Major Fields of study
- Designing the environment sustainability
- Using tools of new media and technologies in architecture
- Integrating theoretical approaches in practice of designs
Master of Arts
Architecture, Facility Management and Geoinformation
Course content and objectives
The study program Architecture (DIA) is located right next to the world-famous Bauhaus Dessau. It is influenced by its vivid history and driven by innovation. It complements the Bachelor Program in Architecture by systematically deepening the topics of architecture and urban planning. This then complete architecture education fulfills all formal regulations needed to apply for membership of the architectural association. The focus is on strengthening the knowledge in design expertise and – methodology. Another focus is on the analysis of current questions related to culture- and social sciences as well as to the humanities. Also the latest insights into research and development, new procedures, technologies and materials are highlighted.
- Degree in Architecture
- Languages: TOEFL 605 points (pbt); 88 points (lbt); IELTS min. 6,5; Cambridge Main Suite of English Examination or equivalent
- Program is in English
- Aptitute test procedere
- Application deadline: June 15th
Conditions And Regulations
Welcome to the DIA, the Dessau International Architecture Graduate School!
At the DIA, we are proud to offer a kind of architecture education that you won’t find anywhere else in Germany. In a unit system focused on intensive work in small studios — run by a great variety of professionals both from within the university and from architecture offices all around the world — we offer a design-oriented curriculum, leading to an internationally accredited Master of Arts Degree.
In almost twenty years, the DIA has established itself as a lively architecture school of international acclaim. Founded as the Dessau Institute of Architecture in 1999, the DIA quickly grew into Germany’s largest English Language Graduate programme in architecture. To reflect this while sticking with its original label, the DIA was later dubbed Dessau International Architecture Graduate School.
Today, with more than 200 students in its two-year programme, the DIA offers an inspiring atmosphere to study architecture. In a community that is truly international, young people from over 50 different countries meet in Dessau. They all join to study architecture in a place that is unique — and has a great legacy. The Bauhaus, to the west of our campus, still lures thousands of people to Dessau. With the DIA, Dessau once more is home to an architecture school, attracting young talents from all over the world. Again, Dessau is the place to explore topical questions, just as the Bauhaus did in its day, and probably would do if it was still there today.
Once more, the question is: What should the world that we live in be like? How does it look? How does it feel? And once more, the focus is on design education. We firmly believe that architects are responsible for providing society with the forms it needs. Hence, we design. We believe our knowledge ought to be in form.
Talking about sustainability the architect’s question is: are there forms that are more sustainable? Considering digital fabrication, the question is: how to use technology to that purpose? Addressing communities we ask: how to make them be at home? In short: We try to make the world a more pleasant place to live in and to look at.
If you want to join: Apply! It may be a great step to take. For many it will be a major change in climate (both literally and metaphorically). We dearly hope you will enjoy it, just as much as we do — to learn from other cultures, to bring people together, to work on the challenging issues we are today facing in our built environment, but also to have fun exploring things you cannot (yet?) do in the real world. Come to Dessau. For a liberating experience you will not forget.
Prof. Dr. Jasper Cepl, Director DIA
Of the three hundred applications received, some ninety students enter the graduate program. The range of experience, culture, and interest makes graduate school at DIA a truly unique experience. Classes, seminars, and studios are small and therefore intense and individualized. Students in their graduate career have ample opportunity to find their own way and to gain exposure to intense and critical examination. The personal studio critique and the public review are the main forums of studio-based education at DIA. In the spirit of the Bauhaus, such studio-based education is rather atypical in Europe today. The Master of Architecture program, leading to an MA in Architecture degree, is offered to individuals who possess a bachelor’s degree. Students follow a course of study in the following areas of the curriculum: Design; History, Theory, and Criticism; Urbanism; Computing, Logic, and Representation. These areas of study comprise groups of courses from which students may choose offerings according to the requirements of their particular program. Strong emphasis is given to developing skills, logic, and imagination through an intensive series of design studio courses. The curriculum fosters an understanding of architecture as a social, cultural, political, and economic activity, as deeply embedded in contemporary issues and concerns as it is aware of its own historic construction. All MA candidates are required to develop a thesis in fulfillment of graduate degree requirements. Students are asked to demonstrate their ability to independently undertake research and analysis, as well as develop a hypothesis and demonstrate their thesis thoroughly. This must take the form of either a research thesis (Written Thesis) or a thesis with a design demonstration (Design Thesis). Both thesis formats must address architectural consequences that may be derived from within or outside conventional boundaries of the architectural discipline. Thesis preparation begins in the 3rd semester with an option studio leading to the submission of a thesis proposal and the selection of a thesis director and one faculty member as reader. While the thesis is independent work carried out by the student under the direction of a chosen advisor, it is organized as a studio in the 4th semester of the program. The thesis studio provides a support setting for both formal and informal review processes throughout the thesis semester. At the end of the 4th semester, thesis projects are reviewed by a panel of guest critics and publicly presented at DIA. The best thesis project is annually awarded with the Robert Oxman Prize. On completion of the program, students will be awarded a qualification that has EU-wide recognition in the profession of architecture. The language of instruction is English.
