A Guide to Industrial Design Courses

The branch of product design concerned with the process of designing and manufacture of products, normally those aimed at mass production. As an industrial designer, you will be responsible for designing and developing new products. These could include everyday products, mobile applications, as well as more niche products.



An undergraduate degree in industrial design will develop your foundation knowledge in the area. The modules you study will cover the basic principles and theories of the subject. These modules could include fluid mechanics, engineering mathematics, solids and structures, computer aided design (CAD) techniques, and manufacturing systems.

Your degree will be delivered through a mixture of modes. These will include lectures and seminars, as well as incorporating practical, design studio based sessions, and potential field trips. You may also be presented with the opportunity to take part in a work placement year or module.


A postgraduate degree in industrial design will allow you to develop your skills and knowledge of the design process, as well as how products are manufactured. The modules you study will cover more the specialist and complex areas of industrial design. These modules could include design research, digital fabrication, advanced CAD, 3D design skills, and ergonomics in industrial design.


Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise towards the end of your degree. This specialisation can influence the area in which you choose to work after your studies. It can also help you to decide what topic you wish to complete your dissertation or final design project on. Common specialisations include:

  • Design Management
  • Engineering Design
  • Design Communication
  • Consumer Needs
  • Structural Materials
  • Sustainable Industrial Design

Accreditation and Certification

The accreditation of your degree will depend on where you choose to study. It will also be influenced by your level of study. At undergraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Design (BDes), a Bachelor of Arts (BA), or a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng). At postgraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Master of Design (MDes), a Master of Arts (MA), or Master of Engineering (MEng). If you choose to study for a research postgraduate degree, you will be awarded a Master of Research (MRes), a Master of Philosophy (MPhil), or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Depending on your institution, your course may also be accredited by a professional or academic body. For example in the UK, courses may be accredited by the Institute of Engineering Designers (IED).

Studying Industrial Design at University

You can study Industrial Design at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level at University.

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Timeframe and Further Studies

Generally, an undergraduate degree will take three to four years to complete. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years when studied full-time. A postgraduate degree will normally take one to two years. If your course includes a placement, this will usually add another year onto your studies.

Some institutions might offer part-time study options. Studying for a degree part-time normally means that your course will last anywhere between three and eight years, with some universities offering more flexible study options.

Entry Requirements


The entry requirements for an undergraduate degree in industrial design will depend on where you choose to study. Normally, you will be expected to have previously studied a subject related to the area, such as product design, or design and technology. If you do not have a strong background in these areas, but can prove that you are passionate about industrial design, some institutions may still consider your application.

Some universities might require you to sit an entrance exam, where others may rely on previous exam results. Other universities might consider previous relevant work experience. If your first language is not English, it is likely that you will be required to provide evidence that your English language skills are to a high enough standard.


The entry requirements for a postgraduate degree in industrial design will depend on your institution of choice. They will also depend on what type of postgraduate degree you are applying for. Typically, you will be expected to have gained an undergraduate degree in industrial design, or a closely related subject.

You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their industrial design programmes.

  • UK – 6.0 IELTS, 2:2 or higher
  • US – 6.0 IELTS, 3.5 GPA

Funding Your Studies

Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they can vary greatly from institution to institution. Fees for postgraduate degree courses tend to be higher than undergraduate courses. Exact tuition fees are displayed on institution course pages.

You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This could be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section.

Career Options

Graduates of an industrial design degree will find that there are many career opportunities available to them. You will be able to pursue a career in a wide range of fields, both related and unrelated to industrial design. You could choose to work as an industrial designer, a CAD designer, or a product designer. Alternatively, you might wish to work as a design consultant, allowing you to be self-employed and have varied projects.

You will have gained a range of useful and transferable skills throughout your degree. These could include project management, problem solving, and effective communication.

Top Courses in Industrial Design

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