. For this activity, the Design Research module will be very useful. In the fourth and last semester, you will focus on writing your dissertation. This stage of your work will also include 'Master Colloquia' (Master meetings), during which you can discuss the most disparate topics - science, research, economics, civil service, politics and society – with experts from outside the university.

Facilities and study environment

Master Atelier Federica 18062016 SS22234

In our studios, equipped with the best tools, you will find the necessary technology to carry out project work for traditional craftwork, rapid prototype creation and Physical Computing.


The labs: wood, metal, plastics, materials, digital modelling, mold making , surface treatment, print, paper and bookbinding, photography, video, electronics (Tangible User Interface & Physical Computing)

Katherina Longariva & Alastair Fuad-Luke

 Supervision and constant consultation with experts and stakeholders is a crucial part of this study programme.

Conference By Design or by Disaster

In order to get an idea of the themes we tackle in our modules, you can check out the website for our latest conference on design and communication for eco-social transformation: Glocal Design Spring 2015 & By Design or by Disaster 2016

For us it is not just work – it is a way of lfe.

You will find the latest updates on our blogfacebook pagetwitter and in our newsletter, to which you can subscribe here.

Ecosocial Design Kris Krois unibz


Degree course director: Kris Krois (photo)
Student representative in the Course Council: Lena Rieger

Team of Teachers: Adelheid Biesecker, Lisa Borgenheimer, Andrea De Chirico, Sabina Frei, Alastair Fuad-Luke, Günther Innerebner (, Kris Krois, Kuno Prey, Matteo Moretti,  Alvise Mattozzi, Karl Emilio Pircher (walking chair), Andreas Metzner-Szigeth, Elisabeth Tauber

Career opportunities

The variety of jobs in the traditional field of design is already very broad and ranges from working in design studios to communication agencies and in-house communication offices in companies to freelance activity. Eco-social design also offers the possibility to collaborate with partners who are committed to and interested in environmental, social and political change, like NGOs, foundations, local councils and other public institutions, cooperatives, citizen groups, not-for-profit enterprises and other social organisations. Also the expanding market of organic, eco-friendly and ethical products and services, the sharing economy as well as other forms of more traditional businesses in the process of transformation, they all offer opportunities to our graduates.

This Master degree also enables you to continue further with your studies towards a practice-oriented doctoral degree.

studying at unibz

Studying at unibz

Living in South Tyrol, Housing, Scholarships, Single Subject Courses and more

International applicants 3

International Applicants (non-EU)

Application procedure, Visa, Residence permit and more


In order be admitted to the course, you will be required to prove that you have a C1 level of competence in the first language and B2 in the second language. If you don't have an official language certification, you can take a language exam at our university.
In order to attend your classes fruitfully, the university offers a six-month course to learn the third language required by the programme.

  1. Online application from 18 May to 20 July 2017
  2. Admission is based on: Degree, curriculum vitae, outline of a project proposal and an interview

In order to get admission you need a degree in “Design industriale”, in “Scienze dell’architettura”, in “Scienze della pianificazione territoriale, urbanistica, paesaggistica e ambientale” or with a degree of the “Accademie delle Belle Arti”. Candidates with other degrees need at least to have acquired 10 ECTS credits* in the following fields:

  • ICAR/13: Industrial Design
  • ICAR/14: Design of Architecture and Spatial Planning
  • ICAR/15: Landscape architecture
  • ICAR/16: Interior Design
The ranking lists will be published by 4 August 2017.

More details can be found in the study manifesto.

Contact us by phone at +390471012100 or via e-mail to

Study Manifesto

Apply here

Ranking list

Photography: Stefania Zanetti, Andrea Dieck | Illustration: Insa Keilbach, Giulia Bencini | Info-graphic: Kris Krois

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