Industrial Design Schools and Degree Programs

Completing a degree program in industrial design could lead to a career creating items as varied as automobiles, toys, medical equipment and kitchen utensils. Get information about career options in the field. Schools offering Graphic Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

An advanced degree in industrial design prepares an individual for a career that is a mix of engineering and art. Industrial designers may create useful everyday objects, such as kitchen utensils, or lifesaving tools like medical equipment. Other career options may include exhibit displays or even transportation design.

Degree ProgramAssociate's, bachelor's, and master's
Classes CADD, art, design, mechanical engineering
Median Salary (2017)* $65,970

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Degree Programs in Industrial Design Are Available?

You can obtain a degree in industrial design at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels, though the associate's degree is not widely offered. A minimum of a bachelor's degree is typically needed for entrance into the field. Although most programs are campus-based, a few schools offer online degree programs in industrial design.

What Should You Look for in an Industrial Design School?

Industrial design combines art and engineering principles, so look for a school program with a good balance of both. You'll also want a school that combines plenty of theory with hands-on experience. Besides computer modeling, you'll also build products in a lab. Many schools offer internships, which allow you to work for manufacturing or design companies on real-world projects. These schools are among those with industrial design degree programs:

  • University of Washington (Seattle)
  • NC State University (Raleigh)
  • Academy of Art University (San Francisco, CA)
  • Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Rhode Island School of Design (Providence)

What Topics Will You Study in Class?

An industrial design degree program gives you a solid grounding in the principles of design. You will study the relationship between the products you design and the environment, as well as the people who use them. You'll also learn about cost considerations. At most schools, you'll be expected to complete your own design projects. You can choose a program that offers a broad education in industrial design or one that allows you to specialize in furniture, medical products, kitchen implements, exhibits or displays.

What Will You Study in a Bachelor's Program?

Depending on the program, you can earn a bachelor's degree in 4-5 years. A 5-year program may include a thesis. You may also have the chance to study abroad in some programs. Along with general education courses, you may take classes in these areas:

  • Drawing
  • Color theory
  • Industrial 3-D modeling
  • Design history
  • CADD

What Will You Study in a Master's Program?

In a master's-level program, you will have the opportunity to enhance your skills and knowledge through theory and practice. Participating in independent study and doing a thesis or research project may also be a part of the program. Courses and seminars may cover the following topics:

  • Design methods
  • Design research
  • Industrial design technology

What Are Your Career Options?

With an associate's degree, you might find an entry-level position as a product fabricator or model maker. With a bachelor's or master's degree, you could work as a product designer or product engineer with a manufacturing firm or consulting company. After gaining experience, you might want to open your own firm. Other job opportunities include mechanical designer, project engineer, toy designer or transportation designer. Earning a graduate degree could make you more attractive to potential employers. Earning a degree in business administration or education could help if you want to move into management or teaching.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Regent University

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    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master

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  • The Art Institutes

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  • Metropolitan State College of Denver

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    • Colorado: Denver
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    • Virginia: Blacksburg
  • University of Michigan

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    • Michigan: Ann Arbor
  • University of Louisiana

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    • Louisiana: Lafayette
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    • Washington: Bellingham
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    • Michigan: Big Rapids