The Master program »Integrated Design Research« welcomes design professionals with a research interest in a specific topic, problem, or challenge from an integrated and interdisciplinary perspective. This brings together experienced, open-minded and critical students from all over the world willing to contribute to a dynamic setting of learning, analysis, critical reflection and inquiry, conducting experiments and interdisciplinary research, in order to develop their specific design contributions.  

We invite applicants looking to immerse themselves in an integrated, research- and practice-based design process within our newly established thematic clusters:

  • Material Systems & Lab Culture
  • Social & Public Innovation
  • Urban Intensities & Resources
  • Visual Cultures & Politics

The TH Köln application portal will be open from April 24 – April 29, 2024.
In order to apply, please register within the application period and upload your documents here.

International students: If you do not have German citizenship and/or do not hold a German undergraduate degree that is related to the Master degree Integrated Design Research, you additionally must apply to uni-assist until March 31, 2024. All details are listed below (See headline “For international applicants”).

If you want to apply for the M.A. program at KISD, an academic degree in design or a design-related field (B.A. or higher) covering at least 180 ECTS.

The course language is English and applicants are required to provide proof of English proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS, or other). For TOEFL, a minimum score of 72 (Internet-based version) is required.

Your application documents must be submitted online and in English. Your portfolio, letter of Intent and letter of recommendation just need to be uploaded in CAMS – the application portal of TH Köln – and not in uni-assist. Each of the submitted documents must be 4MB or less.


Choose projects and experiences that provide a good overview both of your fields of interest and your design/design-related experience and qualifications. Works can be academic, professional, or free projects. The uploaded PDF file cannot exceed 4MB. Feel free to add links to the portfolio pointing to other websites to showcase your audiovisual projects.

Letter of Intent 

The letter of intent is your reflection of the chosen Thematic Cluster. It should consist of 600-900 words, a maximum of five images and it should outline the direction you see for yourself and your studies. Relate to one of our Thematic Clusters and position yourself and your research interest among the range of perspectives, explaining your previous studies, work, projects and engagements. Tell us what motivates you to apply or what led you to develop your specific interest.

Curriculum Vitae

Concisely list your educational and professional background. Include everything that qualifies you for an »Integrated Design Research« M.A. program.

Letter of Recommendation

Please send us at least one letter of recommendation from an academic or professional institution or organization.

A letter of recommendation is less a list of observed activities and more a personal assessment of the person to be recommended. It asks for a well-founded, realistic evaluation of the applicants’ qualifications, in particular of the scientific and creative competences and research skills and interests of the applicant. The focus should be on competencies and potential as well as the personal suitability of the candidate from the author’s point of view. It is therefore important that both have gotten to know each other in advance.

Since the applicants will upload the letter of recommendation to the TH Köln portal themselves, it cannot be confidential.

In general, the letter of recommendation should contain the following elements:

  • Letterhead of the issuer (name, position, organization, contact information)
  • Subject line (containing applicant’s name)
  • Writing style in first-person
  • Short self-introduction
  • Description of how you know the candidate
  • Professional recommendation
  • Achievements
  • Subjective recommendation
  • Location, date and signature

Furthermore, it should not exceed 2 pages.

Students who have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in »Integrated Design« at KISD, please submit a letter of recommendation signed by two KISD professors. Usually, they would be the supervisors of your B.A. thesis.

Proof of Language Sufficiency

We recognize all B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and do not have a specific deadline for the amount of time that they need to be valid.

List of major recognized tests and their corresponding B2 scores (

  • CEFR: B2 level
  • EF SET: B2 level – 51 to 60 Points
  • IELTS: B2 level – 5.5 to 6.0 Points
  • TOEFL: B2 level – 72 to 94 Points (internet-based version, UniAssist code: 2727)
  • Cambridge: B2 level – 160 to 179 Points
  • Global Scale of English (Pearson): B2 level – 59 to 75 Points

Please note that all M.A. students should write a substantial research-based Final Thesis in English to complete the program. If you studied your Bachelor degree in English, you simply need to submit your transcript to prove that the courses were in English and write us a letter stating that your studies were in English and submit it along with your other application documents. If you are a native speaker just write us a letter or any other proof of native English proficiency and submit that along with your other application documents.

Authenticated Copies of Certificates of Previous Study Course(s)

Include scans all of your degrees and certificates.

Please note the following

All documents should be adequately designed. We do not define a style sheet for the presentation of your application, so this is your opportunity to give us an idea of your skills and competence in presenting specific interests regarding our program.

If you do not have German citizenship and/or do not hold a German undergraduate degree that is related to the Master degree Integrated Design Research, you additionally must apply to uni-assist. Please note: the uni-assist platform for KISD will open mid February 2024.

You can find more information about uni-assist here or on the uni-assist website.

uni-assist e.V, Application Services for International Students, provides processing and evaluation for international student applications for many German universities. They check if your application is complete and if you meet all admission requirements for your desired study program.
uni-assist informs us in April about your national degree qualifications. Only if you receive a positive statement by uni-assist as well as KISD you can enroll at TH Köln as a KISD student.

Please note that TH Köln/KISD decides about your admission to a study program and not uni-assist.

Important notes about uni-assist:

• You don’t need to upload your portfolio, letter of intent and letter of recommendation to uni-assist – just at the portal of TH Köln (CaMS).
• Make sure you apply to CaMS even if you haven’t heard back from uni-assist, sometimes the verification process takes longer than intended.

The aptitude test consists of two steps: In the first step, you are asked to upload your documents to the CaMS portal of TH Köln. A key element of your application is the elaborated letter of intent (see requirements above). Your application will be reviewed by the Aptitude Assessment Committee with regard to your study-related qualifications and matching between your proposed research interest and our Thematic Clusters. If your application is shortlisted, you will receive the invitation to an interview mid May. The interview is the second step of the aptitude assessment and will take place via Zoom on May 27 & 28, 2024. You will receive a final statement from KISD shortly after the interview.

Important note for international students: Before the two steps described above, you need to apply to uni-assist with the required documents.

Application Deadline uni-assist: March 31, 2024.

Application Period KISD: April 24 – April 29, 2024.

Interviews: May 27 & 28, 2024.

Start of Study: Only in the Winter term of each year (mid September).

Even more questions? Check out our FAQs or join our Meet+Greet to talk to our staff, students and one of the heads of the study program! The Meet+Greet is an interactive format that allows you to ask questions and get familiar with questions of other applicants. The dates are always published at the beginning of each application phase. You’ll need a computer with a microphone and a camera, as well as a stable internet connection.

All questions regarding the KISD application can be directed to the application team:

All questions regarding uni-assist, visa and English certification can be directed to the TH Köln Department of International Affairs:

Please do not contact the KISD secretary’s office since they cannot provide you with any information on these matters.