Design Future Society

Course overview

MA Design Future Society is an 18-month programme, which includes an Erasmus+ funded student exchange at our partner University. This future orientated programme provides opportunities for students to integrate research from philosophy, social science and digital technology with design thinking in addressing social issues; realigning design as a discipline with social and cultural value. Students are encouraged to employ design as a catalyst for change; articulating new perceptions, developing appropriate strategies and implementing future-oriented solutions, which affect our society, culture and economy.
Traditionally designers applied their skills post problem identification – we will address that imbalance by positioning the designer at the point of problem identification and need analysis, extending the function and purpose of design beyond fulfilling commercial objectives by developing new and relevant products and implementing sustainable solutions for public, private and third sectors. This unique educational experience embraces collaboration, teamwork and internationalism and we encourage applications from all disciplines.

We have plenty of facilities to help you make the most of your time at the School of Design and Fakultät für Gestaltung, Mannheim University of Applied Sciences. You’ll be able to develop your practice in well-equipped studios and purpose-built computer clusters so you can build your skills on both PC and Mac. There are computer-aided design (CAD) suites with access to the latest design software and some of the latest design technology, such as digital printing and laser cutting facilities, and colour analysis/prediction labs, eye-tracking technology and digital photography.
We also have an impressive range of resources you can use for research. We house the M&S Company Archive including documents, advertising, photos, films, clothing and merchandise from throughout Marks & Spencer’s history, offering a fascinating insight into the changing nature of our culture over time.

Course content intro

Fundamentally multi-disciplinary and collaborative, course content encourages innovation and autonomy in response to set briefs and self initiated study supported by expertise in research, strategic thinking and practical implementation of communication design. Traditional academic study in the form of essays, literature reviews and reports, combines with social projects requiring, empathy, team working, concept realisation and execution. Students are required to provide evidence of effective decision-making, objective self-reflection and critical evaluation through visual and oral presentations, critiques, reflective logs and reports, visual diaries, poster presentations and portfolio development.

In the first semester students undertake theoretical and practical study in integrated media, semiotics, philosophy, sociology and research methodology in order to identify and manage complex social issues and communicate insights and design proposals by effectively employing advocacy skills and presentation techniques. Team work and collaboration are essential to the successful generation and implementation of creative solutions, therefore students are required, within this context, to demonstrate independent judgement, decision-making and personal responsibility.

In Semester 2 a five-month exchange programme involves the application of design thinking within a different cultural environment through independent and group social projects; presenting significant challenges in comprehension, interpretation, empathy and communication. Students are encouraged to develop entrepreneurial attitudes in seeking opportunities for collaboration; contributing to professional development by operating in new areas of influence and articulating complex information into a coherent creative proposal.


The programme concludes with a major research dissertation or innovation project, independently conceived and managed, demonstrating abilities in research, holistic understanding and applying contemporary knowledge to solving future problems. The knowledge, skills and qualities acquired through this postgraduate programme are transferable for employment in a variety of sectors.

You’ll study six compulsory modules, and then choose to complete either a Dissertation or Innovation Project. In the second semester you will study 30 Credits at our partner University in the UK over a five-month period.

These are typical modules studied. From time to time we may change modules as we update courses to reflect developments in the subject field and the research interests of our staff.

Integrated Communication (7,5 Credits)
Social Aesthetics (7,5 Credits)
Design and Society (7,5 Credits)
Research Methodology (7,5 Credits)
Social Design Projects (15 Credits – Study in Germany)
Design Futures (15 Credits – Study in Germany)

Dissertation (30 Credits)
Innovation Project (30 Credits)

Lectures, seminars, tutorials, creative and technical workshops, creative studio sessions, group learning, group critiques and peer assessment. There will be an emphasis on social and situated learning where dialogue, reflection, intuition, critical analysis and judgement are exercised within the context of group learning and group assignments, supported by utilising social media networks and content sharing to connect students from both institutions.

By employing social media and digital technology we aim to develop a user-centric information infrastructure and self-organisational system of information sharing in order to encourage the following;

Participation, through focused discussion/conversation
Responsible, self motivated, intrinsically motivated thesis to demonstrate understanding
Exploration, by identifying relevant questions and autonomy in decision-making
Experimentation, acknowledging risk, failure, evaluation and reflection
Understanding, through action, experiential engagement, observation and analysis

You’ll also be assessed by a variety of methods. Obviously these will include your own creative work as you develop campaign concepts in your taught design modules, but also presentations, reflective logs, reports, group projects and written assignments.

international Joint-Master-Degree
in Communication Design

Start date: January
Registration: 15th November
Duration and mode of study: 18 months full time
Fees: None

3 to 5 month exchange at the School of Design, University of Leeds, UK

Entry reqs: Bachelor degree with 210 CP

Language reqs:
English: IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in all components
German: DSH 2 (if you apply in Mannheim)



Petra Jakob

Open: Mo. to Fr.
9 – 12  a.m. and 1 - 3 p.m.
Fon: +49 621 292 6159

Program Manager:
Prof. K. Beiderwellen

Fon: +49 621 292 6844

Hochschule Mannheim
Fakultät für Gestaltung
Gebäude Z
Oskar-Meixner-Straße 2
68163 Mannheim