About Product Design

Product design students working on projects in the studio together

Product design, also referred to as industrial design, is an inherently creative and interdisciplinary field that explores methods and tools for creating innovative objects, systems, and services. Successful product/industrial designers are skilled at uncovering opportunities, generating creative ideas, rapidly visualizing ideas, building physical and digital prototypes to test concepts, and strategically presenting concepts.

Degree Options

Product design coursework is hands-on and project-based. Classes are a blend of lectures and studios, where you will immediately apply your learning to test ideas and develop prototypes using the College of Design’s fabrication resources. The program is a "community of practice," meaning industry representatives are actively involved in the classroom and work directly with students on projects. Industry collaboration and sponsorship provides opportunities for real-world learning, portfolio building, and networking.

Product design students putting together chairs for chair design challenge
What Students Say

“Product design let me combine my passions for design, engineering, and business. I’m so thankful to have this unique, interdisciplinary curriculum and, more importantly, to be part of a tight-knit community of inspiring designers and like-minded thinkers. This program has taught me how fulfilling it is to be truly passionate and curious about my education.”

—Roohi Katarya (BS, Product Design)


Career Possibilities
Research and Creative Scholarship

Our faculty members actively conduct research on topics that range from food and toy design, to consumer perception, immersive environments, and more. Each professor and instructor brings their unique interests to the classroom, giving you a taste of the varied areas of product design research. Through research collaborations, studios, internships, and our fabrication facilities, you will have many opportunities to explore the field of product/industrial design as both an academic discipline and industry powerhouse.

Product Design & Industrial Design in the Twin Cities

Industry connections and community

At the University of Minnesota, collaborations between industry and academia are common due to the Twin Cities’ status as a major design center in the United States. Home to companies like Target, 3M, General Mills, Best Buy, Boston Scientific, Stratasys, and Medtronic, we are a global leader in medical, food, and agriculture products, as well as 3D printing, product marketing, and themed play structures.

With such a strong and varied business landscape, the Twin Cities has a consistently high demand for talented, well-educated industrial designers. The thriving design community also provides abundant opportunities, such as internships at local small-scale and large firms and ongoing mentoring relationships with alumni and industry, both inside and outside the classroom.

Meet Our Faculty and Staff

Our faculty members actively conduct research on topics that range from food and toy design, to consumer perception, immersive environments, and more.

A group of product design students and a faculty member working on a toy product design prototype