In the work towards a sustainable development, designers play an important role. But in order to find innovative solutions, we need to collaborate across different disciplines. On this two-year master’s programme, you get to study in teams with students from the fields of business and engineering to find the most innovative solutions, both from theoretical and practical perspectives.
To tackle the challenges that humankind is facing regarding environmental and social issues, we need to bring competences and experiences together. Having your profession in design whilst you have an in-depth knowledge of other fields will be an important factor in the work towards a sustainable development. This master’s programme in Innovation through Business, Engineering and Design is unique in that way since it enables you to collaborate with students from the programme’s three different specialisations; business, engineering and design. This means that you get several perspectives on the different projects and assignments that are carried out during the course of the programme, both from theoretical and practical perspectives. By learning how to collaborate with people who have different competences and experiences, you become attractive on the labour market due to your unique multidisciplinary competence.
As a design student, you can further your knowledge in the theory and practice of emerging design disciplines towards sustainability and creative collaboration. You also learn how different disciplines articulate knowledge and how academic work is conducted. These aspects are developed in a unique way through an integration of academic subjects such as systems engineering and design thinking, thereby giving the innovation process a complete and holistic framing.
In order for the programme to give you the knowledge on how to meet the challenges humanity faces concerning environmental and social issues, you will also work together with the trade and industry during your studies. We have a particularly close partnership with IKEA and Södra, through a strategic collaboration called ‘The Bridge’. This collaboration is based on the UN’s global goals with focus on sustainability, innovation and optimal management of local natural and human resources. We see that this type of collaboration is necessary to be able to handle sustainable societal transformation to ensure a secure today and tomorrow, serving as a good example of how academy and industry can collaborate for a sustainable development.
Companies and organisations worldwide need professionals who can carry out collaborative creativity to innovate and support sustainable development. As a graduate of this master’s programme, you can effectively use your acquired knowledge to create unique and cost-effective solutions for the issue at hand. You will be an excellent co-worker as the programme provides you with the right tools to encourage motivation, trust, respect for diversity, and to develop your leadership and communication skills.
Master of Fine Arts (120 credits) with specialisation in Innovation through Business, Engineering and Design.
Main field of study: Design
The language of tuition is English. In this way, you will become prepared not only for a career in Sweden, but also for a career in international contexts. The programme admits students from all over the world, which means that you will get international and multicultural experience throughout the programme. Further opportunity for internationalisation is provided through the opportunity to study a semester abroad at one of our partner universities around the world.
Application and portfolio
You need to apply to the programme online and submit your portfolio at universityadmissions.se.
You find instructions for the portfolio below. Please submit your entire application, including the portfolio assignments below, by last day of application.
Deadline to apply for international students is 15 January 2024 och application code: LNU-F2290
Portfolio Guidelines. MFA Innovation through Business, Engineering and Design – Specialisation design
For your submitted portfolio to be deemed complete, it must consist of two components:
1. Representative work, including your degree project and its written report, if there is such. Please send the report as PDF in low resolution.
2. Statement of purpose
1. Representative Work
Your portfolio should include a maximum of 12 pages of your most creative work, and should represent a variety of design and art approaches and outcomes. We encourage you to choose work that demonstrate the range of your interests, even outside of your studies, such as internships, etc.
In the upload form, enter a brief description of the work you upload.
2. Statement of purpose
Besides your portfolio the statement of purpose is an important part of the application –it gives you opportunity to present yourself and it gives us the opportunity to know your interests in advance. Write a short statement (max 2xA4) containing:
Name of University at which you have studied for your BA degree:
Country you have studied for your undergraduate degree:
Answer then the following questions:
- What is innovation for you?
- What is your definition of design and what is the role of a designer in the future?
- Why do you believe you would benefit from joining a multidisciplinary program?
- What do you think you could contribute with?
- What are your career ambitions immediately after graduating from the program?
Describe then shortly how you plan to achieve the goals of the program.
Describe your experiences concerning interdisciplinary development work/process.
