The objective of our Bachelor’s degree programme is to form creative individuals who are able to familiarize themselves with new thematic fields, design processes and develop solutions.

The study programme is characterized by an integrated, intercultural and interdisciplinary environment in which theory and practice-oriented design processes are complemented by a range of experimental and research-oriented elements. Rather than by relaying a set of supposedly universal basics, knowledge and skills are approached and acquired based on their relevance in the projects chosen by the students. There is no fixed educational canon, but rather students are highly encouraged to set their own focus, deepen their knowledge autonomously, and determine which skills to acquire independently.

In our BA program transdisciplinary, international projects allow students to gain insights into higher-level or global systems and interrelations. Thereby the classic »designing of artifacts« is extended to include systematic analysis and intensive examination of processes and procedures in order to distinguish design as a continuous re-thinking and re-shaping of processes in complex contexts and to undermine an understanding of design as (purely) »problem solving«. In this context, the critical examination of the effect of one’s design activities becomes an elementary component of both one’s studies and one’s future design practice. Every task worked on during one’s studies does not just produce a design, but also always a presentation of the path which has led to it and a comprehensive reflection on one’s procedure.

A large amount of team-oriented projects, feedback sessions and interim as well as final presentations has students continuously consider and question their own work, by which they achieve a high degree of awareness for their actions. Together with fellow students they develop their own criteria for evaluation and apply them in feedback discussions. This encourages experimentation, always with the objective of arriving at a variety of insights and approaches.

Course of Study at a Glance

Degree Bachelor of Arts
Standard Period of Study 6 semesters
Start of Studies winter semester
Study Courses Transdisciplinary Design and European Design
Language German / English


The Bachelor Degree Program Integrated Design offers two study courses to students at the end of their first year of study at KISD.

Study Course »Transdisciplinary Design«

In the study course »Transdisciplinary Design«, students work in multi-semester projects and seminars on complex design processes and acquire a broad knowledge of contents, working practices, and methodologies of design while developing extensive analytical, conceptual, and design specific competence, which they link with cross-cultural and international experience.

Self-initiated teaching and research projects allow them to develop their own interests and to set individual focal points. Supported by a mentoring program, they learn to redefine and discuss their development as a designer again and again.

Study Course »European Design«

In the study course »European Design«, students spend the first four semesters of their studies at KISD. Afterwards, they study at two of the European MEDes partner universities. After these two years, students return to KISD to finish their Master’s thesis.

The MEDes network encompasses seven European universities featuring an innovative and international design education. Besides KISD these include: Aalto School of Art & Design (Helsinki, Finland), Glasgow School of Art (Glasgow, UK), ENSCI Les Ateliers (Paris, France), Konstfack (Stockholm, Sweden), Politecnico di Milano (Milan, Italy) and the University of Aveiro (Aveiro, Portugal).

KISD studies are project-oriented and support a multi-semester collaboration, thus enabling students to learn with and from one another. In addition to the projects, seminars, lectures, courses, working groups, workshop introductions, and a mentoring program complete the studies. Therefore, the study framework is only partly linear. Every semester students can choose from a wide range of courses. As a result, individual study pathways arise that support the student’s autonomy from the first semester onward. Orientation is provided by the following three temporal study phases: Discoveries, Connections, and Focus in our study course »Transdisciplinary Design« and Discoveries, Connections, and International in our study course »European Design«.

Discoveries: The first two semesters focus on knowledge and understanding of design as an area of thinking and acting that interpenetrates our reality and requires design specific contemplation. The students learn to apply typical design working methods and techniques, make contacts with other students and lecturers, and get familiar with the changeable roles of a designer while completing their project work.

Connections: In the third and fourth semester students experience Integrated Design as a field of theory, action and drafting, which is dominated by connections between different areas of design as well as by the design process itself and other sciences. In formats such as the Intermediate Project, they learn to establish these connections themselves and draft their own practical focal points.

Focus: In the fifth semester students of our study course »Transdisciplinary Design«go abroad and study at one of our 65 partner universities or alternatively set an international focus during their studies in Cologne. They gain new perspectives on their personal and professional career and set an individual focus which they further explore in their sixth semester at KISD by choosing optional courses, doing individual project work, and developing their Bachelor’s thesis. This study phase enables students to shape their personal and professional profile and prepares them for starting their career or a Master program.

International: In the fifth semester students of our study course »European Design« are heading to one of the MEDes partner universities. They gain new perspectives on their personal and professional career and set an individual focus which they further explore in their sixth semester  by developing their Bachelor’s thesis.

Study Plan »Transdisciplinary Design«

Study Plan »European Design«

Graduates of the BA program »Integrated Design« have a fundamental understanding of the theories, methods, and principles as well as practices in at least six of the teaching and research areas at KISD. They further demonstrate in-depth knowledge and sophistication in design practice in at least two of those areas. They are able to efficiently and independently familiarize themselves with complex topics and problems, develop their own research questions and work on them in a process guided by science, taking into account the fundamental methods and modalities of research, analysis, concept, and draft. They are experienced in working in international teams and in managing projects. They set their own focus within the competence clusters listed below.

