Top Schools for Industrial Design

Learn about programs in industrial design, which can be found at design schools and universities. Read about the program options at three top-notch schools, and find a table that lists other universities that provide training for industrial designers.

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School Overview

Three of the top schools for industrial design include the Art Center College of Design, Carnegie Mellon University and Rhode Island School of Design, with the latter offering programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In general, the programs teach students learn how to design and develop appliances, furniture, office equipment and other manufactured products.

Top U.S. Schools with Industrial Design Programs

1. Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA

In 2011, the Art Center College of Design was the top-ranked school for industrial design, according to U.S. News & Report. The college offers a Master of Science in Industrial Design with a program emphasis on research and design projects. Aspiring professionals also pursue theoretical studies in function, ergonomics and marketability. The program culminates in an individualized thesis project.

2. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, RI

The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) ranked second among industrial design programs, as designated by U.S. News & World Report in 2011. RISD is also member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design.

The school's Division of Architecture and Design offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in industrial design. Once enrolled, students learn how to identify and solve ergonomical, usability and other design-related issues. They also have the opportunity to investigate current environmental and societal design concerns. While earning their degrees, students develop schematics and prototypes for their own industrial designs.

3. Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA

In 2011, Carnegie Mellon University was ranked third for industrial design programs by U.S. News & World Report. 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, prototyping and transportation design. Students also learn about the human factors that affect design.

Ten Good Schools with Industrial Design Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Art Center College of Design Offers a master's degree in industrial design Pasadena, CA
Rhode Island School of Design Campus-based museum Providence, RI
Carnegie Mellon University Gallery of industrial design exhibits student work Pittsburgh, PA
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Provides distance learning opportunities Blacksburg, VA
University of Houston Also operates as a research university Houston, TX
Montclair State University Graduate degrees offered Montclair, NY
Massachusetts College of Art and Design Certificate program in industrial and product design Boston, MA
Ferris State University Offers employment services for graduates Big Rapids, MI
Clemson University Bachelor's and master's degrees available in industrial design Clemson, SC
Auburn University Distance learning available Auburn, AL
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  • School locations:
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    Online Programs

    • Associate
        • Associate in Web Design Technology

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Florida (1 campus)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Washington (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor of Science - Visual Communications - Graphic Design
        • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Interior Design
    • Associate
        • Associate - Graphic Design

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Washington (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Western Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • General Visual Communications Design
        • Graphic Design
        • Industrial Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Appalachian State University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Commercial Photography
        • Graphic Design
        • Industrial Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Colorado (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Metropolitan State College of Denver include:
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Industrial Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Virginia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Industrial Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Michigan include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Advertising and Commercial Design
        • General Visual Communications Design
        • Graphic Design
        • Illustration and Drawing
        • Industrial Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Louisiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Louisiana include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Industrial Design
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts

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