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.
Study courses in Italy, including this Masters, start in October, so do not be deterred from applying because of the current coronavirus prevention measures. Please don’t hesitate to apply, and please help spread this message. We believe the coronavirus crisis makes it clear that design for social-ecological transformation is needed more than ever. Persons with all kinds of backgrounds can apply. A Bachelor degree in design is not required (only 10 ECTS in related fields). The diversity of students is enriching. Note: persons from non-EU countries can only apply in the early bird period. While in the later application period, ending 9 July 2020, only EU citizens can apply (for more information on the application procedure please scroll down).
We have postponed our annual By Design or by Disaster Conference to 1–4 October 2020. Additionally, we are organising the Beyond Crisis Conference, 17-18 April 2020, tackling the question: How to use the virus-induced situation to build up momentum for social-ecological transformation? Registration is open until 5 April.
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: 31 EU + 8 non-EU
Tuition fees: €1,348.50 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.
In the fourth and last semester, you will focus on your thesis project and the written thesis that goes along with it.
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.
You can get an impression of our topics and the atmosphere by visiting our blog and the blog post of our upcoming conference By Design or by Disaster 2020. This year we are founding the alumni and students network of study courses for social-ecological transformation. Transformative study programs unite!
Degree course director: Prof. Kris Krois (photo)
Student Representative in the Course Council: Janine Vorfeld
Team of Teachers: Lisa Borgenheimer, Nitzan Cohen, Sabina Frei, Alastair Fuad-Luke, Andrea Fumagalli, Kris Krois, Alvise Mattozzi, Matteo Moretti, Andreas Metzner-Szigeth, Karl Emilio Pircher (walking chair), Günther Reifer (terra institute), Elisabeth Tauber, Corinna Sy (cuccula), Secil Ugur Yavuz, Jan-Christoph Zoels (experientia)
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.
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: 02/03 - 28/04/2020 (by noon local time)
Language exams: 16 - 17/04/2020, if necessary, also on 18/04 (registration 22/03 - 07/04/2020)
Admission procedure and publication of ranking lists: by 18/05/2020
Payment of the 1st instalment of the tuition fees: by 28/05/2020 (by noon local time)
Enrolment: 15/07 - 16/10/2020 (by noon local time)
Application: 20/05 - 09/07/2020 (by noon local time)
Language exams: 29/06 - 03/07/2020, if necessary, also on 04/07 or 06/07 (registration 25/05 - 19/06/2020)
Admission procedure and publication of ranking lists: by 29/07/2020
Payment of the 1st instalment of the tuition fees: by 06/08/2020 (by noon local time)
Enrolment: 29/07 - 16/10/2020 (by noon local time)
Freshers Days: 28 - 29/09/2020
Classes: 28/09 - 23/12/2020
Holidays: 24/12/2020 - 06/01/2021
Classes: 07/01 - 16/01/2021
Exams: 18/01 - 13/02/2021
Classes: 22/02 - 01/04/2021
Holidays: 02/04 - 05/04/2021
Classes: 06/04 - 12/06/2021
Exams: 14/06 - 10/07/2021
Exams: 23/08 - 25/09/2021
EU citizens and citizens given parity of treatment
Early Bird Application: 20
Late Application: 11
Non-EU citizens (living abroad)
Early Bird Application: 8
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 18 December 2020.
To be admitted you must fulfil the language requirements indicated in the section “Language requirements”.
Concurrent enrolment at several universities or in several study programmes at the same university is not allowed.
The official teaching language is English and the following language requirements apply:
Entry level (to gain admission)
Exit level (to graduate)
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:
The registration periods are indicated in the "Deadlines" section. If you start your application outside a language exams registration period, you must return to the portal during one of the periods indicated above in order to register for an exam.
Information regarding the structure of the language proficiency exams, their duration, their administration, and typical processing time for the publication of the results can be found on the following webpage: https://www.unibz.it/en/services/language-centre/language-exams/.
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 have to upload:
If you gained your qualification abroad, you must also upload:
In case of doubt, unibz reserves the right to request further documents (e.g. declaration of equivalent value).
The declaration of equivalent value (not necessary for qualifications gained in Austria or Germany, but unibz reserves the right to request it in case of doubt)
If you have a foreign qualification, you must certify that your qualification would grant you admission to a similar study programme in the country where you gained this qualification. For this reason, you must:
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: € 30.
As a non-EU citizen living abroad, you will also have to apply at the Italian authorities (consulate or embassy) in your country. The deadlines set by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (http://www.studiare-in-italia.it/studentistranieri/) must be met. At the Italian authorities, you can apply for one study programme only. Should you not follow this procedure with the local Italian authorities, your direct online application to unibz will be declared null and void.
The admission procedure includes two stages:
The first step is an evaluation of the documents – by the Admission Committee - presented with the application.
Selection criteria of stage 1:
The following documents need to be uploaded in the application portal:
1. academic background:
- if graduated in Italy: diploma supplement or substitute-declaration (following the Italian D.P.R. no. 445/2000) of the degree awarded, final grade, exams passed with corresponding grade, the dates in which the exams were passed, the credit points, the subject areas, and the teaching hours;
- if graduated abroad: diploma supplement or final degree certificate issued by the foreign university (to be translated into English if in a language other than Italian, German or English) detailing the final mark, exams passed as well as corresponding grades, the dates in which the exams were passed, the credit points, and the teaching hours. A description of the contents of single courses is recommended; it is advisable to attach a declaration of value or similar document by the university with the indication of the lowest grade needed in order to achieve the degree as well as the highest mark obtainable;
- if not graduated yet: please upload the list of your passed exams (see the section entitled “Confirmation of Study Place and Enrolment”).
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 concisely, clearly and appealingly. You can freely choose the style and the way of presenting this outline (text, images, graphics, etc.). The outline has to be written in English;
4. portfolio in English (pdf) or conversion of a web-based portfolio (e.g. Behance) in PDF format indicating the URL.
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 interview designed to assess the experience gained in the field of the study course, the interdisciplinary knowledge, the creativity of the applicant as well as the ability to work in a team.
The interviews will take place online on the 14th May 2020 and in the last week of July 2020.
Candidates must achieve a minimum score of 25/50 total points to be eligible for the enrolment.
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 only secure your admission in one of them. Doing so you refrain from the admission to 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 18 December 2020.
If you have gained your qualification abroad, you must upload (if not uploaded upon application):
At the beginning of the academic year you must submit the originals of the above-mentioned documents to the Student Secretariat.
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), 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 € 1348.50.
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 at your Faculty Secretariat.
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)