We regard the systematic training and support of independent and autonomous thinking and acting as our most important responsibility and enable and encourage our students to individually set a thematic and/or methodical focus and develop a personal profile. Accordingly, the competence clusters listed below are not to be understood as a »catalogue of criteria« to be to be fulfilled in its entirety by each individual, but rather intend to map the demands placed upon designers at different levels to provide the overview necessary for defining one’s own focal points.

(De-)Constructing Tasks: Graduates are able to observe phenomena relevant to design, define independent research questions and problems and work on them taking into account relevant theories, methods and principles of various fields of design as well as of related disciplines in a process guided by science. They familiarize themselves with topics systematically, broaden or deepen their knowledge and practical skills autonomously, conduct scientific research, collect, study, and interpret literature and data and analyze phenomena relevant to design in their cultural, social, technical and discursive contexts to arrive at scientifically well-founded positions, evaluations, and insights.

Designing Processes: Graduates are able to deal with uncertainty and dynamically changing framework conditions in processes of draft and development by first defining these processes and differentiating their stages and components, then defining procedures, experimenting with media and materials, iteratively testing and evaluating their approaches and concepts, reflecting on intermediate results, adapting and further developing them, forming priorities despite missing information and making decisions both independently and as part of a team.

Practicing Collaboration: Graduates understand design as a social practice based on collaboration with and participation of others in draft and development processes. They are able to assume different roles in intercultural as well as inter- and transdisciplinary teams by organizing team processes, reflecting the perspectives and thinking cultures present in these teams, enabling experiences and social interactions, negotiating solution-oriented compromises and assuming responsibility for the process.

Developing Prototypes: Graduates are familiar with fundamental practices and techniques of draft as well as analog and digital tools of relevance to their individually set focus and have a critical understanding of the fundamental rules of design. They are able to create models and prototypes by thinking and working experimentally, using tools of draft and other tools relevant to design and recognizing, analyzing and purposefully applying or disregarding fundamental rules of design.

Creating Alternatives: Graduates are able to develop processes of draft systematically by defining project-related criteria (e.g. cultural, social, technical, or economical context; location, space, and time; aesthetics, functionality, conditions of production, material, tools, media, sustainability, social impact, or diversity), developing a variety of drafts with these criteria in mind and using their draft variations to make well-founded decisions in the development process to come to a programmatic result.

Reflecting Practice: Graduates are able to critically question their own (design) practices and results and check their relevance for the problem. They know their own limits and do not hesitate to involve external experts where necessary. They are aware of the necessity to continually adapt and expand their skills, proficiencies and competencies as part of lifelong learning.

Translating Knowledge: Graduates are able to describe, visualize and present design-related concepts, perspectives and solutions orally and in writing – including in a foreign language – by reflecting on culturally and socially shaped concepts of perception, thinking and designing, considering those concepts in their own work and illustrating connections, interrelations and drafts as well as their own design processes and results in detail.

Having successfully completed the examination for the Bachelor of Arts »Integrated Design«, graduates are fully qualified for professional work or further studies at Master’s level. They are eligible to work in one of the following fields of action or a combination thereof:

Conceptual Design

Graduates of the BA Integrated Design act as creative instigators in a variety of social and economic areas and fields of action, thus contributing to the propagation of a more multifaceted definition of the term »design«. Integrated designers assume responsibility in the design of artifacts, media, and processes. Taking a critical stance towards purely economic criteria, they integrate societal and social needs holistically into design and project processes.

Inter- and Transdisciplinary Solution Models

Graduates of the BA Integrated Design integrate perspectives of diverse disciplines related to design as well as outside of design in processes of planning and decision-making. Based on their experiences with interaction and exchange in intercultural teams during their studies, they analyze different points of view, include diverse approaches, moderate, and design integrative solutions. They demonstrate particular competence in integrative cooperation, even in groups with a high level of heterogeneity.

Development and Innovation

Graduates of the BA Integrated Design question assumed initial situations and refine assignments they are given. They integrate societal and scientific impulses in the development of future-oriented solutions and pay regard to relevant social, economic, political and technological contexts. In doing so, they sound out possibilities and options for action by way of structured experimentation. In addition to innovative professional careers made possible by the to a large extent concretely practice-oriented study program, graduates also often decide to pursue a Master’s program with a scientific dimension.

Intercultural and Interdisciplinary Communication

Graduates of the BA Integrated Design analyze, de- and reconstruct societal, economic, political and technological framework conditions. A broad intercultural approach enables them to develop innovative, integrated communication strategies and convey different points of view and perspectives, for the communication of which they competently utilize a variety of media.

Please click here for detailed information on the application procedure.