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MSc Architectural Lighting Design

Light is essential for human well-being and fundamental to interior spaces, buildings and urban areas. Students learn how lighting quality, both natural and artificial light, affects human behaviour, comfort and health. Factors of sustainable development; environmental, social and economic aspects are at focus. Graduates have unique competence in light planning and work in lighting design, architectural studios or as consultants.

Master's programme in Architectural Lighting Design

Application deadlines for studies starting 2023

17 October (2022): Application opens
16 January: Last day to apply
1 February: Submit documents and, if required, pay application fee
30 March: Admission results announced
August: Arrival and study start

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Architectural Lighting Design at KTH

The programme is based on a new approach to light and light planning – a combination of visual, physical and biological-based experience and knowledge applied to design, technology and health. It provides an in-depth understanding of the field through scientific-based knowledge and practical experience in the area of artificial light and daylight. The programme gives the students the ability to apply advanced knowledge in this area, in both practical and academic situations.

The programme uses innovative teaching and learning methods such as structured lectures and peer-review methods. Interactive sessions create a constructive learning environment in which understanding of the subject is built through the interaction of students and teachers via presentations and open discussions, tutoring and workshops. The education mixes theory and practice and, for this reason, we perform full-scale studies, via prototypes and mock-ups, in order to trigger the first-hand experience of light within architecture. Furthermore, laboratory sessions allow an in-depth understanding of physical and visual phenomena. A series of motivational lectures are offered throughout the programme, where acclaimed international and national lighting designers, architects and researchers share their knowledge and expertise.

The students’ assessment is performed via a combination of individual and group work assignments.

The Lighting Laboratory organises a series of events to interface the academy with companies and research institutions on specific topics, for instance, the seminar series Lighting Vision and the Digital Lighting. In 2018 KTH, held the Light Symposium, a two-day international event focused on light and health.

The Lighting Laboratory carry out several research projects together with companies and other institutions where students are involved. Students from the master's programme in Architectural Lighting Design have been granted consistent national and international research funding and scholarships for the development of their thesis.

Four courses are given (Light and Humans, Light and Space – outdoor, Light and Space – indoor, and Light and Science) and a degree project is conducted during the one-year programme.

This is a one year programme (60 ECTS credits) given in English. Graduates are awarded the degree of Master of Science. The programme is given mainly at KTH Campus in Stockholm by the School of Architecture and Built Environment (at KTH).

Light and Humans

The module aims to study the relationship between light and humans, which is mediated by the physical space. Knowledge related to light qualities, cultural and human aspects, light sources and materials is combined with the experience of the design process. The outcome should be the ability to develop a complete solution for a lighting design object.

Light and Space – outdoor

The relation between light and outdoor environments - specially urban contexts, in its physical and cultural characters – is addressed through the expansion of lighting knowledge and vocabulary. Design task concludes in full-scale installations, to be aware of issues as impact and urban identity.

Light and Space – indoor

The importance of dealing with daylight as well as artificial lighting in indoor spaces is addressed through activities related to sources and technology, spatial theory and visual ergonomics, performance and sustainability. Design process, planning and presentation techniques will be handled in activities and tasks.

Light and Science

Theoretical knowledge about light and its relationship to space and humans is further developed through discussions between students and researchers in the field. Lectures combine with experimental sessions and study visits. The ability to analyse lighting conditions through the understanding of the visual and physical concepts of light will be developed in a case study and presented as an academic paper.

Degree project

The programme is concluded with a degree project, the focus of which may be chosen from a wide variety of topics within the field of architectural lighting design. Theoretical papers about light and health, light and time, urban lighting, perception and information, as well as practical projects with a theoretical frame in rural lighting and interactive lighting design are a few examples of previous degree projects.

Topics covered

Lighting design, architecture, well-being, sustainability, perception, psychophysical studies, quantitative and qualitative approach, lighting laboratory and user-oriented approach.

Courses in the programme


Find out what students from the programme think about their time at KTH.

Architectural Lighting Design student Sergi from Spain

"What I appreciate the most is KTH's approach to innovation and sustainability. KTH gives you the opportunity to study in a multidisciplinary environment with future perspectives." 

Sergi from Spain

Meet the students


Lighting is an expanding field of knowledge. In recent years there has been a growing demand for the lighting design expertise, as lighting designers understand the role of light and lighting in architecture, interior spaces and urban environment. They can add important value to a project by enhancing visual performance, energy efficiency, sustainability, safety, well-being and health. There are plentiful job opportunities for architects, designers and engineers with lighting design competence.

Graduates primarily work in lighting design or architectural studios or as self-employed consultants. Employers might also be construction companies, lighting manufacturers and public or private operators. Students graduating from the master's programme in Architectural Lighting Design have also pursued doctoral studies (PhD studies) at KTH or in other national or international universities.

After graduation

Independent lighting designer, lighting designer working for companies or studios, architect and urban planner with knowledge of lighting design, lighting and day-lighting expert, researcher, decision-maker working in private or public institutions.

Architectural Lighting Design graduate Katrina Kalnina working at Trentini

"Studies at KTH totally changed how I see light. We had fantastic lecturers and we learnt so much from them. I really appreciate the time and effort they invested in giving us feedback and advice regarding our own work."

Katrina Kalnina, Trentini

Meet the graduates

Sustainable development

Graduates from KTH have the knowledge and tools for moving society in a more sustainable direction, as sustainable development is an integral part of all programmes. Architectural Lighting Design has an impact on each one of the aspects of the holistic concept of sustainability. It affects productivity, sociability, safety, orientation and health, while also being one of the major sources of energy consumption. Evidence from research and practice indicates that design concepts based on an in‑depth knowledge of the context, the users and the technology provide solutions that are economically viable and healthy. The challenge for the future development of societies is addressed by sustainable lighting, in other words, lighting that meets visual and biological needs while having only a very low environmental impact. This challenge relates both to indoor and outdoor solutions and very often involves off-grid solutions, which stimulate new thinking in terms of production, conservation and use of energy.

The three key sustainable development goals addressed by the master's programme in Architectural Lighting Design are:

Sustainable development goal 3. Good Health and Well-Being
Sustainable development goal 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
Sustainable development goal 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Sustainable development is pursued, through various actions throughout the course, with a focus on Social, Cultural, Economical and Environmental aspects of Sustainability:

  • The ability to identify and quantify the impact of Architectural Lighting Design projects within the different areas of sustainable development.
  • Showing professional and ethical responsibility in their decisions as students and future Lighting Designers within the scientific and technical aspects of design.
  • Ensuring sustainable development by applying an ethical and responsible approach to the social, ecological and economical aspects of their scope of work.
  • Theoretical and experience-based understanding of the social impact of urban lighting projects.
  • Planning and working throughout collaborative processes.
  • Light and its influence on health.
  • Analysis of energy consumption and basic control system strategies.
  • Human-centred lighting approach.
  • Economical aspects of a lighting installation

KTH's virtual campus tour

Nicholas from the US is a student at the School of Architecture and the Built Environment (at KTH). In the virtual tour he and some other KTH students will show you around the campuses.

Next step

Ikon med mobiltelefon och brev. Grafisk illustration.


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