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Industrial Design

Professor and students with 3D printer

Our industrial design specialization is a unique blend of art and science. In this program you will receive the training and skills to design and develop innovative products that improve the lives of people in a changing, global society.

With a focus on real world design, faculty and students have collaborated on everything from interior graphics to package delivery systems, headphone packaging and athletic shoe concepts.

Industrial design students are encouraged to take courses in the communication design specialization. This powerful dual-specialization approach affords our graduates enhanced career options, offers employers greater value and taps into the widening trend of design being a strategic force for global companies of all types and sizes.

Program Information

The industrial design curriculum offers a blend of interdisciplinary study and focused coursework. The professional program offers a flexible structure designed to meet your individual needs.

Students enrolled in the industrial design curriculum must complete a portfolio assessment after completing their foundation courses and first semester industrial design coursework: AD213 ID Material & Processes and AD223 Rendering and Graphics.

It is recommended that students enrolled in the industrial design specialization purchase the required computer hardware and software as soon as possible. All students must have the required computer hardware and software for the 300- and 400-level industrial design courses.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Industrial Design)

The undergraduate major can be accomplished by fulfilling the requirements for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree.

  • Total Degree Requirements: 120 credit hours
  • University Core Curriculum: 39 credit hours
  • Foundation Requirements: 9 credit hours
  • Major Requirements: 55 credit hours
  • Art and Design or Cognate Electives: 17 credit hours

Compass IconCheck out the undergraduate Curricular Guide which helps you outline what courses you would want to take each semester for all four years. View all related undergraduate courses.

Master of Fine Arts (Design)

The Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in Design prepares students in the fundamentals of design research, project management, and client-based interdisciplinary design collaborations. This program will afford M.F.A. candidates with opportunities to work collaboratively with undergraduate art and design students, design faculty, and corporate sponsors in applying two and three dimensional design process theory, methods, tools, and skills in a team setting aimed at using design as an innovation change agent.

Special Equipment

Our students have access to a variety of equipment and workspaces to learn, create, and collaborate. We believe hands-on experience is the best way for you to grow as an artist and designer.

SIU students in industrial design classroom

  • Large-format scanning and printing capabilities
  • 3D printers and other rapid prototyping equipment
  • Laser and vinyl cutters
  • Wacom Cintiq Interactive Pen Displays
  • Interactive Smartboard and web conference capabilities
  • VR/AR/MR hardware for prototyping and design
  • Micro CNC and Vacuum Former
Dr. Tao with students

Contact Information

Aaron Scott
Design Area Head
Pulliam Design Wing 62
555 Clocktower Drive
Carbondale, IL 62901
Phone: 618-453-7503

Karen Wolf
Academic Adviser
Communications Building 1121G
1100 Lincoln Dr
Carbondale, IL 62901
Phone: 618-453-6751


Graduates of our industrial design program are prepared for a wide variety of careers, ranging from product designer to art director.

Our strong connection with industry partners and alumni gives you many opportunities as you launch into your professional life.

Common careers include:

  • 3D CAD Modeler and prototyper
  • Creative director
  • Design director
  • Digital imaging specialist
  • Footwear designer
  • Furniture designer
  • Industrial Design engineer
  • Industrial design researcher
  • Industrial designer 
  • Interactive graphic designer
  • Package and Point of Purchase designer
  • Product designer
  • Research Engineer
  • Service Designer
  • Softgoods Designer
  • Toy Designer
  • User Experience designer

Student Organizations (RSOs)

In addition to dynamic academic settings, you'll also find opportunities to gain experience and grow your network through our many student organizations.

The SIU Industrial Designers Society of America, (IDSA) student chapter works to provide students with exposure to professionals in industrial design. They hold seminars to help you increase your skills, visit design firms, and attend conferences to interact with other students and design professionals.

Our student group of AIGA, the Professional Association for Design, offers students a platform to show their commitment to the profession of design, develop leadership skills, and get involved with the professional design community.

Projects & Competition

In this program, students don't work in hypothetical situations; they actually interact with real clients. Under the direction of distinguished faculty, our design students join forces with community and corporate partners to design a variety of projects.

This field experience doesn't just prepare students for future work; it also launches robust portfolios that stand out from the crowd. From presenting original work at conferences to competing in prestigious design contests, graduates emerge from our BFA program as confident professionals, already engaged in the industry dialogue.

You'll also find that same experience-driven support powering our current students' triumphant patent registrations, crowdfunded product campaigns, and more. In other words, our students are literally designing their own success stories — often before the ink on their diplomas is dry.

Space to create

Flexibility is fundamental to the creative process. That's why our students enjoy 24-hour access to facilities that prepare them for real-world, client-based work.

The Design Research Studio is the home of the Design program's client based collaborative design research projects. The 24,000-sq.ft. Pulliam Design Wing offers a large shop, photo room, gallery, lounge, studio, and subtractive-and-additive maker laboratory.


Beyond the vast award resources open to all SIU undergraduate students, many of our BFA students additionally receive financial support from our art-and-design-specific scholarships and fellowships. We offer academic scholarship opportunities for incoming students with exceptional ACT scores and/or ranking in top 10% of high school class, talent scholarships based on portfolio review, research scholarships to offset material costs, and much more.

Communication and industrial design students are also eligible to apply for the Professor Steven Belletire Design Scholarship, the Ronald W. Hari SIUC Design Scholarship, and the Innovation in Design Scholarship.