Academic content

Academic content

As a master's student in Lighting Design at AAU-Cph, you will be working with both daylight and artificial light in the crossing between three scientific fields; media technology, engineering and architecture. The purpose of the programme is for graduates to have an academic-technological as well as process-related approach to lighting design, and not least, a particular sense in designing with light in virtual and physical spaces. During the programme, you will be working with the interplay between the basic physical elements of light, lighting technologies, digital media, context, human factors and design methods.

On the 1st and 2nd semester, you will have courses in the three basic fields; engineering, architecture and media technology. The 3rd semester can either be a specialisation semester, where you choose courses according to the profile you want, or you can carry out a project in collaboration with a company or a stay abroad at another university. On the 4th semester, you will do your master’s thesis.

For further information, please see the curriculum for Lighting Design.


All bachelors enrolled in the programme who have not obtained their bachelor's degree from Aalborg University must take part in a course on problem based learning (PBL) as part of the 1st semester project. In case non-AAU bachelors get credit transfer for the 1st semester, they will be asked to take part in a course ensuring that they are trained in working according to the PBL-model. Read more about PBL here.

1st semester: Seeing the light

In the 1st semester of the postgraduate programme in Lighting Design, you and your group will work on a project under the theme “Seeing the light”. The purpose is for you to develop competences in designing with light within architecture and design, science and media technology. Through the project, you will learn about the complexity and interplay between these areas when designing with light in real and virtual spaces.

Courses in the 1st semester

  • Lighting fundamentals
  • Meaning of light: Light and space
  • Rendered light simulation/CGI

In the courses, you will be working with the basic principles for the interplay between light, space, technology and human perception. One subject will be Nordic light which is included in order to demonstrate sensibility in lighting design. Moreover, you will learn about the basic photometric and colorimetric terms as well as the processes in perception of the luminous environment. Last, but not least, you will work with digital simulation of light. This is an important design tool, and you will also be introduced to CGI - Computer-generated Imagery – which stands for computer-generated special effects.

2nd semester: Creating with light: Interactive lighting

In the project work in the 2nd semester, you will be working with interactive lighting design via media technology and human / conceptual interaction. You and your group will work with a problem which should be solved both functionally, technically and aesthetically.

See video on 2nd semester project: Creating with Light: Interactive Lighting - Light Traces


Courses in the 2nd semester

  • Evidence-based lighting design
  • Light and context
  • Intelligent lighting design

In the course “Evidence-based lighting design”, you will learn about light’s effect on people in relation to our perception of our luminous environment as well as the psychological effect of light. On the 2nd semester, you will also work with aesthetic, functional, statutory and environmental design parameters in relation to light, and you will learn about the use of digital media for both indoor and outdoor applications in lighting design with focus on human factors.

3rd semester: Lighting design innovation

In the 3rd semester, the project work will take up more time than on the previous two semesters. The theme is “Lighting design innovation”, and you are going to work with new solutions for a problem of your own choosing. You could include for instance commercial aspects or socio-cultural implication compared to generation of scientific solutions.

Courses in the 3rd semester

  • Focus area
  • Elective course


In the 3rd semester, you also have the opportunity to carry out a project in collaboration with a company. Many Lighting Design-students choose this option. An internship may add to your specialisation. Click here fore more information and a list of companies with whom Lighting Design-students have collaborated.

4th semester: Master's thesis in Lighting Design

The 4th semester is the final semester of the postgraduate programme in Lighting Design. Here, you will work on your master’s thesis. There are no courses in the 4th semester, because it is dedicated entirely to working on your thesis which is done either individually or in small groups.

Study Method at AAU - Problem Based Learning

Study Method at AAU - Problem Based Learning

The study method at AAU is called Problem Based Learning (PBL). Together with your fellow students you will work with real life problems by way of problem based project work.

learn more about Pbl at aau