Program details

The nationally-ranked, professional Bachelor of Industrial Design degree (BID) is a four-year program that provides the foundation for a career in a variety of commercial product design and service professions. As the only industrial design program in the state of Iowa, the curriculum prepares students for immediate entry into design practice as well as long-term continued growth and achievement.

The only major that does not reside within the main College of Design building, the industrial design studios and fabrication facilities occupy the central space in the Armory on campus. Students who enter this major receive their own personal studio space from which to design.


Students pursuing a BID degree will spend one year in the college’s pre-professional Core Design Program, followed by three years in the professional BID degree program. Students in this major can customize their curriculum to include an emphasis area through guided elective courses and are required to complete two of the following three options: study abroad, internship, or a sponsored-project (which provides students with hands-on experience in proposing, designing, and creating products and service solutions for established companies).

Our curriculum emphasizes a strong foundation in product design and adds complementary influences from business and engineering to create one of the most comprehensive industrial design experiences in the country. It also provides students with the ability to add a unique emphasis area to their degree program, helping them focus their research and explore a potential career path.

We provide numerous opportunities to discover and practice the industry’s most desirable skills, from digital sculpting and high-tech model making to professional internships and studying abroad to make our graduates competitive in the market place.

Recent Student Work

  • Students Presenting in DSN 102

    Core Design Program

    The undergraduate curricula in design are divided into two phases: the Core Design Program and the professional or general degree program. Classes in the Core create a shared experience and community that exposes students to all nine majors within the College of Design.

Iowa State’s undergraduate BID degree program is accredited by National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD).

The College of Design offers or participates in eight undergraduate minors that are available to all undergraduate design students. In addition, many minors throughout the university can be combined with a design degree program.

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Beyond meeting the minimum high school requirements for admission to Iowa State University and the College of Design, students who plan to enter the professional Bachelor of Industrial Design degree program are encouraged, but not required, to take courses in:

  • Art
  • Photography
  • Journalism
  • Computer science
  • Physics
Two students conversing in the College of Design atrium.

Success in Design

Students graduate career-ready with internships, capstone projects, professional practice and portfolio classes integrated into the Design programs, and support from the Design Career Services Office. The college also hosts an annual Design Career Fair focused only on design majors. It attracts more than 125 firms recruiting for jobs and internships, with College of Design alumni making up more than half of the recruiters in attendance.

Possible career paths

The BID degree from Iowa State provides the foundation for a career in a variety of commercial product design and service professions. With numerous opportunities for students to pursue internships or advanced education, and with support from the college’s Career Services office, we make it easy for students explore career opportunities. Some recent graduates of Iowa State’s industrial design program have pursued careers in the following:

  • Product developer
  • Automotive designer
  • Footwear & accessory designer
  • Construction & agricultural equipment designer
  • Furniture & lighting designer
  • Interaction designer
  • Exhibit designer
  • Packaging designer
  • Advertising & experience designer
Industrial Design professor designing with industrial design undergraduates.

A Designer in the Making

Find your place at Iowa State University’s College of Design, where we like to ask questions, poke and prod, create something new, and make a difference through design.