Do you want to use design and its tools and methods to make a difference in the world? Then this is the right degree for you. The most important challenge of today and in the future concerns sustainability – to create a world that is good for both people and the planet, locally and globally. The bachelor’s programme in Design +Change combines design creativity with knowledge of sustainability for a profession at the cutting edge of design.
The Design +Change programme is delivered and evaluated through a series of projects, and you will work independently as well as engage in group work, and in collaborations with the local and regional community and enterprises. It is held entirely in English and we welcome students from all over the world. This means that you as a student are part of a group characterized by diversity and will become well prepared for an international design career.
Design +Change is located in Växjö, Småland – a region characterized by entrepreneurship, production and craft. Collaborative projects and educational visits will give you unique opportunities to forge networks and learn as well as to build your portfolio. The study environment in Växjö is personal, safe and creative and you will work in close contact with our practicing designers/lecturers, artists and researchers. The diversity in expertise provides you with the possibility to develop across disciplines and be introduced to a variety of artistic practices such as ceramics, wood-work, textiles, performance, movement & somatic practice, food, photo and video, among others.
The career perspective of Design is very diverse. The bachelor provides you with many useful skills, overarching knowledge and an interdisciplinary approach that can be incorporated in whatever specialization you decide to pursue, allowing for different career pathways of your interests and aspirations. Many students decide to expand on their expertise with a masters education within various fields. You can also choose to continue your studies in Växjö with the Design + Change Master Programme.
Below you can find some exemplary career paths of alumni.
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Main field of study: Design
During the programme, you can do field work abroad as part of your degree project. This may involve collecting material abroad for a period of roughly two months. It is also possible to carry out an international exchange in the year following your graduation from the programme.
The value words of this education.
Application and portfolio
Apply to the programme online in English at universityadmissions.se, or apply i Swedish at antagning.se. Submissions of documentation attesting your eligibility for Bachelor's level study must be submitted here.
Please submit your entire application, including the portfolio assignments below, by last day of application.
There are two application rounds to apply to the program:
- Deadline to apply for international students is 15 January 2024, application code: LNU-F2308. Your portfolio and letter of intent should be submitted, no later than 1 February 2024.
- Deadline to apply for EU applicants is 15 April 2024, application code: LNU-G0196. Your portfolio and letter of intent should be submitted, no later than 2 May 2024.
Please note. During the second admission round, you can only apply via www.antagning.se. Unfortunately, it's only in Swedish and if you need help with your application, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Portfolio Guidelines and Application Checklist
For your submitted portfolio to be deemed complete, it must consist of these three components:
Assignment A "Design for another species" (2 pages)
Design an object, environment, campaign or system for another species. You can choose any species, such as a mammal, fish, insect or plant (e.g. a bat, an octopus, a bee, a particular variety of mushroom, etc.). Use this exercise as an opportunity to be creative! At the same time, you are also encouraged to think of how the design deals with issues of interaction, sustainability or the possibility of change of some kind (large or small scale) in the world. Visualise your idea (through for example drawings, photography, or a model) and write a short explanation (150-300 words) about your thoughts and choices. You can find examples of designers and artists working with such approaches on sites like this tumblr-page.
Assignment B Present your own work (6 pages)
Use the remaining pages to present your own creative work. Show us any form of artistic expression/design that you are proud of and that represents how you like to work. We encourage you to choose work that demonstrates a wide range of your interests. Please be aware that creative work can include volunteer work, campaigns, social work, grassroots or similar activities that relate to sustainability or making change.
Assignment C Statement of purpose
Please write a statement of purpose that on one A4 page describes your interest in design focusing on:
- What are you curious about?
- What do you want to change through design?
- How do you want to use your education to reach your goals?
- What is sustainability to you?
The statement of purpose will be evaluated in terms of:
- Your capacity to envision and plan your future as a designer.
- Your previous and intended engagement with sustainability and change.
- Your proficiency in expressing yourself in English.
Submit these three assignments as one PDF document (you can upload a maximum of 50 mb) on your application page at universityadmissions.se (in English) or antagning.se (in Swedish).
