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Syllabus for

Academic year
IMS010 - Design for sustainable behaviour
Design för hållbart beteende
Syllabus adopted 2021-02-26 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPDES
7,5 Credits
Grading: UG - Pass, Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Industrial Design Engineering

Teaching language: English
Application code: 16112
Open for exchange students: Yes
Block schedule: B
Maximum participants: 50
Status, available places (updated regularly): The course round is full

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0118 Written and oral assignments 7,5c Grading: UG   7,5c    

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Helena Strömberg

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General entry requirements for Master's level (second cycle)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Specific entry requirements

English 6 (or by other approved means with the equivalent proficiency level)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Course specific prerequisites

Basic knowledge about sustainable development, as well as design and design methodology comparable to a bachelor degree in design or product development


The aim of the course is that students should develop their knowledge on the relationship between design and human behaviour, explain how design creates preconditions for sustainable behaviour in everyday life, as well as develop the capability to design with intent to support (or discourage) specific behaviour.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  • Differentiate between theories on how to understand human behaviour from different disciplines and use such theories to analyse behaviour
  • Discuss how a product's design, i.e. its functions and form, sets preconditions for sustainable behaviour and lifestyles
  • Discuss to what extent design decisions on different abstraction levels impact everyday behaviour
  • Choose between and apply methods and theoretical frameworks regarding how to affect behaviour through design
  • Predict and handle the ethical implications of designs intended to change behaviour
  • Evaluate the effects of designs intended to change behaviour from a systems perspective, including acceptance, sustainability and consequences.
  • Assimilate cutting edge research, judge its relevance and quality in relation to design practice, and to contribute its development


The course covers different ways of understanding everyday behaviour and the effects that it has seen from a sustainability perspective. It especially focuses on the way behaviour is connected to the design of the products and system people use to accomplish everyday tasks. The course covers theories on human behaviour from a range of perspectives, e.g. psychological theories on attitudes and norms, sociological theories on practice, and activity theory.

The course also contains approaches for designing product with potential to affect behaviour, e.g. Design for Sustainable Behaviour, Design for Behaviour Change, Practice based design, and Nudging. As the course focuses on the latest developments in the field, the methodology introduced will vary from year to year.

The course wants to give students the prerequisites to champion people¿s possibilities to behave sustainably in everyday life, in every design project, as well as feel confident to engage with societal challenges when possible.


The theoretical content of the course is taught through lectures and exercises divided in thematic modules. The theoretical knowledge about behaviour and design methods is also applied in a smaller design project connected to the sustainable development goals.


Literature will be made available at course start

Examination including compulsory elements

To pass the course active participation in seminars, approved assignments and an approved project report is required.

The course examiner may assess individual students in other ways than what is stated above if there are special reasons for doing so, for example if a student has a decision from Chalmers on educational support due to disability.

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.