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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany
  • Program Terms: Academic Year, Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Restrictions: SJSU applicants only
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2021 10/01/2020 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: SJSU Bilateral Exchange Class Eligibility: Graduate Student, Sophomore, Junior, Senior
Language of Instruction: English, German Language Requirement: None
Housing Options: Apartment, Off Campus GPA Requirement: 2.75
Internship Option Available: Yes Eligible Majors & Concentrations: Design
How competitive is admission to this program?: Not Competitive
Program Description:
This is a reciprocal exchange relationship between SJSU and the Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd (Schwäbisch Gmünd University of Design) . The program is open to students of design only.  
  • Earn SJSU resident credits for all completed courses
  • Pay your normal SJSU tuition and fees
  • Use your financial aid and apply for scholarships
  • Immerse yourself in German culture
  • Study for one semester or an academic year
  • Gain an advantage when applying for jobs and graduate school
Schwäbisch Gmünd is a city of approximately 60,000 people in the southern German state of Baden-Württemburg.  An ancient city, records of a settlement at the current site of the city center date back to the Roman Empire.  Its connections with design and industry are longstanding as Schwäbisch Gmünd has traditionally been a center of precious metal work since the seventeenth century.  Located roughly 30 miles from Stuttgart, the capitol of Baden-Württemburg, Schwäbisch Gmünd has good rail and ground transportation links.  In the winter there are numerous Christmas Markets, which are known for their craft goods, festive foods and spiced red wine served hot (Gluewein).  Schwäbisch Gmünd is a modern, bicycle friendly city that hosts numerous cultural events throughout the year.  Baden-Württemburg is the southernmost state in Germany, and has its own distinct culture and dialect.  While not entirely rural, its traditions are less urban than much of Northern Germany; hunting, fishing, outdoor pursuits and the agricultural calendar still dominate daily life and culture. 
The University of Design Schwäbisch Gmünd offers students excellent BA qualifications in three courses: Interaction Design, Communication Design, and Product Design. The Interaction Design course – unique in Baden-Wuerttemberg – is concerned with the user-friendly application of new technologies. Two MA courses in Communication Planning and Design and Product Planning and Design round off the programme. The University consciously avoids artistic premises in its foundation modules and concentrates on scientific principles and rational justification as the basis for design decisions. The teaching programme methodology is characterized by a considered balance between the issues of design, science, and technology.

The University has rich traditions and with about 600 students enjoying the advantages of its manageable size.  The intensive and open study atmosphere, cooperation with companies, institutions, and other universities in Europe and worldwide provides a firm foundation for the institution’s success and explains the above-average employment potential of its graduates.

The main building of the school was built in 1908 in the Jugendstil style and is a listed building.  Seminar and class rooms, workshops and labs are located in this building. In the so called “Haus Nagel“ building being opposite to the main building you will find the main library, the material-library and the archives.  The more than 22.000 media items on all aspects of design offer students comprehensive information and excellent working opportunities. The library’s core stock is complemented by literature on areas important to design including philosophy, sociology, history, psychology, technology, and the natural sciences. In addition to books the library carries periodicals, videos, CD-ROMs, and DVDs. An online catalogue describes the library’s complete stock, and users can do research in periodicals, and professional data banks, and if necessary search in pan-regional library catalogues. 

Please note: the German academic calendar's Fall semester begins later in the Fall and ends later in the Winter than the Fall semester at SJSU.  Students studying abroad at HGSG for the Fall semester may have to miss the subsequent Spring semester at SJSU.  It is highly recommended that students study for either the Spring semester, or the Academic Year only. 


Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd offers three undergraduate degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Communication Design, Interaction Design and Product Design.  They offer two graduate degrees: the Master of Arts in Communication Planning and the MA in Design Product Planning and Design. 
In the communications design course the strengths of the University lie in the spectrum of publications, interface design, digital user interfaces, signage and orientation systems, identities for institutions and corporations, multi-media teaching materials, and exhibition design.

The interaction design course focuses on four specializations: Interface Design, Application Design, Interactive Communication Systems and Invention Design. The aim is to provide a foundation that will allow graduates to deal with the creation of interactive information systems and interfaces of high aesthetic and functional quality. Students will also be able to apply technology in creative and innovative ways.

The product design course is known especially for the design of technical goods, tools, furniture, medical and sports equipment, objects worn and used on the body, workplaces, and in concepts for mobility and transport systems. 

For an example of courses available Click Here. 

While the majority of courses are taught in German, a number of courses are taught in English.  So while at least 2 semesters of German language at the university level are highly recommended, there is no language requirement to study abroad on this program.  The main language used at the HfG Schwa¨bisch Gmu¨nd is German. If you intend to take any course held in German, you will need an advanced knowledge of the language. In most courses, students are expected to write papers and/or final examinations and give presen- tations. For courses taught in English, students need an advanced knowledge of English. People in Southern Germany generally speak dialect which is quite hard to understand for non-native “Schwaben”.  Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd ususally offers courses exempt from charges for international students. 

German Language Learning Courses are available for beginners for 2 hours a day during induction week and 1 hour a week during the semester. If you're advanced in German, they have partnerships with the Pädagogische Hochschule Schwäbisch Gmünd or with the Volkshochschule. 
Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd does not offer on-campus housing, but does offer assistance and guidance with securing student housing off-campus. 
For searching accommodations you can use the following links:
  • (local press)
  • (panel of HfG)

Other transitional accommodations (hotels, vacation rentals, ...) can be found at:
  • http://www.pension-ko¨

Accepted students will be sent an accommodation list of student offerings. Please check those first because that will be the easiest way to find a place.  Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd also enploys a number of student mentors who can also offer support in securing housing. 
**These costs are current as of 2015–16. These are estimated costs for the whole semester. Consult the Bursar’s Office for up-to-date information on tuition and fees. Personal expenses do vary between students: those who eat out at restaurants or plan to travel frequently should estimate higher.
  • SJSU Tuition & Fees 3,660.00
  • Round Trip Transportation 1,500.00
  • Room & Meals 4,000.00
  • Books & Supplies 300.00
  • Insurance 350.00
  • Personal Expenses 2,500.00
  • Total $12,310.00
* Health Insurance:  All outgoing exchange students are required to purchase the SJSU-approved University health insurance plan through Wells Fargo Insurance Services. 
Financial Aid: Students who are participating in certified SJSU study abroad programs can use all of the financial aid including grants, scholarships, and loans (except work study) for which they are normally qualified.  For more information click Here.

Scholarships: Scholarships for study abroad come in many forms: SJSU Study Abroad Scholarships, Program Specific, National and International scholarships. Find links for these scholarships and online scholarship search engines by clicking Here.