College of Design
Cdes Current Students

Product Design: New Students

Information for New Product Design Students



Academic Information

Please be aware that some of the PDes courses required for your major and some of the PDes elective course options are not offered every term; they are designated on your four-year plan as fall term only or spring term only.

If you are transferring into the program having completed many or all of your liberal education requirements, you may be able to enroll at a reduced credit load in your third and/or fourth year of the program.

Be sure to use your four-year plan in conjunction with your APAS report to ensure timely graduation.  If you have any questions, your academic advisor is your best information source.  Click here to access a tutorial on how to read your APAS report.



Required Registration: Students transferring within the U of M system

You need to register for the following courses (if not already taken):

  • PDes 2701: Creative Design Methods (fall only)

  • PDes 2702: Concept Sketching

  • Phys 1101W: Introductory College Physics I   OR   Math 1271: Calculus

Other course options include (choose 1-2 more):

  • Anth 1003W: Understanding Cultures

  • Writ 1301: University Writing (if an equivalent first-year writing course has not yet been completed)

  • Liberal Education requirements not covered by the major and not previously completed  (see the Four-Year Plan)






Academic Advising

Allow approximately two weeks after you have received your admission email to be assigned to your academic advisor. Your advisor's name will appear on our APAS report. After you have been assigned to your academic advisor you can schedule an advising appointment.


Note: Advisors do not make their own appointments. To schedule an advising appointment, please call 612-626-3690 or stop by 107 Rapson Hall.


You are required to have an advising appointment with your CDes academic advisor within your first year in the program.





Portfolio Review

Portfolio review is a way to evaluate a student's design ability and knowledge of design concepts based on work from the foundation level courses. It assures that students have acquired an understanding of essential design knowledge and are prepared to move on to more advanced coursework. Portfolio review takes place during spring term, typically the student's second term in the pre-product design program.  

Learn more about portfolio review.




Study Abroad

We highly encourage students to consider spending a semester abroad in the spring of their junior year or participating in a shorter program during any summer, winter break, or spring break. Exposure to other cultures is a critical component of every product design student's education.


Students interested in a study abroad experience should work closely with their academic advisor and the U of M Learning Abroad Center to learn about their options and outline their course of study. Careful program and course planning will help you stay on track for timely graduation.





Student Groups and Professional Organizations

Consider joining a CDes or U of M student organization. Popular options for product design students include:







Product Design is a demanding major. It requires a serious time commitment for success. Although we recognize that many students need to work to finance their undergraduate education, the product design faculty strongly recommend that you work no more than 10 hours per week. Maintaining a high GPA is critical for acceptance to a graduate or professional program.



Contact Information

College of Design

Saint Paul Offices

32 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108

P: 612-626-9068 | F: 612-625-1922

[directions and maps]

Minneapolis Offices

101 Rapson Hall, 89 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-626-9068 | F: 612-625-7525

[directions and maps]

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