Industrial Design Schools

The Best Industrial Design Schools 2018

Think of the products that you use every day. The majority of them are useful, attractive, and seemingly very simple.

However, even the simplest products are much more complicated than they may appear. Not only do these products need to be conceptualized and designed, they must also be manufactured.

Industrial design is a complicated multi-disciplinary area of design. It involves creating products and other objects used by consumers, starting from the idea stage and going through the manufacturing process. Industrial design covers several areas of design. Some of these areas may include product design, car design, furniture design, shoe design, and packaging design.

Unlike some other areas of design, however, industrial design focuses more on mass produced items. It does not only cover the concept stage of a product, but it also focuses on designing the product as well as designing a manufacturing plan for the product.

  • 01

    Rhode Island School of Design

    2 College St, Providence, RI 02903

    Nestled amidst the picturesque New England seaboard, Rhode Island School of Design has long been one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious colleges offering rigorous art programs at both an undergraduate and graduate level.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 2,481
    • img Visit School Website
  • 02

    Carnegie Mellon University School of Design

    5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

    The School of Design is one of the nation's only institutions to offer degrees at 3 levels: BA, MA and PhD, within a multi-disciplinary research context.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 12,963
    • img Visit School Website
  • 03

    ArtCenter College of Design

    1700 Lida Street #2319, Pasadena, CA 91103

    With a tradition of learning to create and influence change; the Center impacts its community as well as global society. Its visionary methodology regarding art and design reflects the conservatory approach it embraces.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 2,133
    • img Visit School Website
  • 04

    California College of the Arts

    5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618

    With 22 undergraduate degree programs, 12 graduate programs and international study options; California College of the Arts successfully balances tradition with innovation and theory with practice. Students enjoy an 8:1 student/teacher ratio and class sizes averaging 13 students.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1,975
    • img Visit School Website
  • 05

    Pratt Institute

    200 Willoughby Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205

    Pratt Institute utilizes the city of New York as a literal classroom by engaging students in real life experiences including public critiques and internships with top design companies like Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and more.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 4,784
    • img Visit School Website
  • 06

    Savannah College of Art & Design

    342 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401

    Embracing a forward-looking approach to artistic academia, SCAD is a student-centered institution determined to provide educational excellence within the context of a positive learning environment. Students learn to create art, as well as live creatively artistic lives.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 11,861
    • img Visit School Website
  • 07

    Rochester Institute of Technology - School of Film & Animation

    70 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623

    RIT is a private college whose fine arts programs are consistently ranked in the “Top 10” by US News. Conferring associates, undergraduate and graduate degrees, it has 4 galleries and a Center for Design.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 16,639
    • img Visit School Website
  • 08

    University of Washington - School of Art, Art History, & Design

    4000 15th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98195

    An integral part of one of the world’s most revered research-based universities; the art program at UW utilizes a rigorous interdisciplinary approach & studio-based instruction coupled with international opportunities and competitive internships.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 45,408
    • img Visit School Website
  • 09

    Drexel University - Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

    3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

    Drexal’s Westphal College offers an impressive range of degree options; 19 in the undergraduate program alone. Building on a solid foundation of visual studies, Westphal inspires a sense of experimentation and expansion of visual horizons.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 25,595
    • img Visit School Website
  • 10

    Ohio State University

    128 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210

    Renowned for its excellence in the BA and MA programs; OSU maintains its core values of creative examination and intellectual freedom, while providing students with a rich, people-centered educational environment.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 58,663
    • img Visit School Website
  • 11

    Brigham Young University - Department of Design

    155 East 1230 North, Provo, UT 84602

    With 4 departments and 3 schools dedicated to the arts, BYU offers everything a student could imagine. There are 11 art galleries, 55 practice rooms & performance groups annually tour 8 countries/140 cities.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 33,469
    • img Visit School Website
  • 12

