The core idea of the training concept in the degree programme in Product Design is the idea of the individual expertise profile. This means that each student begins studying with his or her very own educational background and range of interests. With the knowledge and insights that they acquire in the course of their studies, students develop their personal expertise profiles. There is therefore no ideal route in training to become a designer, but only many personal academic profiles.
Development of Individual Expertise Profiles
The open study structure with its diverse selection options - with the students being supported by means of intensive counselling - takes account of this. On completion of their training, graduates should be able to solve highly complex design problems independently and expertly, professionally deploying the artistic, scientific and technological design methods of their specialization. The Product Design study programme is structured into three content areas:
A designer's main expertise is designing, i.e. using design thinking and acting to understand and solve design problems. Designing begins in the first semester; the foundations extend over the entire study programme. As each design problem is, by its nature, unique, each new task may also require fundamentals to be worked out.
The design tasks in the first two semesters are not discipline-based; from the third semester onwards, students themselves can decide the teaching areas from which they choose their design projects. The following are available:
The fact that these four teaching areas are bound together within one degree programme is a speciality of the training in Product Design at Kassel. The successes of the graduates confirm this concept, especially as it reflects the changing requirements of the professional market: in addition to classical designers, the "form shapers", designers whose qualifications run counter to the classical design disciplines are increasingly being sought. Diversity of training and broad-based expertise are co-determining factors with regard to future prospects.
Artistic / Scientific knowledge
Knowledge and skills that enable designers to handle different design tasks are taught in this study area. The content is wide-ranging, covering, for example, the teaching of a sound methodological toolset, knowledge relating to analogue and digital modelling, ergonomic knowledge, methods of psychology and marketing, art and design working practices, knowledge of materials and manufacturing processes. The study area is divided into the following groups:
There is no golden rule in this area, either, as to which subjects need to be completed in order to become a good designer. The determining factor is each individual student's personal expertise profile. Accordingly, while various compulsory courses must be taken up to the fourth semester, students can choose the areas from which they wish to take courses from as early as the third semester. Subjects are no longer compulsory in any of the study areas from the fourth semester onwards, with only a certain number of courses from the different study areas needing to be attended.
Collaboration with Other Degree Programmes, Departments and Universities
The great range of knowledge that is relevant to designers requires special constellations and prerequisites in teaching. The degree programme in Product Design is in a particularly favourable situation in this respect. Integration into the Kunsthochschule facilitates close collaboration with the degree programmes in Visual Arts and Visual Communication. Collaboration with other departments of the University of Kassel, such as Architecture, Mechanical Engineering, Urban and Landscape Planning, Psychology etc., has been practised for a long time.
Particular importance is attached to students' studying at European partner universities for a certain period, with a view to gathering experience of other cultures and training concepts.
The degree programme in Product Design is an undergraduate Diplom degree. It is subdivided into a craft-based preliminary work placement, foundation studies and main studies of four semesters each, and an examination semester. The degree is a University Diplom, with the academic title of Diplom-Designer being awarded.