Dessau International Architecture Graduate School (DIA) is proud to attract students from all over the world to come and study in the famous Bauhaus City Dessau. In order to apply to the DIA you have to have completed an undergraduate degree in architecture. We accept both Bachelor and Diploma degrees with a minimum 3 year of regular curriculum. Either has to amount to 180 credits in order to be eligible. It is preferable that during your study you have completed a minimum of two semesters of architecture history.
Please send all required material as mentioned in the form (see download) to the following address:
You may additionally send your application material via email to
Applicants must provide an official copy of their bachelor degree / diploma, the transcript of records and an official copy of their highschool diploma. All of your academic credentials must be translated into English.
Proof of English Language
Proficiency in English is a prerequisite for acceptance.
If you are a native English speaker, or if you have completed your bachelor course in English language and you can provide a certificate to confirm this, you do not need to do a language test.
Otherwise, you must submit one of the following:
TOEFL test with a result of at least 550 paper-based points (PBT) / 79 internet-based (IBT)
IELTS Academic test with a result of at least 6,5 or
Cambridge Main Suite of English Examinations with grades A,B,C,
You should plan to take the language test well in advance of the application deadline since you will have to add them to your application package.
Candidates are asked to submit a portfolio with up to 3 recently designed university projects. The portfolio must possibly be sent via post (printed as a booklet), and as well as per email (max. 7 Mb). After submission and evaluation of the portfolio, an additional personal interview can be requested.
filled out and signed, see at "Downloads"
Sending your Materials:
Hard copies of documents are necessary for proceeding the application.
Important! Please do not declare any value to your portfolio or your documents. Customs may keep your documents and the school will not pay taxes to retrieve your application.
Only in special cases, if sending via Post is not possible, exceptions can be made.
Please only send copies of documents (not originals!), as they cannot be returned.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to direct them to
Every student is expected to pay 850.- € / admin. fee for DIA Master Program plus 76,-€ / admin. fee for general registration and student union of Anhalt University per semester (amounts as at Spring 2018)
The DIA welcomes new students every winter semester which starts in the first week of October. The application deadline is June 15th of the same year.
Admitted applicants choosing to enroll must submit their semester fees by 15th September and arrive in Dessau latest by October 1st. We advise new students to arrive two weeks in advance to prepare their stay here.
The DIA Office is the center of the organization at DIA. It oversees all things that relate to and support student academic programs. It coordinates faculty contracts, academic capital and operating budgets. The Office provides administration and partnered projects. If you have any questions about information you can not find on this website do not hesitate to contact us. We also encourage you to report omissions, corrections, or just plain suggestions to: dia(at)hs-anhalt.de
There are several steps you will have to do when you arrive in Dessau. These include getting a German address as well as registering at the town hall, opening a bank account and organizing medical insurance. You also have to pay the semester fee, after that you can be officially inrolled in DIA at the office of:
Mr Hanjo Todte
Building M (Mensa / Canteen), Room 201. Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 9 – 12:30 and 1:30 – 3:30
You will be asked for
– passport + visa
– confirmation of admission from Hochschule Anhalt
– registration document from town hall (see #4)
– proof of health insurance (see #2)
– proof of the payment of the students fee
After you have completed the paper work, you will get your students card as well as login data for your university email and for the online plattform. You will need your new email address to recieve all important information during the semester and the online plattform to keep an overview of your grades and credits.
The housing administration responsible for the three student dorms in Dessau is the „Studentenwerk Halle“. Applications are considered according to the date of their registration at the Studentenwerk. At the moment there are more students applying than there are rooms, so the earlier you apply the better are your chances!
You can only apply though the Studentenwerkhalle online application form.
Here is also an overview of Student Dorms in Dessau for your Orientation.
