Master of Fine Arts in Industrial Design


Program Description


Form, function, and experience tell a story of considered design and the best possible outcome. The industrial design masters will enhance your career success by further developing your knowledge in the design process and technology. This project-based program allows you to explore design theory, design history, and human-centered design. You will conduct unique research on various topics of interest, which will further your understanding of the industry and society. As you conclude your studies, you will obtain hands-on experience in technical competence, analytical thought, sustainability, and transdisciplinary collaboration, all key to fueling your career.

The MFA in industrial design is for career enhancement or redirection. The educational experience is project-oriented, requiring research into design methods and technologies. Cross-disciplinary collaboratives provide an experiential dimension.

The first year of study includes seminar courses in design history and research, which are common to all graduate students in the School of Design. In addition, studio courses involve extensive design work with respect to sustainability, design process, the meaning of artifacts, and critical analysis. Additional course work using three-dimensional software for modeling and fabrication fills out the program.

In the second year, students conduct research and develop a thesis project, which is presented in a graduate thesis exhibition or presentation and is documented in a written thesis report.


  • Design
  • Consumer Packaged Goods
  • Manufacturing
  • Fashion

Typical Job Titles

  • Industrial Designer
  • Product Designer


Industrial design, MFA degree, typical course sequence

First Year

  • IDDE-701 Design Laboratory I
  • IDDE-703 Function of Form
  • IDDE-705 2D Ideation and Visualization
  • VCDE-701 Design History Seminar
  • IDDE-702 Design Laboratory II
  • IDDE-704 Form of Function
  • IDDE-706 Integrated Design Visualization
  • IDDE-711 Design Research and Proposal

Second Year

  • IDDE-790 Thesis: Research and Planning
  • IDDE-890 Thesis: Implementation and Evaluation
  • Free Electives
  • Art History Elective

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the MFA program in industrial design, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Submit a portfolio of work that demonstrates strong design skills, visual sophistication, and aesthetic awareness. (Refer to Graduate Portfolio Requirements for more information.)
  • Submit a personal statement of educational objectives detailing the professional goals the candidate wishes to achieve, and the attributes the candidate brings to graduate study.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources.
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 88 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.
Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

With more than 80 graduate programs in high-paying, in-demand fields and scholarships, assistantships and fellowships available, we invite you to take a closer look at RIT. Don't be fooled by the word ... Read More

With more than 80 graduate programs in high-paying, in-demand fields and scholarships, assistantships and fellowships available, we invite you to take a closer look at RIT. Don't be fooled by the word "technology" in our name. At RIT, you will discover a university of artists and designers on the one hand, and scientists, engineers, and business leaders on the other – a collision of the right brain and the left brain. Read less