Industrial Design

The industrial design major is a professional program with intensive course work to prepare students for professional design positions.  Purdue is unique in that is combines the professional degree with a liberal arts education.  This combination prepares students for strong leadership roles as industrial designers.  The major is a four-year degree with an emphasis in form giving for manufactured goods.  Students’ graduate with the ability to be innovative problem solvers and create aesthetically appropriate forms that can be manufactured by industry. 

Points of Pride

  • Industrial design is housed in the new Visual and Performing Arts Building, a state-of-the-art facility built specifically for the visual and performing arts at Purdue. The building includes a computer lab built specifically for the industrial design program, complete with a three-dimensional printer.
  • Purdue has a student chapter of Industrial Designers Society of America.
  • The industrial design program was ranked nationally by DesignIntelligence: The Almanac of Architecture and Design.
  • Courses in portfolio preparation and presentation techniques also guide students as they prepare to begin their professional careers.
  • Purdue industrial design students and faculty have been recognized both nationally and internationally in design competitions. 

Special note regarding portfolio review - An art portfolio is not required to begin this major. However, students are required to pass a selective portfolio review in the spring of their sophomore year to advance to upper level design and complete this major. Selection is competitive and is based on the student’s work in Purdue art and design courses and development as a designer. Students not selected for upper level Industrial Design work with their academic advisor to change to their second choice major.


As part of the design team, industrial designers work closely with marketing, merchandising, graphics, R&D, and engineering on new product development from concept to product release. They create sketches, renderings, and models of new concepts both on software and by hand; communicate with vendors and internal staff; present concepts to design, engineering, and marketing groups; and research new materials, products, and innovations in other industries.

Upon graduation, Purdue students have worked for major corporations including: Nike, Hasbro, International Trucks, Whirlpool, Delta Faucet, General Electric, Sears, and Microsoft, to name a few.  Graduates have also worked for Industrial Design consultancies such as Teams, IDEO, Insight, Worrell Design, Ziba Design, and BMW Designworks.

Plan of Study

A. Art & Design Core (12)

AD 10500 Design I
AD 10600 Design II
AD 11300 Basic Drawing (Aesthetic Awareness)
AD 22700 History of Art Since 1400

B. Industrial Design Core (36)

AD 14600 Design Drawing I (S)
AD 21500 Materials and Processes (F)
AD 23500 Materials and Processes II (S)
AD 24600 Design Drawing II (F)
AD 25600 Presentation Techniques (S)
AD 30500 Industrial Design I (F)
AD 30600 Industrial Design II (S)
AD 31500 Design Methodology (F)
AD 31600 Seminar on Industrial Design I (S)
AD 40500 Industrial Design III (F)
AD 40600 Industrial Design IV (S)
AD 41500 Professional Techniques (F)

C. Industrial Design Supportive Requirements (21)

AD 23400 Art & Design Internship Preparation
AD 33400 New Media Culture OR AD 45400 Modern Architecture
AD 39500 History of Design II
AD 41600 Seminar on Industrial Design II
AD 47800 Internship in Art & Design
AD 53500 Furniture Design
CGT 11600 Geometric Modeling for Visualization & Comm OR CGT 16300 Graphical Comm & Spatial Analysis

D. Choose THREE from Industrial Design Selectives (9)

AD 11400 Drawing II
AD 11700 Photography I: BLK & WHT Process & Aesth
AD 20000 Beginning Painting
AD 20500 Design III
AD 20600 Studio in Visual Communications Design
AD 21300 Life Drawing
AD 22000 Computers in Art
AD 22800 Visual Comm. Design Computing I
AD 22900 Visual Comm. Design Computing II
AD 23300 Electronic Media Studio
AD 23600 Lighting Fundamentals of Photography
AD 24200 Ceramics I
AD 26200 Jewelry and Metalwork
AD 26500 Relief Printmaking
AD 26600 Silkscreen
AD 26700 Digital Media I: Photo & Digital Imaging
AD 27000 Digital Constructed Textiles
AD 32200 Computer Modeling & Animation
AD 34200 Ceramics II
AD 36200 Jewelry and Metal work II
AD 36800 Etching and Intaglio
AD 36900 Lithography
AD 37000 Woven Textiles
AD 40000 Advanced Painting
AD 40400 Moldmaking/Wheel Throwing Prod Tech
AD 41700 Variable Topics in ETB
AD 42600 Robotic Art
AD 44200 Ceramics III
AD 46200 Metalsmithing
AD 52200 Interaction Design Evaluation
AD 54200 Information Visualization Design
FNR 48400 Furniture Design for CN Manufacturing
MGMT 42300 New Product Development

** Mandatory portfolio reviews are required during the spring semester of the sophomore year. Students must pass this review in order to advance to the next level of Industrial Design courses.

Program Course Requirements (54-56 credits): (See PDF for full list here)

ONE of the following:

ENGL 10600 First Year Composition
ENGL 10800 Accelerated First Year Composition

COM 1140 Fundamentals of Speech Communication
Other Language (12) (Proficiency through level IV in one language)
West Heritage
United States Tradition
Other Cultures
Aesthetic Awareness
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Gender Issues
Social Ethics
Individual and Society
Global Perspective
Natural Sciences
Natural Sciences Lab

Electives (20-21 credits)

University Core Requirements

Courses selected above must meet the following University Core Requirements:

Human Cultures Humanities
Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
Information Literacy
Science Selective
Science Selective
Science Technology Society Selective
Written Communication
Oral Communication
Quantitative Reasoning

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Print Plan of Study

Industrial Design

Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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