Select Page

PD Program of Study

Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (BFA) in Product Design

Click on any course to read its description

FYE: FIRST-YEAR EXPERIENCE  
Required Major Courses: Fall credits
FYE100: Systems of Drawing
Drawing is a primary strategy for creative activities in art, language, communications, engineering and design. In this course, students are introduced to various forms of knowing through seeing and drawing. Different drawing systems are investigated both in the field and classroom, and are aligned with areas of study of creative practice today. Each drawing system will be explored as both a foundational skill set and a tactical approach to success in later creative endeavors.
3.0
FYE110: Visual Language
This course is an introduction to composition and color theory. Students will learn and apply the elements and principles of art and design in a variety of assignments through a variety of traditional and digital tools and media. All assignments will focus on how ideation techniques are fundamental to creative problem solving. Students will gain a clear understanding of how 2D elements and compositional theory are employed to create clear and effective visual communication, aid personal expression, and help comprise a personal aesthetic. Students will learn to identify how 2D fundamentals are employed in contemporary, professional, and historical work.
3.0
FYE130: Fabrication
The focus of this course will be form, light, and content. Students will learn to imbue three-dimensional form with meaning and also investigate how light can affect perceptions of form and space. Research strategies, fabrication, and digital and material techniques are advanced through hands-on experiments, projects, and in-depth discussion. Students receive an orientation to MIAD’s 3-D Lab and Open Lab.
3.0
FYE150: Digital 2D
In Digital 2D, students are introduced to image/content creation, manipulation, editing, and management through Adobe Suite programs. Students will learn proper file management and workflow techniques, along with proper digital documentation and presentation of work. Students will also employ digital terminology across a wide range of disciplines and practices while also recognizing the cultural implications of digital creation, appropriation, and distribution. By the end of the course, students will have built a solid foundation of digital knowledge and skills that will benefit them as visual creators and communicators.
3.0
Required Major Courses: Spring  
FYE199: Introduction to Advanced Study
Introduction to Advanced Study offers a unique and broad-based exposure in advanced-level art and design disciplines offered at MIAD. The philosophy behind Introduction to Advanced Study is to invite students to explore problem solving and ways of working within the majors. Students will be actively engaged in making as a mode of inquiry and will gain experience in both the conceptual basis for the disciplines as well as the practical processes of the disciplines studied. Faculty will offer a variety of course structures and themes.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): FYE100, FYE110 & FYE130

3.0
FYE121: Research, Process and Connection
Research, Process and Connection is a theme-based introductory course in which students conduct research and engage in a creative process that leads to a body of visual work. Each section of RPC is devoted to a particular idea, process, or approach. Students will develop concepts, translate ideas, and apply methods as they make their work. Students will explore their work and thinking within a historical, cultural, and personal context. This will be reinforced through critical dialogue during stages of ideation, production, completion, and evaluation.
At the end of the semester, students are required to present their final research in a digital presentation. These presentations should demonstrate visual evidence of work completed throughout the semester as well as the ability to analyze their progress and learning in a public format.
3.0
FYE151: Digital 4D
Digital 4D considers how image, text and sound unfold over time and across various distribution models. Students will learn and reinforce proper file management and workflow techniques, along with proper digital documentation and presentation of work. Students are introduced to video editing, basic animation, and audio tools, they will gain experience in using a variety of software and hardware, while considering their role as cultural producers. Motion graphics and the onscreen image-as-experience will be introduced. By the end of this course, through a series of projects, students will have completed a self-determined final project that incorporates a design or fine arts focus, and demonstrates an understanding of basic 4D principles.
3.0
Liberal Studies: FYE  
WRTG120: Processes of Inquiry
The first-year writing seminar will emphasize the significance of inquiry. Students will experience writing as an intellectual, creative and meaning-making act. Practicing writing as inquiry will enable students to learn the skills, strategies, and conceptual frameworks that will transfer to every new learning context and situation. The course serves as a writing-based first year seminar in which students integrate their learning across all of their courses.
3.0
ARTH151: Intro to the Practice of Art & Design History
In this course, students will explore key works and moments of art and design across culture and time, while learning proper terminology and methodology for analyzing visual images, objects, and structures within the study of the discipline. Students will contextualize and interpret works recognizing that different interpretive frameworks can be used to analyze works of art and design. As a broad approach to the discipline, the course encourages inquiry, critical evaluation, and curiosity about the richness of art and design history. Students will acquire the analytical skills to navigate, translate, diagram, and express the complexities of visual culture and production.
3.0
HUMT121: Intro to Humanities
Humanities is the study of what it means to be human through cultural inquiry and analysis. In this introductory course, students explore texts, artifacts, and situations to broaden their perspective and understanding of the human condition. Frames of inquiry will be influenced by history, culture, economics, political power and other social circumstances. The course takes an intersectional approach to analysis, examining the interconnected nature of societal categories such as race, class, and gender. In this class, research and dialogue are the fundamental modes of learning.
3.0
Students complete 15 credits each semester first year to complete degree requirements in four years  
SOPHOMORE  
Required Major Courses: Fall credits
PD240: Fabrication for Design Concepts

