Students learn to adapt knowledge, skills and new approaches to reach collaborative solutions based on ecological, economical and socio-cultural sustainability.

Study objectives

Multidisciplinary approach: Students learn to adapt knowledge, skills and new approaches to reach collaborative solutions based on ecological, economical and socio-cultural sustainability.

Systems approach: Students learn to use systemic thinking into problem solving and create new holistic understandings of complex situations and critical infrastructures in society. The emphasis is on global awareness within the context of local communities and simultaneous modification of different aspects of sustainability.

Design thinking: Students learn to apply creative problem solving methods and tools in facilitating dialogs, defining problems, generating ideas and obtaining solutions.

Sustainability management: Students learn to develop, support and manage sustainability initiatives for the society at large, for business purposes and for the needs of other organizations. Students also gain understanding of the way that different organizational forms and work practices support the pursuits in sustainability.

Project management: Students learn to manage multidisciplinary teamwork, and to promote sustainability in culturally versatile organizational environments.

After completing the degree in CS in the department of Design students are able to
• practice transparent and responsible design in different political, societal and business contexts
• use design thinking, systems thinking and participatory approaches to analyse sustainability problems and develop creative solutions
• facilitate teamwork across different disciplines and profession
• participate in and lead debates on design and sustainability
• carry out design research to support their practical work

Study language

The language of instruction in the Master’s Programme in Creative Sustainability - Master of Arts is English.

Career opportunities

CS studies prepare the students to work as sustainability experts in organizations that have a strategic view on transformation towards sustainability. These include the private and public sectors as well as a wide range of NGO´s. The student can develop expertise in different professional profiles which vary from research skills to the practical skills of management, leadership and design in different environments.

Design confronts new challenges in innovating for sustainable development. The CS programme teaches skills to meet these challenges through specialization and interdisciplinary work, while students simultaneously fulfill criteria for professional design. Graduates from CS programme are attractive targets for progressive local and international employers as well as prepared for independent entrepreneurial activity.

Content of the studies

The Creative Sustainability programme comprises classroom lessons, group assignments workshops, practical projects and a thesis. Courses deepen the basis for professional skills in sustainable product and service design. Contents of the projects vary from material innovation to enhancement of social sustainability. Courses and projects are carried out within topics of interest for partner organizations that can be e.g. private companies, NGOs or other associations or public organizations.

The two-year major consists of 120 ECTS composed of compulsory studies in the Department of Design, compulsory Creative Sustainability design studies and optional studies. The curriculum is based on personal study plans, in which the students can also include studies completed at other universities or other modules from Aalto University. The pedagogical approach is based on integrating teaching and research, problem-based learning, and strong connection to practical outcomes. You can find more information about course offerings at the programme website.

For further details on the education content, see the study guide for the academic years 2018-2020.

Admission procedure and programme-specific requirements

Applicants for the CoID programme in apply in the master’s level admissions in the field of Art and Design. The programme seeks students with skills to develop processes and structures, to create innovative design solutions both individually and in team settings, with personal and artistic insightfulness, ideation skill, and goal-orientation and motivation.

Eligible applicants for the programme have earned a Bachelor of Arts (Art and Design) or completed equivalent studies. The Master’s Programme in Collaborative and Industrial Design consists of advanced studies which can be completed in two years.

Students are granted admission to the programme through a two-phase process. In the first phase students are evaluated based on the application as a whole, including portfolio, previous studies, CV and letter of motivation. In the second phase, the most suitable applicants are invited for an interview, from which a smaller subset of applicants is offered a study place. Applicants accepted to the programme may be required to take supplementary studies.

The applicants are evaluated in two stages on the basis of their CVs, personal study achievements (artistic and/or scientific) and motivation, which are also discussed in the interview.

Stage I: documentation

  1. Motivation letter
  2. Degree certificate and transcript
  3. CV
  4. Portfolio


In the portfolio, applicants display work that shows their designerly insights and skills. The portfolio must contain diverse samples of the applicant’s previous scientific, professional and/or design projects.

Design work can be provided as technical drawings, computer renderings, sketches, illustrations, storyboards or photographs. Include six (6) work samples in the portfolio. The work contained in the portfolio must be catalogued, listing at least the title and/or theme, purpose and year of completion of each piece. The catalogue must also detail where and when the work has been completed, exhibited, displayed or published. Each work should be accompanied by a brief explanation. The contribution of the applicant in the work should be stated in case the work has been completed in a group. The applicant’s name, address and phone number and the degree programme applied for must be indicated clearly on the portfolio.

The portfolio should be uploaded as a single PDF-file. The uploaded PDF-file should not exceed 100 MB. The intake committee will only evaluate the material displayed in the PDF-file. Links to external material (e.g. website) or video material will not be considered during the intake process.

CV (curriculum vitae)

Applications must include the applicant’s CV indicating personal data, educational background, work experience, exhibitions, publications and articles, awards and grants, study trips and positions of trust.

Motivation letter (in the application form, max. 4000 characters)

Write a motivation letter explaining your reasons for applying for this programme and your particular interest(s) in the field as well as your goals and expectations for the studies to be completed at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Describe your strengths and interests, vision of art and design, aspects related to the work and creative goals.

The letter of motivation must clearly answer the following questions:

  1. What is your biggest achievement/success in the field of design?
  2. Why are you applying for Aalto University?
  3. What do you want to learn by studying at the Collaborative and Industrial Design programme?
  4. What is the role of the master’s programme for your professional development?
  5. What would you like to do after completing the master’s programme?

Stage II: interview

Selected applicants from Stage I will be invited for a face to face interview. The interviews can be conducted over Skype or telephone if necessary. The interview is intended to evaluate the applicant’s potential to complete the studies successfully.

Language of the application documents

All the application documents should be submitted in English.

Other programme-specific application instructions

The Master’s Programme in Creative Sustainability (CS) is a multidisciplinary master’s degree programme organised by the following departments and schools of Aalto University: Department of Design; School of Arts, Design and Architecture Department of Architecture; School of Arts, Design and Architecture Department of Management Studies; School of Business Department of Built Environment; School of Engineering

An applicant’s eligibility will always be checked according to the criteria of the school through which the applicant is applying to the programme (criteria on e.g. the score of language test, educational background and submission of the required attachments). The administrative eligibility of the applicant is checked by Aalto University Admission Services.

The applicant can apply to the CS programme through more than one school or department. In this case the applicant should deliver the appropriate application package to each school or department. Such an applicant, however, can be selected only through one of the departments. Accepted students will complete the master’s degree of the department to which they were accepted. If an architect applies through the Department of Design and is accepted, the degree completed will be a Master of Arts in Creative Sustainability.

In order for an architect-applicant to be accepted, the applicant should show a strong motivation why he/she wants to apply through the Department of Design in particular. Alternatively, if an architect would like to complete a Master of Science degree in Architecture in the Creative Sustainability programme, the application process must be done through the Department of Architecture in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

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Last updated November 16, 2018
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2019
2 years
15,000 EUR
€15,000 per academic year for non-EU/EEA citizens.
Request Info
The application period for studies starting in autumn 2019 runs from 3 December 2018 to 11 January 2019.
By locations
By date
Start Date
Sep 2019
End Date
June 30, 2021
Application deadline
Request Info
The application period for studies starting in autumn 2019 runs from 3 December 2018 to 11 January 2019.

Sep 2019

Application deadline
Request Info
The application period for studies starting in autumn 2019 runs from 3 December 2018 to 11 January 2019.
End Date
June 30, 2021