Dessau International Architecture Graduate School (DIA)

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Deadline: Jun 15, 2023
StudyQA ranking:2271 Duration:2 years You need IELTS certificate
The DIA Graduate School of Architecture is conducting a Master's course in architecture at graduate level which is taught entirely in English. DIA Graduate School of Architecture started its activities 10 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1999 with 10 students. It has by now expanded to about 200 students from more than 50 countries.

The programme offers a multitude of academic options with a strong emphasis in teaching theory in balance with digital media and their intelligent architectonic and technical handling. Core areas of the programme are:
  • developing sustainable approaches to urban and architectural environment
  • using tools of new media and technologies in architecture
  • integrating theoretical approaches in practice of design

We encourage students to look at urban, technical as well as environmental problems with the aim of searching for sustainable proposals as solutions for tackling European and global issues.

The teaching staff is as international as the student body. Predominantly, DIA Graduate School of Architecture engages its teachers from Anhalt University. However, it has been a long standing practice to invite an international teaching staff as guest professors for one to two years. In addition, DIA Graduate School of Architecture has a long list of affiliated staff that have come to Dessau to do workshops, seminars and act as critics in charettes. Cooperation on a world wide basis also enable students and teachers a free flow of exchange with a variety of partner universities.

The superior objective of the study is a holistic four-semester international advance course of study with focus on designing the urban environment. The study is scientifically oriented and aims at practical application. The successful completion enables the graduate to render comprehensive management tasks in the field of architecture and to enter in promotion procedures.

Educational organisation

The four semesters of this programme are organised in a way that prepares the student for conducting his or her thesis in the fourth semester to achieve a Master's degree.
The programme of the first three semesters consists of the following courses:
  • Design Studio
  • Urbanism
  • Architectural History and Theory
  • German Culture and Language
  • CAD/Logic
  • Electoral Compulsive Courses, chosen from the varying range offered each semester

During the fourth semester, the student works on an individual Master's thesis under the guidance of a Thesis Master and a second supervisor, leading to the final presentation.

The course is structured in modules. One module covers an interrelated teaching and learning unit that has to be completed by an examination or by other verifiable study performances. Credits are awarded for the successful completion of every module and the Master's thesis. The number of credits depends on the average workload of the student required for the respective module.

Study abroad unit(s)

Students have the opportunity to spend a semester of the programme at one of our partner universities in the USA, Italy, Uruguay, Great Britain, Israel, Brazil, France, and in many other countries.

Forms of assessment

Presentations, written and oral exams

Course objectives

The objective of the Master's course at the DIA Graduate School of Architecture is to enable the graduates to apply scientific methods and practical knowledge to solve interdisciplinary problems as well as problems specific to the profession. Graduates of this Master's programme are able to work as architects on an international level, with a competence in relevant tools of innovative thinking and responsibly creating sustainable design solution. The specific course curriculum prepares its students for a professional as well as an academic career, e.g. a PhD.

Language requirements

Applicants must provide proof of their English skills:
TOEFL test with a result of at least 550 paper-based (PBT) / 213 computer-based (CBT) / 79 internet-based (iBT), IELTS Academic test with a result of at least 6.5

If you are a native English speaker, or if you have completed your Bachelor's course in English language, and you can provide a certificate to confirm this, you do not need to do a language test.

Academic requirements

Candidates must be in possession of a Bachelor's degree or a Diploma in Architecture awarded after a regular study time of at least three years. Exceptions to a Bachelor/Diploma in Architecture can only be made for applicants of related professions, and when qualifications above average can be demonstrated.

An additional requirement is a portfolio of three personal works of the applicant assessed as "good", at least, by a selection panel of the Department of Architecture, Facility Management and Geoinformation. The selection panel is formed of at least two members of the Study Committee.

Enrolment fees

76 EUR semester fee (covering a contribution to the Student Services and Student Union, but no public transport semester ticket is included or available)

Costs of living

Approx. 670 EUR per month to cover living expenses (incl. accommodation, excl. health insurance costs). Cheap rail fares/student discount on trains available.

Job opportunities

Local student jobs are open to international students as are student tutor positions at Anhalt University (depending on availability and qualification).

Arrival support

The campus coordinator, Mrs Yili Lu, helps regular and exchange students to find accommodation and go through the paper work. For practical every day matters, there is also a strong community of the DIA students that communicates through social networks.
The International Office (AAA - Akademisches Auslandsamt) runs a student-to-student buddy programme for incoming international students at all three sites of Anhalt University. This includes pre- and post arrival support (pick-up service, local information on university and place of residence etc.).
Interested international students should contact their future degree programme staff at Anhalt if they wish to have a buddy before and on arrival.
Anhalt University's sites at Köthen, Bernburg and Dessau run different formats of welcoming sessions/weeks for international students at the beginning of a semester.

For further information see:

Services and support for international students

The general student advisory service of the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences informs prospective students about study options, final degrees, admission requirements and restrictions, study conditions as well as the contents, structure and requirements of the respective course of study.
The DIA Coordination Office at the University in Dessau supports students with all issues related to their studies, including application, enrolment, semester updates, and graduation. After successful admission, DIA Coordination Office will guide prospective students through the process of registering and enrolling. Both programme coordinators and International Office/Akademisches Auslandsamt offer support services for international students during their entire stay at Anhalt University (social and study related).

For further information see:
International Coordinator / Campus Dessau: Mrs Yili Lu


There is limited capacity in student dormitories run by Student Services Halle (Studentenwerk Halle). Students are requested to file their application for such places at an early stage after admission has been granted. Only online applications can be accepted. Please send your application through the following portal:

If there are no rooms available in the dorms, we would like to refer you to:
Campus Coordinator in Dessau, Mrs. Yili Lu,

Additionally, private offers are published on the students' blog and on the private market.
For further information see:
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