Finally attach a one page CV/resume to your statement of purpose
The statement of purpose will be evaluated in terms of:
• Your approach to innovation
• Your definition of design, your role as designer and the future challenges you see
• Your capacity to describe your skills and how they might contribute in a multidisciplinary team
• Your proficiency in expressing yourself in English
Application Procedure and Deadlines
The application process consists of two steps:
Apply to the programme online at Apply to the programme in English online at universityadmissions.se, or apply in Swedish at antagning.se. Submissions of documentation attesting your eligibility for Master´s level study must be submitted here.
Submit your portfolio to Linnaeus University 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 MFA 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 www.universityadmissions.se or www.antagning.se.
Checklist for Application
- I have submitted my application through antagning.se or universityadmissions.se
- I have prepared my portfolio according to the guidelines provided.
- I have included a Letter of intent with my portfolio.
- I have uploaded my portfolio and made sure that all my files are included, and that I have submitted written descriptions of my uploaded files.
After submitting your application and portfolio you'll be contacted if you have been selected for interview. At the interview, we ask you to bring a hard copy of your portfolio. If you're an international or EU student who is unable to attend an interview in person, we may offer a telephone/online interview.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions regarding the application and portfolio, or other related issue don´t hesitate to inquire by e-mail to programme coordinator Miguel Salinas: email@example.com
The IKEA and Södra Scholarship
Through The Bridge, IKEA, Södra and Linnaeus University offers a student scholarship that covers all of the tuition fees and living costs. Read more about the IKEA and Södra Scholarship.
Collaboration between the disciplines - and with companies
Meet students from the three disciplines and hear them talk about the unique disposition of the programme where design, engineering and business collaborate in projects with companies.
Students within business, engineering and design collaborate to develop products
During the autumn term, first-year students on the master programme Innovation through business, engineering and design work in groups with one company each to develop their own products.
Read the full interview
Ramona Hallgren studies on the design specialisation. Her group collaborates with the company CumVex, specialising in office furniture. Since CumVex is based in Växjö it is easy for the group to arrange meetings with the company without having to plan too far in advance.
"The company has been very open to our ideas and they listen to what we have to say. The fact that it is a local company is, of course, a great advantage, almost luxury", says Ramona. The collaboration within the group is also working well. All groups consist of students from the three different specialisations: business, engineering and design.
"The interesting part about working in a collaboration like this is that I, being a designer, view things differently. As opposed to financial managers and engineers I don't think very much about production and costs in the first stage of generating ideas", says Ramona.
Sebastian Duque studies on the business specialisation. He thinks that it has been very instructive to work together with students from the other specialisations.
"We all have different perspectives, and our working processes are also different from each other. We get to learn how designers and engineers think, just like in real-life projects", he explains.
Sebastian's group works with Alstermo Bruk, a company making suitcases. They keep contact through email, but also through visits both ways. Sebastian's group has focused on the concept of sustainability and is developing a new product.
"First, we worked four weeks with the development of a design model and now we have reached the engineering process. Once we have completed that, we will work four weeks with the business process. In this way, we will all learn the entire development process, which is very rewarding", says Sebastian.
Joe Sullivan studies on the engineering specialisation and works with the company Quickbutton, a supplier of campaign buttons, name tags and conference badges. Joe's group has also had a sustainability perspective in the development of their product and they have chosen to work with the material bamboo.
"We are really benefitting from each other's different skill sets and different previous experiences within the group. I, for instance, have never before really come into contact with the financial management part. The entire programme is very focused on teamwork", Joe says.
Innovation through business, engineering and design is a 2-year master programme offered at Linnaeus University in Växjö. The programme offers three different specialisations and the language of tuition is English.
It’s rewarding to meet people from different cultures
Shilla chose to study Innovation through Business, Engineering, and Design because of the uniqueness of the programme and she appreciates how helpful everyone at Linnaeus University has been in making her feel welcome. In the future, she would like to use innovation and design to make a difference.
Read the interview with Shilla
- I chose to study the programme because of its uniqueness. The thought of studying alongside other students from different disciplines and positioning myself in the professional
world through real-life projects attracted me, and the experience has exceeded my expectations.
Studying at Linnaeus University has been a good experience. She appreciates the facilities on campus and finds it interesting to meet people from different cultures.