Acceptance to the programme
If you meet the eligibility criteria, your application will be accepted and evaluated on the basis of your portfolio. Evaluation of portfolios is conducted by a selection committee consisting of faculty members, external experts, and current BFA students. The portfolio is regarded as a whole and the portfolio is evaluated in terms of the following criteria:
- Artistic quality
- Articulation of purpose
- Creative approach
The university will not disclose the reasons behind the decision to accept or reject any individual application. Approved students will be notified through universityadmissions.se or antagning.se.
Checklist for Application
- I have submitted my application through antagning.se or universityadmissions.se.
- I have prepared my portfolio assignments according to the guidelines provided.
- I have included my all three assignments in the application.
- I have uploaded my portfolio on my pages on universityadmissions.se (in English), or antagning.se (in Swedish).
Do you have any Questions?
If you have any questions regarding the application or permisson related issue don´t hesitate to inquire by e-mail to Admissions Office: email@example.com.
Please note that the nationwide universityadmissions.se system will mark your application as "unqualified" while it is still under review by the system. This does not mean that your application has been rejected. This only means that it is still being processed. Linnaeus University has no influence on this message.
A unique programme with both local and global perspectives
Wiktoria appreciates the supportive culture among the students studying Design + Change, and how they strive to redefine how design can contribute to a sustainable future. After graduation, she dreams of opening her own studio.
Read the full interview with Wiktoria
- I chose to study at Linnaeus University because of the unique design programme. It seemed much more interesting than traditional design degrees, like product or graphic design. The programme offers me an opportunity to make a change in the world and to put sustainability at the centre of my studies, which is a very valuable and important experience for me to have.
Wiktoria thinks that the best thing about her programme are the topics she and her fellow students engage with and the good relationship with the teachers on the programme.
- In our projects, we tackle global issues like climate change or gender and norms, taking in both local and global perspectives. We try to redefine what design is and how design can contribute to a sustainable future. At our department, we learn from our teachers and they learn from us as well, it’s a very open and mutual learning environment.
A supportive culture among students and teachers
A challenge for Wiktoria has been having a feeling of not doing enough, but the students have a supportive relationship and help each other.
- Having to deal with the complexity of our world is not easy and sometimes I’ve found myself feeling powerless. Thanks to my classmates and my teachers, I have learned how to turn these emotions and my awareness into action and motivation for making change wherever it’s possible. Since our department is not very big, we are all quite close with each other and we have built a supportive community among us. It feels very comfortable and empowering to be surrounded by people who are curious about each other and always willing to help.
After graduation, Wiktoria dreams of opening her own studio.
- After graduation, I’ll be carrying what I’ve learned at Linnaeus University with me and try to plant some seeds of change wherever I go. I might continue studying for a master’s degree. My dream job is to have my own design studio and collaborate with people from different backgrounds to reimagine our relationship with nature.
I’m encouraged to be innovative and discover using design
Ahmad really appreciates the study environment and meeting people with different backgrounds, from different countries. In the future, he would like to work with projects creating sustainable energy.
Read the full interview with Ahmad
- I chose to study the programme because I found it very interesting, but also, of course, because the language of tuition is English.
He appreciates the study environment and the relationship with the teachers.
- I like the teaching tools we use at our department and the creative teaching methods that are used. The teachers are open-minded, they are good listeners, and they provide good support. The university provides free access to education tools like Adobe programmes and other helpful tools that we need.
Sustainability at the centre of the programme
The programme has a clear focus on sustainability and students are encouraged to come up with new ways of using design.
- The content of the programme is very promising and I think it can contribute greatly to the fields of design and sustainability. Studying on Design + Change develops one’s modest side and encourages you to be innovative and discover new things. You will also get to look at things from different perspectives. It gives you the possibility to work in different fields, where you learn how to use many different design tools and analyze your experiences.
Life on campus
For Ahmed, living on campus in Växjö has been a positive experience.
- Life on campus is very interesting. Linnaeus University is an international university, and you meet people with different cultural backgrounds, from many different countries around the world. Life as a student in Växjö is easy. Campus has great facilities, a medical centre, a grocery store, restaurants, and student pubs. There are also lots of activities arranged by students.
After graduation, he would like to work with creating sustainable energy.
- I am looking forward to completing my studies. After completing a master’s degree in a field related to my current field of study, my dream is to work with projects specializing in building self-sufficient cities that rely on sustainable energy.
