International Programmes 2021/2022

COOP Design Research MSc Programme COOP Design Research MSc Programme

Anhalt University of Applied Sciences • Dessau-Roßlau

Master of Science (MSc)
In cooperation with

Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Teaching language
  • English

Courses are held in English.
Written thesis in English or German

Programme duration
2 semesters
Winter semester
Application deadline

15 May for the following winter semester

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

The programme is set out along transdisciplinary lines and draws on the following disciplines: architecture, design, cultural studies, visual studies, materials science, and the history and theory of design and architecture. The new Master's programme unites the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation with its historic collection and its education and communication formats with the combined outstanding academic expertise of Humboldt Universität and the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences. Moreover, engaging with the historic artefacts, materials and buildings found in the Bauhaus City Dessau means that contemporary issues in design may be explored through materials-based research and their currency tested in exhibition and communication formats.

The one-year MSc programme is conceived as a preparatory step towards doctoral studies. Upon successful completion, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin facilitates the admission of qualified graduates to doctoral studies at its faculties in accordance with regulations. The core of the Master's programme relies on three thematic building blocks, which are communicated using different teaching methods and with the participation of the three aforementioned partner institutions: design as research - analysis of synthesising practices, design as projection - anticipation and intervention strategies, design in the world - impact and application. Students apply to the programme with a letter of intent, in which they refer to one of the three thematic building blocks. The modules combine theory and practice, and research- and project-oriented studies: the teaching formats combine and give equal weight to the formulation of analysis and experimentation, text and image, material and object.

Course Objectives
In the Master's programme, students will receive a comprehensive education in the field of Design Research that will enable them to operate in a scientific and responsible manner in their future professions. In particular, students will acquire well-founded knowledge of the methods of scientific work, elaborating individual research projects in the fields of Design and Architecture. Students will learn about processes in scientific work, development, operation monitoring, selection of facility and equipment, and processes for writing scientific proposals. Graduates will possess a sound background in the basic knowledge and range of techniques in these areas of competence.
With this qualification, students will have gained knowledge in the subject and will have acquired the necessary communication skills in order to:
1. apply their knowledge of scientific methods to design research and integrate their ideas and problem-solving skills
2. compile, assess, and interpret relevant information
3. make sound decisions when discoveries are made that concern social, commercial, scientific, and ethical issues
4. sustain the momentum of independent learning processes
5. formulate and argue professional opinions/criteria
6. be able to interact on a professional level with professionals and non-professionals
7. work at an interdisciplinary level and assume responsibility in a team

Course organisation

Introductory Phase / Preliminary Laboratory
Three weeks [ECTS Part of 02 Laboratory]
The preliminary laboratory (three weeks) provides access to the programme. This involves a general introduction to the various positions in design research and the working practices and methods of scientific work. Selected examples of design research will be analysed and reflected on in seminars.

12 weeks [10 ECTS]
The laboratory is made up of three thematic building blocks: design as research, design as education, and design as projection. In lectures, seminars, and exercises, these diverse modes of design knowledge production will be systematically analysed both historically and theoretically and argued in presentations based on selected examples.

Six weeks [5 ECTS]
Following on 02 Laboratory, the insights, methods and skills acquired in the first semester will be applied in a self-chosen thematic project. The exposé serves as a test phase for an independent, original design research argumentation.

Lecture Series & Seminar: Theories and Methods of Scientific Work
Weekly [5 ECTS]
The lecture series offers an overview of the history of modern design research and presents discourses, projects, and concepts in the field.
The seminar will reflect on different approaches to the development of theories in, e.g. the natural sciences, the humanities, and design. The seminar also includes an introduction to various methods of scientific work, e.g. literature research, archive study techniques, data analysis, interview techniques, qualitative methods, e.g. participatory observation or material studies and aims to enable students to take a reflexive approach to these methods.

Elective Subject
[5 ECTS]
The elective subject comprises intensive sessions in which partner universities present their research areas and introduce participants to the issues arising from these contexts. The elective subject module broadens the thematic spectrum and enlarges the teaching content of the lectures and modules.

Lecture Series / Master Talks
[5+5 ECTS]
The Master Talks offer a platform for international exchange on approaches to design research. Guest scientists and designers present their research approaches and hypotheses for discussion. In accompanying or separately organised research colloquia, the programme's participants, in association with the guests, can deepen their understanding of issues arising from the contexts of the respective themes.

Master's Thesis
[25 ECTS]
The Master's thesis follows up on the exposé. Students develop and elaborate their research argumentation into a full thesis under the supervision of their mentors within 20 weeks.
Upon completion, the Master's thesis will be presented in a public colloquium.

