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Department of Design


The Department of Design offers four degree programs, a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design (BS), a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design (BFA), and a Bachelor of Arts in Design (BA), and the Master of Arts in Human Experience Design Interactions (MA_HXDI). The faculty believe that an appropriate education for the professional designer must include a comprehensive body of technical knowledge involving historical sources, tools, techniques, and materials. In addition, a methodology for encouraging the creative problem solving process; and the attainment of the requisite level of skill to express visual ideas with clarity must be obtained. While being fully equipped to meet the objectives of the global marketplace, today’s designer must also achieve sufficient educational breadth to adapt successfully to the varying demands imposed on their work by economic, social and psychological factors. A competitive portfolio review is held each year to identify students whose work has reached a level of competence necessary to advance to junior and senior-level courses in Industrial Design and Interior Design. After passing portfolio requirements, selected students are officially admitted to the BS and BFA programs. The BA program is open to all students.

The Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design is comprised of 120 semester units. The program prepares designers for professional practice, whose function will be to help shape the products and systems produced by industrial processes. The curriculum includes studies in rapid visualization, aesthetics, materials and processes, presentation techniques, design methodology, product development, human factors, product costing, and financing principles. Students often have an opportunity to work directly with industry professionals through internships or as team members on sponsored projects. Participating companies have included Oakley, Xerox, Unisys, General Electric, Hewlett Packard, NCR, Apple, Chrysler, General Motors, Hitachi, Toyota, Kawasaki, InFocus, Compaq and Nike. Graduates have found positions in a wide variety of industries, including motion picture special effects, medical and dental equipment, computer and microchip technology, small appliances, as well as air, water and land transportation.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design is comprised of 132 semester units. The program provides a framework within which students can fully immerse themselves in a critical examination of the social, cultural, and environmental awareness while giving visual form to their investigations. The program has an international reputation, attracting undergraduate students from around the world. It supports opportunities for employment in the professional practice of interior design and helps to prepare those who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree. A diverse curriculum of lecture and studio courses develops a student's cognitive ability to analyze design challenges of a complex nature. Issues of graphic communication, project analysis, programming, space planning, design and selection of interior components are presented in a logical sequence. Instruction emphasizes the three-dimensional possibilities of sculpting interior space from conceptual ideas. Courses consist of lectures, demonstrations, and critiques of works-in-progress. Professional designers and educators from outside the department visit regularly to lecture and review student projects.

The Bachelor of Arts in Design is comprised of 120 semester units and structured for students who seek a broad understanding and application of design with an opportunity to select a specific area of interest. The purpose of this degree is to provide a forward-thinking liberal arts degree where students will take a variety of core courses in design theory, art and design history, lighting design, display and exhibition design, interior design, graphic design, industrial design, and furniture design. In addition to receiving a foundation through the core courses, the curriculum enables students to focus in one of these areas: lighting design, furniture design, rendering and modeling, display and exhibition, or design history. The degree is advantageous to design students who would like a degree in an alternative design area, or who wish to pursue study in a graduate program.

Beginning in the Fall 2023 Semester, the Master of Arts in Human Experience Design Interactions (MA_HXDI) is STEM designated. The MA_HXDI program is currently ranked #6 Best Master's in Human Computer Interaction by College Rank. Comprised of 33 semester units, the program prepares students and/or returning professionals from diverse undergraduate backgrounds for advanced multidisciplinary design work in careers of their choice. Through the MA_HXDI program, students will develop expertise in the tools and methods of experience design as a strategy for making and adding value to systems, products, spaces, and services. Through a diverse faculty and collaborations with leading organizations, students will use cutting-edge technology tools while developing novel solutions to complex challenges. These tools provide both the quantitative data to support the qualitative research of human-centered design, as well as the digital interactions of contemporary human communication and experience. This ‘theory plus practice’ approach prepares students to smoothly transition into the broad spectrum of professional design roles, from design research to interaction design. Through research labs in the department of design, students have the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary research, independently and through collaborations with business, government, education, entertainment, health care, and technology organizations. These collaborations provide students with highly sought after knowledge and skills for advanced design work.

The department’s academic facilities provide dedicated and controlled access semi-private studio workspaces. These studios are available twenty-four hours a day to all students who have passed portfolio review in the industrial and interior design programs. Each studio workspace provides Ethernet and wireless access to the Internet through the university server. In addition, several dedicated studios and design laboratories are provided for student use. These facilities include: two Computer Labs, a Multimedia Lab (with large format printing capabilities), a Metal/Plastic and Wood Shop, and three Materials Resource Libraries. The facilities also house a Rapid Prototyping machine (RP) and a Computer Numerical Control machine (CNC), for generating precise models.