Using design as a meaningful tool for change
After graduation, Sofia was craving for a business approach to design, so she moved to Berlin and began working in communications at a sustainability consultancy startup. Today, she runs her own design business.
Read the full interview with Sofia
- The Design + Change programme caught my attention because it was one of few bachelor’s degree programmes in Europe that have a holistic approach to design. Before beginning my studies, I knew that I was interested in several areas within design, and I didn’t quite feel like narrowing down to a specific field yet. For me, it was clear that this programme was not merely about making something aesthetically pleasing but using design as a meaningful tool for change.
Sofia appreciates the teaching style that lets students explore different mediums, and the facilities are good.
- I found that the style of teaching was quite free in terms of being able to explore different mediums such as graphic design, textile design, photography, and product design. One of the highlights of the programme are the facilities that you have access to as a design student. Having access to all different types of workshops; such as screen-printing, woodwork, and a photo studio is such a luxury.
If you have an interest in exploring design, this programme will suit you.
- If you plan to understand and explore design from different perspectives, always with the social and environmental impact in mind, then this is the programme for you. The programme really supports self-exploration and develop your design skills through both theoretical and artistic design work.
Building on her dreams
After her graduation, Sofia was craving for a business approach to design, rather than an academic one, so she moved to Berlin to work.
- I wanted to understand how sustainability-consulting functions work and learn how to run a sustainable business. I began working at a sustainability consultancy startup in Berlin where I worked in communications, putting my diverse design skills into practice.
Today she runs her own business.
- I began freelancing on the side and eventually took the leap to start my own design business full-time. My mission is to combine ethics with aesthetics. I work with conscious businesses in the field of sustainability to amplify their positive impact through compelling visuals.
Sofia Granefelt Laurén works as a service designer at Transformator Design in Stockholm. We asked Sofia some questions about how she ended up there and what she works with.
Read the full interview with Sofia
I graduated one year later than planned, since I took a year off to go to India. The experiences I gained from that trip made that extra year before graduation worthwhile. I think my year in India changed my attitude to my last year as a design student, so that I could make the most of my time there.
Did you start working at Transformator directly after your graduation, and how did you end up there?
It all started when I was introduced to Service Design in my last year in the design programme. I was immediately interested in its methods and what you can accomplish with them. I heard that Transformator Design definitely was the place to be if you wanted to learn more about Service Design. I applied for a trainee position right after graduation, when I moved to Stockholm, and I've been working at Transformator ever since.
What's your title, and what do you do?
My title is Service Designer. This means that I work with projects in which I try to understand the customer's and user's incentives, needs and experiences of the service, for example by observing and talking to the final users. Based on this understanding, we develop proposals and concepts in an iterative process together with the users and clients.
What does an ordinary day at work look like?
All days at Transformator are different, since we work with different clients, projects and challenges. Everyone at Transformator is emphatic, and we work in close-knit project teams where we discuss everything with each other to develop a better understanding and develop ideas.
Is it an international workplace? What clients do you work with?
Right now we only have an office in Stockholm, but we work with international clients, and we also have some plans on developing our business outside of Sweden. Many of the organisations we work with deliver services which most of us use every day. For example using your credit card to buy something, getting an overview of a store, applying for parental leave, getting an insurance, understanding your pension or riding the metro in Stockholm. No matter what, we always try to improve the experience for the users of our services, and can confidently say that together with our clients we make society a better place by creating services our customers choose, love and recommend!
What should students keep in mind to reach their goals after their education?
I think it's important to define and try to formulate your goals and start to reflect on what it is that you want out of your programme. During my first two years in the Bachelor's programme I took all the opportunities I could to try out new things, find inspiration and learn from others. That meant that in my third year I could focus on my area of interest, develop my knowledge and start working on my portfolio. I think it's a good idea to prepare for "the next step" when you're still studying, and in that way form a clearer connection between your education and professional life.
Catrin and Kristel started a business together
Catrin and Kristel graduated from their design programme at Linnaeus University a few years back. Their degree project, which they did together, was chosen for the exhibition Young Swedish Design. Now they have started the company WE ARE CAMP together.