Fabrication for Design Concepts introduces students to hands-on fabrication methods for different materials and problem-solving challenges. Students learn how manual and digital fabrication skills, when combined with good craft, accelerate the understanding of form, function and aesthetics.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): F130 & F113/F115

3.0
PD250: Design for Human Interface

Design for Human Interface examines design challenges presented by different users. The course highlights the power of design in society and the responsibility of the designer to their client.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): F130 & F113/F115

3.0
PD252: Design Visualization & 3D CAD Modeling

Design Visualization and 3D CAD Modeling introduces students to a variety of manual visualization and digital design documentation skills required to develop ideas, communicate them to others and document designs for next steps in manufacturing.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): F130 & F113/F115

3.0
Required Major Courses: Spring  
PD241: Advanced Design Fabrication: Softgoods, Mechanisms & Clay Surfacing

Advanced Design Fabrication: Softgoods, Mechanisms & Clay Surfacing introduces students to complex problem-solving in patternmaking, sewing, mechanism and gearing systems, and surfacing design for hydrodynamic vehicles. Each project encourages independent decision-making as design challenges become more complex.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): PD240

3.0
PD251: Human-Centered Problem-Solving in Product Design

Human-Centered Problem-Solving in Product Design deepens students’ understanding of user research and how this research impacts product design.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): PD250

3.0
PD253: Design Visualization & Presentation

Design Visualization and Presentation moves students to fluency in sketching skills (line, visual hierarchy, perspective, proportion, lettering, and prolificacy). Tablet drawing using Sketchbook Pro and Illustrator is introduced to master the speed and control required in the professional design studio.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): PD252

3.0
Studio Electives  
3cr Design Elective
A design elective is any design major course, as long as it not a requirement of the student’s major, and as long as the student meets the prerequisite(s). In addition to required courses from all eleven majors, each semester MIAD offers various special design electives with a range of topics.
3.0
Liberal Studies: Sophomore  
WRTG200: Critical and Creative Forms
Critical and Creative Forms is an intermediate-level writing course that focuses on writing as a creative and critical form. Students will explore the formal qualities of a variety of “texts,” including visual and online texts, and expand their experience of writing analytically and creatively. It is an intensification of the processes introduced in WRTG120 with further emphasis on visual as well as verbal rhetorics and critical thinking.

In WRTG200, students will develop their ability to read and assess communication in various forms and genres, to write analytical and critical essays, to perform increasingly sophisticated research, and to experiment with communicative form themselves. WRTG200 focuses on the theme of “environments,” examining the idea or condition of “environment” through a variety of possible progressive lenses, including ecological, natural, cultural, sacred or built environments.

