The knowledge, skills and general competence that you develop through this study programme prepare you for working life as a design professional in a wide variety of positions. Many graduates establish their own business, and the study programme also acts as a stepping stone to further studies at PhD level.
Aims and contents
In this master’s program you will be challenged to take a role as a project leader, facilitator and designer of developing strategies, services, systems and product solutions. The skills, knowledge and insight you will attain during this study are regarded valuable in private and public sector within product, service and systems design, as well as design Research.
We do not seek to explain what design is neither from a practical, theoretical, or idealistic point of view; rather we recognize that our society and environment represent complex networks of relations.
With their Master qualification, graduates will be able to work as highly skilled professionals in all kinds of product design related work. Over and above, they will be able to competently complete and manage the elements of a product design process – from initial idea creation to the finished product and its use in a way that contributes to sustainable value creation.
Sustainable value creation means finding sustainable solutions that take the fullest account of economic, cultural and ecological concerns in their development, implementation and realisation. To ensure the programme’s social relevance, such thinking is foundational in all teaching and development projects. The current research programme for the timeframe 2010-2015, Product Design: Materiality, Processes and the Future Environment, aims at developing new competence in product design in the field of materiality, methodology and sustainable environment.
Department of Product Design seeks to promote the exploratory use of materials, production processes and conceptual development tools. The creative process is nurtured in all aspects of learning and the programme’s practical orientation promotes experimentation both in the studio workshops and in the student’s personal development within the field of product design. To complement the development of the students’ creative potential, their design processes are guided and structured by academic research and best practice methods in product design.
The programme is in accordance with EU directives in the Bologna Process, which emphasise the knowledge triangle; an interplay between research, education and innovation. These are the three central and strongly interdependent drivers of the knowledge-based society.
Work or further study
The knowledge, skills and general competence that students develop throughout this study programme prepares them thoroughly for working life as design professionals in a range of different positions. Using their acquired skills, they will be able to build bridges between those with an in-depth and detailed understanding of a narrow field of expertise and those in need of the overall view on which strategic decisions will be made.
Alternatively should the goal of the individual be to move further into the area of scientific research in product design, this Master’s programme is a stepping stone for further academic development. Through the acquisition of skills in research methodology in relation to design practice, the candidate is well suited for further studies at the PhD level, both nationally or internationally.
Product designers fill a wide range of positions in different organisations in the public or private sector; nationally or internationally; in-house or in the consultancy business/industry. On completion of their master’s degree, the students are thoroughly prepared and equipped to work in the design field.
Examples of workplaces for graduates of the Master’s Degree in Product Design include consumer product design, industrial design, interaction design, packaging design, furniture design, business consulting, communications design, education, entrepreneurship exhibition design, information design, design management, lighting design and environmental design.
Good skills imply that students are able to make an integrated assessment of the choices necessary to make good products. These choices include type of materials, components, production methods, ethical and cultural values, strategies and business partners. Subsequently, good choices will lead to enhanced customer satisfaction, improved competitiveness and long-term value creation in both new and existing products.
The current research programme for the timeframe 2010-2015, Product Design: Materiality, Processes and the Future Environment, aims at developing new competence in product design in the field of materiality, methodology and a sustainable environment. The findings and effects of this research programme are systematically integrated into the teaching and learning at the Department of Product Design. Through teaching that is focused on product innovation, innovative processes and best practice, students will continually develop knowledge and skills in establishing a suitable balance between social utility, ecological concerns and economic value creation in their work. Research and development activities at the department support the challenge of reaching this balance.
Through the study programme the students will acquire information competence and knowledge about the references that will make them able to find relevant literature and information. They will be able to search for academic literature and set up a list of literary references in accordance with the current template. They will be able to use basic rules for quotations and use of references. In addition they will be familiar with what is regarded as plagiarism and academic cheating in the work that they do in connection with their studies.
Programme spesific learning outcomes
Learning outcomes are statements of what a student is expected to know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate after completion of the learning process. The programme specific learning outcomes for the Master’s programme in Product Design are listed below. Note that the individual course descriptions provide considerable more detail in this respect.
On successful completion of this programme students are able to:
- use relevant practice-based- and scientific methods in product design
- find innovative solutions by applying accumulated knowledge to new areas
- analyse the significance of design on a global basis and in various cultural contexts
- develop a product in relation to market orientation, user studies and own ideas
- describe the properties, potentials and useful qualities of materials in production processes
On successful completion of this programme students are able to:
- do creative problem solving in a structured and transparent manner
- analyse and critically evaluate different sources of information to structure and formulate arguments for sustainable product design processes
- experiment with aesthetic and form, and take advantage of a material’s inherent qualities
- make products as a manifestation of specific brand or concept
On successful completion of this programme students are able to:
- engage collaborators in developing ideas and new products through professional communication and interdisciplinary co-design processes
- contribute to corporate social responsibility by using ethical guidelines in the design process
- independently carry out advanced tasks and projects in product design
Content and structure
Central for the Master’s programme in Product Design is sustainable development through the subject areas design methodology, strategic design, product and material communication, market analysis and innovation.
