Academic Year 2015/16

School of Design

Degree Programme of:

Product Design
Laurea (Equivalent To Bachelor Of Science)

Milano Campus

1. General Information

School School of Design
Code Reference Law1090
NameProduct Design
Reference LawOrdinamento 270/04
Class of degreeL-4 - Industrial Design
Degree level Laurea (Equivalent To Bachelor Of Science)
First year of activation 2008/2009
Official length of the programme 3
Years of the programme already activated 1
Official language(s) Italian
Campus Milano
Dean of the School Luisa Maria Virginia Collina
Coordinator of the Study programme Francesco Zurlo
Website of the School
Website of the Study programme

Student Office (Study programme) - Milano Bovisa
Reference office
Centro Orientamento Studenti Scuola del Design
Address Via Candiani 72, 20158 Milano
Phone 02 2399 7277

Central Student Office - Milano Bovisa

2. General presentation of the study programme

Product designers are expected to conceive everything from home appliances to cars or vehicles, from the pen you use to the chair you may be sitting on. They can influence the form and function of objects of our daily lives.

The degree programme in Product Design is aimed at shaping the designer’s ability to make new ideas into products, while educating students as design technicians. Among the programme tasks: providing the student a solid background in design subjects; grounding the competence of conceiving and developing new products of every type; training the student to generate ideas to become useful and attractive products for users, both as individuals and as part of society; embedding the student’s experience into a view of manufacturing, technology, sustainability and consumer markets.

To know about “the way something is done” is the core competence of the product designer. This competence is enriched by cultural and critical tools to understand the changes in the social-cultural context as well as the economical know-how to understand company dynamics, market trends and consumer behaviours.

The Product track shapes practitioners in the field of industrial design including many kinds of goods, from tools to household appliances, from vehicles  to consumer goods, together with designs of any kind defining the quality of the interaction between people and the surrounding environment. This programme provides the skills to adapt products, environments and technologies to people’s needs while making product use and functionality easier.

The Furniture Design track deals with the complex system of furnishing products which may improve the quality of domestic or public spaces, work places, learning institutions, health structures, places for leisure and hospitality, urban spaces.

Therefore, furniture design is not only pieces of furniture, but also all those artifacts aimed at furnishing in its larger meaning, including lighting systems, bathroom ceramics, coverings, upholstery, etc. The furniture designer is expected to concentrate on hard products on one hand and on soft qualities on the other, involving the design of shapes, colours, materials and emotions.

The Degree Programme foresees a Master of Science further programme available in Milano, i.e. the Master of Science in Product  Design for Innovation.

3. Learning objectives

The main aim of the programme is the education of a product design practitioner equipped with cultural, scientific, methodological and technical skills which grounds the design culture. Basic requirements imply to observe user behaviours and needs; to understand and elaborate the social, cultural, symbolic, ergonomic and perceptive factors which characterise product choice, use and consumption; to analyse, translate and code user behaviours for design purposes; to conceive new or improved products, through  typological or morphological innovation or by intervention on communication and distribution factors.

Training a designer can not exclude a deep acquisition of the ability to visualise the design idea along the process phases: from research and problem setting to concept elaboration, up  to finalization and prototyping.
Therefore know-how and skills concerning artistic, visual and representative languages are fundamental.

The peculiar aspects of the Bachelor in Design, compared to the higher Master of Science  programme, focus on those skills aimed at educating a graduate capable to interact with the design actors along the design process, managing decisions about technological, material and production alternatives according to social, economic and environmental sustainability.

