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Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design

BS. IDS, Four-year Degree Program

program overview

The focus of the first year in the Foundation Program is involved with basic elements of design, addressed visually, conceptually, and haptically. Studies are undertaken in two and three dimensions using various materials and tools. Inquiries are focused on the process of design, discovering, through experiment, methods of working that develop aesthetic judgment and means of self-evaluation. All architecture, industrial design, interior design, and landscape architecture majors study together for the first year.

Beginning in the second year, studies focus on the profession of industrial design. As described by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA):

“Industrial Design (ID) is the professional service of creating and developing concepts and specifications that optimize the function, value and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer.

“Industrial designers develop these concepts and specifications through collection, analysis and synthesis of data guided by the special requirements of the users, client and manufacturer. They are trained to prepare clear and concise recommendations through drawings, models and verbal descriptions.

“Industrial design services are often provided within the context of cooperative working relationships with other members of a development group. Typical groups include management, marketing, engineering and manufacturing specialists. The industrial designer expresses concepts that embody all relevant design criteria determined by the group.

“The industrial designer’s unique contribution places emphasis on those aspects of the product or system that relate most directly to human characteristics, needs and interests. This contribution requires specialized understanding of visual, tactile, safety and convenience criteria, with concern for the user. Education and experience in anticipating psychological, physiological and sociological factors that influence and are perceived by the user are essential industrial design resources.”

The internationally recognized program at Virginia Tech, fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), prepares individuals to enter this dynamic field through a rigorous curriculum and an experienced, dedicated faculty.

Degree Requirements

Required Curriculum for Liberal Education (CLE) Courses

33 credits

  • Area I — Writing and Discourse: ENGL 1105-1106 Freshman English 6 credits
  • Area II — Ideas, Cultural Traditions, and Values — Humanities: ARCH 3115, 3116 History of Architecture or ART 2385, 2386 Survey of Western Art History 6 credits
  • Area III — Society and Human Behavior (Social Sciences) 6 credits
  • Area IV — Scientific Reasoning and Discovery (Lab Science) 6 credits
  • Area V — Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning: MATH 1535-1536 Geometry and Mathematics of Design 6 credits
  • Area VI — Creativity and Aesthetic Experience (satisfied by ARCH 1015)
  • Area VII — Critical Issues in a Global Context 3 credits

Required Professional Courses

79 credits

  • ARCH 1015, 1016 Foundation Design Laboratory (1st year) 12 credits
  • IDS 2015-2016 Industrial Design Lab II (2nd year) 11 credits
  • IDS 2065-2066 Design Visualization (2nd year) 4 credits
  • IDS 2044 Human Factors (2nd year) 3 credits
  • IDS 2304 Computer Aided Industrial Design (2nd year) 3 credits
  • IDS 2114 History/Theory Industrial Design (2nd year) 3 credits
  • IDS 2124 Hist/Theory of ID-Designers (2nd year) 3 credits
  • IDS 3015-3016 Industrial Design Lab III (3rd year) 12 credits
  • IDS 3124 Materials and Processes (3rd year) 3 credits
  • Topics in Industrial Design (IDS 3204 Professional Development, IDS 3224 Design Competencies, IDS 3234 Design Theory) 5 credits
  • IDS 3514 Design Research (3rd year) 3 credits
  • ARCH 3514 Design Related Media 3 credits
  • IDS 4015-4016 Industrial Design Lab IV (4th year) 12 credits
  • IDS 4044 Professional Practice & Entrepreneurship (4th year) 2 credits


12 credits

  • CLE Electives in Area II, III, or IV 3 credits
  • Professional Elective Courses (To be selected from an approved list of courses supplied by the School) 6 credits
  • Free Electives (Can be taken at any time allowed in the student’s program of study) 3 credits

Total required for B.S. in Industrial Design: 124 credits

degree checksheets

BS.IDS Checksheets


Virginia Tech Undergraduate Catalog

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