Best Product Design Colleges: List of Top Schools

Research the degree options for product and industrial design. Learn about the curricula for product design programs, and research the school rankings and locations to make an informed education decision.

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School Information

Product designers work alongside clients, engineers and marketers to develop consumer goods. Some product design and industrial design programs focus on design for vehicles, technology, medical equipment, furniture, housewares, appliances, toys and tools. Industrial design degrees are offered at top art schools and universities around the country; read on for details about these programs.

1. Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island

School Highlight: The industrial design department at the Rhode Island School of Design is housed in six floors where gallery, studio and shops are dedicated to undergraduate and graduate-level ID students.

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and was ranked first among graduate-level industrial design programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2015.

RISD offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Industrial Design, and the Master of Industrial Design programs. Design students also have access to RISD's industrial design wood shop and model shop, as well as the machine shop and metal working area.

2. Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California

School Highlight: The Art Center College of Design offers a dual M.S./Master of Business Administration option.

The Art Center College of Design has hosted faculty such as Ansel Adams, a famous American photographer, as well as product designers of the Apple monitor. The Art Center was ranked as the 2nd best industrial design graduate program in the country by U.S. News & World Report in 2015.

The Art Center awards a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Product Design and Master of Science (M.S.) in Industrial Design, both of which have a Strategic Innovation methodology that focuses on designing products that are functional and socially responsible.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Advertising and Commercial Design
  • Commercial Photography
  • Fashion Design
  • General Visual Communications Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration and Drawing
  • Industrial Design
  • Interior Design and Decorating

Top Product Design Programs

College/University Name Distinction Location
California College of the Arts CCA's industrial design program culminates in a researched and tested design prototype Oakland, CA
Carnegie Mellon University This school is well-ranked for industrial design and hosts a student chapter of the Industrial Designer Society of America (IDSA), giving students access to field trips, conferences and networking opportunities Pittsburgh, PA
Cranbrook Academy of Art This small graduate-level school offers a 3D design program that is tailored to hands-on students and features weekly discussion and critiques Bloomfield Hills, MI
Ohio State University Ranked 7th for graduate industrial design by U.S. News & World Report in 2015, Ohio State offers undergraduate and Master of Fine Arts degrees for industrial design Columbus, OH
Pratt Institute A bachelor's degree in industrial design features courses in drawing, problem-solving, computer-aided design (CAD) and 3-D modeling; study abroad opportunities are also offered Brooklyn, NY
Rochester Institute of Technology The second year of the Master of Fine Arts in industrial design at the Rochester Institute of Technology includes research and development of a thesis project that is documented and displayed Rochester, NY
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