Schools with Product Design Programs: How to Choose

In a product design program, students learn to conceptualize, design, produce and market consumer products, such as appliances, automobiles, furniture and toys. Bachelor's degree programs in product design qualify students for entry-level positions in the field.

Individuals entering the product design field typically need a bachelor's degree. Degree programs in this field are available in a variety of disciplines through many 4-year colleges and universities.

10 Schools with Product Design Programs

The following schools all offer programs that prepare students for a career in product design.

College/University Location Institution Type Degree Types Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*
Drexel University Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $48,791
Parsons The New School for Design New York, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's $43,813
Pennsylvania College of Technology Williamsport, PA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $15,810 (in-state), $22,470 (out-of-state)
California College of the Arts San Francisco, CA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $43,708
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $50,665
Cranbrook Academy of Art Bloomfield Hills, MI 4-year, Private Master's $35,886
Ohio State University Columbus, OH 4-year, Public Bachelor's $10,037 (in-state), $27,365 (out-of-state)
Pratt Institute Brooklyn, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's $46,586
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's $37,124
Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI 4-year, Private Bachelor's $45,840

Source: *NCES College Navigator

How to Select a Product Design School

Students looking into product design schools should take into consideration the following:

  • Students can choose which type of program fits them best: either a Bachelor of Arts focusing on aesthetic elements of design, or a Bachelor of Science with more technical design and engineering coursework.
  • Students should look for schools with state-of-the-art, on-site facilities that allow them to design the products of their interests, such as housewares or medical technology equipment.
  • Independent studies or project opportunities permit students to work on career-specific projects and engage in creative or experimental design concepts outside of the standard curriculum.
  • Internship or co-op work experiences in an area of specialization allow students to focus on a particular area of the profession, such as marketing, design or production.

Bachelor's Degree in Product Design

Students can earn a 4-year Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree, both of which may segue into continuing graduate studies, though general education requirements and core courses may differ between the two. A Bachelor of Fine Arts in Product Design is commonly offered as a terminal, professional degree, preparing students for entry into the field. Students may engage in independent projects, internships, co-op work experiences in a chosen area of product design and may be required to complete a senior presentation for successful completion.

When looking into product design programs, students should weigh available specializations, a school's design facilities and project opportunities in order to make an informed academic decision.

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