Graduate Industrial Design

Ultimately, design is about human beings, individually and collectively, supplying propulsion to idealistic, aesthetic, and practical ideas, and the passion of creating, understanding, and sharing the work we do.

Pratt’s Master’s program in Industrial Design (MID) is consistently ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report and DesignIntelligence. There are millions of people all over the world waiting for the enlightened and entrepreneurial participation of designers, waiting to hear the insights that come from our years of work and study—real interventions that can touch the lives of all citizens of the world via the language of design, showing what's possible in life. The Industrial Design Department at Pratt is united in a common, rigorous pursuit of creativity, explored through projects large and small, and translating ideas into a wide variety of forms, systems and structures.

A strong legacy feature of the MID is that it welcomes students without previous bachelors degrees in ID. These students not only come from related fields of architecture and interior design, but also from fine art, biology, economics, neuroscience, engineering and music. We choose an amazingly diverse group of students and encourage them to exploit their previous academic pursuits and experience, and they do so while gaining a solid understanding of current design thinking. Moreover, the field of industrial design has evolved tremendously to include areas of social media, branding, strategy and research in new ways. This is especially true in New York, where, paraphrasing the Center for an Urban Future, “students in design and architecture have become critical catalysts of innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth.” New national accreditation standards reflect this change, mandating that programs address design complexity, innovation, technology and relationships, all in a global context.

Clearly, recent MID graduates have succeeded according to these standards, opening new and interesting territory for their talents, incorporating their previous backgrounds and interests in their work, and entering the professional sphere with conviction, intelligence, and skill. Our current challenge is to build on this momentum, with advanced academic support and a global view in order to lead the field of industrial design to an even higher level of excellence.

The expertise of the MID faculty spans furniture, lighting, architecture, exhibition, products, graphics, tabletop, video, automotive, medical equipment, packaging, and surface design. While each faculty member within the program has his or her particular path, there is a growing understanding that, in the expanding design profession, disciplines often cross lines. As such, Industrial Design students and faculty share a common goal: to encourage individual growth to its highest potential. Pratt also maintains strong ties to industry through corporate-supported programs, bringing essential industry knowledge into the classroom. Internships in design consultancies and corporate offices are encouraged, and have proved to be valuable learning experiences that cannot be duplicated in a purely academic setting.

GID: The Global Innovation Design Track

Beginning in the 2013-2014 academic year, a select group of ID graduate students will be offered the option to spend their entire second year abroad for full credit: the fall semester at Keio University in Tokyo and spring semester at the Royal College of Art (RCA) and Imperial College London, as part of the new Global Innovation Design (GID) program. This groundbreaking international study partnership will also allow students from London and Tokyo to spend a semester at Pratt.

At Keio, studies will be devoted to media design and culture, utilizing the school’s advanced facilities, including prototyping and robotics. In London, the curriculum will focus on engineering and invention. The Pratt component will emphasize the core principles of industrial design. Pratt GID students then return to New York to complete their final two semesters of thesis work and required courses. In addition to their local studies, students at each location will collaborate globally on a large-scale project. By capitalizing on the expertise of each school and the distinct cultures of the three locations, the GID program will give students a rich academic program and unique perspective on global design and entrepreneurship that no single institution could conceivably provide.

For a more on GID, visit globalinnovationdesign.org.

The Program’s Structure

The Master of Industrial Design degree consists of 6-semester, 60-credit program for all students, regardless of previous background, to promote collegiality and cohesion in each incoming group of grad students. This cohesion is absolutely essential to a program that creates a learning environment where “learning from each other” and teamwork happen, and where the richness of the program is enhanced by a strong sense of community.

While our MID is admittedly a generalist, humanist scheme designed to support the varying skills and interests of the students, we recognize that professors and students alike need to be able to share and articulate the structure and content of the program. Therefore, we have clearly designated these 3 years of study as: 1st year “core” (design thinking, ideation, process, skills), 2nd year “research” (methodology, topics, sources, electives, pre-thesis), and 3rd year “thesis” (major individual project. In addition, and looking to integrate the future areas of expertise of grads, we have grouped courses in three general areas: “exploration” (studio, thesis, workshop), “technology” (digital, form, visualization, materials), and “context” (seminar, special projects, business, global scope) to give them the professional knowledge and skills, in historical, societal and global contexts, and business skills they will need to become successful design professionals.

The thesis provides the greatest possible freedom and opportunity for pursuit of a selected topic and is done under the direction of the faculty. Candidates are expected to demonstrate the full range of design skills and methodology in their thesis projects. Subjects range from consumer products and packaging to transportation and exhibition design, to the impact of emerging philosophies, materials, and technologies on our world cultures. Students register for six credits of thesis over one year, which culminates in a formal presentation of work accomplished.

All work for the degree must be completed within seven calendar years after initial registration as a graduate student.

We invite your to have a look at the Industrial Design Department's ID Viewbook, an annual overview celebrating end-of-term presentations and sharing the range of projects produced in the department, and some of the results of the hard work of amazing students and professors.

Industrial Design Events