Industrial Design Online

The School of Industrial Design is ideal for prospective students who are interested in a career in the design of cars, toys, modern furniture, or commercial products. Our students are trained by professional industrial designers who have shaped some of today's hottest products. Our faculty members come from the many award-winning Bay Area design studios, which offer internships year-round.

We place students in industry-leading firms and hire instructors who are practicing professionals and leaders in their respective fields. Our program exposes students and instructors to the design and business community by participating in and organizing events and workshops, and it provides students with the skills and techniques that enable them to excel in their  profession.

Online Degrees

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Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree

Students in our Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Industrial Design must first acquire fundamental skills and knowledge by taking courses in drawing, model-making, and digital media. They proceed to courses in design, where they are assigned to projects in which they apply critical thinking to identify and solve problems accordingly, utilizing the skills and knowledge acquired during previous semesters.

The BFA program emphasizes critical thinking, the identification and resolution of design problems, and the nurturing of creativity and innovation. Students are expected to achieve expertise in problem-solving processes. Final projects include a thorough analysis of the target market, concept development and refinement, aesthetic perspective, design finalization, and final presentation.

We strive to place our graduates in top firms and maintain a diverse and high profile advisory board with expertise in high technology, transportation, and furniture design. Our department works hard to increase exposure to the design and business community by participating in and sponsoring high-profile events and workshops.

Master of Arts (MA) Degree

The MA program provides professional study within focused fields of physical design. In addition to classroom and collaborative coursework, each student develops a professional portfolio that will be used to launch a career in Industrial Design.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree

Students in the Master of Fine Arts program in Industrial Design will achieve expert skills in industrial design research, digital technology, and problem solving. The program emphasizes the identification and resolution of social, economic, and technical design problems. Graduate studies courses hone the graduate student's mastery of industrial design research, materials and processes, developmental drawing, 3D model-making, and construction practices.

Graduate students will work on independent and group projects under technical and creative guidance of our prestigious faculty of professional industrial designers. Our studio courses develop the student's mastery of industrial design skill sets for accurate communication of visual ideas.

At their Midpoint Review, prior to the final year of study, students will propose a project for their thesis to a review committee. Upon the approval of the project, students then proceed through three semesters of directed study with faculty mentors and experts in industrial design or fields relevant to the student's project.

During the course of the thesis, students will be exposed to expertise in design research, aesthetics, technology, critical thinking, and communication. The final thesis must define a social or cultural benefit, address economic factors to define a successful path, and incorporate technical reference to demonstrate a viable conceptual basis for the thesis topic. Upon approval by the Final Review committee, students will have the opportunity to exhibit their projects.

Associate of Arts (AA) Degree

The AA degree is equivalent to the first two years of the BFA program, which introduces the candidates to the field of industrial design. Industrial design courses hone the student's mastery of industrial design materials, developmental drawing, 3D model-making and construction practices. The program emphasizes the identification and resolution of design problems and the nurturing of creativity and innovation.

The curriculum is geared toward the industry by teaching the skills that are in demand. The program assists students in finding internships that will further their skills as well as create competitive portfolios. Students achieve expertise in visual communication of their ideas, problem solving, and current technologies employed in business of industrial design. Final projects include a thorough analysis of design, concept, and aesthetic perspective.


Explore our course catalog and take classes based on your interests and schedule. Enhance your knowledge, learn a new skill, or try out a new form of art.

Online Class Demo

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Online Programs

We are the only university offering online BFA and MFA degrees in Industrial Design. With more than a decade of experience pioneering online curriculum and student support systems—including real-time support, peer and faculty forums, dedicated online support staff, and more—online education at the Academy offers unparalleled flexibility.
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Get to Know Us

Antonio Borja

Associate Director, School of Industrial Design

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