Patti & Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art, and PerformanceDepartment of Art and DesignCollege of Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Program

The industrial design major is a professional program which awards a BFA and an MFA Degree with intensive course work to prepare students for professional design positions. Purdue is unique in that it combines the professional degree with a liberal arts education preparing students for strong leadership roles as industrial designers. An emphasis of this program is to give forms to manufactured goods. Students graduate with the ability to be innovative problem solvers and create aesthetically appropriate forms that can be manufactured by industry.  

Freshman & Sophomore Years

Building up the skills of multi-dimensional design representation, development, dissemination, and application is a sequential process. The first year is focused on learning basic design skills through a series of design problems that the student must solve. These abstract problems focus the students’ attention on traditional visual form and shape development; additionally they learn both by hand and computer skills.

The second year includes courses and projects that emphasize on learning to give form to products within a variety of manufacturing techniques. Students gain hand-on experiences in the shop with professional guidance. They design projects such as candy trays, wooden cooking utensils, and salt shakers to explore forms, understand materials, and practice hands. Then they start to solve problems in three-dimensional design, incorporating different materials, going through production processes, and applying the most recent technology. They also practice virtually with the computer and rapid prototyping.

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Junior & Senior Years

Once students complete the passage into the upper-level Industrial Design program, students are introduced to a variety of corporate sponsored projects as well as design competitions. In these projects, students must solve functional and technical requirements of the company along with aesthetic and psychological need/wants of the intended users. Some of our industry sponsored projects are naturally interdisciplinary and our students will collaborate with designers and engineers from other majors to achieve the goal. 

The senior year is a combination of corporate sponsored projects, learning design leadership skills, and a personally selected thesis project. Students also apply research methodologies, introduced the year before, into their design projects. When students have developed to a more advanced level, we start to introduce basic knowledge of business practices and their relationships. 

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Undergraduate Plan of Study

Graduate Plan of Study

Undergraduate Admissions

AD Graduate Admissions

Pao Hall - Award Winning Arts Facility


Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts
Purdue University
552 W. Wood Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907
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Phone: (765) 494.8662
Fax: (765) 496.2076

AD Director of Graduate Studies

Academic Advising
Web Site: [click here]
Advisors Directory: [click here]
(765) 494.3670
(765) 496.1910 (FAX)

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The Industrial Design program at Purdue University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

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"Being ranked in the top 100 reaffirms that a Purdue degree represents a world-class educational experience."

Victor Lechtenberg
Purdue's Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

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