In the US, we tend to see the sciences and the arts as separate worlds; some people are good at science and math, and some people are good at art, and there is no overlap. Of course, that is a misconception, and a very troubling one in many cases. In fact, many of the most important and sophisticated professions in the modern world require skills that combine the liberal arts and the sciences.
Industrial and Product Design is one such area. From iPhones to Teslas, from furniture to kitchen gadgets, design is an essential part of the modern marketplace. Apple’s incredible success in the 21st century has brought product design to the forefront of mainstream culture, but for the most part, industrial design is invisible. Most consumers do not consciously think about the designer(s) involved in making a product, but their work and craft has a major impact on what people buy, how they use products, and what products mean to people and culture at large.
Modern design is highly human-centered, focused on the needs and desires of consumers and users, including ergonomics, ease of use, and attractiveness. For modern design, imagination and creativity must come together with technical acumen; art and engineering work hand in hand to create products that grab attention, prove themselves useful, and even make their users love them.
Industrial Design and Product Design are, by necessity, highly interdisciplinary fields. Design draws on skills from the traditional liberal arts, such as critical thinking and analysis, as well as the fine arts, such as drawing, sculpting, and color theory. Engineering, applied science, and computer science contribute elements such as materials engineering, fabrication, ergonomics, and digital modeling. Designers also usually need a solid grounding in business concepts such as economics, budgeting, project management, and marketing, while design programs often incorporate even further-flung disciplines such as psychology and anthropology.
[Related field — check out our Top 20 Best Packaging Science Programs]
Since Industrial and Product Design are such complex fields, with so many disciplinary influences, degree programs are housed in a variety of institutional settings, including engineering schools, business schools, or fine arts and design schools. There are also a number of degree types that can lead to a career in Industrial or Product design, including the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), or the specialized Bachelor of Design (BDes) and Bachelor of Industrial Design (BID).
With growing demand from students for effective Industrial and Product Design programs, Value Colleges has developed a ranking of the best values in the field. The Top 50 Best Value Industrial Design Programs of 2017 ranking is made up of only regionally accredited, highly reputable colleges and universities in the US (along with two international universities) that have demonstrated their ability to not only prepare students for the basic demands of the career, but provide access to satisfying, rewarding, and potentially lucrative positions.
Value Colleges uses three data points to determine ranking:
- Reputation: U.S. News & World Report’s overall score
- Salary: College Scorecard Alumni data
- Cost: Non-resident tuition rate
Many Industrial Design programs base their curriculum on the recommendations of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), and many of the best programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). While these are not the only standards of quality, Value Colleges has awarded extra credit in our ranking to NASAD-accredited programs.
Brigham Young University
Regularly cited as Utah’s premiere university, and as the largest and one of the most respected private religious institutions in the nation, Brigham Young University is known for academic rigor, student support, and affordability, with LDS students paying one of the lowest tuition rates in the nation. While Brigham Young is highly ranked for medicine, law, and business, the Fulton College of Engineering is also recognized as one of the hundred best in the US, with pioneering research in areas as diverse as supercomputing, robotics, and electric vehicles.
The Fulton College offers the BYU Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Industrial Design, a program that builds on Fulton’s state-of-the-art facilities and award-winning faculty to apply the science and art of design to a wide variety of industries. From technical mastery to problem solving and aesthetics, the BYU Industrial Design program is designed to prepare students for the needs of clients and employers, manufacturers and consumers, with an interdisciplinary curriculum drawing on business, visual art, and engineering. A well-rounded program at a reasonable tuition rate makes BYU a definitive value.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $5300
James Madison University
Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #2 regional public institution in the South, James Madison University is also recognized as one of the best values, and greenest schools, in the nation. JMU’s reputation for student support and success has made it one of the most trusted institutions, with high marks from Money magazine for job-market success. With one of the most respected business schools in the nation, according to Businessweek and other ranking agencies, JMU is also home to one of the region’s most influential and respected art and design programs in the School of Art, Design, and Art History.
These strengths come together in the interdisciplinary JMU BS in Industrial Design program, pulling together JMU’s best faculty in art, design, technology, and all of the fields necessary for success in the industrial design profession. The curriculum combines research with hands-on experimentation, from theory to manufacturing, as well as entrepreneurship, management, and business knowledge. The JMU way also emphasizes collaboration and cooperation, applying knowledge to real needs and problems to create graduates who will be leaders wherever they go.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $26,264
San Jose State University
San Jose State University makes no bones about its relationship to the tech industry – “Powering Silicon Valley” is at the center of their marketing, as SJSU sends more graduates into Silicon Valley careers than any other single university. Ranked as one of the top regional institutions in the West by U.S. News & World Report, SJSU is also known for music, literature, and the arts, but technology is San Jose State’s core, with an emphasis on innovation, motivation, entrepreneurship, and diversity. Successful alumni have given back as well, and SJSU has some of the strongest donor support and business partnerships of any school in the world.
