Elisava School of Design
Research for Design & Innovation Diploma

The Postgraduate Diplomas at Elisava are open to students and professionals wishing to spend one semester in Barcelona to broaden and refine their design skills at the graduate level. Research for Design and Innovation students study alongside Master’s Degree students, completing one of the two terms, and receive a Postgraduate Diploma upon completion of the program. The Master’s in Research for Design and Innovation is split into two distinct Postgraduate Diplomas: “Cool-hunting: Design and Global Trends” in the Fall, and “Innovation and Design Thinking” in the Spring. All students follow a predetermined set of coursework.

Postgraduate Diploma Options
Fall: Cool-hunting. Design and Global Trends
Spring: Innovation and Design Thinking

Application Requirements
Complete online application
Portfolio (4 pages max; PDF; 2MB size max)
Letter of motivation (1 page; PDF)
Curriculum Vitae (2 pages; PDF)
Official Bachelor’s Degree transcript
Passport scan (photo page; PDF)
EU privacy consent form

Application Deadline
Fall Diploma: May 1
Spring Diploma: November 1
Apps accepted after deadline as space permits

Program Dates
Fall Diploma: Early September – Early March
Spring Diploma: Early February – Late August

Eligibility Requirements

Age: 18+

Academic: Completed Bachelor’s degree

*contact SAI if you don’t meet requirements

Undergraduate GPA:* 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale)

English Language:* Non-native English language speakers must submit IELTS: 5+, or proof of attending school in English for 3+ years.

Coming soon

Program Description
The Master’s Degree in Research for Design and Innovation (MIDI) combines two powerful disciplines in the pre-design process: trend research and co-creation techniques. The program consists of two Postgraduate Diploma modules: the “Postgraduate Diploma in Coolhunting: Design and Global Trends” (fall term), and the “Postgraduate Diploma in Innovation and Design Thinking” (spring term). It is focused on providing current tools related to qualitative and ethnographic research, interdisciplinary approaches, and design thinking geared toward innovation processes applicable to society and industry.

We see innovation as a process of continually addressing users’ real and changing needs in order to improve quality of life through products, services, experiences and new tools. Old patterns are re-examined and re-evaluated and prototypes are boldly designed based on thorough research.

Throughout the course, students develop research projects in association with several firms and governments, such as Artemide, Lékué, Telefónica, Cirque du Soleil or the City of Barcelona among others. Students collaborate with multiple entities, groups, institutions and universities involved with innovation in Europe and Latin America, to strengthen networks and facilitate partnerships.

This program is aimed at professionals and entrepreneurs in the world of design, communication, advertising, marketing and social or business science interested in developing qualitative research skills and understanding the outlook for global trends. This includes: fashion, industrial, product and graphic designers and managers of R&D departments; professionals involved in areas and processes concerning innovation, creation and service or product design; design managers; managers of production, marketing and commercialization departments; civil servants involved in social matters and the development of innovation and government policies; and product managers and account managers.

Due After Acceptance
After acceptance, students must submit an Apostille-Certified Bachelor’s Degree of University Diploma. The Hague Apostille (Apostille Convention) is a method of validating a public document for use outside of its origin country. In the United States the Competent Authorities designated to issue Apostilles are the Secretaries of States. Students wishing to enroll in graduate level coursework at Elisava must receive an Apostille on their degree from the state of the degree’s issuance.

The Research for Design and Innovation Master’s Degree is composed of two separate diplomas taught in block style. Postgraduate Diploma students enroll in either the Fall or Spring section of the program, and follow the Master’s degree curriculum, designed around collaborative problem-solving, hands-on experience and workforce preparedness.

Fall Diploma: Coolhunting. Design and Global Trends

Module 1. Introduction and context: This module welcomes students to the trends world, to its terminology and to the concepts driving the sector.

Module 2. Research methodology and tools: This module helps people with no experience in this field to develop skills, and also serves as a refresher course for those who have been involved in research projects. Includes ethnography, visual anthropology, sociology, market research, net-hunting and other strategic research areas.

Module 3. Urban Immersions: Field work carried out in different cities to develop perceptive and research abilities.

Module 4. Business tools: Helps students to learn the relationships between trends and business from the point of view of clients and companies. Promotes the dialogue between the researcher and the client.

Module 5. Reading reports and book club: Based on reference books and publications in the sector, it allows to connect research skills with collaborative and innovative thinking patterns.

Module 6. Research project: Tutored by the program teaching staff and the companies associated with MIDI.

Spring Diploma: Innovation and Design Thinking

Module 1. Introduction and context: An overview of the Design Thinking world, the methods used and the key concepts. Making up work teams and project brief.

Module 2. Thematic seminars and forums: With professors, tutors and guest lecturers who offer technical and academic support to the developments of the central workshop and the workshops.

Module 3. Innovation workshops: Focused on specific areas of Design Thinking processes, they help students to develop their skills in designing services, experiences, prototypes, tests and co-creation activities. These workshops are hosted by guest lecturers, groups and practitioners in the innovation sector.

Module 4. Business tools: Helps students to understand the networks among innovation, production and business, from the client’s point of view.

Module 5. Introduction to design thinking: Allows students to connect research skills with collaborative and innovative thought philosophies.

Module 6. Research project: Tutored by the program teaching staff and by the managers of the firms associated with MIDI.

SAI Program Fees* USD
Application Fee $120
Program Fee:
Includes tuition, postgraduate diploma and SAI Select Services (see What’s Included).
Contact SAI
Optional / Additional Fees:  
International Mailing Supplement
When applicable, students are charged an international mailing supplement to ensure visa paperwork arrives in a timely manner.

*prices are subject to change

Budget Low Est. High Est.
Airfare to/from Barcelona
$900 $1,500
Cost depends on travel to Consulate.
$160 $360
Books, Supplies & Course Fees $300 $500
Includes groceries and eating out.
$400 / month $800 / month
SAI can provide recommendations.
$1,000 / month $1,300 / month
Personal Expenses $350 / month $450 / month
Transportation within Barcelona
Public transportation with some taxi rides.
$100 / month $150 / month
Weekend Travel
Cost varies greatly by student.
$300 / month $1,000 / month

This is an SAI Select Services Program; it includes the important on-site services!

  • Postgraduate diploma awarded by Elisava Barcelona School of Design and Engineering
  • Program tuition
  • Student health insurance providing full coverage and medical emergency evacuation
  • SAI orientation to the host city and school
  • SAI staff on-site providing assistance as needed and 24-hour emergency support

Pre-departure and Re-entry services

  • US-based admissions counselor assigned to you, providing friendly assistance
  • Helpful pre-departure tools and resources
  • Assistance with student visa application
  • Paid registration fees for national re-entry conferences
  • SAI alumni network

Housing is not included in SAI Select Services Programs. However, your SAI Admissions Counselor will be happy to provide you with information and recommendations for housing agencies, dormitories, and rentals in Barcelona. Students who do not have prior housing arrangements should begin speaking with their Admissions Counselor as soon as possible. All students are required to submit to SAI information regarding their housing arrangements prior to program start.

Passports should be valid for 6 months after planned departure from Spain.

Student Visas
In accordance with Spanish law students studying in Spain for 6 months or more are required to obtain a long stay student visa. Those with Spanish/EU citizenship are exempted. Non-US nationals should consult their local Consulate for details on student visa requirements.