Course concept

What makes this semester unique?


What makes this semester unique?

  • its focus on digital skills vital to today’s design context
  • its focus on creative, innovative product development
  • the international dimension in several course units
  • the challenging integrated project in which you will be coached to assume the role of the product designer in a multicultural and multidisciplinary team
  • the collaboration between Belgian and international students from Europe and beyond
  • the exclusive use of English as the working language

Course overview

Design and prototyping 4
Through an integrated design assignment of a consumer good, you will experience all phases of the design process and will apply design methods and design sciences. Prototyping techniques such as composite materials, silicone and PU molding, Gypsum, sheet metal and more will be introduced. During this project, we will focus on ergonomics, user interface, production, material selection and connections in design.
With innovation as their goal, students will experiment, explore and test a topic that’s focused on material, production method or technology. Light, ceramics, flexible materials and 3D printing are just a few of the relevant topics students can chose from.
Multidisciplinary project (required)
During this 2-week intensive programme at the start of the semester, students learn to cooperate in a cross-disciplinary way. The students learn how to manage a project from beginning to end. They works with engineers, electronics, chemists, environmental and mechanical engineers, marketeers, graphical designers, packaging experts and more. In between the project work, workshops, team activities, talks and lectures are organized. We compose international teams from different study programs who work together on a case study for a company within the chosen topic. As this course starts the first day of the semester, all students are expected to be there on time and participate for the full 2 weeks. Students might work outside of Kortrijk for part of the project and will need to cover their own train costs of from 15 to 55 euro.
Integrated project (ITP) (required)
In a multidisciplinary and international team, you tackle a real-life project for a stakeholder within the broad field of product design. Applying creativity techniques as well as your newly acquired digital skills, you will deliver a qualitative, innovative and deadline-driven result that satisfies both the customer and the end-user of your product. You will learn to handle cultural differences, communication challenges, group dynamics, feedback and self-reflection, all which go hand-in-hand with project management.


Digital project management (DPM) (recommended)
DPM focuses on methodologies and tooling to efficiently manage projects, with a maximum collaboration within project teams and a seamless integration between project data, documentation and look & feel. Students will use Microsoft products (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, …), as standard tooling to realise basic data management and low-entry workflows. Students will practice using such tools for mindmaps, contacts, addresses, personalized mailings, budgets (calculation and post-calculation), promotion materials, corporate branding, event organization, presentation techniques, manuals and documentation, data management (stats, graphs, analysis and visualization), time management and time keeping.
Digital project communication (DPC) (recommended)
The goal of DPC is to be able to create assets and footage to document, pitch and sell your project. You learn the technical skills to shoot, search, select and edit these assets and footage, for both still images and video. You also learn how to use basic features of professional editing software (Adobe Creative Cloud Suite – Photoshop and Premiere) and to explore the newest mobile apps or web apps to do so (ex. Canva, Wordpress. com; wordswag; diptic, …). You learn about design principles when creating assets for your project. You make the assets (photos and video) ready for all project documentation and publications. In the end, you can tell the difference between good and bad project assets and can communicate about it with professional designers, photographers, camera people and video editors.


Academic English - evening course (optional)
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.

Orientation week & buddies


We organise a full-time 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 a participation fee for the orientation week, but students do need to pay for their own expenses, such as a couple of train trips (with a Go Pass this comes down to max. €5,1/train journey if you’re under 26), some entrance fees (at student & group fares) and your own food & drinks. Everything in the low-cost way, and without any obligation as to participate in the paying activities.

"You'll get a Howest buddy to welcome you and show you around!"


Minimum 2 successfully completed semesters in a Bachelor programme or an equivalent of 60 ECTS. 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.

The English proficiency level we expect from incoming students is the B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Foreign Languages (CEFR), in reading, writing, speaking and understanding skills. We expect applying students to provide proof of their proficiency in English in one of the following ways:

  • A signed confirmation letter from the sending university, stating that the applicant’s language skills reach the B2 level and thus are sufficient to attend courses, participate in different types of classroom and examination activities. (Only valid for exchange students)
  • The results of a (free) online language test which can be related to the CEFR B2 level, such as Dialang, Testpodium or the Erasmus online language test. The online test should have been taken under the supervision of the sending institution. The result sheet needs to be stamped and signed by a staff member of the sending institution. (only valid for exchange students)
  • An official certificate or score report referring to the European Framework or from one of the recognised language tests, e.g. TOEFL: paper based 550/internet based 79/computer based 213 or IETLS: 5.5, no partial results below 5.

The following applicants are not required to document their language skills for study at Howest:

  • applicants from countries having English as their national language;
  • applicants attending a full-time degree programme at their home institution taught in English.

Howest reserves the right to contact the sending university to verify the information on language proficiency, or to contact the applicant for a telephone or Skype conversation in English.

All students should bring their own laptop. To be sufficient the laptop should have a minimum i5 intel processor and minimum 6Gb RAM. Howest is focused on innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. Explicit respect for intellectual property is the logical consequence. Howest wants every student to work with legal software. For the required software Howest has an agreement for all its students with Academic Software. You will benefit from the Howest discount on the licence fee. During the first classes an English version of MS Office (required MS Word, MS Excel, MS Powerpoint, MS Outlook) and an English version of Adobe CC14 will be installed on your laptop. There is no need to install the software beforehand.