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Master's Degree in Design Research

Think, act, transform.

The Master’s Degree in Design Research is a cross-disciplinary space for reflection in action. Using inventive research methods and experimental focuses in design, this master’s degree invites students to imagine, design, and give material expression to alternatives that can address current challenges.

Description of the curriculum

  • Edition: 7th
  • Teaching period: from October 2nd 2024 to July 31st 2025. Final master's project presentation: July 2025
  • Schedule: from Monday to Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Modality: on-site
  • Language: English
  • Price: 10.400 €
  • Qualification: Master’s Degree in Research and Experimentation in Design awarded by UVic-UCC and accredited by the RUCT and the Ministry of Education (BOE*)
  • Credits: 60 ECTS


In a world marked by uncertainty and complexity, design has a fundamental role to play. The Master’s Degree in Design Research from BAU provides students with the tools to understand and question the present, while at the same time encouraging them to develop transformative proposals in a creative manner and with a critical mindset.

This master’s degree offers a space for reflection in action with rigour, responsibility, and commitment. Students face the challenge of conceiving and building design alternatives that can address current challenges.

To this end, the curriculum adopts a cross-disciplinary approach that integrates and interweaves various disciplines such as architecture, anthropology, political science, and the fine arts. Guided by a philosophy of collaboration, this master’s degree proposes a methodological focus based on research as a creative practice and experimentation with technology and materials. Furthermore, given that it is an official degree, it is a program that can lead to PhD studies.

The Master’s Degree in Design Research from BAU promotes the social role of design and its potential as a driving force for change to successfully address current challenges in a changing, complex society.

Key Concepts

The Master’s Degree in Design Research revolves around five key concepts in terms of content and focus, as well as in methodological and pedagogical terms.

Contemporary thought

This master’s degree draws on the conceptual and methodological tools of contemporary philosophical thought, which allow us to decipher and understand current social, environmental, and political challenges.

A post-humanist vision that challenges our understanding of the human being as an entity separate from technology and nature, and which allows us to challenge anthropocentrism and re-evaluate the relationship between what is human and what is not, offering new ways to understand the world.

Theory and Practice: design as a way of thinking in action

Design is seen as a form of thought in action. Research in design arises from practice, incorporating the experiential, social, and material aspects of design through practical experimentation and trial and error.

Cross-disciplinary approach

This master’s degree adopts a broad, cross-disciplinary, integral vision of design, offering a framework that transcends disciplinary frontiers and adopting a non-hierarchical approach to foster innovative, unprecedented forms of cooperation.

Disciplines such as philosophy, anthropology, architecture, science, political science, and fine arts are interwoven to create new ways to understand and respond to current challenges.

The political and social role of design

The master invites students to research design and highlight the political potential of design in a context that recognises design as a tool for social transformation. It also aims to motivate students to become agents for change, using design as a means by which to face contemporary challenges and build a fairer, more sustainable world.

Connection with the local (and international) context

This master’s degree is designed as a platform that allows students to connect with other practices, organisations, and entities in the world of design from a local and international perspective.


The Master’s Degree in Design Research combines core and elective subjects to offer instruction that is adapted to individual interests and the specialisation sought by each student.

This master’s degree is based on a sequential approach in which subjects are taken one after the other. Subjects are also presented as intensive blocs that offer certain specific perspectives of design, allowing students to fully immerse themselves in each subject.

Core subjects

Fiction, Critical and Speculative Design

Explore the role of fiction, speculation and game to create new material narratives.

Social Innovation and Collaborative Design

Understand design not only as a product or service, but as a democratic and social strategy.

Material Cultures and Design Ecologies

This subject allows students to create visions of radical social and environmental futures.

Design, Power and Society

This subject investigates how design can be integrated into power, and how design can become a tool to question power.

Research in Art and Design

This subject explores inventive methods for research in art and design, bringing multiple disciplines and tools into dialogue with each other.

Fabrication and Prototyping

Students experiment and conduct creative research with materials, machines, and bits from multiple areas of design.

Elective subjects

Students can choose two elective subjects from those on offer.

Ethnographies and Design

Students develop an ethnographic sensitivity to learn to observe, investigate, and inhabit the world in another way.

Investigation with Data

Research data and artificial intelligence and explore new methods of visualisation in the sphere of research in design.

Digital Design

Immerse yourself in artificial intelligence applied to visual culture with a critical vocation and creative outlook.

Design and Numeric Control

This subject generates learning environments based on the maker philosophy to acquire advanced knowledge of design.


