Course concept

English-taught semesters, what are they?

howest illustraties_Nog vragen- cropped.png

An English-taught semester is a coherent package of course units which a Howest Bachelor programme offers in English, as an option for semester exchange , to incoming students from its partner universities abroad, and as a study abroad option to other international students.

Read more

Course overview

Industrial Design
The focus of this course is on the industrial design of consumer products, taking into account product features and details, user-centered design methods, material selection, UX, production and market opportunities. The outcome should be an underpinned design process, leading towards a proof-of-concept and a proof-of-product for a Belgian client or brand. Students make use of their CAD-software (Siemens NX) for modeling, for designing and testing details and for taking some directions with regard to production.
Interiors and objects
This course aims to teach students to design and define the brand DNA of industrial products, derived from a very specific personal style, or values or a personal expression of the individual student. 
First, students do the analysis phase on paper (e.g. presentation using trend panels and mood boards) and sketch directions towards design. Second, the student proceeds to further elaboration and possibly the realization of the product/system they have designed on paper. The following topics will be discussed: #analyzing and synthesizing a certain design; # designing a product for a specific target group or specific customer; # designing a family to complement an existing or non-existent product; # designing a corporate identity both graphically on paper and translating it into the styling of a product. # applying color, texture, specific design, shape variations.
Students will sketch digitally using drawing tablets. They will learn visualization and render techniques via digital sketching software (Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, VR software). Students will learn how to show the storyline, the user scenario and every step of their design process. They’ll practice how to present their products convincingly. 
Packaging design: students will design the layout and manual for a packaging. To do this properly, they’ll digitally reprocess sketches on paper to brainstorm on color and style. They’ll test the layout on digital mockups and make a movie about how the packaging works.
*Advanced surfacing
In this course, students learn how to build freeform models, from form idea to CAD-model, both physically and digitally. In this course, the student plays with continuities, makes and manipulates transitions between surfaces; from desired shape to engineerable shape; via physical shape models, 2D-views, 3D-scan, to surface model. The student gets to understand the background and structure to come to a freeform. The student can add shape details to CAD-models. And what about split lines, 3D-patterns, sweeps and lofts, import/export file types, trimming and extending…? The students practice making photorealistic visualizations and to dynamically represent their design process. SIEMENS NX software is available to incoming students for free. *Students who aren’t yet familiar with the basics of surfacing will be redirected to another CAD-module.
Tech-tools for design
In this course, students are triggered to experiment with unexplored design techniques, such as ceramics, textiles, VR-viewers. Students create “products in progress”, derived from a personal experiment and the application of technology. Everything but the end product is relevant. Students try to expand their conventional way of working.  


Academic English - evening course
This English course provides exchange students with an intensive training in speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, all focused on their ongoing or upcoming academic experience. The lecturer will take the diversity of academic areas of the participants into account, by addressing a range of topics and choosing subjects that are relevant to the attending students wherever possible.
The course aims at the B2 proficiency level and uses the IELTS methodology. We strongly recommended it to all exchange students who have not fully achieved the B2-level in English at the moment of application for their mobility project. For the more proficient students, we still see the course as a useful immersion experience.

Course Unit Descriptions for All English-taught semester programmes

(if not available yet for the upcoming academic year please select the current year)

  • Next to ‘Taal’ select ‘English’
  • Next to ‘Opleiding’ select select the name of your programme (Design for Identity (ETS D4ID) – please contact for info if not yet available in list).


Orientation week & buddies


We organise a fulltime orientation week before the start of the actual lessons. We warmly recommend all incoming students to attend it, since it will offer you the opportunity to:

  • get to know the other incoming students and the locals through fun team building & other activities
  • get to know Howest and the campus(es) where you will spend your semester/year
  • explore the Howest cities Bruges & Kortrijk together with our local students and dive into student life
  • discover some Belgian cultural treasures through student-friendly sightseeing trips to our most beautiful art cities like Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels, …
  • get loads of practical tips from our students while getting installed in your student room

Howest does not charge any participation fee for the orientation week, but students do need to pay for their own expenses, such as a couple of train trips, some entrance fees and your own food & drinks. Prices are kept as low as possible and as close to 100 euro total as possible.

The estimated price for the orientation week in 2020-21 (for under 26y) is about €53 for the train tickets and €47 for the excursions, to be paid in cash at the start of the orientation week.

Dates of the Orientation Week:

  • Autumn Semester: 14 - 18 September 2020
  • Spring Semester: 1- 5 February 2021

You'll also have a Howest buddy or two to welcome you and show you around! For more information about buddies, click here.


Minimum 4 successfully completed semesters or an equivalent of 120 ECTS in a Bachelor programme in Product Design, Interior Design, Industrial Design, Mechanical Design, Packaging Design, Furniture Design, …

This will need to be confirmed by means of an official certificate, a survey of completed courses, or a signed letter from the sending university.

All students must bring their laptop but buying software is not necessary. All software needed is open source or paid for by Howest. If you have a Mac, you need to be able to run bootcamp. Howest only allows officially licensed software on it campuses. MS Office and Adobe CC and other non-essential software can be obtained at student discount.

Click here for Howest language expectations.

Non-exchange students can only attend the international semester as a Postgraduate course and need to have completed at least a full Bachelor degree programme at the time they start the international semester course at Howest.

Timing and location

The course takes place in Kortrijk.

Our Spring semester runs from 1 February to 2 July 2021

Classes start on the 8 February, but all newly arriving incoming students are expected on Monday, 1 February, for our fulltime Orientation Week. From 05/04/2021 - 17/04/2021 there is a two-week Easter Holiday.

The examination period starts on 24 May. From 21 June to 2 July there are feedback sessions for students.

The Howest 2nd chance exams take place in the 3rd exam period (Aug/Sept). As an exceptional service for exchange students AND only after explicit approval by the head of the study department, a 2nd chance exam can be taken by the end of the 2nd  exam period, at a date to be determined by the study department.

Address of the campus

Howest Kortrijk
Graaf Karel de Goedelaan 5, Kortrijk, Belgium

Classes will take place at the Howest Industrial Design Center; an open design campus, where students can prototype, brainstorm and create all their idea’s (

Opleiding / Dienst