What does a degree in product design mean?
Product design is the art and science of producing a plan for an item that is intended to be manufactured and sold. Each school is different in how the go about teaching product design but all of the programs more or less encompasses engineering, design, and business courses. Some schools are more engineering heavy and some are more design heavy. If you’re considering a degree in product design, this is something to consider.
Where are product design/ industrial design programs in the United States?
The National Association of Schools of Art and Design establishes national standards for undergraduate degrees and other credentials. Below is a map of all of the accredited NASAD product design undergraduate programs within the United States.
This is a list of all schools in the United States with a program offering a degree in industrial design or a related design discipline at the undergraduate and/or graduate level. I have specifically linked the course list from all of these schools but feel free to check out the IDSA (Industrial Designers Society of America) website for more information here.
At the end of the day, many product design courses are simply just engineering, design, or business. This means if you find yourself at an institution that doesn’t have a product design program, you can always major in an engineering discipline or design discipline and just take up a minor or two in the opposite field. If you are dead set on majoring on product design, you can always design your own major. Not all universities do this, but many larger institutions do.
Product design is not for everyone. What makes this field so intriguing is that it incorporates so many different topics. If you are bad at the technical stuff like math or CAD you’re going to find yourself struggling. The same goes for branding and drawing. It isnt impossible to major in product design, but it requires a certain level of competence from all subjects. In other words, you kind of have to be a jack of all trades, or at least learn to be.