Read the full interview with Catrin and Kristel
Young Swedish Design is a designer award that is handed out by the association Svensk Form every year. 20 out of 400 contributions were chosen and these are now included in Young Swedish Design’s annual travelling exhibition that is presented in different places in both Sweden and abroad.
Congratulations to the award Young Swedish Design!
“Tank you! We applied with our degree project Gelifoam and were accepted. This feels great and we think this is a good way to stand out as young designers”.
Could you say something more about your degree project Gelifoam?
“We were both interested in the complex food industry and chose to specialise in this through experimental design. Short description: The project Gelifoam is based on an investigative process. We have examined and deconstructed pix-and-mix sweets to find out what it really is. Through a number of experiments, pick-and-mix sweets have been deconstructed and then placed in a new context. The result is Gelifoam, a biodegradable material in which wood and candy meet – the edible meets the non-edible and the organic meets the artificial”.
How did you like studying design at Linnaeus University?
“It was intense and we worked really hard during the first year, before we even fully understood how design processes work. We got the opportunity to explore our ideas in different projects and within different fields. This was perfect in order to figure out on what path you want to continue”.
What was Växjö like as a student city?
“We really enjoyed campus where most students lived, which made it easier to get together and hang out. It was also close to nature, the food store, the gym, and all the university buildings. Our impression was that most students came from other towns and cities and, as a result, were eager to get to know new people”.
One of you has now moved to Gothenburg and the other to Örebro, how do you handle this when you work with your company WE ARE CAMP?
“Since we live in different cities we use Skype a lot, but also try to see each other as often as we can. Right now, we are working with graphic profiles for two different companies. Both of us also have extra jobs on the side in order to make some extra money. The dream, of course, is to be able to work full-time with our own company”.
Could you describe a regular day at work?
“We brainstorm and do sketches, either by hand or on the computer. Something we tend to do often is to talk in self-made slogans or strings of words, and sing. We try to work without placing too much pressure on ourselves. We want to move forward and we want to develop our activities, but money and success are not the main driving forces”.
What is your vision for the future?
“Right now, we take one week at a time and continue working on our design projects. We are also planning to launch yet another experimental project this summer. We’ll see what happens but we would like to work in a more artisanal way”.
Emma and Camilla run their own design agency
Alumni Emma and Camilla got to know each other when they studied on the programme Design + Change. Nowadays, they run the design agency Fem2design together.
Read the interview with Emma och Camilla
The company is Växjö-based and focuses primarily on sustainability and craft-based design.
“We take on different types of assignments, like product design and graphic design but also give lectures and arrange workshops, but sustainability is present in everything we do”, Camilla explains.
They let us know how they gradually launched their business after graduating and explain that they both had other jobs on the side for more than a year to make sure they had a stable income. They point out that it takes a long time to build a business from scratch and to establish contacts that will lead to customers, something they are still struggling with. Their goal is to be able to live off their business while doing what they love to do.
“There really is no regular day at work as there is so much variation! However, we usually try to plan our days so that we make the most of the available time while also finding a balance between what’s inspiring us on that particular day and what we need to prioritise. This can be everything from administrative work to producing and creating products, marketing, meetings, or inspiring study visits”, says Emma.
Never really knowing when the next big idea or assignment comes along is what they think is most exciting about their work. And the fact that they get to work with creative processes means that they are not likely to ever grow tired of their job. The best thing about their job is that they get to express their creativity together with a like-minded colleague.
“We have a positive outlook on the future. Society is becoming increasingly open to alternative and more sustainable consumption patterns, and we hope to be able to inspire and facilitate change though our work”, they explain.
They both believe that the programme they studied has given them a head start in sustainability thinking. They explain that many companies and employers want to see more sustainable ways of working and manufacturing processes. During their studies, they both had to ‘rethink’ what they thought they knew about design, but also what they knew about themselves.
“Getting the opportunity to study with people from different backgrounds, with different experiences, and different languages forces you to challenge yourself and broaden your perspectives and how you view the world. Design + Change is a unique and embracing community. There are so many like-minded, creative enthusiasts who support each other”, they say.
A couple of tips for work life that they would like to offer is to establish networks and not hesitate to accept help from others.
