Product Design Major
What is Product Design at Drexel University?
Product design, also called industrial design, is a creative discipline concerned with the theory and design of physical products intended for manufacture and commercialization. Industrial designers work at the intersection of aesthetics, technology, brand development, business strategy, and social science to create innovative products and solutions.
Drexel Westphal’s nationally-ranked undergraduate Product Design major is a four-year program that prepares students to become intelligent designers in the industries of consumer electronics, housewares, furniture, fashion accessories, medical devices, toys, transportation and, now more than ever, their own startups.
Today’s world needs people who can bring meaningful ideas to life. With a curriculum that encourages experimentation, making, and learning, the Product Design undergraduate program believes that a design education is gained through the process of discovery. This education activates experiential learning and empowers the mind to make new connections, synthesize new meanings and create novel solutions to difficult problems. The Product Design program at Drexel lets students discover and follow their passions while offering a first-rate education that includes the co-op experience, study abroad, multidisciplinary collaboration and, ultimately, a chance to make a difference in the world.
In 2021, Drexel’s undergraduate Product Design major was recognized as a top industrial and product design program in the US by College Values Online, College Raptor, and Niche.
Experiential Learning in the Product Design program
The BS Product Design program at the Westphal College is enhanced by Drexel’s cooperative education experience (co-op). Product Design majors spend six months during their junior year in a full-time job in the industry, earning invaluable professional experience prior to graduation. Many Product Design students seek co-op employment at major companies or independent design firms in the Philadelphia region, while others find employment in New York, Los Angeles, or even abroad.
Product Design co-op students have worked as designers, studio assistants, production artists, curatorial assistants, and project engineers for such companies as:
- Urban Outfitters
- Williams-Sonoma Inc. – West Elm
- The Haas Brothers
The co-op experience is a requirement for graduation. Drexel’s Steinbright Career Development Center and Product Design faculty provide resources and assist in job placement, giving Product Design majors the advantage of industry experience when seeking employment after graduation.
What skills will you learn in an undergraduate Product Design program?
Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Product Design at Drexel learn through the process of making and discovery, mastering skills and proficiencies like:
- Design and visual studies fundamentals, such as drawing, color theory, photography, and graphic design
- User research
- Product analysis
- Model making
- Prototyping and testing
- Computer-aided design (CAD)
- Materials research
- Design thinking
- User experience/user interface design (UX/UI)
- Design software and fabrication equipment
Product Design students graduate with robust portfolios and hands-on experience that covers the entire development pipeline from concept to prototyping and execution, making their skills and experience transferable to numerous industries. The Drexel Product Design program prizes a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to design, equipping students with highly marketable soft competencies, such as:
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Communication, from public speaking to written and visual communication
- Flexibility and problem-solving
- Critical thinking
- Project management
Career Opportunities in Industrial Design
Every product on shelves, piece of furniture in showrooms, and piece of technology available today is the result of a rigorous research and design process. This means that thoughtful, inventive, and dedicated product designers are an essential part of nearly every global industry. From tech startups and toy manufacturers to medical research and sustainability solutions, product designers are integral team members.
Through the rigorous, hands-on studio curriculum and co-op employment experience, Drexel Product Design majors are prepared for dynamic, in-demand creative careers, such as:
- Industrial Designer
- Electronics Designer
- Medical Device Designer
- Design Researcher
- Furniture Designer
- Transportation Designer
- Environmental Designer
- User Experience/User Interface (UX/UI) Designer
- Project Manager
Product Design facilities and equipment
Drexel’s Bachelor of Science in Product Design is housed in the URBN Center, the creative hub for Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. Product Design majors have access to labs, shops, and cutting-edge equipment with which to prototype and execute their projects. A dynamic space built for transdisciplinary collaboration, URBN is home to the Hybrid Making Lab. This College-wide, multi-disciplinary resource is equipped with 3D printers, universal laser cutters, and large- and small-scale fabrication tools. Westphal College also manages a woodshop, printmaking studio, numerous digital media and computer labs, and individual studio workspace for Product Design students.
To schedule a tour of the URBN Center and explore Product Design facilities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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