Service Systems Design, Master

Academic content

Academic content

The master's programme in Service Systems Design consists of four semesters, a total of two years (120 ECTS). The following pages describe the programme content in order for you to gain an overview. Each semester consists of a project and courses, except for the 4th semester which is dedicated to working on your master’s thesis. Some courses are mandatory, others are elective.

For further information, please consult the curriculum for Service Systems 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; services as interaction

In your 1st semester project, you and your fellow students will conduct an analysis of a product or service, focusing on the interaction aspects between users and the service, human and technology as well as machine to machine. The project work will introduce you to time and interaction related issues in service cases, and you will learn how to apply appropriate methods and tools to organise sequences of events and interactions in service solutions that take into consideration people’s cultural and behavioural backgrounds.

User experience design for service interaction

This course trains you to research, analyse, prototype and conceptualise design considering all system aspects including the social and cultural contexts of use. You will gain comprehensive knowledge about user involvement in the design process, going beyond traditional methods such as usability lab testing. The course introduces you to the application of multi-modal methods and interaction design within contemporary fields such as surface computing, pervasive computing, social and mobile computing, and/or mundane computing.

Designing product service systems

You will be introduced to service design and gain knowledge and methodological tools to analyse existing services and to develop new services. The course will provide you with an overview of analytical methods to understand and integrate users’ needs, design methods to control and organise time and interaction-based elements of a services and representation techniques that can be used to communicate with the various actors involved in a service system.

programming for services

The objective of this course is to integrate existing knowledge about programming to an advanced level required to understand programming languages and, to a certain extent, to work with the most used applications in interaction design and digital devices used for service platforms.

2nd semester; services as systems

On the 2nd semester, we take your learning a step further by adding hands-on experience on the design of a complex service on basis of a modular platform in which actors and competences are clearly identified, organisational and interaction aspects are planned and user participation is planned and supported. Through this project module, you will learn about the nature and structure of a distributed system, and you will become familiar with techniques that support the participation of actors with different backgrounds, skills and culture while integrating technical and human components on a service platform.

Technological and Organizational Trends in Service design

In this course the concept of infrastructure management will be examined from two perspectives: 1) the technological trends supporting services and 2) the organisational side of services. The course will explore the possible configurations of distributed systems and will devote particular attention to the role of data in the design process. Key related themes - such as collaborative and open source production models and circular and regenerative economy - will also be examined.

User participation and social innovation

This course provides you with advanced knowledge and methods to interact with users and involve them in a process of co-design and participation. You will learn to use methods and techniques from different disciplinary contexts and adapt them in order to stimulate and support users’ participation and the interpretation of their needs, behaviour and attitudes in relation to their social and cultural context.

services representation and prototyping

Through this course module, you will learn how to use narrative, visual and multimodal techniques to communicate the nature and characteristics of a service and to support the users’ participation with knowledge about the most complex aspects of the service.

3rd semester; company collaboration or theoretical project

As indicated by the semester title, you may choose to carry out a project in collaboration with a company as part of your ECTS credits on the 3rd semester. You can go abroad or stay in Denmark – it is entirely up to you, and we will assist you in finding a company or an institution with whom to collaborate. You can also choose to carry out a project where you do a theoretical elaboration of a topic or a case.

If you choose company-project collaboration or the theoretical project, you must also attend the course "Stragegies and Business in Services".

Strategies and business in services

This course will give you advanced knowledge on theories and methodological tools to analyse and suggest appropriate and innovative business models for service companies. Focus is on theories of entrepreneurship with emphasis on innovative business models for product-service systems. In the course, theories and methodological tools will be applied to specific cases.

You also have the opportunity to choose a course from another programme which may add to the profile you wish to obtain. At, you can take a browse through the programmes offered. If you choose this option of having an elective course from another programme, it must be approved by the Study Board of Media Technology.

4th semester; master's thesis

There are no courses offered on the 4th semester; this is entirely devoted to working on your master’s thesis. The work is carried out alone or in small groups.

Once you have finished your master’s thesis, you are Master of Science (MSc) in Service Systems Design.

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