Industrial design engineering, MSc

120 credits (2 years)

The master's programme Industrial design engineering at Chalmers will give you the skills to design better products and services, which can provide meaningful user experiences and improve people's everyday lives. The programme is user-centred and sustainability oriented, with a holistic systems perspective on product development.

Industrial design engineering​ master's programme at Chalmers

The Master’s programme in Industrial design engineering is b​ased on industry demand for effective and efficient product development processes with a strong user focus to ensure commercially successful products, as well as societal demands for a transition towards a more sustainable society with regard to environmental impact and people’s well-being.
This means that the programme aims to prepare students for a professional career designing products, product service systems, and interactions in varying contexts. Within the programme, students are given the opportunity to enhance their ability to handle complex design problems and design innovative, user-centred, sustainable solutions. The programme strives for students to develop knowledge of state-of-the-art theories, methods, and tools as well as hone their practical skills through application in hands-on projects. In addition, the programme also aims for students to develop their ability to make informed design decisions, balancing demands from users, industry, society and the environment in an integrated systems perspective.


Watch a recording of the webinar about Industrial design engineering on YouTube>>​ or YouKu>>​


The programme is suitable for students who are interested in working to make people’s experiences richer and lives better through the technology they use. As the programme offers advanced level education in user-centred design, the programme requires students to be already familiar with the design process, the theoretical basics in industrial design and human factors engineering, as well as traditional technological know-how.

Gain a large toolbox 

The strong focus on the interplay between humans, technology, and design gives you unique competence to work with the human dimension of technology – a highly sought-after quality. This competence is a mix of creativity, empathic ability, deep theoretical knowledge on human preconditions and sense of responsibility for the solutions.

During the education you get to train your ability to see problems from multiple perspectives and work with strategy as well as details which opens up for truly innovative solutions, realised in different mediums from physical consumer products and work equipment, to design of services, interactions, workspaces and processes.

The programme integrates theoretical and methodological studies with applied project work where the acquired knowledge is applied in practice, often in collaboration with companies outside Chalmers. The result is students equipped with a large toolbox full of methods, tools, and theories, as well as knowledge/skill on how to adapt the basic design process to a wide variety of design problems with different focus, resources and scales.

Topics covered

The subjects of product development and  sustainable design are fundamental areas in the Industrial design engineering master’s programme. The courses included in the programme plan handle topics such as ergonomics, human factors engineering, user-centred design and usability. 

Master's programme structure

The master's programme runs for a duration of two years, leading to a Master of Science (MSc) degree​. During each year, students can earn 60 credits (ECTS) and complete the programme by accumulating a total of 120 credits. Credits are earned by completing courses where each course is usually 7.5 credits. The programme consists of compulsory courses, compulsory elective courses and elective courses. 

Compulsory courses year 1

During the first year the programme starts with two compulsory courses that form a common foundation in Industrial design engineering. Each course is usually 7.5 credits. 
  • Industrial design engineering
  • Business driven strategic marketing management​

Compulsory courses year 2​

In the second year you must complete a master's thesis in order to graduate. The thesis may be worth 30 credits or 60 credits depending on your choice.
  • Project industrial design engineering​​
  • Master’s thesis  

Compulsory elective courses 

​Through compulsory elective courses, you can then specialize in human factors engineering, user insight and experience, form development and engineering, or a combination thereof.​​ During year 1 and 2, you need to select at least 4 compulsory elective courses within the chosen profile track in order to graduate. 
​You will also be able to select courses outside of your programme plan. These are called elective courses. You can choose from a wide range of elective courses. ​​

Profile track: Human factors engineering

  • Ergonomics: Design for all
  • Design for sustainable behavior
  • Cognitive ergonomics
  • Advanced user studies and co-creation
Elective course based on the selected tracks from the available choices
  • Production and product service systems

Profile track: User insight and experience

  • Design for sustainable behavior
  • Cognitive ergonomics
  • Form theory and exploration
  • Design for experience
  • Advanced user studies and co-creation
Elective course based on the selected tracks from the available choices
  • Production and product service systems
  • Managing stakeholders for sustainable development
  • Social innovation and social entrepreneurship