    College for Creative Studies

    201 East Kirby, Detroit, MI 48202

    Established in 1906, the College for Creative Studies is a small, private, fully-accredited institution of higher learning. Diversity and inclusion characterize the student body: undergraduates hail from 35 states and 24 countries; while the graduate population is comprised of 81% international enrollees from 8 countries. Located in Midtown Detroit, students enjoy the long-established, rich culture of the city. From the Detroit Film Theatre and the Detroit Institute of Arts; to the libraries, galleries and famous restaurants; both college and students can leverage the educational opportunities provided by the urban community.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1,487
    • img Visit School Website
  • 13

    School of Visual Arts

    209 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010

    Founded in 1947, SVA is a for-profit art and design educational institution located in New York offering 11 bachelor’s programs & 20 graduate options. SVA emphasizes excellence in expression and responsible industry participation.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 4,393 (3,750 undergraduate)
    • img Visit School Website
  • 14

    School of the Art Institute of Chicago

    36 S. Wabash Ave. Chicago, IL 60603

    Since 1866, School of the Art Institute of Chicago has been committed to academic excellence, interdisciplinary exploration and the enrichment of each student’s artistic inquiry and experimentation.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 3,591
    • img Visit School Website
  • 15

    University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign

    901 West Illinois Street, Urbana, IL 61801

    Aware of the synergy created when research is blended with the visionary nature of the visual, environmental and performing arts; the College offers a program rich in vibrant expression.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 45,842
    • img Visit School Website
  • 16

    Iowa State University

    134 College of Design, Ames, IA 50011

    Recognized by U.S. News & World Report as being one of the “Best Colleges” in the nation, Iowa State University is a public college, founded in 1858 and located in the small town of Ames, Iowa. As a land grant institution, the efforts of the college benefit the community as well as its students. Especially attractive for environmentally-minded scholars; there is an Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station wherein subjects like bio-renewable fuel and soybean research are offered. The college also houses "Ames Lab"; a U.S. Dept. of Energy research center.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 35,714
    • img Visit School Website
  • 17

    Auburn University

    The Quad Center, Auburn, AL 36849

    Auburn hosts the oldest accredited university art department in the Southeast and is a charter member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Accomplished artists and scholars pave the way successful careers.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 27,287
    • img Visit School Website
  • 18

    Cranbrook Academy of Art

    39221 Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303

    An exclusive graduate degree granting institution unlike any other in the United States; the 2-year Academy confers MA degrees in 10 areas. All studies are studio-based & students are mentored by 10 Artists-in-Residence.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 152
    • img Visit School Website
  • 19

    Georgia Tech - School of Industrial Design

    247 4th Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30332

    From undergrad to PhD, students are immersed in curriculum unlike any other in an industrial design program rooted in fine arts. Utilizing state-of-the-art technology & collaboration; the school is of the highest caliber.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 25,034
    • img Visit School Website
  • 20

    Arizona State University - School of Design

    810 S. Forest Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85287

    Successfully engaging itself in a new educational paradigm; The College of Design offers leading-edge instruction in the areas of visual communication; architecture; industrial design; landscape architecture and interior design.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 51,984
    • img Visit School Website
  • 21

    University of Houston

    4800 Calhoun Rd, Houston, TX 77004

    Renowned for faculty excellence and a commitment to student mentoring; the UH School of Art combines academics with real-world experience by increasingly using the city as a classroom.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 42,704
    • img Visit School Website
  • 22

    San Francisco State University

    1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132

    Paramount to its success, The School of Art at San Francisco State University focuses on the development of socially engaged artists who are cognizant of the importance of both individual and collaborative contributions.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 30,256
    • img Visit School Website
  • 23

    California State University, Long Beach

    1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840

    CSULB is the nation’s largest publicly-funded program and the first CA public school accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Its degree and certificate programs feature highly specialized, diversified curriculum.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • img Visit School Website
  • 24

    Purdue University

    610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907

    The University features an Art & Design Department as well as a Theatre Department; within which are 3 divisions: Music, Dance & Galleries. Revered faculty not only educate, but also participate in performance-based activities.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 40,472
    • img Visit School Website
  • 25

    Lawrence Technological University

    21000 W 10 Mile Rd, Southfield, MI 48075

    Offering a diverse range of studies, LTU believes creative development is key to advancement in an art career. A cross-disciplinary environment and dedicated educators ensure students acquire the skills needed for success.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 3,516
    • img Visit School Website
  • 26

