Successful industrial design involves a combination of art, business and engineering, making it a good career choice for people whose talents span multiple disciplines. Both working design professionals and designers entering the field can benefit from earning an online master's degree in industrial design.
Online master's degree programs in industrial design are relatively rare, but some are available. Some programs allow individuals to specialize in certain subjects, such as furniture design or transportation design.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, preferably in design or engineering, and submit a portfolio demonstrating their design capabilities for admission to an industrial design program. Some programs may require students to purchase design software to properly complete remote programs. Graduates can go on to work as industrial designers.
Master's Degree in Industrial Design
An online master's degree in industrial design program provides students with a combination of theory and practical knowledge for the process of designing products that are functional, aesthetically pleasing and easily mass-produced. Students become familiar with the properties of materials, 3D modeling software and manufacturing processes, while learning to identify and solve design problems.
Information and Requirements
Students can complete a master's degree program in industrial design entirely online. Lectures, presentations, readings and assignments are accessible at a student's convenience through a school's website. Student-instructor and student-to-student interactions are carried out via web conferencing, email, online chat, web forums and phone.
A newer personal computer (five years or younger), Internet access and basic multimedia software are the minimum technical requirements to participate in an online industrial design program. Schools highly recommend a DSL or cable Internet connection.
A master's degree program in industrial design may be divided into studio courses, academic courses and courses for a thesis project. Academic courses are generally part of a required core curriculum.
This course explores aesthetic and practical considerations, as well as the interaction between these concepts that guide the process of designing new products. Design techniques explored in the course include conceptual sketching, prototyping and observational research.
Production Processes Course
Student in this course learn the range materials and manufacturing processes used by companies to make products. Coursework emphasizes plastics and metals, and how choice of materials drives subsequent production decisions.
Digital Design Software
This course introduces students to common software programs for 2D vector and raster imaging, which are commonly used in industrial design. Topics covered include vector art, digital sketching and digital drafting.
Digital 3D Modeling
Students learn the fundamentals of 3D modeling software and its application to virtual prototyping in this course. Course content emphasizes translating 2D sketches into 3D shapes.
An online master's degree in industrial design more than adequately qualifies candidates for entry-level positions as industrial designers and enables working design professionals to move into senior-level design positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2020 that the average annual salary for commercial and industrial designers was $76,290.
According to the BLS, employment of industrial designers will decrease by 4% from 2019-2029 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
As of July 2015, schools did not offer doctoral degree programs in industrial design. However, a small number are offering interdisciplinary design doctorates aimed at investigating fundamental problems in contemporary design and the practice of design. Doctoral degree programs in design are not presently available online.
In an online master's degree program in industrial design, students explore the manufacturing considerations involved in the design of effective products while also developing software skills.