Academic Year 2016/17

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 1,2
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

Designing a product (consumption goods, equipments, durable goods, cars or furniture products) means conceiving and developing a set of functional, physical, technical, aesthetic-formal and communication characteristics which determine quality related to use and technological and manufacturing potential.

Underlying product design is an understanding of know-how and techniques which enable students to come up with and develop creative ideas for innovative products designed for people and responding to the needs of the companies who make them.

Product designers work within a wide product framework encompassing everyday objects, those which people choose, buy, use and consume. The duties of such professionals are to come up with product ideas and redefine them to propose innovative solutions capable of bringing them into line with individual and collective needs, making them user friendly, legally valid and coherent with environmental, technological and manufacturing opportunities and limitations.

Designers are thus called onto interpret and satisfy the expectations of both users and the economic and manufacturing system in which they work. A multiplicity of skills are thus required because their duties are not just a matter of simply organising the configuration of an object to be made according to industrialisation logics but also involve action dictated by the socio-economic context, social product use, knowledge of technologies, both traditional and innovative, development of manufacturing techniques as market, distribution and communication regulations.

The designer's intellectual role is to interpret design demands intelligently; their creative roles are to build a design response which can lead to cultural, social and technical improvement.

The objective of the Industrial Product Design Laurea programme is to supply students with a solid grounding in design subjects on both theoretical and operational levels.

This objective is pursued by means of an educational programme whose methodological foundation nucleus encompasses historic-critical subject knowledge, humanities studies interpreting the social and cultural context, scientific and technological subjects relating to transformation, working and manufacturing materials and technologies and economics studies relating to the corporate and market contexts.

At the same time the programme pursues full development of students' product representation technique skills (from drawing by hand to technical drawing, from photography to three dimensional studio and product prototype modelling), digital image production and visual language interpretation.

This Laurea in Industrial Product Design trains design technicians capable of playing a supporting role in all technical and design activities from the creation stage right through to production and distribution on the market.

There is a wide range of career openings for graduates in all professional and corporate activities working in the product design field in the widest sense. The Laurea course has an equivalent continuation Laurea Magistrale at the Milan campus, called Laurea Magistrale in Product Design for Innovation.

3. Learning objectives

The fundamental objectives of the course of study for Industrial Product Design graduates are mastery of the cultural, scientific, methodological and technical elements which are the basis of design culture.

Central to this professional field are: the ability to interpret user behaviour, the world of needs and the social, cultural, relationship, symbolic, ergonomic and economic aspects which affect product choice and use; the ability to read the specific features of the contexts of use, interpreting and codifying user behaviours for design purposes; translating analysis elements into innovative solution design both by means of formal-type innovation and in functional innovation or by acting on communication, distribution and design aspects linked to products and services.

In designer education a fundamentally important role is also played in acquisition of the ability to visualise design ideas in the various process phases: from researching and defining the project issue to elaborating concepts and the implementation of the technical design used for the implementation process.

Of fundamental importance are also the acquisition of tools and techniques relating to product representation (from drawing by hand to digital representation and modelling) with skills relating to artistic and visual culture language allowing expressive methods and languages capable of transmitting the design idea to be used.

The design connotations of the Laurea, as compared to the subsequent Laurea Magistrale, consist in aspects of technical-implementational project supervision.

Graduates will be capable of interacting with all those involved in the design process, with a knowledge of its languages and skills. They will also have developed an ability to monitor the technological, material and manufacturing alternatives which accompany the project expressing these in terms of socio-economic and environmental sustainability as well as overall legal coherence. The academic subjects on which the Laurea programme rests are:

        design culture studies (ICAR/13)

which takes on and complete project processes using laboratory type educational methods on the basis of knowledge in other subject areas acquired in ex cathedra lectures. In design work this knowledge is used: in the analysis phase (i.e. in concept definition) to provide a framework for the project context in terms of design opportunities, limits, potential, selection and prioritisation; to analyse the user-product interaction in the choice to use phases right through to end of life of the product; to analyse artefacts and artefact systems in their formal, structural, functional, type, morphological, relationship, ergonomic characteristics; in the design synthesis phase involving the ability to translate needs into product requirements; to define materials, component parts, building technologies and assembly methods on the basis of product performance requirements; relating product quality to industrial production limitations pursuant to legal norms and safety requirements. The objective of this study unit - the foundation milestone in designer training - is to provide students with a method with which to take on a range of design themes on a medium design complexity scale by means of paradigmatic design experiences.

