The Master of Advanced Studies in Design Research for Digital Innovation is a 2-year programme run by the EPFL+ECAL Lab. It aims to train designers to perform as researchers for the industry and organizations, and to turn disruptive technologies into convincing user experiences.

Through its unique structure, the full-time programme offers a novel training experience combining academic research with concrete application. Rethinking post-masters education, it focuses on innovation, pragmatic impact and professional prospects.

Each year, 3-4 candidates are recruited to fill the role that combines a Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) at 30% and a research assistant position at 70%. Income from the position covers tuition fees and ensures the candidate financial autonomy.


During the programme, MAS candidates are involved in different kinds of work that develop their skills and knowledge in academic research, team work, project management, creativity and critical thinking.

Research Projects

Each MAS candidate works on a real project being developed by the lab, often in collaboration with external partners and clients. They drive the research project, but collaborate with other members of the lab during the process.


Workshops are organised at different points during the MAS to challenge candidates to deep-dive into a subject in a condensed time period. These often involve invited guests or take place at partner institutions abroad.

Studio Projects

The MAS involves 3 Studio Projects that last one semester each. These projects allow candidates to follow their own ideas and interests whilst working on a particular theme chosen by the Lab.

Advanced Academic Courses

The academic programme comprises core courses and options and thus adapts each year to the competences of the MAS candidates. An example of a selection of courses would be:

  • Introduction to Academic Tools
  • Innovation: From Disruption to Acceptance
  • Design methods: A Human-Centred Approach
  • User Research Methods: Prototyping
  • User Research Methods: Ergonomics Evaluation Methods
  • Digital Humanities
  • Project Valorization
  • Design Research Project Funding
  • Project Management


The unique design research and innovation skills obtained during the MAS DRDI set students up for future opportunities in design studios, PhD studies, university teaching or their own practice. Beyond this, the soft skills developed in writing, verbal presentation and research methods provide a solid basis for a range of careers.

Key Facts


2 years


Both French and English are spoken daily at the Lab. However, written and spoken fluency in English is a requirement for the MAS so that outcomes and publications can be published internationally.



MAS Rules & Regulation

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Qualification issued

Master of Advanced Studies in Design Research for Digital Innovation

Yearly fees (materials included)

CHF 8 000.–