Masters in Industrial Design

Industrial designers create specifications and design concepts for manufactured products, such as home appliances and cars. If you are imaginative and creative, then this field would be best suited to you.

You have the option of pursuing a Master of Arts (M.A)/Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A) in Industrial Design or a Master of Science (M.S) in Industrial Design. These programs usually take around two years to complete. The Master’s degree in Industrial Design will help you develop prototyping and critical thinking skills and will prepare you to tackle the complexity of design problems in different industries.

Read this informative article to familiarize yourself with the admission process, program requirements, curriculum details, and specialization options that are available to candidates pursuing a Master’s program in Industrial Design.

What Is Industrial Design?

Industrial Design (ID) is the practice of developing services, objects, devices and products for people. Industrial designers create sustainable, functional, meaningful and beautiful design solutions that maximize profitability. These professionals collaborate with many departments and specialists, such as marketers, engineers and material scientists, to create new and innovative products.

What Can You Do with a Master’s degree in Industrial Design?

Industrial designers mostly work in the manufacturing sector, or in scientific or technical services. After graduating with a Master’s degree in this field, students can find employment as industrial designers, design-brand consultants, strategic designers and product designers. Apart from working as in-house designers in different companies, individuals can also work as freelance designers.

Industrial Designer

Industrial designers combine computer, engineering, and artistic skills to create new products. These professionals mostly work in offices, but may be required to travel to testing facilities, such as clients’ exhibit sites and design centers. The annual median wage and employment outlook statistics for this profession are stated below:

  • Annual Median Pay, 2019: $66,590
  • Job Outlook (2018-2028): 3%

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has further categorized the broad category of Industrial Designers into Commercial and Industrial Designers. The employment statistics for this category are mentioned below:

Commercial and Industrial Designers

These professionals develop and design products such as home appliances, cars and children’s toys. They put together artistic talent with research on product marketing and utility to create appealing products.

  • Annual Mean Wage (2019):  $73,820
  • Job Growth, 2018-2028: 3% (Industrial Designers)
  • State with the Highest Salary, 2019: Oregon - $88,100.
  • State with the Highest Employment Level, 2019: Michigan - 4,520.

Industrial Engineers

Industrial Engineers design, develop and evaluate various kinds of integrated systems for managing the industrial production process.

  • Annual Median Wage, 2019: $88,020
  • Annual Mean Wage, 2019:  $92,660
  • Job Growth, 2018-2028: 8%
  • State with the Highest Salary, 2019: Washington - $109,200.
  • State with the Highest Employment Level, 2019: Michigan - 29,470.

Note: These figures have been obtained from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What to Expect from a Master-Level Industrial Design Program?

Read this section to learn about the modules and specialization options available to the program participants.

Areas of Concentration

Students can specialize in a number of areas, depending on their research interests and career goals. These specializations include Product Design and Development and Emerging Technologies.

Industrial Design Modules

The curriculum of the Master’s program includes a range of modules such as Synthesis of Drawing, Prototype Fabrication, 2D Industrial Design Principles, Computers & Design Communications, Presentation Rendering, Industrial Design Methods, Materials & Technology, and Product Design.

How to Choose an Industrial Design Program?

Choosing an Industrial Design program might be daunting, especially if you haven’t done your research properly. Therefore, we would recommend that you take into account the following factors while selecting your program:

  • Length of the program
  • Reputation and Accreditation
  • Content of the program
  • Specialization options
  • Internship opportunities
  • Career placement

Admission Requirements

The admissions process varies from university to university. Generally, applicants are required to send a completed admission application form to the school, along with letters of reference, resume, letter of intent, official transcripts, and hard copy/soft copy of your portfolio.


In order to gain admission into the Master’s program, students have to meet the following criteria:

  • Students must have a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design or equivalent from an accredited university or college. Individuals who have degrees from other disciplines may also get admission to the Master’s program in industrial design; however, these students have to take additional pre-requisite courses.
  • GPA requirements vary from school to school. Most programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Program Requirements

In order to graduate from a Master of Science in Industrial Design, students are expected to work on a final project/thesis under the guidance of the thesis committee and a faculty advisor. They have to present their project visually, verbally, and in writing. Program participants can cover a variety of topics for their thesis project – these can range from furniture and product explorations, to medical and aerospace applications.

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