  •        humanities studies disciplines (M- DEA/01; M- PSI/01; ICAR/13)

which contribute to the analysis and interpretation of the social and cultural contexts of the products designed and the meaning systems which are created around artefacts in their aesthetic and cultural components. The humanities also contribute to integrating artefacts into material culture systems by means of socio-technical, rapid ethnographic and artefact value and sign interpretation tools as well as providing an interpretation of the ergonomic and perceptional qualities which characterise the product-user relationship. The goal of this field of study is to supply students with methodologies and tools from ethnographic, anthropological and sociological research applied to user, context and behaviour analysis.

  •        history and art criticism subject area (SSD ICAR/13, L-ART/03, ICAR/18)

which supply students with knowledge of evolutions in design culture and their links with evolutions in art, architecture, visual communication, design and fashion movements. The educational objective of this field of study is to supply students with the ability to interpret design in its context of reference using historical study methods;

  •        visual culture, representation and technical drawing subject fields (SSD ICAR/13, ICAR/17, ING-IND/15, MAT/08)

which analyse the use of language, tools and techniques related to morphological, material and functional representation of products (drawing by hand to digital representation, photography to studio model and prototype model production, digital surface modelling to parametric modelling); the ability to read and interpret visual languages; mastery of digital image production and manipulation techniques; knowledge of perceptional mechanisms, colour systems, etc. The educational objective of this unit is to provide graduates with the ability to transfer analysis and design synthesis elements onto the visual plane.

  •        material culture and transformation and working technologies subject area  (SSD ING-IND/22; ING-IND/14-15-16; ICAR/13),

This subject area provides students with a grounding in materials, their chemical and physical properties, performance, structural and functional qualities, industrial working and transformation technologies. The educational objective of this field of study is to provide students with knowledge relating to the choice of materials functional to contexts of use, required performance, manufacturing limitations and legal norms;

  •        corporate economics and financial feasibility studies for design (SECS-P/13; ING-IND/35; ICAR/13),

in-depth study of economic systems, the corporate context, the market and problems relating to marketing; financial feasibility analysis techniques for products. Students are also taught the ability to interpret the fundamental features of companies which impact on design strategies. The objective of this unit is to make students aware of economic decision making processes and the elements which characterise company coherence in design lead innovation processes.

Within this course of study specific subject areas can be studied in greater depth such as cutting edge developments for professional design development or strategic sectors for the development of the Italian economy.

This Laurea programme in Industrial Product Design aims to prepare students for product design in the broadest framework of the vast world of artefacts including durable consumer goods interpreting product design in its broader meaning from furniture design and in the many manufacturing and industrial goods sectors.

4. Organization of the study programme and further studies

4.1 Structure of the study programme and Qualifications

Design Studies courses provide theoretical, academic and professional training for designers, i.e. professionals with know-how and skills relating to industrial product design, production and promotion. At the School of Design the term industrial product does not simply mean a concrete product such as a car, furniture item, object, garment or accessory but rather all communication and 'meaning' building elements relating to products such as graphics and brand design rather than websites or fashion cat walks.

This study sphere responds to training demands from the consumer product industry, local government, communication, interior and installation design companies and studios as well as the retail and distribution sectors for these products.

The courses of study offered are structured into two different laurea, the so-called 3+2 formula, the level I laurea and the Laurea Magistrale, a further two years of study.