The main subject areas of the Bachelor of Science are:

  • the disciplinary area of design culture (ICAR/13) which - via studio methods - endorses knowledge of other subject matter gained via ex cathedra teaching with a view to standard project procedures. This know-how, in the design process, is used in the analysis phase (that is, the concept definition phase) to define the problem context in terms of design opportunity, constraints, possibilities, selection of priorities and their order to analyse the user-product interaction from the product selection phase through the usage phase to the dismissal phase; to analyse artefacts and artefact systems in terms of their formal, structural, functional, typological, morphological, relational, ergonomic, etc. characteristics. In the design summary, on the other hand, this know-how merges with design development activities which require the ability to translate requirements into product requisites; to define according to the required product features the materials, component parts, construction technologies and assembly methods; to link product requirements with industrial production constraints; the objective of this subject matter, which constitutes the backbone of the preparation of a designer, is that of providing the student with a method of dealing with different design issues of medium complexity using paradigmatic design experiences.
  • The area of arts (M-DEA/01; M-PSI/01; ICAR/13) which contributes to the analysis and interpretation of social and cultural contexts where products are inserted and sense systems created around objects as having aesthetic-cultural values. They also contribute to placing the object within material cultural systems using social-technical, rapid ethnographic, value understanding and signage analysis tools of the artefact as well as facilitating understanding of the ergonomic and perceptive qualities defining the relation between product and user.
    Objective of this subject matter is to provide the student with methods and tools originating from ethnographic, anthropological and sociological research applied to analysis of the user, contexts and usage behaviour.
  • Humanities and history (SSD ICAR/13, L-ART/03, ICAR/18) providing the student with knowledge concerning the evolution of project culture in relation to the evolution of artistic, architectural, visual communication, design and fashion languages.
    The educational objective of this subject matter is to provide students the ability to understand a project in its reference context via historical methods.
  • Visual culture (SSD ICAR/13; ICAR/17; ING-IND/15) which analyses in depth the use of languages and corresponding tools and techniques concerning the morphological, material and functional representation of the product (from manual drawing to digital representation, from photography to production of analysis models and prototypes, from digital surface modelling to parametric modelling); ability to understand and interpret visual languages; domination of techniques of production and manipulation of digital images; knowledge of perceptive mechanisms, chromatic systems, etc.
    The educational objective of this subject matter is to provide graduates the ability to translate elements of project analysis and synthesis to the visual plane.
  • Materials and technological transformation (SSD ING-IND/22; ING-IND/16; ICAR/13), the area which analyses in detail the knowledge of materials, their chemical and physical characteristics, their performance, their structural and functional qualities. The educational objective of this subject matter is to provide knowledge concerning the selection of materials according to context of use, required performance and production constraints.
  • Economics and project economic feasibility  (SECS-P/13; ING_IND/35; ICAR/13): the area which analyses economic systems, corporate contexts, markets and marketing problems in depth, in addition to techniques concerning economic product feasibility analysis. It also provides the student with the ability to understand the elements of  corporate identity which may condition project strategies.
    Objective of this area is to make the student aware of the economical selection processes and of those elements defining corporate coherence along design driven innovation paths.

The product graduate is a "design technician" who, on concluding his studies, has gained the skills to perform technical activities supporting the design process from conceiving ideas to their development and engineering phases, so to proceed towards large-scale production, distribution and diffusion on the market.
Within this educational programme further issues may be  progressively integrated, so to suitably address areas for new design practice or emerging strategic sectors.

For the academic year 2012-2013 the Bachelor of Science in Product Design incudes two educational tracks (Product, located at the Milan campus, and Furniture, based  in Como campus) which, although maintaining the same curriculum backbone, address education to specific design areas.
The Product track focuses on the wide horizon of artefacts of multiple industrial sectors.
The Furniture track focuses on the industrial design demand emerging from the local manufacture districts, where an outstanding part of italian industrial design was created and which still represents one of preminent international furniture design realities.

4. Organization of the study programme and further studies

4.1 Structure of the study programme and Qualifications

Design Studies Programmes are dedicated to the designer's theoretical, scientific and professional preparation, that is his knowledge and skills concerning product design, production and enhancement.

An industrial product, according to the School of Design's interpretation, is not merely a material product such as a car, a piece of furniture, an object, an article of clothing or an accessory but also all those communication and construction elements concerning the "sense" of a product, such as brand design and graphics as well as web sites or fashion shows.

This area of study provides an answer to the requirements of the consumer product industry, public administration, design and communication studios and companies, interiors and set-ups, fashion as well as sectors involved in selling and distributing such products.