    Wentworth Institute of Technology

    550 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115

    The Department of Interior Design teaches students to think critically and develop superior problem solving skills. The curriculum expertly blends studies of human behavior, design history and innovation in materials and technology.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 4,576
    • img Visit School Website
  • 27

    University of Illinois, Chicago

    1200 W Harrison St, Chicago, IL 60607

    Founded on the principle that the theory and practice of disciplines involving art & art history, are intimately integrative; the programs successfully ignite intellectual curiosity and creative innovation in students, ultimately resulting in success.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 29,048
    • img Visit School Website
  • 28

    Pennsylvania College of Technology

    1 College Ave, Williamsport, PA 17701

    The School of Art & Design is a not-for-profit, private educational institution whose programs strive for both community and global impact. With year-round events & classes, the student of art flourishes.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 5,514
    • img Visit School Website
  • 29

    University of Louisiana, Lafayette

    104 East University Avenue, Lafayette, LA 70504

    The Department of Visual Arts assists students in successfully building a foundation for success by intertwining art history, studio practice, critical theory and study of new and emerging media.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 17,508
    • img Visit School Website
  • 30

    University of Wisconsin - Stout

    712 Broadway St S, Menomonie, WI 54751

    Having achieved acclaim for its polytechnic designation, the school's programs integrate studies in history, diversity and sustainability. Its eStout laptop program, community partnerships and modern facilities help define it as an award-winning university.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 9,554
    • img Visit School Website
  • 31

    Virginia Tech

    800 Drillfield Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24061

    The School of Visual Arts grants both undergraduate & graduate degrees with concentrations in Visual Communication Design, Creative Technology and Studio Art. Their inclusive approach implements both established and new technologies.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 32,663
    • img Visit School Website
  • 32

    Kean University

    1000 Morris Ave, Union, NJ 07083

    The School of Fine and Performing Arts houses 3 Conservatories: Music, Theatre and Fine Arts. The exemplary faculty made up of artists and scholars, foster personal growth, professional preparation, creativity and innovation.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 14,112
    • img Visit School Website
  • 33

    Western Washington University

    516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225

    The College of Fine & Performing Arts provides an inclusive education which integrates Art Studio, Art Education and Art History. Dynamic instructors provide rigorous studio classes and practice with global visual art courses

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 15,332
    • img Visit School Website
  • 34

    Appalachian State University

    287 Rivers St, Boone, NC 28608

    Appalachian State is famous for its global approach to learning through programs which foster competent global citizenship; exemplary global knowledge and the cultivation of intercultural competencies.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 17,932
    • img Visit School Website
  • 35

    Massachusetts College of Art & Design

    621 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

    With its legacy beginning in 1873, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), is public, independent, and one of the nation’s oldest art schools. Stressing diversity and inclusiveness, MassArt fosters and encourages community-building, within and outside the college. Challenging students to transcend traditional boundaries, MassArt addresses the learning process within each student from a holistic standpoint. Valuing art as a life-enhancing force, there is an emphasis on academic excellence as a foundation for greatness.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 1,990
    • img Visit School Website
  • 36

    Montclair State University

    1 Normal Ave, Montclair, NJ 07043

    With over 50 majors spanning: television, music, theatre, art, design and digital media; The College of the Arts is committed to excellence in academia as well as exceptional professional training by accomplished instructors.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 20,465
    • img Visit School Website


Explore art and design programes with our comprehensive list of NASAD accredited colleges and universities. Search by degree level, program type, or state location.

