Apply to the MDes programs

Applications calendar

Applications for academic year 2017/2018 possible from November 2nd, 2016 to June 18, 2017.

Admission subject to the number of available places.

The file review will be organised within 15 days after the receipt of the complete application file.
The results will be published on the following dates: January 13, January 27, March 3, April 7, May 24, June 23 and July 6 2017.

> Academic requirements

These programs are open to all applicants who either :
• hold a Bachelor’s Degree in design* or equivalent
• have completed at least three years of undergraduate studies in design* equating to at least 180 ECTS credits

* As the MDes programs are cross-disciplinary, students from different design backgrounds may apply:
• spatial design, interior design, or interior architecture,
• interaction design or multimedia design,
• product design or industrial design,
• graphic design or visual communication.

The only exceptions to this are :
• the MDes Information Design, which requires a background in interaction or graphic design,
• the MDes User Experience Design / Design & Virtual Reality, which requires a solid background in interaction design.

You may apply before actually receiving the degree or having completed your undergraduate studies. However, admission will only take effect once the degree is obtained or the undergraduate credits have been validated.

Once accepted, students remain eligible for registration for the following academic year.

Applicants whose level we assess to be insufficient may be recommended to follow a semester or a full year in our International Class before entering the master’s program.

> Language requirements

If you are not a native English speaker, we ask that you provide proof of your English proficiency (600 points at the TOEIC test for programs taught in French, 700 points at the TOEIC test for programs taught in English). If you are not in possession of such a certificate, you may take an oral assessment by telephone or Skype with a professor from L’École de design.

We require all applicants to have a good level of English for two reasons :
• students enrolled in one of the programs must be able to follow the courses and write their thesis in English;
• all students must obtain a minimum level of 750 points (800 points starting from 2018) at the TOIEC test (the equivalent of IELTS 5.5,TOEFL iBT 80 points, Cambridge FCE, CPE or CAE, Bulats 60 points) in order to be granted the Master’s Degree in Design from L’École de design Nantes Atlantique.

While not mandatory for the programs taught in English, a certain command of French language is recommended for daily life in France and integration purposes. You will have to provide any certificate of French language you may already have or you can indicate your current level of French using the CEFR self assessment grid.
A minimum level of CEFR B2 in French is however highly recommended for non-native speakers who wish to apply for a MDes taught in French language.

> Selection process

1) Apply online
Applications can only be done online on our website.
Once you have filled out your personal data, you will be required to pay a non-refundable inscription fee of 50€ to cover the administrative costs of your admission process. This payment is only possible by credit card or Paypal and is fully secured.
You will be asked to indicate your first and second choices for which MDes program you would like to take.

After registering online, you will receive an e-mail stating your file number and providing a link to the mandatory online questionnaire.

2) Fill out the online form
The link provided in the email received after payment will take you to a questionnaire, in which you will be asked to provide information concerning your studies, professional experience, extracurricular activities, skills in foreign languages, data processing, applied arts... You will also have a few questions about the reasons leading to your choice of L’Ecole de design.
You can upload your portfolio directly via the applications page.

3)  Send full application file

Selection of applicants is done by a jury of professors, including the Head of postgraduate programs and the Director of Studies.

The selection is based on written application. You have to provide :
• Cover letter (letter of intent);
• Resumé (CV);
• Identity photo
• Copies of your degrees and certificates;
• Copies of your transcripts showing the courses followed, your grades, and credits accumulated,
• An official document stating your English proficiency (600 points at the TOEIC test for programs taught in French, 700 points at the TOEIC test for programs taught in English);
• Any proof of your French proficiency, if you are applying for a program taught in this language (minimum level of CEFR B2 in French for a MDes program taught in French language);
• A portfolio in English or French

These documents must be downloaded to the applications homepage.

The jury will aim to assess not only the applicant’s know-how and skills obtained thanks to his/her education and experience, but also his/her potential as a professional designer. The career plan is also taken into account, to make sure that the past studies and professional experience are in adequation with the choice of MDes program.

Applicants whose level we assess to be insufficient may be recommended to follow a semester or a year in our International Class before entering the MDes program.


The admission being only based on your file (there is no interview), your portfolio is your main asset to support your application.

It must ideally contain a complex design project including :
• Specifications
• Context analysis
• Problematic
• Hypothesis
• Proposals

The quality of a portfolio is judged by the following criteria :
Design project management : through one or ideally more complete projects, your portfolio should show your ability to manage a complex design project. Each project should include all the different steps via pictures and explanatory texts, from the conception of the subject all the way to the production (steps can include for example: assessment of the context, field research, exploration of different solutions, creation process, etc.). If you include a project done in a group, please indicate your precise role;
Technical skills: your portfolio should demonstrate your command of various technical skills linked to your particular field (eg, graphic design, industrial design, interior architecture, interaction design…). Via projects, drawings, photos, pictures, etc., This is your opportunity to prove that you have the required skills, for example in sketching, scale models, prototypes, 2D/3D computer graphics, drawing;
Creativity: your creative talents will be revealed through the projects and subjects cited above, but you also have the opportunity, if you wish so, to add an extra creative element that does not necessarily have to do with your core field of studies (we do appreciate atypical and well-rounded profiles);
Communication: the general layout and look of your portfolio will attest of your know-how as a designer and your ability to communicate in visual and written form.

4) Publication of results

The list of the admitted is published on our website.
The results will be published on the following dates: January 13, January 27, March 3, April 7, May 5, May 24, June 23 and July 6 2017.

> Students visa

Final admission will only take effect when the necessary visa is obtained, if applicable (see below). We provide all the necessary documents for the visa, but it is the student’s responsibility to apply for the visa.

European students

A visa is not required for students who are citizens of the following countries or zones:
• the European Union (EU)
• the European Economic Area (EEA)
• Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland or the Vatican.

Non-European students

If you reside outside the European Union, you will need to obtain a long-term student visa before your arrival in France. The request for the form must be made at the French consular services in your country of residence at least 3 months before your departure or at your local CampusFrance.

In order to obtain your visa, you will be asked for the following documents:
• A valid passport
• Proof of your admission at L’École de design Nantes Atlantique (if you are accepted, you will receive an official letter of acceptance by email and by post)
• Proof of your monthly income
• Proof of your accommodation in France

With your visa, you will receive a form, which you will need to complete upon your arrival in France and send to the OFII, the French immigration office. The school will help you with these procedures. You will then receive a certificate from the OFII, which you will need to keep safe and you will be called for a medical examination and an interview. You will also have to pay a tax of 58 € by purchasing an OMI stamp. This system replaces the former residence permit.

For more information on student visas, please contact your local Campus France agency, or French Embassy.

 For information on obtaining a visa for our programs in China or India, please see the pages Transcultural Design / China Studio and Transcultural Design / India Studio

> Tuition fees

Tuition fees 2017 : 7 700 € per year.