The first three courses in the programme – MAPD4100, MAPD4200 and MAPD4000 – are compulsory. MAPD4100 and MAPD4000 focus on giving students a good understanding of the philosophy of science with a particular emphasis on contemporary research approaches used in product design. MAPD4200 is designed to give students a thorough understanding of aesthetic theory and practice. Another goal of these first three courses is to create a basis and a common level of product design knowledge for all students from which to launch bring into the next phase of the Master’s programme.
The three compulsory courses, MAPD4300, MAPD5100 and MAPD5000, constitute an important part of the core knowledge of the Master’s programme. MAPD4300 focuses on psychology-based design and markets. In course MAPD5100 students expand their skills of communication by the use of product concepts and physical products. The course MAPD5000 will provide students with an understanding of the role of technology and innovation in a cross-disciplinary design process.
Courses MAPD5200 and MAPD5300 are elective courses through which students can deepen their understanding on particular topics. MAPD5200 focuses on interpreting, understanding and developing the context in which a product is to be used. MAPD5300 challenges students to experimentally apply production processes to materials. Other courses may be added to the programme at a later date. MAPDPRA is the practical training course. Students will spend a minimum of 12 weeks in an applied environment. The final course that students must complete is MAPD5900, in which they will do their Master’s Project.
Each course has a separate course description, specifying learning outcomes, contents, teaching and working methods, Coursework assignments, examination forms and forms of assessment. Note that the elective courses will require a minimum number of students in order to be run.
Scientific Theory and Methods
Product design and design research at the Master’s level requires expertise in the area of scientific theory and research methods. Students taking the Master’s degree in Product Design will be introduced to scientific theory in general, with particular emphasis on the sustainability concept during the first semester as a part of the course MAPD4100.
In the course MAPD4000 students develop their critical reading and academic writing skills. This is an intensive course in scientific theory and methods. Here they will be introduced to general scientific methods – such as empirical data collection methods, fieldwork techniques and data triangulation – as well as more targeted techniques in design research methodology, such as different sustainable design approaches, user-oriented methods and scenario development. During later courses, such MAPD4300 and MAPD5100, scientific methods will be explored in relation to their practice. Having competence in research enables the designer to work in cross-disciplinary teams, as well as better understand and explore the subject that they are working with.
- Requirements determined by the University College`s Regulation Relating to Master`s Degree Programmes. The bachelor’s degree/three-year programme of education must include:
- in-depth study of subjects, courses or course groups equivalent to at least 80 ECTS credits or
- an integrated programme of at least 120 ECTS credits within the field of product design.
- A portfolio consisting of products/documentation and Letter of Motivation that will be assessed by an academic committee appointed by the Department.
Both requirements must be fulfilled in order for the applicant to be considered for admission.
We refer to Regulations Relating to Admission to Master`s Degree Programmes at OsloMet:
25 % of the places shall be allocated for applicants that solely compete on the basis of grade point average.
Additional points may be awarded for relevant education and vocational experience beyond the minimum requirement.
Vocational experience may include:
- design-related activities such as competitions/exhibitions judged by a committee/jury
- public assignments or workshop activities
- experience as self-employed tradesperson in connection with relevant activities
- other activities within design (or arts) within public procurement activities or publications
Relevant additional education, i.e. education within the subject area may include:
- Graphic Design, Media and Communication
- Art History, Design History, Architecture, Art Science, Culture and Ideas studies
- Marketing, Economy
- Sociology, Social Anthropology and Development Studies
Additional points for the portfolio and the Letter of Motivation does not exceed 2 points.
Portfolio and Letter of Motivation
The portfolio should consist of a carefully selected combination of own design work. This may include process documentation, models (2D and 3D) and finished products (2D and 3D).
The portfolio will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:
- selected design work shall display that the applicant has satisfactory academic level within product design such as process documentation, model work and the manufacturing of products of different materials.
Letter of Motivation will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:
- the contents of the Letter of Motivation shall display personal motivation and include details about why the applicant wants to complete the study programme.
- the content of the Letter of Motivation shall display what the applicant wants to focus on/specialize in during the study programme.
More details regarding the contents and format of the portfolio, the Letter of Motivation and the application process in general can be found on the website.
Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) certification
Due to the strong focus on materials and production processes in this programme, students will spend a great deal of time in the studio workshops using various tools and machinery in the process. The aim is to reduce the risk of accidental injury as well as the unnecessary destruction of both materials and tools through improper use. Students without OHS certification must complete a course.
It will cover relevant occupational health and safety topics, such as proper machinery and tool use, safe use of chemical substances, etc.
In addition, students will be required to have relevant safety gear – such as goggles, ear protectors, gloves, overalls etc – and basic tools. More information regarding OHS requirements will be given during the studio workshop training courses.
Applicants with foreign qualifications
The Department of Product Design is a proponent of European higher education and the Bologna Process. Accordingly, applicants with foreign qualifications compete for places with applicants with Norwegian qualifications on an equal footing, providing the foreign qualification is comparable and can be assessed for points in the same way as the Norwegian qualification. Applicants from outside Norway, Sweden or Denmark must be able to show that they are able to master written and spoken English. The language skill requirements are listed in section 2.5.1.
Language skill requirements
For admission to a master’s degree programme students must fulfill the requirements in the GSU-list (can be found on the website).
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