WRTG200 emphasizes writing-in-process and students are challenged to take progressively more individual responsibility for all phases of the process, from journaling to the composing of final manuscripts. Students will be expected to identify, research and articulate points of view with increasing sophistication and ease in order to engage in critical conversations. Students participate in writing workshops, writing groups, small group discussions and collaborative writing as well as complete individual writing assignments. Throughout, students will be required to demonstrate evolving critical judgment and self- reflection. Self-directed research and working proficiently with primary and secondary sources is also emphasized through assignments highlighting the research process and the creation of an annotated bibliography.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): WRTG120 or WRTG111

3.0
NTSC220: Patterns in Nature
The Introduction to Natural Sciences is based upon first hand investigations and discoveries in the field of Natural Sciences. In this course students will deepen their understanding of the nature of the scientific method, its theoretical challenges, and pursue a series of empirical applications in the lab and in the field. This practical knowledge will be broadened through intensive reading, discussions, critiques, and oral assignments. This is an intensive, practical approach that uses the scientific method as a tool for investigation, problem solving and critical thinking. This course is challenging and demanding, but rewarding. Excellence in analytical and critical thinking skills are of utmost importance.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): none

3.0
ARTH213: History of Modernism-Design
The History of Modernism: Design outlines major styles and trends in communication design, illustration, industrial design, architecture and interior architecture & design, from the beginning of the industrial period to the present. Through intensive reading, writing, research and oral assignments, students have the opportunity to study the philosophical, social, cultural and commercial concerns of such primary movements as Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Bauhaus, Art Deco and Post Modernism within Europe, the United States and Japan.

ARTH213 will provide students with an historical perspective of the designer’s world since the beginning of the 19th century. Students will gain an understanding of the major figures, movements and styles in design that have emerged since the beginning of the modern industrial period, and of the social and cultural forces that are the basis of the evolving craft of the designer. While significant emphasis will be placed on design of the recent past, students will be required to demonstrate understanding of the relationship between recent trends in design and the traditions from which they emerged. ARTH213 emphasizes the critical process and stresses writing as a primary means of demonstrating knowledge in these areas. Strong emphasis will be placed on all manifestations of modern and contemporary design as it concerns both two and three-dimensional forms.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): WRTG120 and ARTH151 or equivalencies

3.0
Students complete 15 credits each semester second year to complete degree requirements in four years  
JUNIOR  
Required Major Courses: Fall credits
PD340: Design Research & Sponsored Design

Design Research and Sponsored Design introduces students to the role of research to achieve design solutions for corporate client. Projects and deliverables range from consumer products to transportation to workstations to wearable technology.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): PD251

3.0
PD342: Manufacturing Processes & Technologies; Sustainability

Manufacturing Processes and Technologies; Sustainability examines processes and systems used in manufacturing of consumer products. Widely-used technologies in plastics, metals and composites are studied both as industrial processes and as essential design strategies and protocols. Students learn the most appropriate manufacturing strategy with an emphasis on sustainable materials and processes.

Credits: 1.5
Prerequisite(s): PD241

1.5
PD343: Portfolio & Internship Preparation

Portfolio and Internship Preparation readies students for the process of securing a design internship. Students will develop and present a full portfolio to the department faculty for assessment.

Credits: 1.5
Prerequisite(s): PD241

1.5
PD344: Digital Modeling & Surfacing

Digital Modeling and Surfacing strengthens students’ CAD modeling skills through a focus on industry expectations. Students learn how to position their design in environmental context and configure lighting schemes for optimal client presentation. Photoshop and Illustrator are used in conjunction with rendering results to deliver an integrated approach modeling and visual presentation.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): PD250 & PD252

3.0
PD352: Digital Sketching, Visualization & Narrative Systems

Digital Sketching, Visualization and Narrative Systems connects manual drawing skills to designing narrative presentations.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): PD252

3.0
Required Major Courses: Spring  
PD341: Collaborative DesignUsability Studies in the Sponsored Context

Collaborative Design – Usability Studies in the Sponsored Context provides the student with sponsored team-based projects solving ergonomic challenges. User feedback provides essential direction for design refinement and resolution.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): PD340

