Industrial Design

Undergraduate

  • BFA | 4-year program

    Progressively more challenging studio projects enable ID majors to build an awareness of materials and gain an in-depth understanding of visual and 3D vocabulary through hands-on work. Professors emphasize both the traditional values behind industrial design and current trends in the profession as students progress from creating developmental drawings, to three-dimensional mock-ups and models, to working drawings and prototypes that incorporate manufacturing considerations.   

  • Inspiring Community

    Approximately 285 undergraduates and 35 graduate students work together in a six-floor former manufacturing facility renovated to suit the department's needs. In sharing studio, shop and gallery spaces, students readily exchange ideas and learn from each other. Faculty with a broad range of professional experience and expertise fully engage with students - both in class and through informal conversations in the studio.

  • Learning Environment

    ID majors often engage in collaborative work, both with students and faculty in other departments and with off-campus partners at MIT's Sloan School of Management, Brown University, NASA and Massachusetts General Hospital, among others. Wintersession internships and sponsored studio projects backed by such corporations as Samsung, Kimberly Clark, Progressive, Timberland and others provide market-based design opportunities. In addition, ID students often work on sustainable projects for underserved populations in the US and countries such as Costa Rica and Argentina.

     

  • Curriculum

    The program begins sophomore year with skill-based exposure to both traditional and state-of-the-art techniques for visualization. Through the manipulation of wood, metal, paper and plastic, students begin to understand the unique properties of these materials and the design possibilities inherent in them. 

    Junior year builds on the skills learned the first year by encouraging students to focus on projects dealing with technology as it applies to products, form and human factors, mechanics and movement, and more. 

    During senior year, students take advanced design studios, learn more about legal and business practices in the profession and undertake projects that emphasize innovation and the ability to refine formal design issues.

    Foundation Studies

    • Fall
    • Drawing I
    • Design I
    • Spatial Dynamics I
    • Liberal Arts courses
    • Wintersession
    • Non-major studio elective
    • Spring
    • Drawing II
    • Design II
    • Spatial Dynamics II
    • Liberal Arts courses
     

    Sophomore

    • Fall
    • Wood I
    • Metal I
    • Design Principles I
    • Liberal Arts elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Design Principles II
    • History of Industrial Design
    • Designing with SolidWorks
    • Liberal Arts elective
     

    Junior

    • Fall
    • Metal II or Wood II
    • Special Topic Studios
    • Manufacturing Techniques
    • Liberal Arts elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Advanced Design: Studio
    • Open elective
    • Liberal Arts elective
     

    Senior

    • Fall
    • Advanced Design: Studio
    • Designing with Rhino
    • Open elective
    • Liberal Arts elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Advanced Design: Studio
    • Open elective
    • Liberal Arts elective
     

  • Application Requirements

    1. application form + fee
    2. official academic transcripts
    3. test scores: SAT or ACT and TOEFL or IELTS if English is not your first language
    4. portfolio of work 12–20 examples
    5. drawings 2 RISD-assigned samples
    6. writing samples 2 RISD-assigned pieces
    7. optional: letters of recommendation 1–3 suggested

    All freshman applicants apply to RISD as opposed to a specific department and begin with a required year of Foundation Studies. Students select a major midway through the first year but don’t begin those programs until sophomore year.

    For more information or to begin the application process, visit the Apply page.