The proposed educational programmes are divided into two levels of degree, the so-called 3+2, the Bachelor's Degree (Laurea) and the Master's Degree (Laurea Magistrale of the additional two years.

The Bachelor's Degree (Laurea) prepares the design Technician, that is graduates able to carry out all technical and design support functions which, from the creative phase, lead to production and distribution of the product on the market, with different connotations for each Degree Programme available.

The Master's Degree (Laurea Magistrale) prepares graduates with project management and strategic objectives abilities. Such figures are able to coordinate complex project activities, aimed at creating diversified and differentiated product systems in line with brand identity and market distribution strategies.

In addition to these two programmes, a rich offering of 1st level university Master programmes which may be accessed on completion of the Bachelor of Science programme (Laurea), of 2nd level Masters which may be accessed on completion of the Master of Science programme (Laurea Magistrale) and, finally, on completion of the Master of Science programme, highly qualified PhD programmes for design researchers at the Design Department are available.

Bachelor of Science (Laurea I livello)

Master of Science (Laurea Magistrale - II livello di continuità)

- Design del prodotto industriale

Design del prodotto per l’innovazione 

- Design della comunicazione

Design della comunicazione

- Design della moda

Design for the Fashion System 

- Design degli interni

Interior design

Disegno industriale - sede di Milano

Design & Engineering

Ingegneria meccanica (CdL attivato presso la Scuola di Ingegneria Industriale e dell'informazione)

Ingegneria dei materiali e delle nanotecnologie (CdL attivato presso la Scuola di Ingegneria Industriale e dell'informazione)

Design del prodotto industriale/Design della comunicazione/Design degli interni/Design della moda

Product Service System Design

Design degli interni/Ddesign del prodotto industriale (Prodotto)

Design navale e nautico - sede di La Spezia

4.2 Further Studies

The qualification grants access to "Laurea Magistrale" (2nd degree), "Corso di Specializzazione di primo livello" (1st level Specialization Course) and "Master Universitario di primo livello" (1st level University Master)

The Bachelor of Science (Laurea) in Industrial Product Design gives access to all Master of Science Programmes within the Class of Master of Science Programmes (Laurea Magistrale) in Design, active at the Politecnico di Milano or in other campuses.
The following Master of Science Programmes are considered continuity programmes: Product Design for Innovation, Design & Engineering, Product Service System Design.

5. Professional opportunities and work market

5.1 Professional status of the degree

The qualification of Project Technician defines the professional profile of the three-year L study programme, able to develop all aspects of integration between product design and technological and production processes. The inclusion of this profile in the work market usually takes place, for what concerns companies, within the technical, research and development areas, or in professional design and consulting firms.


Profiles graduating from the Bachelor of Science are defined Design Technicians able to develop all integration aspects between product design and technological and production processes. 


5.2 Careers options and profiles

The Programme satisfies the training demand expressed by the consumer product and intermediary components industry, by professional product design practices, by the distribution and sales system and by specific territorial districts. The Graduate in Product Design enters the professional system with operational skills, expressing the ability to work in a team and to interpret and render operational project indications, correctly translating them into the economic, ergonomic, productive, material, representational and modelling requisites required to go into production. He also has the necessary skills to assist in the research and concept development phase with the ability to understand user requirements, social and consumer dynamics, formal language and corporate philosophy and culture which constitute a fundamental matrix in expressing the corresponding project.

Therefore, as well as indicating the professional Class (third digit) as suggested in the case of lack of correspondence with the specific characteristics of the professional profile, below are a series of skills/roles which better clarify the professional potential of the Bachelor of Science in this study programme in the various areas:
Production: Industrial product design; Assistant technician for the development of physical and virtual product models;
Design: Technical draughtsman; CAD draughtsman; Assistant in materials, components and tecnical device research; Product detail designer; Concept development assistant; Executive design assistant;
Sales/distribution: Visual merchandiser; Assistant Store Manager;
Communication: Exhibition stand technician; Photography assistant; Product graphics assistant.