With over three decades of experience, the SJSU Industrial Design program is one of the most renowned and influential in the nation, feeding graduates directly into the highest reaches of the tech industry. The SJSU BS in Industrial Design uses its connections to Silicon Valley to bring the very latest, most current expertise into the program, combining experiential learning (including a required internship) with collaborative projects with business and other partners. A trusted track record of job-market desirability and success gives SJSU graduates assurance that their degrees will take them far.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $18,578
Georgia Institute of Technology
One of the foremost research universities in the South, Georgia Tech has been shaping industry, business, medicine, technology, and applied science since its founding in 1885, bringing modern education and opportunity to the post-war South. Today Georgia Tech is a top 10 public university and one of the most influential business and engineering institutions in the world, with a student body noted as the smartest in the nation (based on standardized test scores). Georgia Tech’s mission is providing leaders in every facet of modern life, carrying the south into the 21st century and beyond.
Georgia Tech’s NASAD-accredited BS in Industrial Design degree program is the only program of its kind in Georgia, and one of the most important in the region. The Georgia Tech Industrial Design curriculum focuses on using critical thinking, design, and communication to help students take control of their careers, with master experts and experienced practitioners guiding them in the latest technology and age-old understanding of form and design. It’s a degree program that will carry graduates onto the job market with confidence and advantage.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $32,404
California State University, Long Beach
One of California’s most diverse and most socially-mobile institutions, California State University, Long Beach is known for its exceptional ability to provide education and career opportunity for the people of Los Angeles and Southern California. Ranked as one of the top regional institutions in the west by U.S. News & World Report, CSU Long Beach makes an impact with in-demand and excellent degree programs, from business and engineering to art and design. One of the lowest in-state tuition rates in the nation make Long Beach still more of a value.
The CSU Long Beach BS in Industrial Design is specifically formulated for professional practice, focused on the needs of manufacturers and customers. All areas of study, from aesthetics and technology to human factors and finance, are combined to make CSU Long Beach graduates market-ready, prepared to walk into their career with great ideas and practical experience on day one. Accredited by NASAD, the CSU Long Beach Industrial Design program is made for today and tomorrow.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $17,620
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
One of the most prestigious public research institutions in the Midwest, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is recognized as a Public Ivy and one of U.S. News & World Report’s top 50 national universities. Known in particular for their engineering school, one of the top 5 in the nation, and for their acclaimed business school, Illinois is also home to one of the region’s most reputable schools of Art and Design, creating a perfect recipe for a world-class industrial design program.
UIUC’s School of Art and Design brings together some of the university’s most innovative interdisciplinary faculty for the University of Illinois Industrial Design BFA. Led by theoretical experts and experienced practitioners in the field, the NASAD-accredited Industrial Design program gives students a fully rounded education in both the ideas and debates within Industrial Design, and the practical and technological skills to create and execute their designs. Cutting-edge labs and equipment, and excellent motivation and support, make the UIUC Industrial Design program a model for the profession.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $30,680
University of Wisconsin-Stout
With official status of Wisconsin’s public polytechnic institute, the University of Wisconsin-Stout is dedicated to combining the critical thinking, creativity, and adaptability of traditional liberal-arts education with the market-ready, in-demand skills of the applied sciences. UW Stout is not only one of Wisconsin’s most respected institutions, but one of its most diverse, with a commitment to providing opportunity for all of Wisconsin’s people and to standing up for the rights and well-being of its students and community. UW Stout is a 21st century institution, training leaders for the future of the Midwest and all over the world.
Accredited by NASAD, UW Stout’s BFA in Industrial Design exemplifies Stout’s marriage of liberal arts and applied sciences, creating a unique program based on creativity, inspiration, problem-solving, and function. An expert interdisciplinary faculty made up of personnel from art, technology, and science helps students prepare for the specialized demands of an industrial design career, while the UW Stout name carries graduates into the job market with confidence.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $17,141
The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – better known as Virginia Tech – is widely regarded as one of the top public universities in the nation, a model of applied science, engineering, and business education. As a land-grant university, Virginia Tech is one of the most respected agricultural schools, and their architecture and urban planning department is one of the most influential in the world. Virginia Tech’s entire mission centers around bringing the very best possible education to the people of Virginia, with market-ready, world-changing careers waiting for graduates.
The award-winning School of Architecture + Design offers Virginia Tech’s Industrial Design program, a world-class curriculum that draws on practitioner expertise, deep corporate partnerships, and hands-on learning to prepare students for every challenge in industrial design. Virginia Tech’s Industrial Design puts people first, deploying humanistic values alongside technical skill to make products useful and purposeful. Graduates can expect the Virginia Tech reputation, backed up by NASAD accreditation, to take them far.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $29,975
A major, land-grant research institution, Purdue University is one of the most recognizable names in the Midwest, acclaimed by U.S. News & World Report as a top 20 public university and one of the top 10 undergraduate programs in the nation. As a land-grant university, Purdue has always been a leader in science and engineering, but is equally renowned in the liberal arts, including literature, writing, art, and design. Purdue’s equal excellence in science and the arts informs their top-tier Department of Art and Design, a leader in industrial and interaction design.
The Department of Art and Design offers the Purdue University BFA in Industrial Design, a deep-dive, NASAD-accredited professional degree program designed to bring together the critical out-of-the-box thinking and technical skill that makes for great industrial designers. Students practice sketching and designing with traditional tools, and three-dimensional design with technological tools, as well as collaboration and leadership through contests and interdisciplinary projects. Purdue is a trusted source in the Midwest and across the nation, for guaranteed entry into a rewarding career.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $28,804
University of Minnesota
As Minnesota’s flagship public research institution, the University of Minnesota is one of the most significant and influential universities in the Midwest, a center of learning and culture in the Twin Cities. UM has a history of excellence dating back to 1851, with Nobel Prize-winning faculty, MacArthur genius grant winners, and some of the most decorated and successful alumni in the nation, including statespeople, artists, and writers (such as radio legend Garrison Keillor). From engineering to law, healthcare to the arts, the Golden Gophers are leaders.
