In keeping with the transdisciplinary approach of the Köln International School of Design, doctoral theses are supervised that contribute to the study of design from a variety of perspectives. This includes investigations of design issues using scientific methods as well as examinations of historical, social, media and cultural processes that have determined design discourses or have been influenced by them.

A cooperative individual doctorate is currently the most common path taken by doctoral students at the Köln International School of Design at the TH Köln. Here, future doctoral candidates contact a professor with an exposé (both at the KISD of the TH Köln and at a university) and write their dissertation in a self-organized manner and independently of a fixed program.

The Köln International School of Design participates in the NRW doctoral program. 21 universities of applied sciences – including TH Köln – have jointly founded the Doctoral College for Applied Research in North Rhine-Westphalia. In the future, outstanding master’s graduates from universities of applied sciences and universities will realize their doctoral projects there. Following a positive evaluation by the German Science Council, it offers its doctoral students structured doctoral programs. Design scientists are represented in the »Construction and Culture” and »Media and Interaction” departments. The programs qualify the doctoral students for a future career at the innovative interfaces between design and science.

The Köln International School of Design participates in the inter-university colloquium »Design doctorates« of the German Society for Design Theory and Research (dgtf). In July 2020, it hosted the 23rd Colloquium as an online format, which was included in the following Colloquium in May 2021.

In addition, as part of a structured doctoral training program, the Köln International School of Design is participating in the DFG-funded Research Training Group »anschließen – ausschließen. Cultural Dynamics Beyond Globalized Networks,« a collaboration of the University of Cologne, the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM) and the TH Köln.

A joint doctoral colloquium is offered to promote young researchers in the fields of Design Theory and Research and Interaction Design.

Doctoral Supervision

Alice Rzezonka

Title of dissertation: User, der – Begriffsprägung einer privilegierten Position am Personal Computer

Kooperative Promotion zwischen der Universität zu Bonn und der TH Köln (Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Jens Schröter, Medienkulturwissenschaft, und Prof. Dr. Carolin Höfler, Designtheorie und -forschung)

Cooperative doctorate between the University of Bonn and the TH Köln (Supervision: Prof. Dr. Jens Schröter, Media Culture Studies and Prof. Dr. Carolin Höfler, Design Theory and Research)

2018 – 2021, graduated with »summa cum laude«

Johanna Mehl

Title of dissertation: Human-Environment Relations: Rethinking Architecture and Design Practice in the Anthropocene

Cooperative doctorate between the University of Cologne and the TH Köln (Supervision: Prof. Dr. Nina Möntmann, Art Theory, and Prof. Dr. Carolin Höfler, Design Theory and Research)

since 2020

Simon Meienberg

Title of dissertation: Borderlands: Migrant Spacing between Autonomy and Control

Cooperative doctorate between the  TH Köln  and the University of Cologne as part of the Research Training Group »anschließen – anschließen« funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) (Supervision: Prof. Dr. Carolin Höfler, Design Theory and Research, and Martin Zillinger, Social and Cultural Anthropology)

since 2021

Julian Hoffmann

Title of dissertation: Übersetzungsprozesse – Rezeptionspraktiken des Digitalen als Dispositiv der Kunstvermittlung

Cooperative doctorate between the TH Köln  and the University of Cologne as part of the Research Training Group »anschließen – anschließen« funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) (Supervision: Prof. Dr. Carolin Höfler, Design Theory and Research, and Prof. Dr. Torsten Meyer, Art and Its Didactics)

since 2021

Nils-Julian Meiß

Title of dissertation: Urbanisierung als An- und Ausschluss? »Recht auf Stadt« im Digitalzeitalter 

Cooperative doctorate between the University of Cologne and the TH Köln as part of the Research Training Group »anschließen – anschließen« funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) (Supervision: Prof. Dr. Sandra Kurfürst, Social and Cultural Anthropology, and Prof. Dr. Carolin Höfler, Designtheorie und-forschung)

since 2021

Klara Lindner

Title of dissertation: Service Design in the Context of Rural Energy Provision in Developing Countries: The Iterative Development of a Procedure to Create Services Collaboratively 

Cooperative doctorate between the  TU Berlin and the TH Köln (Supervision: Prof. Dr. Felix Ziegler, Maschinen- und Energieanlagentechnik, and Prof. Birgit Mager, Service Design)

since 2015

Anna-Sophie Oertzen

Title of dissertation: The Co-Creation of Services

Cooperative doctorate between the  Maastricht University and the TH Köln (Supervision: Prof. Dr. Gaby Odekerken, Centric Service Science, and Prof. Birgit Mager, Service Design)

completed in 2020

Tina Weisser

Title of dissertation: Systemische Betrachtung der Einflussfaktoren bei der Implementierung von Produkt und Service-Design-Systemen

Cooperative doctorate between the University of Art Braunschweig and the TH Köln (Supervision: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Jonas, Design Science, and Prof. Birgit Mager, Service Design)

completed in 2018

Maurício Cordeiro Manhães

Title of dissertation: Innovativeness and Prejudice: Designing A Landscape of Diversity For Knowledge Creation

Cooperative doctorate between the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, und der TH Köln (Supervision: Prof. Gregório Varvakis (PhD), Knowledge Management and Service Management, und Prof. Birgit Mager, Service Design)

completed in 2016

Max Neupert

Title of dissertation: Audiovisuelles Cut-Up. Von Zelluloid zu Datenbanken – Zeitliche Zerstückelungen in Bild und Ton

Cooperative doctorate between the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and TH Köln (Supervision: Prof. Jakob Hüfner, Crossmediales Bewegtbild, und Prof. Dr. Lasse Scherffig, Interaction Design; Mentors: Prof. Ursula Damm, Media Art and Design, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, and Prof. Dr. Thomas Sporer, Sound Studies, Berlin University of the Arts)

completed in 2021

Further information for early stage researchers
Service Desk of  Graduate Center at TH Köln
Doctoral College for Applied Research in North Rhine-Westphalia

Image: »Blind Spots« by Dorothea Elisabeth Schneid & Jessica Martins Zisa