Like all other programmes from Aalborg University, the MSc in Service Systems Design is based on a combination of academic, problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approaches. It is organised in lectures, project work, workshops, expert supervision and other work and evaluation methods that combine skills and reflection.
The programme will give you professional competences within the following disciplines:
As a service designer, you will become a practitioner that collaborates with public and private companies in designing new services or redesigning existing services. Your expertise will be required in understanding, and addressing user requirements, communicating user experience, promoting users’ participation and supporting the internal organisation of services. Your cross-disciplinary competences, covering IT, design-related, engineering and management skills will allow you to cover strategic roles in service organisations.
The master's programme in Service Systems Design consists of four semesters, a total of two years (120 ECTS). The following pages describe the programme content in order for you to gain an overview. Each semester consists of a project and courses, except for the 4th semester which is dedicated to working on your master’s thesis. Some courses are mandatory, others are elective.
In your 1st semester project, you and your fellow students will conduct an analysis of a product or service, focusing on the interaction aspects between users and the service, human and technology as well as machine to machine. The project work will introduce you to time and interaction related issues in service cases, and you will learn how to apply appropriate methods and tools to organise sequences of events and interactions in service solutions that take into consideration people’s cultural and behavioural backgrounds.
This course trains you to research, analyse, prototype and conceptualise design considering all system aspects including the social and cultural contexts of use. You will gain comprehensive knowledge about user involvement in the design process, going beyond traditional methods such as usability lab testing. The course introduces you to the application of multi-modal methods and interaction design within contemporary fields such as surface computing, pervasive computing, social and mobile computing, and/or mundane computing.
You will be introduced to service design and gain knowledge and methodological tools to analyse existing services and to develop new services. The course will provide you with an overview of analytical methods to understand and integrate users’ needs, design methods to control and organise time and interaction-based elements of a services and representation techniques that can be used to communicate with the various actors involved in a service system.
There are two elective courses on the 1st semester, and you may choose one of them so that you have three courses in total.
The objective of this course is to integrate existing knowledge about programming to an advanced level required to understand programming languages and, to a certain extent, to work with the most used applications in interaction design and digital devices used for service platforms.
The aim of this elective course is to give students an overview of design theories, tools and methods required in the pre-product development phase. This is indeed the phase in which products / services are defined at the conceptual level in relation to technical, esthetical, strategic and philosophical considerations.
On the 2nd semester, we take your learning a step further by adding hands-on experience on the design of a complex service on basis of a modular platform in which actors and competences are clearly identified, organisational and interaction aspects are planned and user participation is planned and supported. Through this project module, you will learn about the nature and structure of a distributed system, and you will become familiar with techniques that support the participation of actors with different backgrounds, skills and culture while integrating technical and human components on a service platform.
This course supports the project work by introducing you to the concept of distributed systems. This concept will be illustrated according to two main perspectives, referring to studies in Industrial Production and IT-systems development. The objective of the course is for you to develop an understanding of all the technical and non-technical elements needed to provide successful services and operate a service architecture.
User participation and social innovation
This course provides you with advanced knowledge and methods to interact with users and involve them in a process of co-design and participation. You will learn to use methods and techniques from different disciplinary contexts and adapt them in order to stimulate and support users’ participation and the interpretation of their needs, behaviour and attitudes in relation to their social and cultural context.
Designing the experience
Through this course module, you will learn how to use narrative, visual and multimodal techniques to communicate the nature and characteristics of a service and to support the users’ participation with knowledge about the most complex aspects of the service.
As indicated by the semester title, you may choose to take an internship as part of your ECTS credits on the 3rd semester. You can go abroad or stay in Denmark – it is entirely up to you, and we will assist you in finding a company or an institution where you may take your internship.
Regarding internship, you may choose between two options. If you wish to attend the courses offered on the 3rd semester, you may do an internship of 20 ECTS. On the other hand, if you wish for your internship to take up the entire semester, you may choose to do an internship of 30 ECTS.
If you stay at AAU for your project work on the 3rd semester, you will also have to choose among two of the following electives:
The purpose of this course is to provide you with strategic insights for the organisation of complex service systems based on modularisation, distribution of work and competences as well as economy of scale and scope.
This course will give you advanced knowledge on theories and methodological tools to analyse and suggest appropriate and innovative business models for service companies. Focus is on theories of entrepreneurship with emphasis on innovative business models for product-service systems. In the course, theories and methodological tools will be applied to specific cases.
You also have the opportunity to choose a course from another programme which may add to the profile you wish to obtain. At en.cpu.aau.dk, you can take a browse through the programmes offered. If you choose this option of having an elective course from another programme, it must be approved by the Study Board of Media Technology.
There are no courses offered on the 4th semester; this is entirely devoted to working on your master’s thesis. The work is carried out alone or in small groups.
Once you have finished your master’s thesis, you are Master of Science (MSc) in Service Systems Design.
You can apply until:
Always verify the dates on the programme website.
You only need to take one of these language tests:
The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.Take IELTS test
The TOEFL – or Test OF English as a Foreign Language – offers a paper-based test (PBT). The final, overall PBT score ranges between 310 and 677, and is based on an average taken from the three test components (listening, structure, and reading). The writing part of this test is scored separately on a scale of 0-6. Read more about TOEFL (PBT).
The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).
Bachelor's degrees within e.g. architecture, design or human centered informatics may also qualify for the postgraduate programme in Service Systems Design.
If your bachelor's degree does not immediately qualify for the master's programme in Service Systems Design, your application will be assessed by the Study Board of Media Technology.
StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.
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