The Laurea trains design technicians, i.e. graduates capable of playing a supporting role in all technical and design activities from the creation stage right through to production and distribution on the market with different characteristics for each laurea course.

The Laurea Magistrale trains graduates capable of managing design activities and identifying strategic ends. These professionals are capable of co-ordinating complex project activities aimed at creating structured and differentiated product systems in accordance with brand identity and market dissemination strategies.

These two programmes of study are supplemented by a wealth of level I university master courses which students can access with a three year laurea, and level II masters which students can access with a Laurea Magistrale. Lastly on completion of a level II laurea students can move on to Design Department PHDs, a qualification which is much sought after in the design researcher training context.

Level I Laurea


Level II continued study laurea

Product design

Product Design for Innovation

Communication Design


Communication Design

Fashion Design


Design for the Fashion System

Interior Design


Interior Design

Product design

 Design & Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


Material and Nanotechnology Engineering


Product Design/Communication

Design/Interior Design/Fashion Design


Product Service System Design


Interior Design/ Product Design (Product)


Yacht & cruising vessel design- La Spezia campus

4.2 Further Studies

The qualification enables students to access Laurea Magistrale, Level I Specialisation Courses and Level I University Master's courses.

The Laurea Magistrale course which corresponds to the Laurea in Fashion Design is the Laurea Magistrale in Design fot the Fashion System. Students can also access the International Laurea Magistrale in Product Service System Design without supplementary studies

5. Professional opportunities and work market

5.1 Professional status of the degree

Career opportunities open to professionals graduating from the three year degree programme are referred to as design technicians posts for individuals capable of developing all aspects of integration between product design and technological and manufacturing processes. Employment opportunities consist mainly of careers in Technical and Research and Development Offices in companies or professional studios working in design and consultancy.

5.2 Careers options and profiles

The programme responds to educational demand coming from the goods for end consumption sector and intermediate components ranging from professional product design studios, distribution and commercialisation system and specific local districts.

Industrial product design graduates form part of professional systems taking on direction roles, working in teams, interpreting and implementing design requirements and translating them into appropriate financial, ergonomic, manufacturing, representation and modelling forms for production. They also have the skills required to assist in the research and concept creation phase on the basis of the ability to interpret user needs and the social and consumer dynamics, formal languages, and corporate philosophy and culture which are indispensable to the design response.


Surveys of University Assessment Commission

6. Enrolment

6.1 Access requirements

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

6.2 Requested knowledge

Adequate initial education is required and this is assessed by means of an entrance test.

Detailed information relating to admission and enrolment is available on the  Guidance and Counselling Office site 06

The educational offer at the Politecnico di Milano

6.3 Deadlines for admission and number of places available

Admission is dependent on candidates passing an entrance examination.

There are 300 places (of which 20 are reserved for non EU students including 10 Chinese students on the Marco Polo project).

How to become a student at Politecnico di Milano

6.4 Tutoring and students support

The School has supplemented its information and guidance services for future students with the purpose of providing information on the teaching and educational contents of its programmes of study and clarifying future students educational objectives and potential career openings.

For students who are already enrolled at the School guidance activities designed to:

-   help students remove any obstacles to their attendance and learning with initiatives tailored to individual student needs, attitudes and requirements;

-  encourage a more active participation by students in the educational process.

A reference teacher/tutor has been selected for each study programme and he or she is the official reference point for any School guidance. The service is programme of study specific and deals in particular with:

-   support services for students who require help in solving problems or clarifying concepts;

-   approval and publishing texts relating to the presentation of laurea courses it represents;

-  identification of student projects from each specific laurea course to be used as guidance tools at Open Days and on the School's official communication channels.


