Master Programs

Design History and Theory

     1. Introduction

The master’s program of Design History and Theory offered by Tongji University College of Design and Innovation (D&I) is devoted to cultivating first-class academic talents of design research and innovation, who possess excellent academic qualities to make contributions to both the foundation and the frontier of the design discipline.

This program focuses on stimulating the student’s passion for research; introducing the landscape of design theories and building a solid foundation for design research. It values the link between research and the emerging design practices and emphasizes that rigorous and evidence-based design research must support and lead such practices. The student will learn to apply knowledge, proactively, to tackle the real-world problems arising from complex sociotechnical systems. To this end, the student will systematically study research methodologies, processes, methods, and tools that will allow them to address the complexity and uncertainty of the real world wicked problems. We encourage the student to identify her/his research topic based on the selected research areas that the College of Design and Innovation focuses on and to customize her/his study plan accordingly. These areas include healthcare, transportation, rural-urban interaction, smart living, industrial transformation and brand upgrading.

This program has established extensive collaborations with D&I’s international partner universities, ranging from double master’s degree programs to short-term exchanges and joint workshops.

The student who has successfully obtained the required credits and passes the thesis examination will be granted an MPhil degree in design history and history. The master candidate who meets the requirements of successive postgraduate and doctoral program is qualified to apply for transferring into D&I’s PhD program to pursue the doctoral degree.

2. Periods of Study

The standard period of study for the MPhil student is 2.5 years, in which coursework takes 1—1.5 years and thesis takes no less than one year. For the student who is enrolled in a one-year international exchange program, the study period will be extended to three years. The maximum study period is four years.

3.  Coursework Requirements

The student must earn at least 39 credits including no less than 6 credits of common courses; no less than 21 credits of core courses; no less than 8 credits of non-degree courses (i.e., elective courses), and 4 credits of compulsory practices. For the student who is enrolled in an international exchange program, the rules for mutual acknowledgment of credits must be determined separately according to the specific agreement between Tongji D&I and the partner university.

4. Curriculum

Curriculum for 2019 Master students in Design History and Theory



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