Master’s Programs

The Master of Industrial Design at RISD explores design as a vehicle for addressing social, cultural, environmental and other concerns, recognizing that design connects individual interests and values within a social framework. The program endorses the notion that the most valuable design opportunities today are those promoting the preservation of our environment and a better understanding of human behavior.

Two-year curriculum

During the first year of the two-year MID, projects help enhance and expand individual industrial design methodologies, both through direct practice and discussion. This helps to define your personal value system and working methodologies, and how you engage audiences in dialogue.

Throughout the curriculum, attention to history, theory and contemporary issues encourages dialogue with your peers as you develop your own perspective on design.

View the two-year curriculum

2.5-year curriculum

Students whose undergraduate degrees are in another field or who have limited design experience enter the program during Wintersession as a means of preparing to begin the two-year master’s program the following fall.

View the 2.5-year curriculum

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 20 graduate students in the MID program come from backgrounds outside 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 faculty who specialize in various areas of professional practice and show unparalleled dedication to teaching, mentoring and engaging students in real-world problem solving.

Learning environment

MID candidates work in the department's well equipped, six-floor building, sharing studio, shop and gallery spaces with approximately 200 undergraduate ID majors. As a grad student you are expected to demonstrate independence, motivation and competence in developing the physical and conceptual aspects of your work.

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 an annual graduate thesis exhibition of work by students graduating from RISD's advanced degree programs.