The 5-year curriculum is state-approved and its diploma is certified by the French Ministry of Higher Education. The school is a member of the Conférence des Grandes Écoles and of the Cumulus association (an international network of universities and colleges of art, design and media), of which the school's Managing Director is the current President.
Each year an average of 10 to 20 students win national and international design awards. Graduates work for multinational corporations such as Lego, Kenwood, Décathlon, Smoby, Seb, Maped, Aigle, as well as agencies or companies in France and all over the world.
The 5-year curriculum leads to a Designer’s Degree certified by the French Ministry of Higher Education. This training is divided into three majors: product design, spatial design and interaction design. A major in graphic design should be launched in fall 2009.
Fifth-year students can attend double degrees:
• Designer’s Degree coupled with a Master’s Degree in Virtual Reality in collaboration with Arts et Métiers Paris Tech.
• Designer’s Degree coupled with a Master’s in Business Administration in collaboration with the Nantes Business Management Institute (Institut d'Administration des Entreprises)
The 2-year work-based curriculums lead to a vocational training certificate which is a Level III Diploma recognized by the State (BTS). The school provides three different vocational training courses: one in Spatial Design, one in Product Design and one in Wood Building Systems for Housing and Industrial Construction. All these training courses are supervised by our newly founded (2006) Vocational Training Center (CFA) dedicated to industrial innovation and creation.
The 3-year work-based curriculums managed by the Vocational Training Center lead to work-based Bachelor’s Degrees:
• A work-based Bachelor’s Degree in Design, Materials & Modeling in collaboration with the Nantes Institute of Technology (IUT de Nantes)
• A work-based Bachelor’s Degree in Children-oriented media in collaboration with the Institute of Technology of La Roche-sur-Yon (IUT de La Roche-sur-Yon)
The continuing education offer includes:
• An 8-month training course in Interaction design aimed at professionals eager to further their skills in the field of design and web-design.
• 26 training sessions in Product Design and Design Management (from 1 to 6 days).
L’École de design Nantes Atlantique advocates a project-grounded teaching approach where both theory and practice are applied to a concrete set of challenges.
Curriculums are based upon partnerships with local, national and international companies, so that students can set foot in the job market and put into practice the creative skills and knowledge acquired during their courses and required for their future profession.
What kind of partnerships?
• Internships: partner companies hire 3rd and 5th year students for 2 to 4-month work placements.
• Prospective studies conducted in collaboration with companies and coherent with the project-grounded teaching method.
• Research activities: an in-house unit (Atlantic Design Intelligence) observes how design is implemented within companies.
• Symposiums enabling designers and companies to meet and share ideas.
A teaching method in keeping with social evolutions
As part of their studies, teachers and course leaders at L’École de design spur students to address contemporary issues related to societal and social developments.
To cope with worldwide competition the school is actively furthering its fields of excellence. Therefore the fourth and fifth year programs and research activities were reorganized around six cross-disciplinary themes:
- “Ethically responsible innovation”
- “Tangible interfaces”
- “New eating habits”
- “Mutations of the built environment”
- “Design and cross-cultural affairs”
- “Virtual reality” (in collaboration with Arts et Métiers ParisTech)
Another main orientation – “New mobility” – should also be added to these guidelines in 2010.
Foreign exchanges and international relations
Prone to open up to new horizons L’École de design Nantes Atlantique spurs students to travel. Since 1999 all fourth-year students are required to study or work abroad for a semester. In parallel an international class (3rd year of the 5th year curriculum) takes in about sixty foreign exchange students sent by partner universities and schools.
L’École de design Nantes Atlantique has just opened a subsidiary institution in Qingdao, China. This initiative aims at training young designers with an expertise in Chinese markets.
Along the same line, the school's International Development Department is currently contemplating opening new subsidiaries in South-Africa and India.
The school's official website: http://www.lecolededesign.com/english/index.php3
The school's subsidiary institution in China: http://chinadesign.lecolededesign.com/
The school's Youtube page: http://fr.youtube.com/user/lecolededesign
The Cumulus association's website: http://www.cumulusassociation.org