Students are offered the possibility of working at leading companies in the field of design that work to meet the needs of the world of work and current social realities.

Final Master Thesis

The Final Master Thesis (TFM) is the structural axis of the master that allows students to create their own research journey and connect in different ways with the courses offered along the master course.

Through the Master Thesis students will be invited to choose among several specializations:

  • Speculative and Critical Design: Design Thinking towards the Future
  • Experimental Design: Digital fabrication and material innovation
  • Socially Responsible Design: collaborative design and social impact
  • Design Pedagogy: design for education
  • Crosscutting Itinerary

The TFM demonstrates the student’s contribution to the field and their ability to communicate complex research for peers and the community

The Master envisions the TFM as a space to develop collaborations with external entities. Students can either choose among the range of entities suggested by the master or explore new collaborations to develop test and implement their TFM projects in a real context.

See all the projects


Cecilia De Marinis, PhD in Urban Design. Architect. Space researcher
Rubén Martínez, PhD in Political Sciences and Public Policies

Rubén Martínez

PhD in Political Sciences and Public Policies

Paula Bruna, Doctor, artist and environmentalist

Paula Bruna

Doctor, artist and environmentalist

Tim Cowlishaw, Researcher and interaction designer

Tim Cowlishaw

Researcher and interaction designer

Taller Estampa, Colectivo audiovisual experimental

Taller Estampa

Colectivo audiovisual experimental

Alicia Kopf, Doctoranda. Licenciada en Bellas Artes y Grado en Teoría de la Literatura y Literatura Comparada. Escritora y artista visual.

Alicia Kopf

Doctoranda. Licenciada en Bellas Artes y Grado en Teoría de la Literatura y Literatura Comparada. Escritora y artista visual.

Cris Noguer, Designer and researcher

Cris Noguer

Designer and researcher

Roc Albalat, Graphic designer. Art. Realization

Roc Albalat

Graphic designer. Art. Realization

Camila René Maggi, Architect

Camila René Maggi


Fran Díaz, Doctorand. Architect and Master in City and Sustainable Architecture

Fran Díaz

Doctorand. Architect and Master in City and Sustainable Architecture

Markel Cormenzana, Transition Designer.

Markel Cormenzana

Transition Designer.

Joan Maroto, Architect Doctor. Specialized in relational design and digital manufacturing

Joan Maroto

Architect Doctor. Specialized in relational design and digital manufacturing

Marta Camps, Doctor in Educational Innovation. Degree in fine arts. Pedagogical and artistic researcher.

Marta Camps

Doctor in Educational Innovation. Degree in fine arts. Pedagogical and artistic researcher.

María Fernanda Moscoso, Phd of Anthropology

María Fernanda Moscoso

Phd of Anthropology

Jaron Rowan, Head of Research and PhD Unit Coordinator

Jaron Rowan

Head of Research and PhD Unit Coordinator

Cecilia De Marinis, PhD in Urban Design. Architect. Space researcher

Cecilia De Marinis

PhD in Urban Design. Architect. Space researcher

Elisa Herrara, PhD. Master's Degree in Gender. Degree in Psychology. Social Research.

Elisa Herrara

PhD. Master's Degree in Gender. Degree in Psychology. Social Research.

Lluís Nacenta, Curator, writer, musician and researcher in the space of confluence of art, technology and science.

Lluís Nacenta

Curator, writer, musician and researcher in the space of confluence of art, technology and science.

Rubén Pater, Graphic designer

Rubén Pater

Graphic designer

Guest teachers

Núria Alonso. IT
Marcela Arreaga. Strategy design
Carles Baiges. Architecture and urban sociology
Aurelio Castro. Visual arts and design
Tim Cowlishaw. Media and computer sciences
Sara de Ubieta. Architecture and fashion and product design
Mariona Genís. Architecture, education and design
Toni Mañach. Philosophy, history and design
Isaac Marrero-Guillamón. Anthropology
Lucrecia Masson. Political sciences and cultural critique
Antoni Miralda. Art and public space
Ariadna Parreu. Speculative art
Afra Quintanas. Creative and cultural entrepreneurship
Roger Sansi. Anthropology and sociology


The master offers the possibility to undertake a Master Thesis with an external entity, be it an association, foundation, ONG, collective, research institution or private company.

This will allow students to land their research into real contexts and learn how to respond to wicked problems and real-world challenges. It will also connect students with a professional and academic network, taking the first steps towards their profesional future.