The UM BS in Product Design, offered by the College of Design, is a challenging interdisciplinary program that combines art, physics, programming, entrepreneurship, and even psychology and anthropology to give students a full and marketable NASAD-accredited education in every aspect of the field. With two internships in different locations, students earn not only hands-on experience but job market entry, while unique minors – including Kinesiology (for human interaction) and Swedish (a natural for Minnesota, the better for a plum IKEA design career) – make for an enormous potential.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $23,806
University of Notre Dame
One of the most recognizable names in higher education – both for their uncommon excellence and connections, and for their storied athletics program – the University of Notre Dame is a U.S. News & World Report top 15 national university and one of the highest-ranked undergraduate educators. Notre Dame graduates have one of the highest starting salary and mid-career salary rates in the nation, making a Notre Dame degree one of the best nationally for ROI. An esteemed research institution, Notre Dame has been a trend-setter in science and the arts for over a century and a half.
The Department of Art, Art History, and Design at Notre Dame offers an BFA or BA in Industrial Design steeped in human behavior, ethical responsibility, critical thinking, and problem solving – the hallmarks of a private Catholic education. These liberal arts values are combined with technology, entrepreneurship, engineering, and ecology to create an NASAD-accredited degree in industrial design that can take graduates anywhere, alongside one of the most trusted names in the world to recruiters and employers.
Annual Cost: $49,685
Iowa State University
The flagship public university in the state, Iowa State University is a top-tier land and space-grant research institution recognized as one of the most innovative universities in the nation for their research and economic impact on the region. With the focus on practical learning and leadership that is the land-grant tradition, Iowa State is one of the most important influences and developers the state, with wide-ranging connections to the industry of Iowa, an important reason that ISU’s engineering and design programs are among the best in the nation.
The Iowa State Bachelor of Industrial Design is the real deal, a dedicated, specialized degree program entirely dedicated to the ins and outs of industrial design, spurred by experiential learning, internships, real-world problem-solving, and the needs of the modern marketplace. Students are given an NASAD-accredited grounding not only in technology and design principles, but business and management, to prepare graduates who can be not only world-class designers, but team leaders and visionaries in their own right.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $21,583
Ferris State University
Ferris State University has innovation in its DNA, founded by noted educational reformer W. N. Ferris, who pioneered experiential learning and technical education. Today Ferris State is a highly-regarded regional institution, marked by small class sizes, hands-on education, and strong student support, including collaborative research between faculty and students. As a regional university, Ferris State puts a premium on practical and marketable professional education, preparing Michigan’s industry leaders.
The Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State offers an Industrial Design bachelor’s degree program designed to prepare students for the demands of today and tomorrow, with an in-depth mix of material science, human factors, design computing, and ethics. A number of labs and workshops provide all students need for a variety of projects, and close relationships give students a grounding in collaboration and teamwork suited to the modern industrial design field. Low tuition rates and strong, NASAD-accredited education add up to reliable returns from Ferris State.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $18,048
Western Washington University
A mid-sized public institution, Western Washington University has been recognized by Forbes and other ranking agencies as a top value in the region, providing the small class size, close attention from faculty, and strong student support that a smaller institution can offer. WWU has been acclaimed as one of the top regional colleges in the Pacific Northwest, with a diverse student body and a variety of professional and technical degree programs designed to meet the economic needs of the northwest and Washington.
The WWU BS in Industrial Design is an interdisciplinary program drawing together engineering, art, and design faculty and facilities to create a demanding, challenging curriculum that will give students all they need for their professional industrial design careers. From sculpting and drawing to computer modeling, as well as intensive courses in business, law, and social science, Industrial Design at WWU is an all-around, NASAD-accredited education making students into problem-solving leaders, all for a reasonable tuition rate and strong job market reputation.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $21,847
Lawrence Technological University
Lawrence Technological University is a private polytechnic institution with a long history of excellence at the forefront of industrial and professional education. Founded in 1932 to provide a fully-open education to any person who qualified, regardless of background, Lawrence Tech combined experiential education and classroom learning with classes held in a building leased from Ford Motors alongside a production plant, providing an early experiment in industry-university collaboration. That spirit continues today at Lawrence Tech.
The Lawrence Tech BS in Industrial Design builds on nearly a century of industry-ready expertise and NASAD-accredited courses, creating a fully integrated multi-disciplinary curriculum founded in collaboration, creativity, and focused problem-solving. With guidance in entrepreneurship and management, creativity and sustainability, and applied engineering, Lawrence Tech leads students into their careers with the confidence that comes from being the best.
Annual Cost: $31,180
New Jersey Institute of Technology
In 1881, with Newark, NJ, growing into one of the leading industrial cities of the region, the New Jersey Institute of Technology was founded with the support of local business leaders to provide a well-educated workforce. Built on applied science and engineering, today NJIT is one of a select few elite polytechnic institutes in the nation, recognized as one of the finest research universities in the region as well as one of the most diverse, a force for social mobility and economic impact in Brick City.