3.0
PD345: Advanced Design Surfacing

Advanced Design Surfacing focuses on 3D CAD modeling protocol. Visualization considerations for product renderings include texture mapping, exploded views and animation.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): PD344

3.0
PD359: Human Factors: Designing for the Human Condition

Product Designers play a key role in developing solutions for users and their interaction with man-made objects and environments. Human Factors teaches students to observe and better understand human cognitive, physical and behavioral factors in order to develop solutions that address challenges unseen by the average person.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): PD344

3.0
Liberal Studies: Junior  
WRTG300: The Creative Professional in Context
In The Creative Professional in Context, students explore the process of constructing a professional, public identity through written and verbal communication about their work in Fine Art and/or Design. They refine their skills in writing, speaking, and listening, and use writing as a means to examine the conceptual, critical, philosophical, and historical foundations of their emerging creative work within the broader contexts of their chosen fields and of visual culture broadly conceived.

In this course students learn to use writing as a means of effectively communicating ideas and information about their emerging professional identities. To these ends, students will write, edit and revise often; engage in self-directed research; analyze different rhetorical situations within the professional sphere; and refine their professional selves through both oral and written assignments. Instructors in WRTG300 employ frequent use of writing workshops and writing groups as well as individual writing assignments. Because the course is conducted in seminar fashion, students are expected to assume considerable responsibility for course materials and processes.

WRTG300 emphasizes the composition of polished, substantive written work, including description of studio work and processes, critical analysis of art/design texts, reflective writing, and communication with colleagues and peers. Assignments foster the development of a professional identity by engaging students in critical reading and discussion of key texts in visual culture and their major field, and identifying personal, cultural, and professional influences and connections that impact the student’s work. The course work will culminate in the creation of a substantive document representing a professional self, conceived in relation to these critical contexts.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): WRTG200

3.0
NTSC320/350/321: Natural Science Elective
NTSC320 is an advanced-level course that examines one of the many fields of Natural Sciences. Topics in Natural Science will rotate on a semester basis. Students will study the nature of scientific inquiry, the methods, theories, discoveries, technology, and language important to the specific field of science of their choosing. As part of the course, students will also conduct an independent inquiry utilizing the basis of scientific inquiry and research.

As an advanced course, NTSC320 builds upon skills and knowledge acquired in NTSC220. It is designed with the understanding that the coursework will focus on interpretation, analysis and critical method rather than on mere assimilation and recall of factual material. Students will examine a field of natural science through readings and lecture material from a variety of sources and from a range of scientific and critical opinion. The material and assignments will vary depending upon the field of natural sciences taught. This course can be retaken with change in topic for a 6 credits maximum.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): NTSC220

NTSC321: Topics in Natural Sciences – Field Experiences

As an advanced course, NTSC321 builds upon skills and knowledge acquired in NTSC220. It is designed with the understanding that the coursework will focus on interpretation, analysis and critical method rather than on mere assimilation and recall of factual material. Students will first examine the field of natural science through readings and lecture material from a variety of sources and from a range of scientific and critical opinion. Students will apply in the field the theoretical knowledge gained by a literature review, with direct inquiry and hands-on activities and investigations. This course relies heavily on field work, direct inquiry and self-directed independent research culminating with a peer-reviewed oral examination. Note: The field component of this course i9 days, located at offsite from MIAD.

Prerequisites: NTSC220 or equivalent and permission of the instructors.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): NTSC220

3.0
HUMT380: Service Learning
Service Learning is an interdisciplinary course with a service-learning component and is designed as the synthesis of a student’s four-year humanities and social science experience. In HUMT380 students will study a topic in-depth (i.e., cities, families, borders, aging, food) and be presented with many opportunities for interdisciplinary investigation. Through intensive reading, writing, research and oral assignments, students will analyze an issue in order to evaluate how social groups function and work towards resolution. Topics will be dealt with through scholarly and community investigations that may include sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics, political science, and history.

