Inclusive Design: Health and Social Well-Being – an interdisciplinary master’s programme of studies in English

Inclusive Design: Health and Social Well-Being is a new programme of studies wich prepares its future graduates to face and tackle complex challenges related to the role of design in improving the quality of life, well-being and public health by including users in the design process.

This innovative and unique two-year programme of studies has been devised by the staff of the Faculty of Design of the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice with the assistance and advice of external experts from such institutions as the Helen Hamlyn Centre For Design, EIDD, TU Delft, University of Hasselt, Gehl People, and other experts active in the field.

The programme will help you master the research methods and tools that will facilitate both a theoretical and a hands-on approach to modern design. You will learn how to define key conceptual issues, how to select the right tools and methods for the users of your work and how to engage and include them in the whole process. In doing so, you will benefit from the most recent approaches of User-Oriented, Human-Centred and Inclusive Design. You will also explore the potential behind the application of Integrated Product Design, Experience and Interaction Design, and of the Social and Service Design.

You will gain an in-depth knowledge and experience by studying research methodologies and by conducting your own research, experimentation, prototyping, applying state-of-the-art technologies and design implementation methods. You will work on actual projects, in realistic conditions, together with institutional and business partners within the area of social well-being.

The experience and the knowledge you will gain with us will prepare you to work as a designer of products, services, interactions, and as a design consultant for private and public ventures. It will also give you the necessary background to work in Research and Development teams in commercial and scientific institutions.

  • Programme offer

    Integrated Product Design

    Designing products and services has become increasingly complex. In this studio you will learn how to address the needs of your users and how to combine business aspects with social challenges and technological potential.

    Designing Interactions

    The studio focuses on the processes and principles that govern interactions between people, products and services. You will learn about the ways in which people understand reality and about the way they understand their everyday experience. You will also study design aimed at responding to changing expectations and you will learn how to use contemporary technologies to prototype new solutions. 

    Social Design

    Designing services, products, visual communication and information as well as designing environments all involve a sense of responsibility. New solutions may offer impulses to change human habits, behaviour and to become active. They may also introduce social innovations. The studio will provide you with the practical skills of how to gather information and verify design solutions by engaging users in the creative process. Thanks to this, your designs will answer genuine current and future social expectations (meeting also the principles of sustainable development).

    Working on your diploma

    Having completed your first term of studies you will choose one out of the three seminar thematic areas (Outside the Box, Commercial or Social), the design diploma studio of your choice and the additional modules that will complement the work on your diploma.

    You will be working on your diploma for three terms (2nd, 3rd and 4th). The first of them will give you time to search for design challenges, for mapping contexts and for preliminary analyses. All this will lead to finalising the diploma work outline and its main assumptions. In the following term, you will work on the main conception of your diploma and on its prototyping, while the final term of your studies will give you time to test and, possibly also, to implement the completed design. Your diploma work may be realized with external institutions.

    The curricula of the studios are complemented by the following modules:

    1. Design management in the future world
      – innovation management, new product development, strategy building, structuring and implementing designs, creating an effective environment for the implementation of the mission and of the organisational strategy through design (including social innovations).
    2. Designer’s toolkit
      – the course involves the work on the basic skills crucial for product design, such as computer aided design, ergonomics, presentation drawing, prototyping.
    3. Material experiments
      – methods intended for experimental search for new materials, mixtures and composites based on recycled material such as PET, PE, foil, woodchips, tyre rubber.
    4. Human perception and behaviour
      – examining users’ perception and behaviour from the perspectives offered by ethnographic, sociological and psychological methodologies.
    5. Sustainable development
      – creating sustainable development in society, economy, environment; creative building methods and aspects (upcycling, circular economy, shared economy, creating a conscious and self-caring society, etc.).
    6. Connected technology
      – technologies supporting the creation of intelligent spaces, i.e. intelligent cities, transport, products, buildings, energy systems, health systems, solutions improving well-being and everyday life solutions.
    7. Methodology of the inclusive design
      – methods of including users in the design process, of researching their needs, and of co-creation.

    Other recommended programmes and courses available at the Academy:

    International Studio
    Designing Reading Experience
    Narrative Design and Interactive Storytelling
    Introductory courses

    Research-driven Design

    Research-driven design is supported by the employment of the most effective and most up-to-date methods of research and design. The Academy’s unique quality distinguishing it from other central European universities is its research-driven approach to design. One module is dedicated to learning about and testing contemporary research methods useful in design, from those with distinctly laid out procedures, those employing participative design, those researching user needs, to those including project interventions/happenings/installations and speculative design.

