Product Design Engineering Degree Program Information
To become a product design engineer, individuals may earn a bachelor's or master's degree in the field. Take a look at the curriculum differences, job options and continuing education opportunities.
Product design engineers create, design and develop new and innovative products across several industries, ranging from home appliances and automotives to manufacturing technologies. Two degree programs in the field include a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Product Design Engineering Technology and a 2-year Master of Science in Product Design Engineering. Due to the technical nature of the field, applicants to either degree program may have to have completed certain math and science classes. Master's degree candidates should have a bachelor's degree in a field related to product design. Students should expect to complete a design project in order to meet graduation requirements.
Bachelor of Science in Product Design Engineering Technology
Bachelor's degree programs in product design are interdisciplinary, combining elements of science, mathematics, technology and design. Students learn how to take a product idea from the conception stage to a finished product. They spend practical course hours learning how to sketch ideas, layout product designs, perform dynamic product analysis, create prototypes and models and manufacture a finished product. Many such programs also offer courses focusing on business, management and communication principles.
Undergraduate programs in product design engineering technology are offered through 4-year colleges and universities. A school may require students to complete general education prerequisites in English composition, mathematics, general physics and material science before they can declare a major in product design engineering.
Bachelor's degree programs include entry-level classroom lectures related to design principles and the properties of materials. They also include advanced workshop courses where students apply learnt principles. A sampling of each type of class might include:
- Fundamentals of electrical systems
- Material selection
- Product design
- Manufacturing design
- Applied mechanics
- Prototype development
- Machine design
- Final product design project
Popular Career Options
Having a bachelor's degree in product design engineering technology can prepare individuals for several entry-level positions in the fields of manufacturing, engineering and industrial technology. Some career options include:
- Design technician
- Product designer
- Product research technician
- Project leader
Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in product design engineering technology might go on to study business or management in a graduate degree program. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) may prepare entry-level design technicians and product designers for positions as supervisors, managers and directors of design. Individuals interested in becoming commercial and industrial engineers may consider enrolling in a master's degree in product design engineering.
Master of Science in Product Design Engineering
Graduate programs in product design engineering are advanced, 2-year programs that build upon previously gained knowledge in mathematics, science and design. Students learn advanced principles of mechanical engineering, design and drafting. They learn how to recognize human needs and develop suitable products by combining technological advances with creative design. Programs generally require students to complete a final design project before graduation.
Students are typically required to have an undergraduate degree in mathematics, science, design or engineering before they can embark upon a master's degree program in product design engineering. They should also have a strong undergraduate GPA and GRE test scores.
Most of the courses offered within a master's degree program in product design engineering focus on advanced principles and practices related to product development and design. Specific courses include:
- Design and manufacturing
- Design strategy
- Advanced product design
- Design innovation
- Design research
- Analyzing human needs
- Patent law
- Design software
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), careers in the field of industrial and commercial design were projected to grow by 10% between 2010 and 2020. As of 2010, there were roughly 41,000 of these professionals employed in the United States, and they made a mean annual salary of $62,430 in May 2012. The most popular industries in the field were specialized design services and architectural services.
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