In HUMT380 students will have the opportunity to examine a social issue in depth, from a variety of perspectives. The coursework will focus on the historical and philosophical background of a given topic, as well as helping students to learn how to assess a variety of approaches to social systems through an examination of the nature of service in the community.

In the study of the social sciences, we examine patterns in our personal lives, the communities we live in, and a larger global context in order to see how they are connected. Through the in-depth study of a particular topic (i.e., food, cities, family, rivers, borders, aging), students will be able to analyze an issue in order to evaluate how social groups understand and work towards resolution. HUMT380 includes a service- learning component that is connected to the topic being studied. This will take place in the larger community, and it will allow students to examine the information they are learning through thinking and acting in a multicultural context.

Credits: 3
Prerequisite(s): HUMT121 and WRTG200 + Junior Standing

3.0
Students complete 15 credits each semester third year to complete degree requirements in four years  
SENIOR  
Required Major Courses: Fall credits
PD440: Smart Objects in the Home: User Experience/User Interaction (UX/UI)
Smart Objects in the Home focuses on UX/UI learning outcomes to prepare students for the International Housewares Association competition and research and problem finding for the Senior Project. Students engage in independent design thinking and research modules independently and individual reviews with department faculty. Students pursue problem framing and design for their projects.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): PD341

3.0
PD442: Business of Design Practice

Business of Design Practice prepares students for the professional expectations of the design industry. The course focuses on networking, professional conduct, professional communication, portfolio development, business contracts for entrepreneurial or freelance work and intellectual property rights.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): PD341

3.0
Required Major Courses: Spring  
PD441: Senior Project: Capstone Initiative

Senior Project: Capstone Initiative is a self-directed exploration into a passion and problem of the student’s choosing. Research and user input help guide the student towards a viable and innovative solution. This culminating experience is framed and structured by all prior coursework and learning outcomes.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): PD440

3.0
PD451: Display & Exhibit Design
Display & Exhibit Design leads students through the processes and outcomes expected in display, exhibit, trade show and point-of-purchase (POP) systems offering a range of opportunities for the graduating student to pursue.
Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): PD440
3.0
Studio Electives  
3cr Design Elective
A design elective is any design major course, as long as it not a requirement of the student’s major, and as long as the student meets the prerequisite(s). In addition to required courses from all eleven majors, each semester MIAD offers various special design electives with a range of topics.
3.0
Liberal Studies: Senior  
WRTG400: Senior Writing Seminar
Senior Writing Seminar is an intensive capstone writing course run as a seminar examining the making of meaning through narrative; specifically, exploring forms of Life Writing. Students will study the various forms of “life writing” including: autobiography, memoir, new journalism and creative nonfiction. Through weekly written explorations, students will explore and practice the different forms that the genre of “life writing” may take. Within the context of a growing public popularity of autobiographical writing and memoirs, students will explore possible social, political and rhetorical purposes for writing from life and will compose a final, capstone life writing project individually as means for practicing this form of writing.

WRTG400 is a capstone writing course that introduces students to emerging hybrid and intermodal forms of personal writing and causes them to analyze the contexts within which it is occurring. Through formal and informal written exercises, students will explore the capacity of language to help shape and give meaning and form to personal experiences, influences, individuals, achievements or landscapes. This writing should provide a reflective springboard for looking backward or for facing the future and determining larger contexts and meanings for experiences. It should also cause students to continue to develop more sophisticated skills as writers.

The nature and form of the writing that students produce will be various –individual writers will complete intensely reflective responses to readings and to one another’s writing. In an effort to identify past memories and influences, material choices and intentions, important events and people, composing short and long pieces about those issues and individuals.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): WRTG300 & Senior standing

3.0
ARTH318: Art History Elective
ARTH318 provides students the opportunity to give in-depth focus to a wide range of elective topics in Art History. Experience in the disciplines is broadened through intensive reading, writing, research and oral assignments. Among the topics which students may choose to study are courses such as: 19th Century American Masters; Early Chinese Art; Women, Art, and Society; The Bauhaus; The History of Industrial Design; and others.