    Seminars and discussion sessions

    Our seminars and discussion sessions are the meeting ground for the students studying programmes in English and in Polish and for those studying graphic design and design. They facilitate the exchange of experience and of interdisciplinary work. They offer the time to consider, debate and refine one’s own interests and the thematic areas for diploma works.

    The classes are aimed at presenting general knowledge on cultural and socio-economic contexts and their implications on design. Issues related to design history, ethics, philosophy, sociology and semiotics are presented in three thematic areas: design outside the box, social design, and the commercial practice of design.

    Diploma seminars are conducted within the three abovementioned thematic areas and will support students’ individual work on their diploma papers. The emphasis will be on the high quality of research necessary to complete written diploma dissertation.

    The classes will take the form of discussions, lectures and presentations prepared by members of the faculty and by external experts invited in order to make the course of studies more international. Every year a leading theme reflecting contemporary challenges is selected for all the seminars.

    Modes of studying / teaching methods:

    • design briefs,
    • seminars and discussions,
    • lectures,
    • workshops,
    • interdisciplinary team work,
    • individual sessions / tutorials,
    • group discussions, group reviewing and group criticism,
    • collective field research,
    • co-operation with external partners / customers,
    • learning from others,
    • participation of external experts,
    • individual work.
  • What makes us special?

    • you will study at the Faculty with the A+ category, which is the highest possible distinction and a mark of excellence awarded only to the best academic faculties by the Polish Accreditation Committee, a state-run body of experts assessing academic performance within Polish tertiary education;
    • your individuality counts here: you will study in small groups and you will be supervised and tutored by experienced members of the faculty whose professional and academic achievements have been recognized internationally;
    • you will take part in an innovative programme of studies using state-of-the-art teaching methods and problem-solving seminars focused on current issues;
    • your work will be based on research-driven approaches to design;
    • you will have access to state-of-the-art equipment, methods and technologies; you will study on a modern campus offering a film studio, modelling workshops and research labs. 
      See our campus
      See our infrastructure

    International dimension 

    • International staff at the Academy: in addition to our own staff, our faculty also includes experts from leading European institutions, such as the Helen Hamlyn Centre For Design, EIDD, TU Delft, the University of Hasselt.
    • International studio taught by visiting art and design experts.
    • Students take part in the Design Academy in London, organised by the experts from the Design Council, a strategic organization supporting the British government in applying the most effective design solutions for economic development. The training is recommended by Mustafa Kurtuldu, Design Advocate, Google; Digital CTO & Non-Exec Director and the British Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
    • Erasmus+ study exchanges and placements. 


  • Admission

    Who can apply? 
    We seek open-minded candidates willing to work in an interdisciplinary team. This English-language master’s programme is aimed at creative, responsible and visionary graduates of such programmes of study as design, visual communication, graphic design, architecture, urban planning, interior design, exhibition design and architecture, multimedia, user experience design, environmental design, cultural studies, humanities and social sciences.
    Candidates should have BA or MA diploma and B2 level of English. 

    Entry requirements:

    • portfolio (pdf file, max 3 Mb)
    • interview (a presentation of the candidate's plans for education and career in design)

    Sounds interesting? Contact us!


  • Career prospects

    The graduates with diplomas in design are very much sought-after and very highly valued in the job market. Several career paths are available in private and public sector or in business collectives.

    The programme prepares its graduates to work as designers of products, services, interactions, public spaces, and design consultants. It also prepares graduates to work in R&D teams concerned with developing new products and services.

    The wide array of specialisations available in the master’s programme means that the graduates are well-qualified to work in interdisciplinary teams developing product designs, visual information systems and interfaces, services, exhibition and environmental design. The competences gained during their studies will allow the graduates to become expert in designing innovative solutions and will make them highly competitive in the job market.

    Graduates’ skills and competences

    • complex problem solving;
    • critical thinking combined with a multifaceted analysis of complex problems and challenges of the contemporary world. It is combined with the ability to find new paths for development;
    • creative thinking involving the ability to diagnose users’ needs and the ability to devise new ideas on the basis of such diagnoses;
    • emotional intelligence – empathy and a deep understanding of other people’s needs and expectations engaging the principles of conscientious design;
    • the ability to establish and co-ordinate the work of complex, interdisciplinary design teams;
    • being aware of the role of design in increasing the effectiveness and development of services, companies and institutions.

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