Do you want to use design to make a difference in the world? Then this is the right degree for you. The bachelor’s programme in Design + Change combines design creativity with knowledge of sustainability for a profession at the cutting edge of design.
The most important challenge of today and in the future concerns sustainability – to create a world that is good for both people and the environment, locally and globally.
During your three years on this design degree, you will work closely with our teachers to develop your own design specialism. It is up to you whether you make a difference through designing physical objects, processes, experiences or systems. The bachelor’s programme is delivered 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.
The Design + Change programme is held in English and we welcome students from all over the world. This means that you as a student is part of a group characterised by diversity and will become well prepared for an international design career.
Design + Change is located in Växjö, Småland – a region characterised by entrepreneurship, production and craft. Collaborative projects and educational visits will give you unique opportunities to forge networks and learn. The study environment in Växjö is personal, safe and creative and you will work in close contact with our practising designers/lecturers and researchers. The many different subjects offered at Linnaeus University give you the possibility to work across disciplines.
There is an increasing demand for competence in sustainability in society. As a designer the ability to collaborate with other disciplines is also becoming more important. This degree programme prepares you for a career within traditional design companies, as well as service design companies, NGOs (non-governmental organisations), human rights organisations and initiatives run by local communities or municipalities. You may also choose to start your own company.
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Main field of study: Design
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:
1. Deadline to apply for international students is 15 January, application code LNU-F1095.
2. Deadline to apply for EU applicants is 15 April, application code LNU-06301.
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.
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
- Visualization skills
- 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
If you have any questions regarding the portfolio or other questions about the programme don´t hesitate to inquire by e-mail to programme coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
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”.
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: email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Roughly 15 minutes with a bike from the city centre, you will find Linnaeus University’s campus. It is like a small society with the university, student accommodation, and student life. Here you become part of a creative knowledge environment.
What will you come across on an excursion in Växjö – the city of contrasts? You will find good restaurants, a celebrated hockey team, and cozy cafés where you can enjoy a latte with lingonberry flavour. In Växjö, beautiful nature is always just around the corner; the city is surrounded by lakes and forests. Students like the combination of the city centre and the active student life on campus. Your dream of the future starts here!