- It has been an amazing experience. Apart from learning and growing professionally on the programme, the facilities provided by Linnaeus University has helped me as a person who was not initially familiar with the Swedish culture. It’s interesting to meet people from different cultures who are involved in the programme, in addition to the different disciplines. The experience of working with different companies and organisations has also helped me grow as a person. Being surrounded by a culture that believes in everyone’s equal value has opened my mind and made my experience even more satisfying. It made me feel safe, despite being halfway across the globe from my family.
However, she admits it has also been challenging to move to a new country.
- Even though it’s fun working with people from different disciplines and different cultures, it can also be extremely challenging. Misunderstandings and arguing are bound to happen, especially considering the language barrier. However, this has also helped me understand other people better and to develop my teamwork and communication skills. Something that will surely prove helpful for my professional growth.
All the new people she has met at Linnaeus University has helped her adapt to the new environment.
- The friends I have met through my programme have been extremely helpful, not only in connection to the programme but also beyond that, in my personal life. The different student organisations have also made me feel welcome – I would describe student life here as unforgettable.
After graduation, she would like to work with innovation and design to make a difference.
- Innovation will always be a part of me once I have graduated from the programme. I have a passion for mental health and I dream about connecting the dots between innovation, design and mental health, and hopefully being able to create a safe space for everyone, where they can feel that they belong.
The sustainability focus on the programme was appealing to Juliana
For Juliana, the road to Linnaeus University went from Colombia via London, where she met a Swedish guy. Then love took her to Växjö. Today, she is a PhD student and is passionate about teaching and having time to work with her research on design and sustainability and how we can live in harmony with our planet.
Read the full interview
It was during her maternity leave that she found out about the master’s programme Innovation through Business, Engineering and Design, and decided to go for it.
“I chose to study the programme because I found it refreshing in comparison to what was offered in other places. I have always liked to collaborate and work with people from different disciplines. I was also compelled by the focus on sustainability and the opportunity to explore and learn about design from a Scandinavian perspective”, Juliana says.
As a PhD student, Juliana works in the intersections between Design, Sustainability and Life at Home. Her research is practice-oriented and conducted in collaboration with householders, mostly women living in Sweden and Colombia. The aim is to create space for continuous dialogue, a space to think about possibilities and actions relating to the climate crisis.
“I am interested in exploring alternative ways to understand the concept of home and sustainable living through relational cosmologies and practices. For example, I am exploring the cosmology of Buen Vivir (Living Well) from the Andean territory in Abya Yala, South America, based on relationality and reciprocity as principles to live in harmony with our planet”, Juliana explains.
Juliana also takes PhD courses and participates in several research seminars and activities. Furthermore, she works as a design lecturer on the programme Design + Change, at Linnaeus University.
“I enjoy teaching and facilitating meetings and interactions between people, and between people and nature”, Juliana continues.
During her studies she was introduced to the concept of meta-design as a framework that inspires and supports design for change and collaboration. Something she wants to continue using in the future.
“When I finish my PhD in 2024, I hope I can continue working at the department of design, both with research and as a design lecturer. I would like to combine this with leading research projects in collaboration with communities and organisations”, Juliana concludes.
Anna works with marketing at IKEA
Anna Hamlin wanted to start studying at Linnaeus University because of her interest in design and furniture. Since she had earlier taken a bachelor’s degree in business administration at University of Hawaii, a Swedish master programme in Småland seemed attractive.
Read the full interview
During Anna's studies at Linnaeus University, the goal with her education was to start working with product development at IKEA. Today, she works at the marketing department at IKEA in Älmhult and thinks that her education has given her a good foundation.
– At IKEA, I work primarily with local marketing, administration of the local website, their Instagram account, and the digital screens that are in use in the department store. I also participate in the development of the trade center in Älmhult at which we try to increase the collaboration with other IKEA units in Älhmult but also the collaboration with other lines of trade. I also coordinate activities in the department store that are aimed at our catchment area, for instance, previews of collections for IKEA FAMILY members, says Anna Hamlin.