The NJIT School of Art and Design offers a BS in Industrial Design that pulls together all of the resources of a world-class research university, from labs and workshops to high-tech classrooms and corporate partnerships, into an NASAD-accredited curriculum. Industrial Design students can work with a wide variety of traditional and digital media, a wealth of materials, and even smart technology and robotics. NJIT is known for success placing students in rewarding, satisfying careers with their many corporate partners and collaborators, making NJIT a clear winner.
Annual Cost: $31,034
Montclair State University
New Jersey’s second-largest university, after flagship Rutgers University, Montclair State University is a major public research institution recognized in the top tier of national universities by U.S. News & World Report. Located just a hop, skip, and jump from New York City, Montclair State students benefit from access to a tremendous job market and a low tuition rate, which adds up to a strong return on investment for graduates.
That location is especially advantageous for students in the Montclair State Product Design BFA program, since it gives them access not only to the many firms and corporations in the NYC area, but to contests, internships, and partnerships that provide experience. This NASAD-accredited, multi-disciplinary program is one of the most competitive in the nation because it delivers: from study abroad opportunities to internships, students get all they could hope for out of the Montclair State experience.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $20,007
Appalachian State University
No public research university is as deeply ensconced in the life of the Appalachian Mountains as Appalachian State University, part of the nationally-respected University of North Carolina system. Appalachian State has been bringing key professional and technical education programs to the region since 1899, becoming one of the most significant forces for economic development and social mobility in and around Boone, NC. Today Appalachian State continues to bring opportunity to a changing culture with technology, service learning, and community engagement.
Appalachian State’s large Industrial Design BS program offers two concentrations: Product Design, and Furniture Design (traditionally a major part of the North Carolina economy). This NASAD-accredited program is rooted in research, with students learning about consumer needs, psychology, and marketing in addition to design and engineering skills. While critical thinking and problem-solving are central, hands-on instruction is also incorporated into all aspects of the curriculum, so students can trust that they will be prepared for a life-long profession.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $21,652
Wentworth Institute of Technology
Boston, MA, is the city of education, with the highest concentration of world-class colleges and universities in the nation, but even so, Wentworth Institute of Technology is notable as a top value and best investment. A small polytechnic institute, Wentworth does not have the name recognition of some of its neighbors, but is nonetheless recognized by Fortune, Brookings, and U.S. News & World Report as one of the best choices out there, with one of the highest return on investment rates, best earning power, and lowest rate of loan default in the nation.
Wentworth’s BS in Industrial Design is the perfect example of what Wentworth is capable of, an NASAD-accredited, highly collaborative and competitive program that makes leaders of its students. Wentworth’s co-op experience, in which students work in the field while completing their degrees, has a high rate of success, with half of Wentworth’s students receiving job offers from their co-op sponsor before graduation. That kind of opportunity makes Wentworth a definitive value.
Annual Cost: $33,724
University of Michigan
Michigan’s flagship institution, the University of Michigan is one of the most acclaimed public research universities in the nation, regularly ranked among the top nationally. From law and business to engineering and technology, UM has made major contributions to learning and knowledge, and UM’s age-old commitment to innovation can be seen in other disciplines as well, such as the Stamps School of Art and Design, one of the first and most influential dedicated art and design schools of its kind.
The NASAD-accredited Stamps School offers a BA in Art and Design, a unique program that provides students with more flexibility and opportunity than a traditional BFA, while also offering a deep experience in the liberal arts. Students in the BA program can choose from a wide variety of electives to create a tailored educational path to develop the skills they need for a career in industrial design or some related specialization. With the University of Michigan reputation, graduates can expect doors to open across the Midwest and around the world.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $45,410
Carnegie Mellon University
Originally founded in 1900 by educational philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to provide educational opportunity for the working people of Pittsburgh, PA, Carnegie Mellon University has always had excellence and innovation at its heart, from experimental education methods to cutting-edge research for the most promising students in America. One of the top institutions in the world for technology and engineering, Carnegie Mellon rivals the Ivy League, as well as the top polytechnic institutes, for quality and opportunity.
Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design offers a Bachelor of Design degree program that incorporates the full sweep of design knowledge, from digital technology and real-world craft to marketing and communication. As one of the first dedicated design schools in the nation, Carnegie Mellon is a longtime leader in the field, and their specialized BDes program is a model of the kind, with NASAD accreditation further assuring students that their education is what the 21st century calls for.
Annual Cost: $52,310
North Carolina State University
One of the nation’s foremost engineering, applied science, and technology universities, North Carolina State University is a public research institution that has been a leader in research and learning since its 1887 founding. A land, sea, and space-grant institution, NCSU helped define education in agriculture, textiles, paper, and other engineering fields, while its role as one of the founding institutions in the Research Triangle brought NCSU acclaim as a pioneer in university-corporate partnerships.
That history shapes NCSU’s Bachelor of Industrial Design, an NASAD-accredited specialized degree that offers students guidance from some of the most respected industry experts and practitioners in the nation. Focused on real-world problem-solving and strategy, the NCSU BID program draws heavily on its many connections in industry and business for an education that is as practical as it is rewarding.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $26,399
University of Houston
A top-tier research institution, and the flagship of the University of Houston system (one of Texas’ three public university systems), the University of Houston is an elite public university with world-class business, law, hospitality, and entrepreneurship programs. One of the nation’s most diverse institutions, the University of Houston is committed to providing educational and professional opportunity to traditional and nontraditional students from a variety of backgrounds, opening doors in Texas’ top economy.
