International Programmes 2023/2024

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
1,250 EUR
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

More than any other institution, the Bauhaus Dessau expressed a modern understanding of design that took a sceptical view of antiquated design traditions and substituted these with direct research into materials and the innovative potentials of technology and science. Since then, design has been perceived as a cooperative discipline that synthesises diverse aspects of knowledge. Since autumn 2014 the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and Anhalt University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with the transdisciplinary Cluster of Excellence "Matters of Activity. Image Space Material" at Humboldt University Berlin offer a Master's programme, which engages with the Bauhaus legacy in design research.

The one-year Master's programme COOP Design Research offers an overview of the diversity of academic scholarship in this field and contributes to strengthening a research practice by the means provided by design. The programme strives to integrate design and research as a transdisciplinary field between material studies, social sciences, design anthropology, cultural studies, technology studies, architecture and design history, and theory. Throughout the programme, students obtain the academic knowledge and intellectual competencies to critically engage with the complex challenges designers face in the 21st century. In this respect, students acquire the ability to engage in an academic discourse, to theoretically penetrate phenomena of the material environment and to articulate themselves in writing. The students’ experiences gained in previous studies and professional practice constitute the basis for developing an approach towards a design research led by critical reflection. Comprehensive introductions to methodologies of theory reading, academic writing, field research, and analysis are provided as tools for complementing both theoretical knowledge and practical reflexivity. It is not only about what is studied, but it is also about how it is learned — due to its interdisciplinary and transcultural structure, the programme also promotes inclusion, diversity and critical thinking.

The COOP Design Research MSc programme is conducted as a teaching cooperative by Anhalt University of Applied Sciences and the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in cooperation with Humboldt University Berlin, with coursework taking place both at Gropius Bauhaus in Dessau and — to a lesser degree — at Humboldt University in Berlin. The diversity of the teaching staff with their different academic backgrounds contributes to the multiperspectivity of the programme. The courses are jointly run by professors and lecturers from the associated institutions as well as by international guest lecturers.

Drawing from different teaching methods contributed by each of the three aforementioned partner institutions, the core of the MSc programme relies on three thematic building blocks: Design as Research, Design as Education, and Design as Projection.

The Master of Science degree opens up professional perspectives in the fields of research and teaching of design, cultural studies, as well as curatorial practice. It can be conceived as either a preparatory step towards doctoral studies or as a theoretical enrichment for applied design research and practice. Moreover, the programme fosters international cultural exchange, personal growth and as such paves the way for a meaningful level of social engagement.

Course organisation

01 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.

02 Design Research Laboratory
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.

03 Proposal
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 proposal serves as a test phase for an independent, original design research argumentation.

04 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.

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

06 Master Talk / Research Colloquium
[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.

07 Master's Thesis and Colloquium
[20+5 ECTS]
The Master's thesis follows up on the proposal. 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.

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
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
1,250 EUR
Semester contribution

86 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 for Languages (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 to 200 EUR.

The Student Services office runs an online application portal for student accommodation. Applications can be submitted online: (in English).

Private accommodation can be found on the Internet at:

Support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Welcome event
  • 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 "Philanthropinum" - 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' 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.

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