Anna worked at IKEA during her studies as well, but then as restaurant staff and sales person. However, after she got her master's degree in innovation she applied for a job at IKEA that was more in line with that she had studied, and she got it. Her contact with IKEA during her studies, created good conditions for establishing important contacts.
–I wrote my degree project at IKEA of Sweden in Älmhult. I studied the product development process and focused on how organisational culture can affect knowledge transfer both positively and negatively in large multinational companies. Since I met and interviewed many employees during the course of my study, my master thesis led to an increased network at different IKEA firms in Älmhult. In addition, my final term writing my degree project, gave me a broader understanding of the work processes and organisational culture at IKEA, something that is valuable to me in the work I do today.
More information about the programme
Students from the innovation master’s programme receive prestigious award
The Swedish Institute has announced The Hackathon Spirit Award 2021 winners, and this year the award was received by students from Linnaeus University, for their solution Vip pit stops.
Read the full interview with the students
In February, the Swedish Institute hosted the digital Hackathon. An event with the purpose to design, test and execute ideas focusing on mobility. Linnaeus University’s students from the Innovation through Business, Engineering and Design, master’s programme, received The Hackathon Spirit award. Team BED @ LNU received the award because they were actively engaged in the challenge, collaborating with others, and had an overall positive energy. The students that were part of the winning team were Astrid Cox, Eliot Bota, Erik Ström, Jonas Thordeman Andersson, and Varun Kishore.
- We were quite active during the event, participating in mini challenges and connecting with other participants, organisers, and partner companies. We threw ourselves entirely into the hack over the weekend and had a lot of fun doing it. This award is an acknowledgement of that effort, says Astrid Cox, team leader of the group.
The Hackathon had several different challenges and the team felt that their skill set was particularly suited to the IKEA challenge of “VIP Truck Drivers”. The task was to come up with solutions that could improve the safety of truck drivers in India.
- The challenge was put out by IKEA Logistics and Supply Chain Operations. IKEA recognises that the truck drivers are a crucial part of their value chain and of utmost importance. Therefore, they wanted the teams to ideate on a solution that could address the major safety issues these truck drivers face every day on India's road, says Varun Kishore, one of the team members.
Finding a solution - Vip pit stops
In order to tackle the challenge and come up with a solution, the team used many of the same methods that they use on the Innovation master’s programme.
- Working with multidisciplinary talent, we followed the problem-solving cycle from problem definition to analysis and diagnosis, stopping just after solution design. We researched, discussed, collaborated, and laughed our way to an understanding of the problem. For us, it was clear that the most common causes for accidents on the road in India are reckless driving, inattentive driving, and other drivers on the road, Astrid explains.
Their solution to address driver safety in India works on different levels, using positive reinforcement. The first step addresses individual drivers by promoting good resting behavior. The premise is to develop a network of truck stops across India with access to basic amenities and a place to take a break. The second step works on the corporate level, continuing work with driver rest behavior, and also tackling scheduling stress. The final phase focuses on the national level.
- We want to create a national standard of using the app and maintaining driving logs for all trips. We see this as a way to drive economic growth, improve work conditions, and increase public health and safety. For us, truck driving in India was a whole new world to immerse ourselves in. For instance, how the profession is perceived in India and what challenges the average “desi” truckers are faced with on a day-to-day basis was really eye-opening, Astrid concludes.
IKEA's and Linnaeus University's collaboration programme The Bridge is a multidisciplinary education and research collaboration dealing with life at home and conditions of production.
Read more about The Bridge
In simple words, the aim is to tie together a number of disciplines to create a better life at home for the many people. It deals partly with what fundamental needs we have and what furniture we need, but also with how production can be made as cheap and environmentally friendly as possible.
As a result of The Bridge, Linnaeus University has been able to establish an IKEA professorship, unique to the world. The research environment revolving around the subject area Life at Home is developed in collaboration with doctoral students. It is this research environment that makes it possible for Linnaeus University to establish the interdisciplinary master programme.
The master programme has an interdisciplinary perspective, combining engineering, business, and design. The programme enables students to learn from each other's knowledge and improves their ability to work with different projects and product development. The master programme is offered in close collaboration with a number of companies, IKEA being one of them.
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.