The Hines College of Architecture and Design at the University of Houston brought the first BS in Industrial Design program in the region, with some of the most decorated and dedicated interdisciplinary faculty in the field. Between theory and research, and technology and craft, the BSID program focuses on collaboration and teamwork in project-based, experiential education, giving graduates the full picture of industrial design, as well as a nationally-respected name to carry onto the job market.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $21,711
University of Utah
Utah’s oldest higher education institution, the University of Utah was founded well before Utah was even a state, to provide an education for the pioneers who turned Salt Lake City from wilderness to a developed urban center. At the top of Carnegie Foundation’s research university classification, the University of Utah has produced faculty and alumni who have led the way in technology, engineering, medicine, and the arts, from Nobel Prizes to MacArthur genius grants.
The University of Utah offers a BS in Multi-Disciplinary Design, a flexible, open-ended program designed around meeting real and specific market needs. UU’s MDD program focuses on ethical responsibility, strategic action, and observational research, with students learning to take on problem-solving and planning that provides for human factors while also using technology and entrepreneurship for its best purposes. UU’s reputation is sterling, giving graduates high hopes on their career path.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $27,039
Northern Michigan University
Northern Michigan University is the main educational institution in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A culturally unique area founded on mining and logging, the Upper Peninsula is also a region in transition, and NMU is a major force in bringing professional and technical education to the Yoopers (as the Upper Peninsula residents are often called). That includes premier programs in technology and engineering, as well as other job-market ready degrees suited to Michigan’s industry and business.
Such programs include NMU’s BFA from the School of Art & Design, which includes potential specializations like Human-Centered Design and Furniture Design. These majors are perfect entry points into industrial design and product design, giving students an education in practical, hands-on skills as well as planning, development, and execution. NMU’s tradition of service and dedication to the needs of the region gives graduates a well-prepared avenue into a secure and ever-growing career.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $15,262
University of Illinois at Chicago
The leading public research university in Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago was originally founded to provide a place for UI’s medical and professional programs, but alongside the booming Windy City UIC developed into a major institution in its own right. Besides the largest, most respected medical school in the region, UIC is a a leader in urban planning, business, engineering, and technology, specializing in the fields and professions that are central to modern urban life and well-being.
UIC’s School of Design, one of the strongest in the Midwest, offers a Bachelor of Design degree program in Industrial Design that is developed with diversity and flexibility at its center. The NASAD-accredited UIC BDes program finds the balance between imagination and skill, practicality and creativity, so that graduates can not only conceive and develop their ideas, but communicate them for other creators, producers, and consumers. With the UIC reputation, graduates have entry into the Chicago industrial community with all the potential the city has to offer.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $26,520
University of Washington
As one of the first universities on the west coast, the University of Washington was a crucial early step in civilizing the Washington territory, eventually growing into one of the most productive major research institutions in the nation. UW’s commitment to the people of Washington, to diversity, and to access and opportunity is evident in all aspects of its mission, including one of the nation’s most generous tuition payment programs for low-income students.
The UW Bachelor of Design program in Industrial Design has forty years of growth and development dedicated to making its students some of the strongest job-market contenders in the field. From idea generation to testing and production, UW provides students with the full range of knowledge and experiential practice to take on their careers with assurance. Located in Seattle, at the heart of one of the nation’s most renowned tech hubs, UW releases graduates into a corporate atmosphere prime for design experts.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $34,791
Rochester Institute of Technology
One of U.S. News & World Report’s top 10 regional universities for the North, Rochester Institute of Technology is ranked among the small number of elite polytechnic universities. Not only recognized as a top choice in engineering, business, and technology, RIT is also commonly named as a best value for an excellent return on investment. Graduates find significant success on the job market thanks to the highly regarded RIT name, while the top-tier RIT educational quality helps graduates achieve in their careers.
The RIT School of Design sports high marks as a top 10 school in the field according to Businessweek, as well as recognition from numerous other ranking agencies. The School of Design offers RIT’s BFA in Industrial Design, a multi-disciplinary, career-centered program that brings together theory and imagination with technical skill and digital tools to give students all of the professionalism and ethical responsibility they need to conquer the field. Few names carry as much weight on the job market in the northeast as RIT, making it one of the best educational investments around.
Annual Cost: $38,568
The Ohio State University
A land, sea, and space-grant institution in the capital city of Columbus, OH, the Ohio State University has far outgrown its humble beginnings as an agriculture and mechanical engineering college. The third-largest university in the nation, OSU has revolutionized public higher education in a variety of ways, including groundbreaking online education. With some of the strongest business, medicine, nursing, and law programs in the nation, OSU has been a model and frontrunner in professional education.
OSU’s NASAD-accredited Department of Design has been ranked by DesignIntelligence as one of the top 10 design programs in the nation, including the OSU Industrial Design BSD degree. OSU’s Industrial Design program is a model of the type, with a highly collaborative, highly flexible, and highly useful curriculum that prepares students for the real responsibilities of an industrial design career. OSU’s ample student support is obvious from a perfect retention rate and a 100% acceptance for students applying to graduate programs, making for a solid investment.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $28,299
A private research institution in New York, Syracuse University is one of the most recognizable names in higher education, as well as one of the most trusted. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 60 national universities, many of Syracuse’s individual programs are ranked much higher, including business, public communication, and public affairs. Syracuse’s College of Visual and Performing Arts is one of the most acclaimed in the nation, from multimedia and film to industrial design.
