The programme is full-time and structured over two years, which
are divided equally in four semesters of 19 weeks. The total course
consists of 120 ECTS earned points and the course is taught in
The curriculum is organised around an intensive studio-based
structure; conceptual outlines frame semesters one, two and three.
During semester four, students work independently and with a chosen
adviser on their degree project. The final projects are presented
during a graduation presentation and exhibition. This final project
leads to the Master of Design diploma.
During the first three semesters, design projects are crafted and
motivated around the following conceptual frameworks:
Society & The InteriorCity
Diverse cultural projects are driven by research on the needs of
contemporary societies and the 'interior' urban condition.
Dwellings & Habitats
Projects explore how we live today to form novel dwelling types
and other emerging forms of habitat.
Networks & Curriculums
Projects investigate how present-day societies learn and work as
groundwork to propose new interior typologies.
Self-directed research and design project
Four instructive threads consisting of 'course modules and
workshops' are integrated in semesters one, two and three. These
modules and workshops are structured to provide specialised
expertise and technical proficiency to the semester's design and
- Craft: Materials, Construction and Detail
- Digital Technology, Visualisation and Communication
- Histories and Theories
- Specialised Modules and Workshops (e.g. lighting design,
sustainability, professional practices)
The programme is structured over two years, which are divided
over four semesters of 19 weeks. The total course consists of 120
ECTS points. Equally divided over the four semesters. The course is
taught in English.
In the first three semesters you will be taught in many
different subjects (18 modules), such as retail branding, research,
cultural perspective, typologies, graphic design, ecodesign, visual
culture, light in retail, experience management, philosophy, visual
culture, experimentation in materials, culture research and
management organization. Each semester you will undertake an
excursion to get inspiration for your design project at the end of
that semester. In their design project, students are asked to
integrate all knowledge mastered during their preceding
Retail is a complicated business and many different aspects
influence the retail design. Therefore, we believe that the retail
designer should have knowledge of all these variables and
understand their impact on design. A good balance between
commercial and functional aspects of design and the complex context
of cultural and aesthetic demands is required. The retail designer
is responsible for developing and extending the communication
between brand and customer.
In the fourth semester, students will mostly work independently on
their dissertation project. Successfully finishing this project
will lead to the Master of Design diploma.
Related to the curriculum
In addition to our curriculum, taught by our core faculty and
invited project leaders, we organise an ongoing public event series
based on issues related to the curriculum, but reaching beyond the
framework of the seminars. The public events are an important
resource for students, tutors and guests, serving as bridge to the
city and building a community around areas of interests.
The Piet Zwart Institute includes the two research
- Communication in a Digital Age - investigates the future shape
of communication design and artistic professions in a time of
massive social, economic and technological changes of media,
communication culture and the production and distribution of
so-called creative work.
- Cultural Diversity - reflects changes of contemporary art and
design through migration, post-colonial relations and transnational
visual cultures, with a focus on the city of Rotterdam and its
population of currently 48% immigrants.
As a master student at the Piet Zwart Institute, you can attend
all conferences, lectures and workshops organised by the two
research programmes, have guest lecturers as personal tutors and
contribute your own projects to its published research.