“It’s not possible to master all skills yourself, so it’s important to have a humble approach and not be afraid to invite others to collaborate. You should never underestimate what you can achieve together with others”, Emma concludes.
More information about the programme
Doesn't design already imply change? Yes, through design we give form to new products (and books, campaigns, services, systems and much more). Through these we also shape and change behaviour, attitudes and even worldviews.
Today it is both formally and globally recognised that the state of both ecological and social systems is critical. We also know that human activities – and not least design, and its associated overconsumption – drive unsustainability.
With + Change we want to emphasise the very potential of design to affect change and to extend it. Change comprises different degrees and perspectives on change, such as adaptation, evolution and revolution. To affect change through design can be about initiatives directed at products, systems or worldviews. We can choose to use design to affect change locally, regionally or globally, and with focus on ecology, economy, human health and equality, or all of this simultaneously. Altogether + Change is about purposefully using design, and its inherent creativity, in order to achieve changes towards futures of sustainability.
Student project Design + Change, first term
Why did we apply to Design + Change at Linnaeus University
Humans have caused the world to suffer by putting themselves above everything else existing on the planet. It's more than time to change this behaviour and work towards a better future. In this film we share our reasons for why we're here and what we're aspiring to achieve with this program, in an honest and insightful way as part of a class of more than 20 students in the very beginning of our education. Whether it's for our love for the environment, human sustainability or simply because we enjoy creating, we all have a good reason for being here. One semester has passed and we're more eager than ever to contribute to a more sustainable future wit h our designs. We're doing something new. Something important.
Why+ Change: Made by1st year students from the program Design + Change in Växjö. Module 4 Moving Image.
Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair
Students from Design + Change programme participate in the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair every year. Second-year students from Design + Change programme received the FORM Magazine Award in 2019 for Sustainability Project of the Year at the Stockholm Furniture Fair. Their interactive performance, titled “Hurry up before we collapse”, dealt with the hidden power structures behind our consumption and the inevitable collapse towards which it is leading us. In the exhibition, the students took on the role of human furniture as a way to interact with visitors and encourage personal reflection concerning the role as consumer.
Frequently asked questions
How do I apply for Design+Change?
You apply to the programme online in English at universityadmissions.se, or apply i Swedish at antagning.se. On those pages, you also submit your documentation of eligibility for university studies and English proficiency. Besides the online application, you need to submit your portfolio to Linnaeus University (LNU) in time. Please read the instructions regarding the portfolio carefully.
I have questions regarding my eligibility for BA level studies?
Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. They are taking care of the admission process and can answer all questions regarding documentations and deadlines.
Do I have to know Swedish to study a design programme at LNU?
You don't have to know the Swedish language, but you have to show proof of your English language skills through for instance TOEFL or IELTS-tests. Your level of English needs to compare to a English B in the swedish education system.
I will not be able to send all documents (like highschool diploma, result from English test...) before the deadline, may I apply anyway ?
Yes, it will be possible to send documents at a later point. Please contact email@example.com to get an exact deadline.
How much is the tuition fee?
Non EU/EEA students need to pay a fee of 142 000 SEK per term, which sums up to a total of 855 000 SEK for the whole program. You find more information regarding tuition fees here.
For Swedish and other EU/EEA students the education is without charge. But cost for study trips and material apply.
Are there any scholarships for international students ?
Scholarships are not handled by the department of Design. You can get information regarding scholarships here.
When does the academic year start and end?
The Academic year is divided into two terms. Our programs start only in the Autumn. The academic year at LNU starts in the end of August and the autumn term will end in the middle of January. The spring term will run from the middle of January to the beginning of June.
Växjö – the student city with a living campus
Just south of Växjö’s city centre you will find Linnaeus University’s campus. In Växjö, many students choose to live on campus.
Here you will have five minutes’ walking distance to friends, restaurants, lecture rooms, gym, grocery store, the University Library, nature trails, and student pubs. If you live in another part of Växjö, you can quickly get to the university by bus or bicycle.
With its 90 000 inhabitants, Växjö is one of the fastest growing cities in Sweden. Here you will find the famous Småland entrepreneurship spirit and a lot of companies, for instance within the IT industry – perfect for when you are looking for an internship position or a job. Växjö is also a picturesque city where you are always close to forests and water.