Industrial Design

Item 4

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree

The School of Industrial Design's MFA program provides advanced study within focused fields of physical design. In addition to classroom and collaborative coursework, each student works toward producing a final thesis project.

MFA Industrial Design Unit Requirements
Major 27 units
Directed Study 18 units
Graduate Liberal Arts 12 units
6 units
TOTAL 63 units
*Per director approval

MFA Industrial Design Degree Requirements

  • Successful completion of Final Thesis Project
  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA
  • Minimum grade of C in all required 63 units

Additional Information

MFA Program Learning Outcomes

Graduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

MFA Thesis Project

  • Present an original thesis concept worthy of the MFA degree
  • Demonstrate the feasibility of their thesis project
  • Explain the relevance of their project to their professional goals
  • Complete an approved body of work which represents an advanced level of achievement in their area of focus

Research & Analysis

  • Clearly define the problem/opportunity, hypothesis, main objectives, and product requirements in their project brief
  • Conduct adequate research and communicate findings using appropriate supporting materials

Visual Communication

  • Produce work that demonstrates proficiency in branding, graphics, drawing, rendering, 3D modeling, and model making

Design Process

  • Explore materials, color, form, manufacturing, ergonomics/human factors, and sustainability
  • Incorporate understanding of costs, bill of materials, and specifications into design planning process
  • Use innovative processes and design methodologies to develop conceptually strong projects (including brainstorming, mapping, sketches, and synthesis/testing of many ideas)
  • Explore secondary designs: packaging, engineering, user interface, and/or user experience

Presentation Skills

  • Give clear and concise professional presentations (verbal and visual)
  • Accurately present their ideas in writing

Professional Readiness

  • Produce a professional portfolio of work demonstrating their skills to a potential employer
  • Organize a final, stand-alone gallery exhibit of their completed thesis project

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.


Please see Degree Breakdown for requirements for the program. Explore our course catalog and take classes based on your interests, either online or in our world-class facilities in San Francisco.

Graduate Degree Breakdowns

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

The MFA degree provides advanced study for students pursuing a career in Industrial Design. Studio courses focus on the techniques necessary to develop and master technical skills. Graduate Liberal Arts courses promote the expression of ideas and effective communication utilizing visual, oral and written presentation skills. The program culminates with an independent final project. Students will graduate from the program equipped with a portfolio of work and prepared for professional opportunities in the field of Industrial Design.

Gainful Employment Information

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Mark Bolick

Graduate Director of Industrial Design

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