Surveys of University Assessment Commission

6. Enrolment

6.1 Access requirements

Italian secondary school leaving qualification or other comparable foreign qualification (level 4 EQF)

A secondary level educational qualification is required.
Before the start of lectures recovery activities, with compulsory attendance, are organised for students with gaps to fill.

6.2 Requested knowledge

Adequate initial preparation is required which is verified via an admission test.

The educational offer at the Politecnico di Milano

6.3 Deadlines for admission and number of places available

Admission is subject to passing the admission test.

300 places are available (of which 20 reserved for students from outside the EU, 10 of which must be Chinese students from the “Marco Polo” project).

How to become a student at Politecnico di Milano

6.4 Tutoring and students support

The School has improved the information and guidance tools for future undergraduates aimed at informing them with regard to teaching and training activities of each Programme in order to clarify educational objectives and future professional opportunities.

For regular (in line with exams) students, the School has put in place activities aimed at:

- contributing to removal of obstacles preventing fruitful course attendance with initiatives relating to individual needs, aptitudes and requirements;

- rendering students more actively involved in the educational process.

The reference tutor is identified for each Programme and is the institutional reference for guidance within the School. The service is organised within the scope of the Programme and, in particular, takes care of:

- student support in case of need of help in problem solving or concept clarification;

- approval and possible drafting of texts regarding presentation of the Degree Programme which he/she represents;

- identification of projects of students of his/her Degree Programme to be used as guidance tools during Open Days and in institutional School communication.


7. Contents of the study Program

7.1 Programme requirements

Students graduate on completion of 180 study credits. Graduate students from the Industrial Product Design Laurea study programme must have a strong basic education on design subject, both on methodological and technical-operational elements. In particular they must have a good knowledge about tools and techniques related to formal and functional product representation (from drawing by hand to technical drawing, from photography to three-dimensional product models), digital image production and visual language representation techniques, individual and colour system perception mechanisms. They must also have a strong knowledge in product planning and design methodologies and all aspects related to their distribution and distribution in the market.
Most important for the training of product designers are scientific and technological skills related to materials, techniques for product transformation in prototypes and subsequently industrial production. In this sense, of fundamental importance is a knowledge of working processes and technologies, economic systems, corporate contexts and business culture. Alongside these subject areas, historic and critical studies related to products and their evolution, semiotics and aesthetics, sociology and psychology are equally important.

In order to graduate it is necessary to have acquired all credits foreseen by the Teaching Regulations, including those concerning the graduation exam.

7.2 Mode of study

The degree course is full time activity. It is characterized by many different didactical activities: Monodisciplinary Courses are characterized by theoretic contents communicated by means of ex cathedra lessons and verified throughout the year with tests and interviews. 
The Internship is accomplished by attending a Workshop with the involvement of companies, organizations or foreign schools.

You need a final thesis project for graduation.

7.3 Detailed learning objectives

The possibility to choose courses and corresponding credits to be inserted in the Study Track is subject to a series of resolutions passed by the School which, each year, plans a teaching programme of 60 credits for each Programme year ("nominal programme").

Each year, students may choose study programmes with a different number of credits

compared to that foreseen in the nominal programme (60 CFU credits/year) to gauge progress of studies, according to their needs.

The minimum number of credits the student may enrol in is 30, unless the number of credits for completion of the Programme is less.

The maximum number of credits the student may enrol in, subject to exam priority, is equal to 80 CFU credits.

In preparing the annual Study Track priority must be given to Programme years according to the sequence indicated in the following Regulations: courses of the following year may not be inserted in the Study Track ("anticipations") unless all those of the previous year and of the current year have been inserted.

Moreover, the School has decided a series of exam priorities based on which it is necessary to have passed certain subjects considered useful in order to be admitted to others. This may give rise to the nominal number of credits a student may enrol in being reduced due to this rule.

The current System foresees a series of educational activities (basic, specialised, similar or supplementary) which are present in the study programme as single subject Courses, integrated Courses and Laboratories constituting the three-year teaching activity of the Bachelor of Science.