7. Contents of the study Program

7.1 Programme requirements

Students graduate on completion of 180 study credits. Graduates from the Interior Design Laurea course must have a solid grounding in design subject matter on both its methodological and technical-operational elements. Specifically they must be acquainted with the tools, techniques and technologies of formal and functional interior design representation and its components (drawing by hand to digital representation, photography to three dimensional object and space modelling). They must also have mastered the basics of design with special attention to designing interior décor and installations and demonstrate an acquaintanceship with the ergonomic, functional, perceptional and environmental well-being factors which characterise the producer-user and object of use-architectural space relationship. The course also requires students to acquire scientific-technological skills specific to the engineering science and architecture technology sectors (materials, lighting, working and process technologies) and theoretical-critical knowledge (a knowledge of the history of décor product design, interior architecture in its socio-historical evolution, anthropology of private and public spaces, semiotics, aesthetics, etc.).

7.2 Mode of study

The programme is full time. It uses a number of educational methods: the single subject courses contain theoretical contents which are taught by means of ex cathedra lessons and assessed with tests and interviews throughout the year. Integrated courses involve more than one discipline or specific sphere and they are sometimes entrusted to two members of the teaching staff who integrate their contributions. The Design Studio offer students the opportunity to experiment and use the tools, technologies and equipment useful for the project. The Design Studio involve project work by students under the guidance of a teaching staff team each of whom offer their own subject matter as applied to the project theme. The Workshops are full time courses lasting a week in which students develop a project under the guidance of a well regarded professional or a company.

The Erasmus Programme and the other international mobility programmes are an opportunity for students to spend a study semester abroad at qualified European universities.

Internships take place at an internship workshop together with a company, body or foreign school.

7.3 Detailed learning objectives

Students' ability to choose the courses and credits to be incorporated into their study plans is subordinate to a series of rules imposed by the School which makes available an educational programme worth 60 credits for each year of the course (“nominal courses”).

Each year students can choose courses for a different number of credits than that specified by the nominal courses (60 ECTS per year) to graduate their study programmes according to their needs.

The minimum number of credits a student can enrol on is 30 unless the number of credits needed for course completion are fewer than this.

The maximum number of credits a student can enrol on is 80, respecting exam priorities.

The current framework of the study plan requires the course exam sequence to be respected as shown in the regulations.

Courses designed for later years of the programme cannot be inserted into an earlier year study plan (“advance study”) unless all previous and current year courses have also been integrated into it.

The School has also implemented an exam priority sequence on the basis of which certain courses can only be enrolled on if other, introductory courses have already been passed. Students may actually be able to enrol on fewer credits than is nominally the case as a result of this rule.

The System Regulations require a series of educational activities (specialist, elective or supplementary) which are present in the course of study in the form of single subject and integrated courses and Design Studio in which the two-year Laurea's educational content is conveyed.

In addition to these types of educational activities the System Regulations also require that a specific number of credits are attributed to types of activity which can be categorised as follows:

-  educational activities chosen independently by students (Optional courses);

-  educational activities relating to preparation for the final exams required for the qualification to be awarded and foreign language assessment (Final exam and Language);

-   activities designed to enable students to gain additional language skills, IT, telematic and relational skills which will help them in finding employment as well as educational activities designed to facilitate professional choices by giving students direct experience of working in the sector which the qualification can gain them access to including, in particular, educational work experience and guidance (Internships).

From the 2015/16 academic year onwards the course of study was modified by an amendment to the educational regulations. This means that 3rd year modules cannot be studied in advance by those enrolling in 2015/16.

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

Code Educational activities SSD Course Title Language Sem CFU CFU Group

2 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 for the School of Design has been one of its priority objectives since it was founded in the year 2000.

There are many reasons for this: the nature of design which inherently draws its very lifeblood from its multicultural and multi-local character, its proximity to both the world of manufacturing - which has now taken on a global dimension - and the sphere of consumption whose dynamics and tendencies are visible in a range of local specific contexts; the very DNA of the design community which has always been international; Milan's acknowledged status as design capital, a crucible for designers from all over the world who have come here to study or open a studio; the desire to make educational trajectories increasingly permeable to impulses deriving from this stimulating context as in other dynamic foreign contexts. For the School of Design internationalisation has a two-fold meaning: supporting student (and teaching and technical staff) mobility outwards and the opposite, attracting students, researchers, professors and visiting professors into the Politecnico from abroad.

