Scandinavian design education from Helsinki to the world

Scandinavian Design School offers online preparatory courses to art, design and architecture bachelor's and master's degree studies. Based in Finland, we combine the world’s top-ranking education with Scandinavian design expertise.

SDS Frequently asked Questions

Scandinavian Design School offers Art and Design Foundation courses for students who wish to apply for higher education in the creative fields. We are not a university and we do not offer degree programs per se, but rather teach the skills and tools needed to pursue a career in your desired design field.  

If you are in need of a preparatory course to hone your skills for the application process we definitely are here to help you! Our courses are also suitable for goal-oriented studies in the creative fields, even if you do not consider applying to any school.

We do not have a Scholarship program. As we do not offer degree programs and you can study from your own home, you can work and live your regular life at the same time. 

Our courses help you to achieve the level of creative skills that make it easier for you to get into a degree program. Those programs usually offer scholarship options.

We have two types of courses:

  • Independent online courses where you study at home at your own pace.

These courses are fully online with teacher feedback received via email. We keep contact with the students constantly and are also available for zoom calls if there is anything our students wish to discuss in person. 

  • Teacher-led zoom courses, where you study via zoom at home in a predetermined schedule. 

These courses are also fully online, but you will join a teacher-led zoom class at a predetermined time. You have the opportunity to ask questions and have conversations with other students.

Our teacher-led courses include one zoom class each course week. The classes may also be scheduled biweekly. The student is required to be motivated to study for about 6-9 hours a week to get the full benefits of our classes.

In our other courses, the schedules depend a lot on you and which course you are attending. You can start the independent course when it suits you best and study at your own pace with support of our professional teachers. 

You can find more detailed information about each course on our course page.

You can join the independent courses without application by just purchasing it through our website.

The teacher led courses may require application. In such cases we ask you to tell us about your motivation and background. We also ask you to submit examples of your best artworks which will allow us to determine your skill level. Our teacher led-courses are for more advanced students who already know the basic creative skills. If you meet the requirements you will be accepted to the course. We will contact all relevant applicants and discuss their situation if we think they would benefit from further studies before joining the course they applied for.

The independent course contents are designed to support your learning for all levels of creative skill. Even if you are a beginner or a more advanced student. As art and design is an ever developing skill, your response to the tasks is in relation to your current skill level. We will adjust our feedback accordingly, guiding students from each level to develop and get better. 

Our teacher led courses are designed for more advanced students who already know the basic creative skills. For these courses we ask you to send an application where you explain your motivation to join the course and present some earlier works which tell us if your skills are good enough for you to get the most out of the course content. In these courses the lessons are more advanced and designed for a certain purpose. This benefits all the students, as you will also learn from other students’ process.

In the independent online course you will “meet” the teacher in the video lessons and through the feedback you receive after you return your tasks. We will review and comment on your returns carefully, trying to help you see the areas you could improve and where you have succeeded in communicating your idea well. You can always ask about the feedback and rework your tasks to get further comments.

The course includes a kick off zoom meeting with your teacher where we will meet face to face. You get to know us and tell us more about your situation and creative history. We can show you examples of the course tasks and we can discuss if tailoring the courses according to your personal goals would better support you towards your dream.

In the teacher-led courses you will meet the teacher in the class meetings and get personal feedback on your assignments and tasks.

We accept credit card payments. If you would like to pay via bank transfer, please contact us and we’ll send you an invoice for your bank. You will receive the course materials only after the payment

Yes, depending on the course duration and prices we can offer a 2-5 installment schedule. Please contact us for further details.

SDS Testimonials & Results

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I took the Portfolio course to prepare for the entrance exam to Finnish universities and I'm really satisfied with it, especially:

- prompt and clear feedback from teachers who are expertised in the design field
- personalized study plan (In my case, they modified the content to fit my situation, as I only had a few months left to submit.)
- flexibility in contacting the teacher (email, call, zoom etc)

Thanks to the teacher and practices in advance, I got accepted to a Finnish university even though I had no previous experience studying design. If you are worried about the entrance exam or the portfolio, I recommend you to contact them once.
Janire Ferd
Janire Ferd
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It's really worth it! All the assignments the same as the real admission exams (some are previous year's) and you get to know what would they ask for, how you can improve your work and how you can approach the assignments in all the stages of the process. The content is well organized and sufficient, and I love that they show us how other students did the assignment so that we could also learn from it.
Evgenia Belova
Evgenia Belova
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This course (Aalto BA in Design preparation course) has become one of the best learning experiences for me. By the end of the course I have gotten a clear vision of what to expect from the preliminary and intake assignments and how to approach them. I got much more self-confident and understanding. Feedback I got from the teacher was honest, informative and constructive. What I appreciated the most is how the teacher has been leading us through the whole process of learning. It felt very personal and professional. She didn't restrict her advice to only the topic of the course, but has been very open and helpful in giving advice beyond the Aalto BA in Design. I would strongly recommend this course to everyone intending to apply to any design school.

Online preparatory courses for future design professionals

Our goal at Scandinavian Design School is to provide you with the best tools to succeed not only in school applications, but also for future studies and work as a creative professional. We focus on every student as an individual, using methods that develop your technical, ideation and expression skills and consider current trends in art, design and architecture.

Our history

Scandinavian Design School was established in 2020 with the desire to offer top-ranking Finnish design education internationally. We are a part of Teho-Opisto, which has been teaching preparatory courses to art, design and architecture degree studies in Finland since 2009. Founded by architect Sini Koivisto, Teho-Opisto has grown into the biggest provider of preparatory courses in Finland with over 1000 students successfully continuing to degree education, and a staggering 90% with a portfolio that has been prepared with us. The same teachers now provide the same methods in English under Scandinavian Design School online courses.

SDS benefits

Top-ranking education

Our teachers are highly qualified professionals and experts in their own fields. We are genuinely interested in every student’s learning and ready to make an effort to help you progress.

Pioneers in art education

The course curriculum are designed by teachers and design education experts Sini and Eeva, who both hold a double degrees in art education and creative fields. The numbers speak for themselves: our methods work.

Getting accepted into a college or university

You’ll get the best chances of making it. Over 90% of our students have gotten into universities with Scandinavian Design School portfolios, whereas only about 10% of other applicants get in.

Improving ideation and expression skills

In addition to powerful expression skills, you’ll also internalize current trends and improve your ideation skills.

Solid base for studies and professional life

In our courses, you’ll learn a lot about your own field and general design principles, which gives your future studies a great foundation. Our students have been successful in their degree studies and have referred to us as their preschool before university.

More than a preparatory course

We genuinely want to see you make it, and will focus on you as an individual through personal feedback and training.

Let us be your guide to design