As well as this type of teaching activity, the System foresees that a defined number of credits are attributed to activities which may be grouped under the following items:

- educational activity freely chosen by the student (optional courses);

- educational activity concerning the preparation of the final graduation exam;

- verification of the foreign language (Final exam and Language);

- activity aimed at acquiring further linguistic knowledge  or IT, communication or relational skills or skills useful in accessing the employment world, as well as educational activities aimed at facilitating professional choices by direct knowledge of an employment sector relevant to the qualification, including Internships in particular.

From  the a.a. 2015/16 it has been introduced a modification of the academic regulations that require a revision of the academic offer. For this reason the 2nd and 3rd year courses cannot be anticipated for the students enrolled in 2015/16.

For information regarding study tracks, exam priorities and presentation constraints, refer to the Teaching Regulations published on the School web site:

1 Year courses - Track: P1 -P2 -P3 -P4 -P5 - Design del prodotto industriale

Code Educational activities SSD Course Title Language Sem CFU CFU Group

7.4 Foreign language

Assessment of knowledge of foreign languages is carried out in the manner prescribed by the University published on the web page "Student Services/Guides and Regulations/Guide to the English language" on the website.  Students are invited to read this document carefully and must comply with the regulations. In particular, it is to be noted that: "Pursuant to Ministerial Decree 270/04, the Politecnico has adopted the English language as the EU language that must be known in addition to Italian". 

Language courses

7.5 Degree examination

The final exam normally consists of the presentation and exposition of a project activity disciplined by the Teaching Regulations of the Programme carried out by the student within the scope of the Final Syntesis Design Studio, aimed at verifying the ability to summarise a project and achievement of the educational objectives of the Programme.

Information concerning general rules and regulations, session calendars, registration and consignment of theses is available at

8. Academic calendar

The Degree Programme calendar is organised bearing in mind the verification of learning procedures which, for the School of Design, foresee "on-going" tests during the whole semester. The academic year consists of two semesters, each comprising a teaching session with on-going tests and an exam sessions for verification of learning). The teaching session of each comprises two periods dedicated to lectures, exercises and  laboratory activities, each followed by a week of interruption of teaching activities to allow professors an overall verification of on-going tests, followed by two weeks dedicated to exam sessions at the end of the  semester.

Academic calendar

9. Faculty

The names of professors for each Course, together with their subject, will be available on the degree programme starting from the month of September.
The degree programme is annually published on the website of Politecnico di Milano.

10. Infrastructures and laboratories

Implementation of large laboratories in support of design teaching is part of the experimental tradition of the Design School of the Politecnico di Milano, which adopts an inductive teaching model in which "knowledge" and "know-how" go hand in hand.

Laboratories are dedicated to practical activities which allow the student to verify his project hypotheses and to learn how to use the technical instrumentation necessary for project experimentation, representation and communication.

The laboratories - managed by the Design Department  - occupy a space of approx.10,000 m2 on the Milano Bovisa campus and are, together with the vast system of engineering laboratories, the largest centre in the world in support of research in the design field, in terms of dimensions, available equipment and skills system.

The laboratories are supplemented by the Politeca, an integrated documentation system for research in the design field.

For information:

11. International context

Building an international dimension of theSchoolofDesignhas been considered a priority objective since its inception in 2000.

The reasons behind this are many: from the characteristics of the subject matter of design, which by its very nature is multicultural and multilocal, close to both the world of production, which has now taken on a global dimension, and the sphere of consumption, whose dynamics and trends make themselves visible in the various specific local realities; to the DNA of the design community which has always been international; from the recognition of Milan as the capital of design, crossroads for designers from all over the world who have come here to study or to open a studio, to the desire to make training programmes ever more permeable to impulses from this stimulating context, just as from other foreign dynamics.

Internationalising theSchool of Designhas a dual significance: to support external student (as well as researchers, professors and technicians) mobility and, conversely, attract students, researchers and professors and visiting professors from abroad.