Contact details of the Housing Administration:
Wohnplatzvermittlung Köthen, Dessau und Bernburg
Mensa 1. OG
If there are no rooms available in the dorms, we would like to refer you to:
CAMPUS COORDINATOR in Dessau
Mrs. Yili Lu
+49 340 5197 1518
The DIA maintains a very lively showcase and communication platform called DIAlive. Here everyone can view a selection of projects done at the program. Members of the DIA are further entitled to access a multitude of information concering the classes, the teachers, projects, awards and more by signing up for DIAlive. Please visit DIAlive to enjoy our comprehensive archive of projects www.dia-live.com.
Are there any scholarships I can apply for?
Various scholarships are offered now and then by the internationl office IO but since the number of applications by students from the entire university is high whereas the number of awarded scholarships is low, it will be difficult to obtain such a scholarship. Please check the information provided by the IO regularly to not miss an opportunity. However, you may of course apply for external scholarships for example with the DAAD.
Are there regulations on submission / grading?
Each teacher determines deadlines for submissions and regulations for grading. Please make sure to inquire about those regulations at the beginning of the semester.
Do you issue confirmation letters for DAAD-scholarships?
We are happy to provide such letter if needed. Please contact us.
- How can I look for accomodation?
How do I apply for an internship semester?
The study regulations do not required include internships. Hence the immigration laws do not allow to officially apply for an internship or "holiday" semester. You may of course apply for internships nevertheless. If you are successful in finding an internship you must remain an enrolled student by re-registering and hence extend your studies for the duration of the internship.
How important is to have a housing contract?
It is absolutely VITAL. The housing contract, in German, “Mietvertrag” is a must to open, among other things, the bank account and to get the visa once you are in Dessau. So, as soon as you get a place, ask the tenant (Vermieter) to give it to you, signed.
How long after the course finished are students allowed to deliver / can I accept works for grading?
There is no general deadline that applies to all classes. Each teacher handles this differently. Please get in touch with the teachers in time.
I don't see my course grade on my transcript. What can I do?
All your grades are first being submitted to the office and are then handed over to Mr. Todte of the Student Service Center. If you do not see your grades please contact us so we can see what the issue is.
Is the masters degree internationally recognized?
Yes, we are proud to say the our degree is internationally valid.
Is there a minimum or maximum for course groups at DIA?
We are aiming at limiting the studio classes to 10 students in order to offer an effective and efficiant counceling during the semester. In rare occassions and always in collaboration with the studio teachers it is possible to slightly extend that number. Elective classes do not have such a strict limitation.
Is there any funding for excursion costs?
In rare cases, funding for excursion costs may be applied for with the international office of the school. In general excursion costs must be covered by the students.
Is there any funding for master thesis?
The students must be able to cover the costs for their master thesis. However, there might be opportunites to contact sponsors maybe through the help of your advisers.
Is there any funding for research trips?
In rare cases, funding for research trips may be applied for with the international office of the school. In general costs for research trips must be covered by the students.
Is there any funding for the administrative fees?
The school does not offer funding for the administrative fees in general. Various scholarships are offered now and then by the internationl office IO but since the number of applications by students from the entire university is high whereas the number of awarded scholarships is low, it will be difficult to obtain such a scholarship. Please check the information provided by the IO regularly to not miss an opportunity. However, you may of course apply for external scholarships for example with the DAAD.
What are the possibilities of doing an internship within the DIA study programme?
We encourage you to expand your knowledge and to apply for internships, however, since it is not a requirement, it might be difficult to get accepted. If you are successful in finding an internship you must remain an enrolled student by re-registering just like you would for a regular study semester. The law does not allow to apply for a "holiday semester" because of an internship. Your studies are hence extended for the duration of the internship.
What if the BA-certificate is not ready until the application deadline? Is there a chance to present at the beginning of the first semester in case the application was selected for admission?
In case you have not yet received your BA certificate before the deadline of the application you may of course apply to the program. In case of admission you must present your certificate prior to starting your first semester.
What is the official title and does it permit students in accordance with the EU to be a practicing architect?
The official title is M.A. The course is accredited and is EU notified which allows you to practise as an architect in the EU.
When will I receive my admission?
The commission which decides about admission meets regularly. As soon as a decision has been reached you will be notified as soon as possible. All results are sent out no later than July 31st. The admission letters will become available online through the online application platform.
Where is Dessau?
DIA has a unique academic as well as geographic position: To study in the famous Bauhaus City Dessau, 120 km (80mls) south of Berlin, is a challenge to any architecture student. In addition, Dessau is embedded in a triangle of old historic German Cities like Halle, Leipzig and Wittenberg.