Industrial Design

B.S. in Design

Why study Industrial Design?

Industrial design is concerned with the appearance and usefulness of manufactured goods. Industrial designers work on a wide array of products, from cars to shoes to medical equipment to toys. Product design involves the synthesis of a variety of diverse requirements and values into a coherent creation. Among such requirements and values are functional suitability, aesthetics, technical performance, economic resources and constraints, social and cultural issues, environmental concerns and human comfort.

In UC's industrial design program, students learn to emphasize the humanistic qualities of products of mass production with special consideration for comfort, safety and visual satisfaction which they may bring to the users. In a curriculum balanced between academic and studio requirements, students are able to develop creativity, visual communication skills, hands-on experience with technology, and the ability to conduct design research in interdisciplinary collaboration. The program promotes critical thinking and innovative solutions for the future through strategic research with an emphasis and understanding of global impact, sustainability and collaborative partnerships. Industrial design students apply the highest standards of conceptual sophistication, aesthetics and craftsmanship at every level of study.

In the third year, students choose to focus on product design or transportation design.

Admission Requirements

Admission criteria for industrial design varies based on the relative strength of test scores, class rank and GPA. Portfolios are not a component of the admission application. All applicants meeting the above criteria and the priority deadline will be notified of admission decisions by February 1. Please do not call prior to this date regarding a decision on your application.

Freshman applicants, please visit the Admission Requirements  page for more information.

Applications received after December 1: Applicants who submit a complete application may be reviewed for admission on a space-available basis with notification after February 1. The academic credentials of the pool of applicants seeking admission to industrial design vary each year. Industrial design is a highly selective program and has a limited number of spaces available.

Freshmen applying to this program should also have completed the following college-preparatory subjects:

  • 4 units of English
  • 4 units of math
  • 3 units of science
  • 5 units of electives*

*Elective units must include one or any combination of foreign language, fine arts, business, career-technical education, family and consumer sciences, technology, agricultural education or additional core courses not otherwise required.

People who are successful in industrial design have visual and kinesthetic/tactile learning styles. Industrial designers must be intrigued by how things work, enjoy putting things together and not be intimidated by the need to generate alternate solutions to complex problems. Product design involves the synthesis of a variety of diverse requirements and values into a coherent creation. Among such requirements and values are functional suitability, aesthetics, technical performance, economic resources and constraints, social and cultural issues, environmental concerns and human comfort. They must be attentive listeners, possess strong communication skills and be comfortable interacting with many different types of people. Industrial designers must have excellent time- and project-management skills, and must understand business planning. They need to know how to create informative and persuasive proposals and maintain good client relationships.

Industrial designers are employed where products are planned for mass production. Since many goods are mass produced, there is a wide range of opportunities. Jobs have traditionally been divided into fields: (1) as a consultant or (2) on the design staff of a corporation.

Furniture, appliances, housewares, electronic equipment, tools, toys and packaging are considered consumer products and nearly always require industrial design services while being developed for manufacturing and marketing. Other items not meant for the consumer market such as machine tools, medical equipment, business machines and displays are also designed by industrial designers.

Transportation design includes automobiles, hybrid vehicles, semitrailer trucks, trains, airplanes, water craft, and transportation systems. Special consideration is given to the exterior aesthetic, interior environment, comfort, functionality, safety and customer needs. Transportation industrial designers manage the creation of new concepts through the design process, which includes concept proposal, 3-D development and production release.

Industrial design is not offered as a minor.

All prospective students interested in this program should visit the DAAP website to find more information or contact the DAAP Student Affairs office at 513-556-1390 or daap-admissions@uc.edu. All prospective students are encouraged to visit campus to learn more about their major(s) of interest. To register for a DAAP "College Close-Up" Visit and a "Preview UC" campus tour, please go here.

For more information on DAAP advising, please go here. Current DAAP students can schedule an appointment with their advisors by calling DAAP Student Affairs at 513-556-1376 or by using the Starfish scheduling tool on Blackboard (canopy.uc.edu).

