Master in Arts & Culture: Design Cultures


Program Description

The specialisation Design Cultures, of the Master's programme Arts and Culture, focuses on design in relation to our direct environment, interior spaces and buildings, graphic communication, dress and fashion, and other artefacts. Both material and digital design coexist in our society and they require adequate analysis. Design Cultures offers this analysis by taking a humanities perspective and connecting today's material cultures with their historical context and particular media. In doing so, this master explores design history and theory in connection with contemporary issues such as identity, sustainability, and multiculturalism.

Master's Arts & Culture
Design Cultures is a programme of the Master’s Arts & Culture. We also run a programme that specializes in the cross-overs between art and media, called Comparative Arts and Media Studies. The MA is part of the Graduate School of Humanities at the VU Amsterdam.

The programme Design Cultures is a one-year, full-time, English-taught study which is worth 60 credits. Though the programme is built around a core set of obligatory courses, students will have ample opportunity to define their own individual tracks by means of electives, internships and, of course, the Master’s thesis.

Core courses (30 EC)
The programme is built around five main courses, a Master Thesis and Electives/Internship:

Methods of Design Analysis: The Meanings of Design (9 ec) Period 1-2
Design, History and Culture (6 ec) Period 1
Trending Topics Arts & Culture (3 ec) Period 1-6
The Arts and Crafts of ‘Dutch’ Design (6 ec) Period 4
Design in Words: Criticism, Writing and Theory (6 ec) Period 4
Master Thesis (18 ec) Period 3-6
Electives/Internships (12 ec) Period 1-4

Master Thesis (18 EC)
The programme culminates in the Master’s thesis, which gives you a chance to demonstrate your research skills, your competence as a critic, and your ability to systematically gather, select and interpret information and to argue a case in an independent, objective and responsible manner. Your thesis plan is due on January and you give two public presentations of your thesis in February and April.

Electives/Internships (12 EC)
You can customize your programme by selecting subjects from a broad range of interdisciplinary electives in the fields of visual arts, architecture, literature or history. We recommend these electives:

Tutorial Design Cultures A+B Period 1+2 6.0 or 9.0
Collecting Curating and Display I (limited availability, elective at UvA) Period 1 6.0
Reading Concepts of Intermediality Period 1-2 9.0
Transmedia Storytelling Period 1 6.0
Seminar Contemporary Art Period 1-3 9.0
Seminar Architecture Period 1-3 9.0
Collecting Curating and Display II (limited availability) Period 2-3 6.0
Media Aesthetics Period 2 6.0
Media Art History: The Digital Divide Period 2 6.0
Academic English: Advanced Writing for Master Students Period 2 3.0
Academic English: Remedial Writing for Master Students Period 2 6.0
English Text Editing MA Period 2 6.0
Crossmedial Exhibitions Period 4 6.0

Or you can choose an internship with a research dimension if you would prefer to gain practical experience in the field of media and arts.

Last updated Nov 2019

About the School

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,00 ... Read More

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff of 130 nationalities create a dynamic international academic community. The University distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. Read less