Profile track: Form development and engineering​

  • Form theory and exploration
  • Design for experience
  • Form and manufacturing case studies
  • Computer aided modelling, advanced
Elective course based on the selected tracks from the available choices
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Engineering design and optimization
  • Computer aided industrial design (CAID)
  • Life cycle assessment

Programme content in detail, incl. syllabus and description of the courses
Master's Theses, projects, facilities and more (external website)​

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Sustainable development

Contributing to sustainable development is core at the programme. Every design problem has a potential impact on society and the environment, in both positive and negative ways. Thus, it is necessary to consider all of the sustainable development goals in the design process to avoid negative impact and contribute to the positive. In addition to including sustainability as a central consideration in design decisions, the programme also provides tools to create designs that contribute to a sustainable society, through inclusivity, resource-efficiency, circularity and support for sustainable lifestyles and working life. 

While the programme touches on most of the UN Sustainable development goals (SDGs), a few are more closely related to the core activities of the programme.
SDGs for Industrial engineering at Chalmers



Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth
As we design the equipment and processes that people work with, we work to ensure that everyone can have a good working life, and let their expertise shine, whatever their physical and cognitive preconditions.

Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Design plays a great role in making use of innovative, clean, and environmentally sound technologies so that it is put to the best use possible for society and we so that we increase resource-use efficiency. 

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities 
By applying user-centred design competencies and innovation skills to issues like mobility, accessibility, and inclusivity we can help create innovative services and infrastructure that make it easy to live a good and sustainable life in the city.

Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
We aim to create design solutions that are resource-efficient and non-polluting to produce and use, that can be reused and recycled, and that fit in circular and sharing economies, as well as innovate sustainable ways of consuming.

Career 

Graduates from the programme work with user-centred development in industry, either in-house or as consultants. Common job titles are UX-designer, UX architect, product designer, service designer, product planner, product manager, human factors specialist, and design team leader.

The industries and applications vary greatly. You will be able to create interfaces for advanced systems in the vehicle industry, develop essential systems for power supply and traffic control and invent innovative services in healthcare and mobility. Others design meaningful and attractive consumer goods and electronics. Some graduates also work with design and human factors research in an academic context.


Research connections

The programme is unique among design programmes in its solid theoretical foundation encompassing both state-of-the-art design theories and methodologies and underlying basic theories about humans, form, technology and the interplay between them. You will be encouraged to absorb the latest design research findings and contribute to this rapidly developing field through your own work. 

The field of technology, industrial design and human factors engineering also provides a variety of subjects suitable for research. The combination opens up opportunities for research on issues that are important for the user’s understanding of a product or a system, as well as needs, requirements and safety.

Department of Industrial and Materials Science​


Student interview​

“My design came alive with VR-goggles”
Hossein Farimani, Iran, Industrial Design Engineering

Why did you choose this programme?
– Because it is the perfect combination of art and engineering. We focus on enhancing the user's experience of a product. Also, everything from the user interaction to the appearance and ergonomy of a product will be considered. This program enables me to bring my ideas into reality and make them feasible. I would say, working with end-users and creation are the best parts of this programme.

What have you been working on?
– We have different case studies during our studies regarding designing for real problems in the industries and for users. One of our projects was to develop an electrical toothbrush. We did a lot of interviews with focus groups before we started developing the product. We found out that the problem is that this is a chore that people find boring. So, we came up with a product that eliminates those boring steps in the process of brushing your teeth, like putting on a toothbrush and cleaning it afterwards.

What do you like the most about your programme?
– The creation process, seeing your idea come to life with a concept that can go on to mass production. It’s amazing that something that has only been in your mind can one day be in the market. Also, In one of our classes, we designed a car. After rendering it we could see it in actual size with VR-goggles. That was one of the best educational experiences I ever had.

What do you want to do in the future?
– I would like to go on to be an industrial design consultant in the transportation field. Also, My plan is to work as an entrepreneur in the design area of transportation which is a broad field containing trailers, wagons, ships and so on.

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Page manager Published: Thu 29 Apr 2021.