Top Schools for Industrial Design

Learn about programs in industrial design, which can be found at design schools and universities. Learn about the program options at four top-notch schools, and find a list of other universities that provide training for industrial designers. View article »

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  • 0:00 School Overview
  • 0:44 Art Center College of Design
  • 1:18 Rhode Island School of Design
  • 1:52 Carnegie Mellon University
  • 2:26 Virginia Polytechnic Institute
  • 2:58 Top Industrial Design Programs

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Video Transcript

School Overviews

Industrial design programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In general, the programs teach students how to design and develop appliances, furniture, office equipment, and other manufactured products. Four of the top schools for industrial design include the Art Center College of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, Rhode Island School of Design, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. These schools are notable because they offer wide-ranging, comprehensive training covering many topics within the field. As a result, graduates are well-prepared for success in the field.

Art Center College of Design

The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, helps artists and designers find the necessary skills for them to make an impact with their art and ingenuity. The college offers a Master of Science in Industrial Design with a program emphasis on practice and theory for the production of research and development of business opportunities. Also available is a dual MS/MBA degree in Innovation Systems Design and a dual degree program for an MS in Industrial Design from the Art Center and an MBA from Drucker School of Management.

Rhode Island School of Design

Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI, was founded in tandem with the RISD Museum of Art. The school's Division of Architecture and Design offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in industrial design. In the bachelor's in fine art program, students have the opportunity to work on projects of sustainability for countries like Argentina and Costa Rica. The Master of Industrial Design is housed in the department's six-floor building and studio, shop, and gallery spaces. Also offered are noncredit certificate programs.

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, is one of the few design programs in America to offer all levels of degrees at a research institution. At the university's School of Design, students can pursue an undergraduate program in industrial design while learning how to create products that enhance everyday life and human interaction. Coursework includes topics in environmental design, electronics, and prototyping. Students can also enroll in master's degrees, like the Master of Design and Master of Arts in Design, and a doctoral degree as a Ph.D. in Design.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, VA, offers a bachelor's degree in industrial design. This program begins with an introduction to the field, and then students take more focused professional courses in topics such as computer-aided industrial design and design visualization. Students also take hands-on lab courses and conduct design research. Alternatively, non-majors can choose a minor in the field, which includes 18 hours of coursework and a summer studio experience.

Top Industrial Design Programs

Students can also study industrial design at these schools:

School Name Location Distinction
University of Houston Houston, TX Offers bachelor's degrees in industrial and product design
Montclair State University Montclair, NJ Bachelor's degrees are offered
Massachusetts College of Art and Design Boston, MA Offers bachelor's degrees in industrial and product design, and also associate's degrees in graphic design
Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI Offers bachelor's degrees in industrial and product design
Clemson University Clemson, SC Bachelor's and master's degrees are available in industrial design
Auburn University Auburn, AL Offers bachelor's and master's degrees

Both undergraduate- and graduate-level programs are offered in industrial design. Students can get theoretical and hands-on training in this field through dedicated design schools and traditional universities.

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