School NameProgram NameDetails
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105Associate of Arts- Industrial DesignRequest Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105Bachelor of Fine Arts - Industrial DesignRequest Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105Master of Fine Arts - Industrial DesignRequest Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105Certificate in Industrial DesignRequest Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105Associate of Arts - Industrial DesignRequest Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105Bachelor of Fine Arts - Industrial DesignRequest Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105Master of Arts - Industrial DesignRequest Information
Arizona State University (SPPA) 810 S. Forest Ave, Tempe, AZ 85287Bachelor of Design - Industrial DesignRequest Information
Arizona State University (SPPA) 810 S. Forest Ave, Tempe, AZ 85287Master of Fine Arts - Industrial DesignRequest Information
Art Center College of Design 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena, CA 91107Master of Fine Arts - Industrial DesignRequest Information
Auburn University 351 W. Thach Concourse, Auburn, AL 36849Bachelor of Fine Arts - Industrial DesignRequest Information
Auburn University 351 W. Thach Concourse, Auburn, AL 36849Master of Fine Arts - Industrial Design (Non-Thesis, Thesis)Request Information
California College of the Arts 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618Bachelor of Fine Arts - Industrial DesignRequest Information
Ohio State University 128 N Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210Master of Arts - IndustrialRequest Information
San Francisco State University 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132Master of Arts - Industrial ArtsRequest Information
Syracuse University 323 Hall of Languages, Syracuse, NY 13244Bachelor of Fine Arts - Industrial and Interaction DesignRequest Information

What Are Industrial Design Schools?

Industrial design schools are educational facilities that enable students to learn all aspects of the industrial design process. This difficult process requires a number of specialized skills.

Professionals in the industrial design field must be more than artistic. They must also have a firm understanding and knowledge of the manufacturing process. These professionals must also be able to design products that are safe and useful, and as inexpensively manufactured as possible.

There are a number of different specialties in industrial design to choose from when attending industrial design schools. Whether your interest lies in designing kitchen gadgets or designing luxury automobiles, industrial design schools can help prepare you for this challenging and rewarding career.

What Are the Different Types of Industrial Design Schools?

An industrial design school is not usually a separate school in and of itself. Typically, industrial design schools are small parts of larger schools or universities. Traditional colleges and universities, for instance, offer industrial design degrees. There are also online programs available.

Art and design schools also offer industrial design schools. These types of schools are often more focused on aesthetics and the artistic aspect of industrial design, but students will also usually learn about the manufacturing process as well. Technical and vocational schools also usually offer industrial design degree programs as well.

What Are the Requirements for Industrial Design Schools?

Most industrial design schools require applicants to have at least basic artistic abilities. This means that they should be creative and able to draw well. Some schools might also require portfolios as well.

Knowledge of computers and attention to detail are also important qualities that industrial designers should possess.

What Types of Degree Programs Do Industrial Design Schools Offer?

Most industrial designers start their careers with bachelor of arts degrees in industrial design. The majority of art and design schools, along with some traditional universities, offer degree programs in industrial design. Architecture and engineering degrees might also be acceptable when pursuing industrial design schools.

Because most graduates can only secure entry level positions with bachelor’s degrees, however, most aspiring industrial designers choose to pursue graduate degrees in this area. Master’s degree programs are offered at a number of different schools, and these give students the ability to concentrate on specific areas of industrial design. Advanced degrees also enable graduates to pursue and secure more job opportunities with higher salaries.

What Courses Are Offered at Industrial Design Schools?

Students enrolled in industrial design schools will usually take several basic art and design courses. They will also usually take courses in design visualization, graphic design, manufacturing, environmental design, model making, and human interaction.

Computers and their software can be considered to be the backbone of industrial design. Because of this, most industrial design schools require their students to take several computer courses. These can include courses in computer aided design (CAD), computer aided industrial design, and 3D model making.

What Careers Can I Pursue After Graduating from an Industrial Design School?

In the past century, the field of industrial design has grown rapidly, and it continues to grow today. Graduates from industrial design schools will often have no problems finding work, especially considering that consumers find they need more and more products to lead their comfortable lifestyles.

Industrial design school graduates can often find employment in factories and manufacturing plants. Large companies and corporations will also usually hire industrial designers to design and help create a number of different products.

Do I Really Need a Degree from an Industrial Design School?

The answer to this question is a resounding “yes!”

Nearly all industrial design positions – even entry level industrial design positions – require applicants to have a degree of some sort from an industrial design school. Graduates with bachelor’s degrees will usually have a chance at securing the lower paying entry level positions, while those with master’s degrees in the field will be able to secure higher paying positions with more responsibility.

Either way, a degree from an industrial design school is essential for a successful industrial design career.