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12 802 Diploma Design

Full course name in Norwegian Bokmål: 
Diplom design
Course code: 
12 802
Level of study: 
Teaching semester: 
2023 Autumn
Assessment semester: 
2023 Autumn
Language of instruction: 
Norwegian / English
Person in charge
Steinar Killi
Required prerequisite knowledge

Completed pre-diploma and 270 ECTS in total.

Course content

The diploma at the Institute of Design is the final project in the Master programme. The Institute takes a broad approach to the design profession that includes products, services, systems and interactive experiences. The education brings together aesthetics and technology, creativity and design methods, culture and research. The programme has roots in Industrial Design, but today also includes Interaction Design, Service Design and Systems Oriented Design. This is reflected in the width of our students’ diplomas, and the broad range of themes that they address.

The diploma concludes our five-year Master in design and is done in the final semester. The diploma is a self-initiated and self-organised project that takes place over 18 weeks. The students develop and define their own project-descriptions (the diploma programme) in a pre-diploma’ course, in the semester leading up to the diploma. During the diploma project the students have a main supervisor at the Institute, but can also seek additional input and guidance form across AHO and externally. Diplomas are typically done as individual projects, but can also be done in groups.

The diplomas at the Institute of Design are characterised by variety and breadth. The diploma projects are typically initiated and developed by the students, and they are free to explore different themes and formats. These can be creative explorations, product development and theoretical projects, or collaborations with commercial companies, public services or researchprojects. Diplomas can also be discursive design projects that seek to raise questions or challenge societal or cultural issues. Often our diplomas are ‘hybrids’ that bring together different methods and actors, or span across our different design specialisations.

The purpose of the diploma is multi-layered. The students have to bring together what they have learned throughout their education to define and develop their own project. A challenge here is how the project is followed through, how it is developed and how it is executed as a design project. In the scope of the Master, the diploma is a relatively large project that demands that the student is self-driven, organised, structured and creative. At the same time, the diploma is a possibility for the student to explore his or her own identity as a designer, to research topics she or he finds interesting, or to challenge the students acquired skills and methods. The diplomas should therefore be understood holistically as projects where the students get to choose their own themes, approaches and processes, but where the challenge is also about organising and developing the project itself. Defining and developing the scope and plan for the project is done both in the project-description (diploma programme), as well as throughout the process.

It is important to note that in doing a holistic evaluation of the diplomas, the focus should be on the project itself rather than how closely it follows the initial description or diplomaprogramme.

Learning outcome


By completing a diploma the students base of knowledge will be about:

-design methods, materials, technologies and tools

-design history in related field

-research methods, design processes

-use of users and targets groups in projects


-be able to develop design solutions through artistic and scientific research, concept visualization, co-working and finalizing a project.

-master design-driven methods, tools and ways of expression, and be able to use this in a creative process, in a goal-oriented, professional and experimenting way.

-be able to reflect on the relationship between content and the project and the wider world.

-be able to communicate both process and end result in a good way.


-be able to communicate values and concepts and inspire dialog and interdisciplinary processes through a wide range of design methods and tools.

-be able to perform a set of professional roles and cooperate well with other occupational groups.

-be able to reflect on own performance and deliveries and stretch beyond own limits.

-take responsibility for own learning and academic progression, be able to transfer knowledge into other fields.

- be considerate on own contribution and ethical questions at hand.



The students deliver their diplomas in the form of their collected outputs, a presentation and a report. The outputs can be a variety of formats; models, prototypes, installations, diagrams, visualisations, mappings etc. The diploma report should give an overview of the project, the process, the possible outcomes (impacts) and the student’s reflections. The report should not be evaluated on its own, but as giving an overview of the project. The students also deliver a 20-minute public presentation of their diploma on the day of the evaluation. The sensors shall evaluate the compete diploma project delivery consisting of the students collected outputs, their report and public presentation. 

Evaluation process
The evaluation of the diplomas are done by an external team of sensors. This sensor-team represents the different design-directions that the students can specialise towards. All the sensors are responsible for the overall evaluation of all diplomas, but each sensor is given particular responsibility for a selection of diplomas. The sensor team is first given the diploma reports digitally. These report should give an overview of the diplomas. The physical outcomes of the projects is presented to the sensors at AHO in an exhibition and as a digital presentation. On the day of the diploma-presentations each student is given 20 minutes to present their diploma. The sensor-team then have a total of 20 minutes for questions, discussion and feedback. These 20 minutes should also include a brief summary of the sensors evaluation and overall feedback. This is a public event for the whole of the school and the intentions for this presentation-format is to facilitate dynamic discussions about the diplomas and interesting responses, as well as a learning situation for other students The sensor-team’s final evaluation is given as a written report for each project. This is delivered some time after the public presentation day.

Goup projects get 10 extra minutes.

Form of assessmentGroupingGrading scaleComment
Project assignmentIndividualPass / failIn evaluating a diploma, the aim is to consider how the diploma has been developed as a project; including both its thematics, its processes, its outcomes and its reflections. The diplomas should be evaluated on the terms, problematics and scope that the students themselves have defined in their project. The overall diploma project is given the grades ‘pass’ or ‘fail’.
Form of assessment:Project assignment
Grading scale:Pass / fail
Comment:In evaluating a diploma, the aim is to consider how the diploma has been developed as a project; including both its thematics, its processes, its outcomes and its reflections. The diplomas should be evaluated on the terms, problematics and scope that the students themselves have defined in their project. The overall diploma project is given the grades ‘pass’ or ‘fail’.