The Syracuse Bachelor of Industrial Design program is a 5-year program in Industrial and Interaction Design made for a wide range of specializations. With emphasis on social responsibility, humanist values, and cutting-edge technology, Syracuse’s BID gives students a flexible, interdisciplinary curriculum to allow for specialization and concentration in areas like communication, fashion, and interaction design. The VPA is host to global influencers and leaders in the field, giving students important industry connections, which can only increase the value of a Syracuse BID.
Annual Cost: $45,022
Arizona State University
Regularly ranked as one of the most innovative institutions in the world, Arizona State University began the 21st century as a conventional public research university and in less than two decades has become the acknowledged leader of the new school. Acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal as having some of the best-prepared graduates in the nation, ASU is not only excellent, but affordable, diverse, and forward-thinking, preparing students not just for the current job market, but for adaptation to the future.
ASU’s NASAD-accredited Design School is recognized as one of the best in the western region, with a host of top-raked degree programs like the ASU BS in Design with an Industrial Design specialization. A challenging and selective program, the BSD requires freshmen to pass a Milestone project to officially enter the program, bringing a high level of rigor to a program that provides access to cutting-edge labs, first-class faculty, and corporate partnerships that create ample employment opportunity. The ASU value is already legendary, and it is just beginning.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $26,470
Kansas State University
Founded in 1863, Kansas State University was the first land-grant institution and the first college in the new state of Kansas, dedicated to the educational needs of the people of the region. Today K-State is a top-tier research university with world-class programs in agriculture, biochemistry, and conservation, and includes a polytechnic campus and bioscience research park. With a focus on practical, market-ready degree programs, Kansas State is a leader in the Midwest and nationally.
The College of Architecture, Planning, and Design at Kansas State offers a bachelor’s degree in Interior Architecture & Product Design. This highly interdisciplinary, user-centered program focuses on design skills, theory, and a mix of analog and digital technology to give students a fully-developed, highly desired degree. Students can also complete their NASAD-accredited IAPD master’s degree in only 5 years with an accelerated plan, making for even more of a value at K-State’s low tuition rate.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $24,775
A flagship land, sea, and space-grant institution, Auburn University has STEM and applied science at the heart of its traditions, from its origins as an agriculture and mechanical engineering college, then a polytechnic institute, and finally a top-tier public research university. Auburn is regularly ranked as a top 50 public institution nationally, and is one of the most competitive and productive research universities in the Deep South, a key to professional and technical education for Alabama and beyond.
Auburn’s Bachelor of Industrial Design brings students the most current knowledge in the industrial design field, from user research to product testing and manufacturing. Beyond technical design skills, Auburn’s ID department works in collaboration with marketing and business to prepare students for the real world of work in design, and international opportunities in Ireland and Taiwan give students a picture of the global design field, all for a reasonable tuition rate from a national leader.
Annual Cost: $28,840
San Francisco State University
As part of the world-renowned California State University system, San Francisco State University is known for its educational excellence and affordability. As one of the most diverse and accommodating institutions in the region, SFSU is highly regarded for its influence and for the opportunity it provides for social mobility for low-income, minority, and non-traditional-aged students. As one of the top regional institutions in the West, San Francisco State moves people into the careers they want and the life they deserve.
SFSU’s School of Design offers a BS in Industrial Design with a concentration in Product Design and Development. The highly diverse, highly collaborative, NASAD-accredited School of Design is led by a world-class faculty made up of expert practitioners, and focuses not only on technical skills, but process, communication, and professional preparedness, to help graduates not only develop a command over design, but over the complexities of modern work and career. The SFSU name is respected throughout California, the West, and the world, giving graduates a trusted way into their professional careers.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $17,644
An elite private institution in the heart of the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia University began its life as a textile school in 1884, helping educate students for the growing industrial center. Today Philadelphia University is a small but productive institution specializing in engineering, applied science, health, and professional studies, focusing on the kinds of knowledge and careers that make modern urban life possible. The Kanbar College of Design, Engineering, and Commerce is especially respected for its innovative combination of collaborative learning and interdisciplinary projects.
The NASAD-accredited Kanbar College at Philadelphia University offers a BS in Industrial Design that draws on all of PU’s expertise in engineering and business to create a cross-disciplinary curriculum. Students in the ID program begin working in the lab from the first day of class, building to a self-created senior project and developing their skills in cooperation with other students. Philadelphia University’s 95% job placement rating is a testament to their quality and to their reputation in the region.
Annual Cost: $37,950
University of Kansas
Founded in the aftermath of the Civil War to bring education and healing to the state, the University of Kansas has grown into one of the most important institutions in the Midwest, from medicine and engineering to law and business. In particular, the KU School of Architecture, Design, and Planning is ranked by DesignIntelligence as one of the top design schools in the Midwest, strong company for KU to keep.
