Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

* Identify the focus of their own design practice.

* Understand their competences and capabilities as a designer.

* Apply personally suitable textual and visual format to present their talent as a designer.

* Organise their work in a format of a professional portfolio.

* Explore and evaluate potential professional fields and contexts where to work after graduation.

* Generate a ‘map’ of potential working environments for the future career.  

Credits: 2

Schedule: 20.04.2021 - 27.05.2021

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Maarit Mäkelä

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Maarit Mäkelä

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The aim of the course is to explore and articulate focus of students own design practice and their competencies. They will envision potential ways of, and contexts for practicing as a professional designer, as well as meditate on the organization of their practice. Finally, the students try out where, how and with whom to practice design in the future by benchmarking and contacting relevant stakeholders.

    The main objective of the course is to understand the emerging field of contemporary design and position one’s own practice as part of that professional field. The course acknowledges and discusses the transforming profile of designers today, and its implications on potential, relevant career paths. The outcome of the course is a ‘map’ of potential working environments for contemporary designers.

    The course consists in two phases: (I) Finding my own way in the field: question, verbalise and discuss professional identity, and the drivers of one’s practice (II) Mapping the framework for professional practice: processing and interpreting the reflections and ideating what and how to navigate towards after master’s studies. Phase II ends in taking action: contacting personally relevant stakeholders to pilot attempts and establishing relationships with interesting collaborators for future design practice.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    For passing the first part of the course, the student must participate lectures and group activity (80%) and submit a coherent portfolio with comments and annotations situating the foci of their own practice. For the second part of the course, the student has to provide a reflection about professional desirables, conduct benchmarking about contexts for pursuing them and/or execute an interview with a chosen stakeholder. The assesment as is based on active participation during the lectures and group activity, and quality of the portfolio and other individual work.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    54-135 h / 2-5 cr

    Contact teaching including lectures, visits, and assignments 30-55 h

    Independent/group work including benchmarking & field study 19-65 h

    Personal reflection 5-15 h


Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Kosonen, K. (2018). Finding One's Own Way in Design. Reflections on Narrative Professional Identity. Helsinki: Aalto University (Chapter 2 + selected chapters)


    Other literature sources will be given during the course.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    At least three completed courses from Contemporary Design study offering.

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    17 Partnerships for the Goals