In relation to these two internalisation channels (dealt with separately, the first in this chapter and the second in the subsequent chapter) the School of Design has committed itself in recent years to enlarging its international contact network and it now works with 300 design universities the world over in Erasmus exchange programmes (with 150 European universities), bilateral exchange projects (with 70 non European universities), joint workshops with other schools, international internships and so on.

To these should be added more highly structured activities which aim to consolidate partnership relationships in the educational and research fields with a number of selected universities. This is the case of the MEDes_Master of European Design training for excellence programme (with 7 university partners) in addition to the many international research programmes under way.

The School of Design is a member of Cumulus, a network of Interntaional  design schools, and of the main international design associations. Like the city which hosts it - Milan is a veritable international design laboratory - the Politecnico's School of Design aims to be a meeting place between different cultures, between education, industry and the professions, in which professors, entrepreneurs and celebrated designers from all over the world take an active part in the students' educational experience.

12. Internationalization

International exchanges

The School of Design takes part in international student exchange programmes which offer students the opportunity to go abroad for a period of study at one of the Politecnico's partner universities. A list of the School's partner universities is available on the Politecnico's website and on the School of Design website in the Internationalisation Area.


The Erasmus Programme

The Erasmus programme was set up in 1987 by the European Community to give students the chance to carry out a period of study at a foreign university within the European Union from 3 to 12 months legally recognised by their own university, at Bachelor or Master level.

In 2014 the European Union's Erasmus+ programme was set up for education, training, youth and sport in the 2014-2020 period.

Specifically Erasmus for study enables university students to carry out a period of study at a university with a partnership agreement with their own university. This mobility can entitle students to a grant (under the conditions set out in the international mobility tender) and free registration at the host university. Students can thus follow courses and take exams at the partner university and have the exams recognised at their own universities.


Bilateral exchanges

The School of Design has also activated a number of bilateral agreements with non EU universities. These are mainly intended for the use of Laurea Magistrale students and can also be applied for by those who have already carried out an Erasmus period abroad during their three year study course.

The procedures for admission to such exchanges are the same as those for Erasmus exchanges with the exception of the study scholarship which is not guaranteed in such cases.

The bilateral agreement, in fact, enables students to attend a period of study abroad at a partner university without incurring registration fees at such universities. In some cases, however, a management fee for exchange students is payable (e.g. Orientation fee).


Master of European Design (MEDes) In the 2002/2003 academic year a specific 5 year programme was set up at the School of Design.

This international study programme, promoted and designed by the school together with a further five prestigious European design universities and formalised in an agreement signed by all university partners, entitles students to an additional qualification on top of the Laurea Magistrale granted by the Politecnico di Milano. Students can graduate only from their own universities.

In addition to the Politecnico di Milano the universities taking part in this programme are:

The Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland

Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Helsinki, Finland

Konstfack University College of Arts, Stockholm, Sweden

Ensci Les Ateliers, Paris, France

KISD - Köln International School of Design, Cologne, Germany

Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

5 students are selected for this programme of excellence from all those enrolled on the 2nd year of the Laurea programmes in Industrial Product Design, Interior Design and Communication Design.

Candidates for the MEDes programme carry out two study periods at two partner universities:

_one in the 3rd year of the level I Laurea;

_the other in the 1st year of the Laurea Magistrale.

The choice of university will be made on the basis of student preferences and the Board of MEdes.



The School of Design has set up a number of Double Degrees at Master level 

These programmes entitle students to a double Laurea Magistrale title issued by the Politecnico di Milano and its partner school on completion of a common  programme involving an exchange.

Master Theses can be drawn up, presented and discussed in English.

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

13. Quantitative data

The University Assessment Commission performs periodic analysis on the overall results and on the quality of teaching degree programs, by monitoring teaching activities and the integration of graduates into the job market. Reports and studies are available on the website of the Politecnico di Milano.

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