The NASAD-accredited KU Department of Design offers a BFA in Industrial Design that has earned a top reputation in the Midwest for employers. KU’s ID BFA is built for adaptability and usefulness, with a variety of interdisciplinary courses intended to give students a wide range of career options in the industrial design profession. From product design to packaging, KU’s Industrial Design helps students determine their interests and specializations that will lead to a rewarding, successful career.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $28,239
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Affiliated with the globally-respected Penn State University as a special-mission institution, the Pennsylvania College of Technology began as an adult education program in 1914, grew when WWII required round-the-clock training for the war effort, and stands today as a small, highly-regarded technical and professional college. With a 96% job placement rate for graduates, PCT is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a top-ranked regional institution and still puts a premium on education for the real world.
The School of Industrial, Computing, and Engineering Technologies at Penn College offers a BS in Industrial Design that focuses on human usage and practical value. The Industrial Design program incorporates a wide range of interdisciplinary learning, from material science and engineering to anthropology and kinesiology, for product design that keeps people first. A strong job market reputation takes Penn College graduates far in their careers.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $22,890
One of the most respected and influential private institutions in the US, Drexel University began in 1891 as one of the pioneering technical institutes of the era, focusing on practical science and technology education. Today Drexel is best known for their groundbreaking cooperative education program, in which undergraduates combine full-time work experience with classroom education for a fully-rounded education and a major advantage on the job market at graduation.
Drexel’s special qualities are on full view in the Product Design BS degree program, an interdisciplinary, self-directed educational program that encourages collaboration, entrepreneurship, and experimentation. Students gain experience in product design, production, and marketing, and a large selection of healthy corporate partnerships give graduates experiential education and a leg up starting their careers in the industrial design field.
Annual Cost: $51,030
University of Oregon
Oregon’s top-tier public research institution, and the flagship college, the University of Oregon is a center of culture and learning for the Pacific Northwest and one of the top-ranked institutions in the region. With a highly diverse student body, made up of a high proportion of first-generation and minority students, U of O is a major force for social mobility and economic development in a region known for technology, entrepreneurship, and industrial innovation.
That spirit is obvious in the University of Oregon BFA in Product Design, a uniquely challenging and promising program. This intensive BFA incorporates a specialized 5th year at UO’s Portland campus, taking advantage of connections in the industry, including design firms, startups, and networking events that give students not only a full understanding of the requirements of the career, but active engagement with the design profession. U of O Product Design students are in the perfect position for a lucrative and stimulating life of creativity and success.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $32,024
Founded as a normal school (teacher’s college) in 1855, Kean University has grown into a mid-sized public liberal arts institution, with a focus on humanities and education. While Kean is no longer strictly a teacher’s college, the institution still graduates more NJ teachers than any other college in the state. As a teaching university, Kean puts an emphasis on student support and mentorship, particularly for non-traditional, adult, and disadvantaged students.
The Busch School of Design offers Kean’s Bachelor of Industrial Design degree program, a highly developed professional degree focused on hands-on learning and career guidance and support. With state-of-the-art design labs and close affiliation with the Industrial Design Society of America for networking and internships, Kean gives students the inside track for career success and a satisfying future.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $18,637
University of Cincinnati
A large, first-tier public research institution, the University of Cincinnati has been ranked as an up-and-coming institution by U.S. News & World Report thanks to its high-caliber research and innovative programs. UC’s place in the life of Cincinnati, and Ohio at large, is significant, both as the region’s largest employer, and as a force for public service, community engagement, and social mobility. Rigorous, market-centered programs and excellent student support ensure UC graduates a space in whatever field they pursue.
Regularly ranked as one of the nation’s top design schools, the BSD in Industrial Design from the University of Cincinnati School of Design (part of the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning) carries a reputation in the field for a curriculum that is human-centered, practical, and beautiful. Deep connections to the industry and business community of the Midwest give students key internship and cooperative education opportunities, while a world-class faculty make sure every graduate is prepared for an exceptional career.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $26,334
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
The flagship of the SIU system, Southern Illinois University Carbondale is one of the leading institutions in the region, according to the Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report, with many top-ranked professional and technical programs. In particular, SIUC’s business, automotive technology, and medical programs are among the best in the nation, and Southern Illinois’ emphasis on professional development and applied science makes their graduates among the most sought-after employees in the region.
SIUC’s NASAD-accredited School of Art and Design offers a BFA in Industrial Design that brings together their highly-regarded art and design program with engineering and applied science. Combining classroom education with application, SIUC uses the Design Research Studio to create real products and concepts for clients, giving students not only realistic, hands-on experience, but connections to the industry to carry onto the job market.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $27,130
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Founded in 1965, Metropolitan State University of Denver was intended to act as an opportunity university, offering low tuition rates and open admissions to give lower-income people of the area a chance to earn a college degree. Over half a century later, MSU Denver is one of the most diverse institutions in the state, with a large Hispanic student body and a reputation for excellence that has helped it grow into one of the region’s most respected urban campuses.
MSU Denver’s Department of Industrial Design is the only program in Colorado accredited by the NASAD, and the MSU Denver BS in Industrial Design degree program provides students with access to expert practitioners, first-rate laboratories, and networking in the industrial scene of Denver. Students take part in the IDSA and can trust their curriculum to meet all the standards of the industry, feeling confident on the job market, in their careers, and in their lives thanks to MSU Denver.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $20,096
ArtCenter College of Design
Founded in 1930 to train professionals for the entertainment, advertising, and communications industry in Los Angeles, the ArtCenter College of Design is a groundbreaking and influential private institution focusing entirely on the potential and possibilities of design. Using a conservatory approach to education, ArtCenter emphasizes vision and experiment, bringing together disciplines and cultures to create graduates who will transform their industry.
