Elisava School of Design
Research for Design & Innovation Master's Degree
One Year

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. It is focused on providing current tools related to qualitative and ethnographic research, interdisciplinary focus, and design thinking geared toward innovation processes applicable to society and industry.

Degree Length
One year; Fall and Spring Intake.

Application Requirements
Complete online application
Portfolio (see Academic Information)
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 Intake: May 1
Spring Intake: November 1
Apps accepted after deadline as space permits

Program Dates
Fall Intake: Mid September – Early August
Spring Intake: Mid February – Late February

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. It is focused on providing current tools related to qualitative and ethnographic research, interdisciplinary focus, 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.

Students go on two field trips to European cities to explore trends, working patterns and user opinions. They come back with a wide range of innovation-related options. We organize workshops and events that help increase participation around issues such as design, trends, innovation and design thinking

Goals and Competencies
The degree adheres to the following objectives, focused on strengthening students’ individual abilities:

  • Train researchers capable of creating and being involved in innovation and development processes.
  • Offer professionals not linked to design the tools to supplement their education in scientific, technical and humanistic fields in order to enhance their professional profile and increase their opportunities.
  • Offer design practitioners a space for interacting with other agents involved in innovation processes with the aim of working in multidisciplinary teams.
  • Address innovation in the broadest sense, including its technological, social, creative, productive and business scheme ramifications.
  • Foster the creation of spaces and events for exchange and collaboration between all agents involved in innovation processes.
  • Allow organizations, companies and governments to explore new systems, products, services and experiences via innovation-related academic projects.

Student Profile
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.

Portfolio Details
Portfolio submissions should be 4 pages and 2MB max, in PDF format. In lieu of a portfolio, MIDI applicants can submit a description of 3-4 academic or professional works completed.

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 Master’s Degree in Research for Design and Innovation is composed of two semesters of study taught in block style. All students follow the same curriculum, designed around collaborative problem-solving, hands-on experience and workforce preparedness.

Module 1. Introduction and context: A welcome to trends, its terminology and the concepts that govern 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: On-site work in various cities in order to develop perception 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. 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 7. Innovation workshops: Focused on specific areas of Design Thinking processes, they help students to develop their skills in the design of services, experiences, prototypes, tests and co-creation activities. These workshops are hosted by guest professors, collectives and active professionals in the innovation sector.

Module 8. Business tools: They allow students to understand the relationships between the innovation, production and businesses, from the client’s perspective.

Module 9. Introduction to design thinking: skills with collaborative and innovative thinking patterns.

Tutored by the program teaching staff and by the managers of the firms linked to MIDI.

SAI Program Fees* USD
Application Fee $140
Program Fee
Includes tuition, Master’s degree 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 $1,100
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!

  • Master’s Degree awarded by Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) and 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.