Concerning these two internationalisation directions, the School of Design has committed itself in recent years to widen its international relationships and currently cooperates with design universities throughout the world in Erasmus exchange programmes (with 150 European universities), in bilateral exchanges (with 53 universities outside Europe), in joint workshops with other schools, in international internships, etc.

To this must be added those more structured activities aimed at consolidating cooperation relationships with selected universities in teaching and research fields: this is the case of the MEDes_Master of European Design excellence programme (with 6 partner universities), of the international Designing Designers conference and of the many international research projects in progress.

TheSchoolofDesignis a member of Cumulus, a network of European design schools as it is also of the main international design associations. s.

Just as the host city, Milan, a true international design laboratory, the School of Design  of the Politecnico aims to be a meeting point for different cultures, for teaching, industry and professions in which professors, industrialists and famous designers from all over the world actively participate in the students' educational process.

12. Internationalization

International Exchange

The School of Design takes part in international exchange programs offering students the opportunity of undertaking a period of their studies with a partner university abroad. The list of the School’s partner universities can be found at Studesk Design Bovisa, in the Politecnico website and in the International Area of the School of Design webiste.

Erasmus program

The European Community started up the Erasmus program in 1987 enabling European university students to undertake a period of study, legally acknowledged by their own university, of up to two semesters at a university in another country within the European Union.

Students participating in the program could be entitled to an economic grant (depending on the yearly Call for Mobility) and free enrolment at the host university. In this way students can attend courses and take exams in the partner universities and have the exams acknowledged by the university in their own country.


Bilateral exchanges

The School of Design has also activated bilateral agreements with universities outside the EU. These are mainly for Laurea Magistrale students and can also be requested by those who have already spent a period abroad under the Erasmus program during their three year first level degree course.

The participation format in these exchanges is the same as for the Erasmus program except that there is no economic grant envisaged in these cases.

Bilateral agreements enable students to undertake a period of study abroad at a partner university without paying an enrolment fee, however a contribution to the expense of administrating exchange students is due in some cases(e.g. Orientation fee)


The Programme MEDes - Master of European Design (MEDes)

Since the academic year 2002/2003 the Schoolof Design  has activated a specific five-year Degree Programme aimed at achieving the qualification of Master of European Design (medes).

This international programme, promoted and designed by the School in cooperation with five  prestigious European design universities, and formalised by an agreement is in respect of the exchange of students between the network of partner institutions listed below, all of which offer a degree programme leading to the award of the “Master of European Design (MEDes)” certificate. Students will only be eligible to present for the award of the degree at their home institution.

The universities participating in this European training programme, in addition to the Politecnico di Milano, are:

AaltoUniversity,SchoolofArts, Design and Architecture,Helsinki,Finland

Konstfack,UniversityCollegeof Arts, Crafts and Design,Stockholm,Sweden 

KölnInternationalSchoolof Design,Cologne,Germany


ENSCI-Les Ateliers,Paris,France

The excellence programme is addressed to 4 students selected from those enrolled in the 2nd year of the Degree in Industrial Product Design, Interior Design and Communication Design.

Candidates admitted to the MEDes programme carry out two study periods abroad at two of the partner universities:

- one during the  3rd year of the Bachelor of Science

- and the other in the 1st year of the Master of Science.

The choice of destination university will be based on the preferences expressed by the student and the availability of the partner universities.


Double degrees

The School of Design has started the following degree programmes:

-POLITONG with the Tongji University in Shanghai (China) for the Laurea Magistrale in Product Service System Design and the Laurea Magistrale in Interior Design.

-POLITSINGHUA with the Tsinghua University in Beijing (China) for the Laurea Magistrale in Interior Design.

-Double Degree with Les École Centrale de Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes et Paris (France) for the Laurea Magistrale in Design & Engineering

These programmes allow students to get a double degree from Politecnico di Milano and the Partner University after the mobility.


Information on exchange programmes, double degree projects and international internships, European research and international relations projects are available at

13. Quantitative data

14. Further information

For any other information the students are invited to visit the School website, in particular the teaching regulations of the academic rules.

15. Errata corrige