ARTH318 is an advanced-level elective course in Art History. In ARTH318 students will undertake an in-depth and systematic investigation of one area of study in Art History. This topic may focus on the art of a geographic area or culture, a particular movement in the history of art, or on the life and work of one artist or group of artists. In each case, the course of study will include an extensive analysis of individual works of art, the cultures from which these emerged, and the critical discourse that helps us understand this art more clearly.

As an advanced-level course, ARTH318 is designed with the understanding that the coursework will feature interpretation, analysis and critical method rather than the mere assimilation and recall of factual material. Students will be presented with readings and lecture material from a variety of sources – and from a range of historic and critical literature on the topic under consideration. Each student will be expected to engage actively with course materials and methods.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): WRTG200 and ARTH212/213 or its equivalences

3.0
ARTH318: Art History Elective
ARTH318 provides students the opportunity to give in-depth focus to a wide range of elective topics in Art History. Experience in the disciplines is broadened through intensive reading, writing, research and oral assignments. Among the topics which students may choose to study are courses such as: 19th Century American Masters; Early Chinese Art; Women, Art, and Society; The Bauhaus; The History of Industrial Design; and others.

ARTH318 is an advanced-level elective course in Art History. In ARTH318 students will undertake an in-depth and systematic investigation of one area of study in Art History. This topic may focus on the art of a geographic area or culture, a particular movement in the history of art, or on the life and work of one artist or group of artists. In each case, the course of study will include an extensive analysis of individual works of art, the cultures from which these emerged, and the critical discourse that helps us understand this art more clearly.

As an advanced-level course, ARTH318 is designed with the understanding that the coursework will feature interpretation, analysis and critical method rather than the mere assimilation and recall of factual material. Students will be presented with readings and lecture material from a variety of sources – and from a range of historic and critical literature on the topic under consideration. Each student will be expected to engage actively with course materials and methods.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): WRTG200 and ARTH212/213 or its equivalences

3.0
HUMT340: Topic in Humanities
Topic in Cultural Studies offers students a range of topics in the interdisciplinary study of cultural phenomena in various societies. Courses may draw on or combine the methods and perspectives of an array of disciplines, including literary theory, media theory, film/video studies, cultural anthropology, history, philosophy, political economy, communication, sociology, social theory, psychology, museum studies, art history, and the history, philosophy or sociology of science. Experience in the topic is broadened through intensive reading, writing, research and oral assignments. As an advanced-level course, HUMT360 is designed with the understanding that the coursework will feature interpretation, analysis, and critical method rather than mere assimilation and recall of factual material. Each student will be expected to engage actively with course materials and methods and contribute regularly to class discussions and/or oral collaborative efforts—such as focus groups and panel discussions—that relate to course material.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): HUMT121 and WRTG200

3.0
HUMT340: Topic in Humanities
Topic in Cultural Studies offers students a range of topics in the interdisciplinary study of cultural phenomena in various societies. Courses may draw on or combine the methods and perspectives of an array of disciplines, including literary theory, media theory, film/video studies, cultural anthropology, history, philosophy, political economy, communication, sociology, social theory, psychology, museum studies, art history, and the history, philosophy or sociology of science. Experience in the topic is broadened through intensive reading, writing, research and oral assignments. As an advanced-level course, HUMT360 is designed with the understanding that the coursework will feature interpretation, analysis, and critical method rather than mere assimilation and recall of factual material. Each student will be expected to engage actively with course materials and methods and contribute regularly to class discussions and/or oral collaborative efforts—such as focus groups and panel discussions—that relate to course material.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): HUMT121 and WRTG200

3.0
Students complete 15 credits each semester fourth year to complete degree requirements in four years  
120 credits minimum required to complete degree  
circle-square-triangle