  • The city of Cincinnati, once called the "Queen City of the West" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, provides an excellent array of cultural resources for students who intend to pursue a degree in the visual arts. It offers the energy and assets of a larger city, along with quiet neighborhoods steeped in rich traditions. Cincinnati offers live music venues that range from top-notch symphony and opera companies to a growing pop and rock community. Home to the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum and the Contemporary Arts Center, the city also enjoys the presence of numerous art galleries and a strong support system among practicing artists. Cincinnati is situated within driving distance of Chicago, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and New York City, allowing DAAP students to take advantage of the rich cultural resources of these cities as well.
  • UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) is one of the most comprehensive colleges of its type in the country. A collection of nationally respected design and art programs is housed in a unique and educationally stimulating architectural setting. Architecture students have opportunities to enroll in courses in a range of related disciplines and to participate in interdisciplinary studios or special projects.
  • Students learn creative and technical skills in the studio environment, taught by a passionate faculty who interact with their students on a daily basis. The goal is to guide students as they grow both intellectually and professionally.
  • Other educational opportunities include organized travel semesters, foreign study semesters and student exchange programs in England, Germany and Denmark. Many architecture students also pursue joint degrees and certificate programs within the college and the university.
  • The DAAP college library has an outstanding collection of books, periodicals and visual resources supporting architecture, planning, design, art history and related subjects. Access to library holdings is provided by an automated online catalogue, UCLID, which provides access to the University of Cincinnati Library information database, and through OhioLINK, the holdings of other academic libraries throughout Ohio.
  • The Computer Graphics Center is a state-of-the-art university facility with hardware that includes PCs, Apple computers and peripherals such as scanners, plotters and digital video-editing suites. Students have access to sophisticated graphics equipment and receive hands-on instruction to augment the use of laptops in the classroom. All computing equipment is linked by high-speed Ethernet to facilitate access across the campus.
  • The college supports a Rapid Prototyping Center, which is the home of state-of-the-art equipment that allows students to create communication aids for their design projects. Using CAD (computer-aided design) models, students are able to create physical models using three basic methods: 3-D printing, large format laser-cutting and CNC (computer numeric control) devices, including a Komo CNC Router. This facility is intended for all DAAP students to use in creating large-scale design.
  • Industrial design students work for both small design firms and large businesses across the country in the areas of product and transportation design. Students begin their co-op experiences in the second semester of their sophomore year and alternate semesters of full-time work and study on a year-round calendar until the final semester of the fifth year (there is no tuition for the semesters when students work). They graduate with five semesters, or a year and a half, of work experience in their field.
  • DAAP students learn creative and technical skills in the studio environment, taught by a passionate faculty who interact with their students on a daily basis. The goal is to guide students as they grow both intellectually and professionally. Faculty are innovative in transforming the art and design disciplines by applying the newest technologies. They inspire students to take advantage of interdisciplinary studio projects and work within corporate partnerships. This, along with a broad liberal arts background, prepares DAAP students to practice their art and design in both local and global markets.
  • Computer Requirements: All undergraduate students in this program are required to purchase a personal laptop computer. Each discipline has its own specific requirements for hardware and software. You can find more information about computer requirements here. Please note that these requirements may be slightly altered as equipment evolves. Therefore, students new to DAAP are encouraged to delay their computer purchase until the summer prior to entering to make the most informed computer purchase. Many of our programs have additional technology requirements for students in the later years of study.

All students accepted into the School of Design must take the first-year curriculum as outlined on the foundation studies curriculum guide. Industrial design students must complete a total of 126 credit hours for graduation. Students must also complete five semesters of mandatory professional practice (co-op) and receive a satisfactory (S) for all required work semesters. Students must obtain a minimum overall grade point average of 2.0. In order to be eligible for graduation with honors, a student must have completed 60 semester hours in the college and have earned at least a 3.6 grade point average.

Students seeking to transfer from another regionally accredited university or college must have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in previous college work to be considered for admission. For priority consideration, complete transfer applications should be received by March 1 for the following fall. If offered admission, transfer students from other architecture, art or design programs seeking advanced standing can submit a design portfolio to the DAAP Student Affairs Office for evaluation. The application is available here. Transfer students to the School of Design programs are generally admitted to the first year of the program. 

Students seeking to transfer from other colleges and programs at UC must have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in previous college work to be considered for admission. For priority consideration, complete transfer applications should be received by March 1 for the following fall. Transfer students to the School of Design programs generally are admitted to the first year of the program.

Current UC students wishing to transition into a DAAP program should submit an "Application for Change in College and Program" form to the DAAP Student Affairs Office in Room 5470 Aronoff. This form is available here or in the DAAP Student Affairs Office.

Current DAAP students wishing to transition into a different major must submit a "Change of Program" form to the DAAP Student Affairs Office in Room 5470 Aronoff. This form is available here or in the DAAP Student Affairs Office.

Unless an international student meets one of the exemptions listed here, he or she must complete the ACT, SAT, IELTS, TOEFL, or ELS.

Application Deadlines

High school applicants who submit a complete application by 5 pm EST on December 1 will be pooled and reviewed for selection. Consideration of the applicants' personal statements and co-curricular activities will be factored into the admissions decisions. Applicants who submit a complete application by 5 pm on December 1 will be notified of selection decisions by February 1. Please do not call prior to this date regarding a decision on your application. Applications received after December 1 may be considered on a space-available basis.

Students seeking to transfer from other colleges and programs at UC or another regionally accredited university or college should submit a complete application for admission by the priority deadline of March 1 for the following academic year.

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


All programs in UC's School of Design are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Contact Information

DAAP Student Affairs
College of DAAP, School of Design
P.O. Box 210016
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0016
(513) 556-3920
daap-admissions@uc.edu

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Program Code: 23BC-INDL-BSDES