The NASAD-accredited ArtCenter BS in Product Design gives students not only visual and technical skills to produce cutting-edge designs, but provides a deep-dive in research, technology, and business, including a semester of MBA study in collaboration with the INSEAD business school. Whether students wish to join design firms, rise in corporate life, or initiate their own entrepreneurial start-ups, the ArtCenter provides room to grow and prosper and gives graduates the means and confidence to make their own way.
Annual Cost: $40,596
Emily Carr University of Art & Design
Named for one of Canada’s most iconic and beloved artists, Emily Carr University of Art & Design is notable as Canada’s first dedicated arts and design institution, founded in 1925. During its near-century of service, ECUAD has grown a reputation not only in Canada but internationally for excellence in education and for a reliable presence on the market, with strong ties to the business and industrial sectors for cooperative education and employment opportunities.
ECUAD’s Bachelor of Design in Industrial Design degree program is explicitly user-centered, focusing on research and testing to meet real human needs. With an emphasis on aspects of social responsibility, sustainability, and consciousness, ECUAD provides the space and tools for real-world exploration in materials and ergonomics. Many of ECUAD’s graduates take this socially-aware spirit into their careers, whether in entrepreneurial pursuits or industries that do good for the human condition.
International Annual Cost: $14,904
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Louisiana’s second-largest university, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette prides itself on inclusion, diversity, and unpretentiousness, with a commitment to meeting student needs and developing student potential. As a major research institution, UL Lafayette knows the needs of Louisiana and the Deep South, putting a priority on practical professional and technical programs like computing, nursing, environmental sustainability, and business, not to mention Cajun culture and heritage. UL Lafayette has also become Louisiana’s leader in online education, according to U.S. News & World Report.
UL Lafayette’s Bachelor of Industrial Design, from the School of Architecture and Design, is the only NASAD-accredited program of its kind in Louisiana, giving it a crucial place in the higher education landscape of the Deep South. Students can earn a BID that focuses on critical thinking, experimentation, and problem solving, with all the resources necessary for students to pursue their visions from imagination to production. UL Lafayette’s reputation and low tuition means a solid ROI for smart graduates.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $23,178
Wayne State University
The only public urban research institution in Michigan, Wayne State University was founded as a medical school in 1868, but today is one of the largest comprehensive universities in the nation. As an urban campus, Wayne State’s strongest programs focus on the professional needs of city life, including health care, education, business, and engineering, all of which are regularly ranked as top national programs. From its location in Detroit, Wayne State is particularly respected in applied science.
Wayne State’s BFA in Industrial Design, offered by the Duffy Department of Art and Art History, combines WSU’s excellence in engineering and science with art and design for a best industrial design degree. With a focus on problem solving, branding, and human needs, Wayne State’s Industrial Design program is all about using design to make a better life and a better world. And with Detroit’s industrial sector, Wayne State’s ID graduates can expect a return on their low-cost investment.
Non-Resident Annual Cost: $26,220
Parsons School of Design (The New School)
The first college to offer degrees in design, the Parsons School of Design is part of The New School, the legendary private institution in Greenwich Village. One of the most influential educational experiments of the 19th and 20th centuries, The New School has kept true to its name for a century, always innovating and putting excellence ahead of all other considerations. The Parsons School of Design is ranked as the nation’s top design school, with a reputation shaped by some of the fashion and art world’s most respected faculty and alumni.
The Parsons School offers a BFA in Product Design that not only provides students with access to the most advanced facilities and tools, but an opportunity to break into the world’s most dynamic market for designers. With an interdisciplinary curriculum, collaborative projects, and a faculty with real credibility in international art and design, the Parsons School BFA is an investment like no other, and a door into an unparalleled career.
Annual Cost: $45,440
University of Lincoln
One of the most inspiring success stories in British higher eduction, the University of Lincoln has been steadily rising in national and global rankings, including The Guardian University Guide. That growth in recognition has gained the University of Lincoln international attention, and stateside as well, attracting students from more than 100 different nations to its top-tier professional degree programs.
The University of Lincoln’s Product Design BA degree program was recently ranked as the #1 program for student satisfaction by a national student survey, reflecting the excellent quality of Lincoln’s instruction and opportunity. The BA in Product Design is built around meeting needs, with an emphasis on strong collaboration, communication, and planning. From idea generation to branding, the University of Lincoln Product Design program is full and current, preparing students for a career of global proportion.
International Annual Cost: $18,096
University of Bridgeport
Founded as a pioneering junior college, the University of Bridgeport has had accessibility and achievement at the center of its mission since the very beginning, and today is recognized as one of the most diverse institutions in the nation, both in faculty and student body. A small, private university, UB is widely ranked as a best value, with a low rate of student loan debt and a strong student support network, including employment opportunity. UB is also noted as one of the top online educators in the region.
The Shintaro Akatsu School of Design is a highly respected, NASAD-accredited institution dedicated to the best design education possible. The SASD BS in Industrial Design from the University of Bridgeport is dedicated to market-ready skills in the design field, from personal products to industrial tools. A world-class faculty and cutting-edge facilities gives students exposure to all aspects of design, from sketching and planning to prototyping and production, and UB’s excellent reputation in New England and beyond ensure graduates will see a return on their hard work and brilliance.
Annual Cost: $31,630