Possible roles and types that the collaboration can take are:

  • Offer space and tools for the research
  • Offer the possibility to apply the research to a real context
  • Offer the space and tools for testing prototypes

The Master also offers the possibility to undertake an Internship in one of those entities or others selected by students, in an ideal scenario of interconnection between the TFM Project and the internship.

BAU is committed to providing students with an education that strongly links learning with professional or vocational practice.


The Master is linked to the BAU Research Group GREDITS (Grup de Recerca en Disseny i Transformació Social) accredited by AGAUR as "established research group". The multidisciplinary group of designers teachers and reseachers, investigates the role of design as a driver for social transformation.

ABD - Asociación Bienestar y Desarrollo Taller EstampaFSCD -  Fundació Catalana Síndrome de Down HolonLa Hidra Cooperativa Lacol - arquitectura cooperativaGarage StoriesTakataCurro ClaretQuo Artis

Career Opportunities

  • Multidisciplinary designer
  • Designer researcher
  • Design lecturer
  • Designer of research projects
  • Transitional designer
  • Social and cultural designer
  • Consultant for environmental and sustainable design projects
  • Coordinator of digital creation and manufacturing laboratories
  • Coordinator of collaborative design projects
  • Cultural manager
  • Start a PhD

My BAU experience


  • Formulating design proposals that integrate research and experimentation processes in accordance with the paradigms of contemporary design
  • Applying methodologies of ethnographic research, both speculative and based on data to execute design projects of various natures
  • Executing, prototyping and manufacturing of objects and design projects through the operation of numerical control and digital design tools and technologies
  • Analysing the properties and behaviour of materials in order to use them appropriately and innovatively in design processes and projects
  • Critical consideration of innovation and social transformation, participation and collaborative design, and other paradigms of contemporary design to facilitate the resolution of problems within the field of design
  • Designing services, processes and objects that will provide solutions through the principles of open design and its fields of circulation
  • Using the software specific to design by taking into account its applications and repercussions, both in the field of professional design and the field of research
  • Understanding and valuing the political economy of art and design and identifying its value cycles, the social life of objects, consumption cycles and recycling in a changing social and economic context
  • Applying the strategies of fiction and speculative design, using diegetic prototypes and provoking thought through design as an epistemic object
  • Considering the material cultures of design and the many related traditions (philosophy, anthropology, cultural studies…) to conduct research through their objects and materials
  • Managing the multiple work processes involved in the practice of design and integrating elements of research and experimentation

Doctorate Program

The Master's Degree in Research and Experimentation in Design at BAU is a 2º-cycle study program that responds to the research concerns of the BAU Doctorate Program structured in two lines of research:

  • Design and society. Politics, art and education.
  • Communication and its environments. Corporations and institutions; media, networks and territory.

Payment methods

Total cost of the course: 10.400 €

The total cost includes an amount of 200 € concerning the university fees, the administration expenses and the compulsory insurances.

Payment methods

BAU, Arts and Design College of Barcelona offers different terms of payment:

  • Single payment

  • Part payment, in 3 instalments:

    • 1st payment, due on enrolment: consisting of 40 % of the fees excluding taxes. An amount of 200 € concerning the university fees is added to the resulting cost

    • 2nd payment, due November 5: consisting of 30% of the course excluding taxes

    • 3rd payment, due January 5: consisting of 30 % of the course excluding taxes

Students and former students of BAU benefit from 10% discount on any of the courses if they have exceeded at least 50% of the credits for a Degree, Higher Degree in Design or the Diploma in Graphic Design; or 100% of the credits for any of the Master’s or Postgraduate degrees.


BAU offers two scholarships for 50% of the total price of its Master’s Degree in Design Research.

These scholarships are intended to encourage, reward and provide opportunities for designers wishing to delve into experimentation and research in design.

Participation requirements:

  • Cover letter
  • Average grade in bachelor studies
  • B2 level English
  • Portfolio (optional)

More information about BAU Design Research Talent Scholarship.

The Master’s Degree in Design Research provides an official university degree and gives access to participation in a PhD program. The master’s degree promotes the social role of design and its potential as en engine of change in light of the challenges of today’s society.

More information about other scholarships and grants.

Pre registration process


The quality of the BAU pedagogical system is guaranteed by various indicators and reports by the seals of (AQU, RUCT, EUC ...). Visit the Quality section.

Degree registered in the Register of Universities, Centers and Titles, RUCT

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