Industrial Design

Graduate

  • MID | two-year and two and a half-year programs

    The Master of Industrial Design program explores design as a vehicle for addressing social, cultural, environmental and other concerns, recognizing that design is not simply a professional service, but rather a way of connecting individual interests and values with a social framework. 

    Students with undergraduate degrees in other fields or with limited design experience are invited to enter the program during Wintersession as a means of preparing to begin the two-year master’s program the following fall.

    Visit the ID departmental website for more information about the application process and student experience.

  • Learning Outcomes

    Graduates of the two-year program are prepared to:  

    • predict the impact of their design approach

    • adeptly frame problems and solutions

    • apply rapid modeling and prototyping skills

    • develop and refine personal design methods and research approaches  

    In addition, graduates of the two and a half-year program are prepared to:    

    • extend their understanding of the Industrial Design discipline to practical design problems

    • effectively bring their previous experience to their design practice  

  • Inspiring Community

    Many of the approximately 50 graduate students in the MID program come from backgrounds beyond ID, including architecture, engineering, fine arts, graphic design, anthropology, marketing and more. But they share an interest in critical thinking and making, along with the curiosity and drive to pursue graduate-level research and production. Graduate students work closely with an accomplished team of faculty members that specializes in various areas of professional practice and shows unparalleled dedication to teaching, mentoring and engaging students in real-world problem solving.

  • Learning Environment

    MID candidates are expected to demonstrate a high level of independence, motivation and competence in developing the physical and ideological aspects of their work. They primarily work in the department’s well-equipped space on the second floor of RISD’s Center for Integrative Technologies (CIT), a building downtown designed to facilitate dialogue among graduate students in ID, Interior Architecture, Digital + Media and Graphic Design. In addition, ID grad students take classes, engage with undergraduates in the department and work in the Metal, Model and Wood shops in the ID building at 161 South Main Street. 

     

  • Andy Law | associate professor + graduate program director

    “Graduate candidates in ID don’t necessarily need an undergraduate degree in the field, but they do need strong visual communication skills. For those without an ID background, learning CAD, drawing and model making can be beneficial, and taking a general product design course can provide insight into the design process. Materials-based courses in a medium such as metal, glass, textiles, ceramics or wood also provide a good basis for work in ID.”

     

  • Curriculum

    Projects during the first year help enhance and expand individual industrial design methodologies, both through direct practice and discussions regarding case studies and product history. This helps to define personal value systems, working methodologies and the means of effectively engaging audiences in dialogue. The study of history and theory is also fundamental to the program and series of seminars on relevant contemporary issues encourages dialogue among students as they develop their own perspectives on design.

    2-year MID first year

    • Fall
    • Graduate ID Studio I
    • Graduate ID Seminar I
    • Graduate shop orientation
    • Open elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Graduate ID Studio II
    • Graduate ID Seminar II
     

    2-year MID second year

    • Fall
    • Graduate Thesis Research
    • Graduate Thesis Writing
    • Elective Seminar
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Graduate ID Thesis
    • Open elective
     

    2.5-year MID first year

    • Wintersession
    • Intro to Industrial Design
    • Spring
    • Advanced ID Studio
    • Manufacturing Techniques
    • History of Industrial Design
    • ID Studio elective
     

    2.5-year MID second year

    • Fall
    • Graduate ID Studio I
    • Graduate ID Seminar I
    • Graduate shop orientation
    • Open elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Graduate ID Studio II
    • Graduate ID Seminar II 
     

    2.5-year MID third year

    • Fall
    • Graduate Thesis Research
    • Graduate Thesis Writing
    • Elective Seminar
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Graduate ID Thesis
    • Open elective
     

  • Thesis Project

    Thesis topics cover a broad range of fields, from product and furniture explorations to design for aerospace and medical applications. Graduate students work independently under the guidance of a faculty advisor and thesis committee, and present their final work verbally, visually and in writing. They also participate in the RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition, a large-scale public show held annually.

  • Application Requirements

    1. Application form + fee
    2. Academic transcripts
    3. Letters of recommendation (3)
    4. Portfolio of work 
    5. Statement of purpose
    6. TOEFL scores (for non-native English speakers)
      • The faculty selection committee in Industrial Design looks for evidence of the ability and preparedness to undertake graduate-level work. Portfolios should be professionally presented using the highest quality representation of work showing the breadth and depth of your design and creative thinking capabilities.
      • For more information or to begin the application process, visit the Apply page.