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A Diploma supplement will be issued
International elements
  • International guest lecturers
  • Language training provided
  • Training in intercultural skills
  • International comparisons and thematic reference to the international context
Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
The course of study can be taken entirely online
Digital learning and teaching modules
  • Virtual classrooms
  • Mobile learning apps
Description of e-learning elements

All learning material for the course of study is provided via Moodle. Submissions are also possible by way of Moodle. Thus, all of the material and submissions are always available to all participants.

Participation in the e-learning course elements is compulsory
Can ECTS points be acquired by taking the online programmes?
Can the e-learning elements be taken without signing up for the course of study?
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution

76 EUR semester fee, covering a contribution to the student services and student union

Costs of living

Approx. 720 EUR per month to cover living expenses (including accommodation, excluding health insurance costs)
Cheap rail fares are available (student discount on trains).

Funding opportunities within the university
Academic admission requirements

Bachelor's or Master's degree with 240 ECTS/four years' duration in the fields of Architecture, Design, Cultural Sciences, or the equivalent. An application on the basis of a Bachelor's degree requires one year of professional practice. An application with a Bachelor's degree of less than four years' duration requires one or two semesters of preparatory studies in order to obtain the required 240 ECTS.
The application should include a portfolio of 10-12 pages including CV, copies of diploma certificates and own work.

Language requirements

Applicants who have not completed their school education up to the university level or have not completed their university studies at a German-speaking institution or at an English-speaking institution need to present evidence that their proficiency in the English language according to TOEFL or a comparable test corresponds to level C1 of the Common European Reference Framework of Reference (CEFR).

Application deadline

15 May for the following winter semester

Submit application to

Possibility of finding part-time employment

Local student jobs are open to international students, as are student tutor positions at Anhalt University (depending on availability and qualification).


Accommodation is available through the Student Services Office (Studentenwerk Halle) or on the private market. Rent for a single room in a student residence is approx. 160-200 EUR.
Student Services run an online application portal for student accommodation. Applications can be submitted online: (in English)

Private accommodation can be found on the Internet at:

Specific specialist or non-specialist support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Welcome event
  • Buddy programme
  • Accompanying programme
  • Specialist counselling
  • Visa matters
Supervisor-student ratio

Anhalt University of Applied Sciences

With its sites at Bernburg, Dessau, and Köthen, Anhalt University of Applied Sciences can call upon proud traditions in science, innovation and cultural cosmopolitanism. These traditions guide us in research and teaching and are the backbone of our commitment in the central German region of Anhalt.
Since its foundation, Anhalt University has established close links with both national and international research institutions as well as with partners in industry.
Every subject at Anhalt University of Applied Sciences has been developed with an emphasis on practical training and a high standard of education. Project work based on practical application, international practical semesters, and practice-oriented theses in the final year are part and parcel of day-to-day coursework. Students' ideas are implemented directly in practice. New forms of teaching and e-learning, small study groups, excellent research and first-class contacts offer ideal conditions for a good start to a career either at home or abroad.
In the field of research, Anhalt University of Applied Sciences occupies a premier position among German universities and is well placed for attracting third-party funding. Successful application- and transfer-oriented research projects extend their reach across the whole of central Germany. Furthermore, thanks to close industry contacts, many research results are implemented directly in practice by small and medium-sized companies.

University location

Dessau was first mentioned in 1213. The city became the permanent residence of the court of the Askanier (Anhaltiner) in 1471. Under their rule, many grand buildings were built. Today only the "Johannbau", the western part of the castle and the "Marienkirche" are well-preserved.
In the 18th century, Leopold the First of Anhalt Dessau initiated the construction of new roads and increased the size of the city. During the sovereignty of Friedrich Franz, Dessau developed into a centre of the German Enlightenment. In this period, the famous Dessau-Woerlitz gardens were created.
In 1774, Basedow established the "Philantropinum" - a reformed public school, which became well-known in Germany as well as abroad. It is the earliest model of a national school focused on natural science and practical aspects of life.
In the 19th century, Dessau was the capital of the entire Ducal Anhalt. With the Industrial Revolution gathering momentum, the face of the city changed. In 1919, Hugo Junkers developed and built the first metal aeroplane in the world. The Junkers Facilities dominated the industrial structure of Dessau.
The world-renowned "Bauhaus" moved from Weimar to Dessau in 1925. Six years later, the Nazis forced its closure.
Today, Walter Gropius's Bauhaus Building in Dessau is a long-established icon of Modernism, the manifestation of a complex idea in steel, glass, and stone. This original site of Bauhaus history is now the headquarters for the Dessau Bauhaus Foundation. COOP Design Research MSc Programme is situated in this building.