B.F.A. Industrial Design

Do you like to create products to solve problems?
Degree Type Bachelor of Fine Arts
Careers & Salaries Annual Employment Report
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UW-Stout's Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design is a unique major if you like to draw, build things, tinker, and solve problems. In true polytechnic fashion, it is a combination of art and engineering and leads to careers as product and device designers. 

Industrial designers work to optimize the function, value, and appearance of products and systems for both users and manufacturers. In our courses, you will study:

  • Design research and problem-solving
  • Concept development
  • Aesthetics and form
  • How to foster a creative mindset and present your ideas
  • Design methodology
  • 2D and 3D visualization
  • Ergonomics
  • Interface and interaction
  • Design for manufacture

The Industrial Design program will provide you with a comprehensive applied learning environment. After graduation, you will be ready for a successful career in the field of contemporary product design. 

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The Industrial Design program builds upon the foundation skills you'll learn in the first year with courses that cover design methodology, aesthetics and form, ergonomics, interface and interaction, design for manufacture, sustainability, and contemporary design issues. 

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Industrial designers create and develop concepts and designs that optimize the function, value and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer. Through theory, practice and history you will gain creative and critical thinking skills to successfully problem-solve in their field.

Industrial Design Careers


  • Product Designer
  • Bicycle Designer
  • Medical Device Designer
  • Footwear Technical Designer
  • Sunglasses Designer


  • 3M
  • Andersen Windows
  • Harley Davidson
  • Hasbro
  • Kohler
  • Leapfrog
  • Masterlock
  • Michael’s Crafts
  • Microsoft
  • Nike
  • Rave Sports
  • Target
  • Trek Bicycles
B.F.A. Admissions Requirements

New Freshmen

Beginning in Spring 2020, students will be admitted as a Pre-Bachelor of Fine Arts (Pre-BFA) student. As a Pre-BFA participant, you will join an exciting community of first-year art and design students with classes and events geared towards preparing you for a successful application to the intended BFA program. 

As a student accepted into one of the six BFA programs, please be aware of the following:

  • You will be required to submit a portfolio in the spring semester of your freshmen year to apply for acceptance into the intended BFA program. Portfolios will be evaluated by School of Art and Design faculty. Through your first-year experience, you will be given the tools and skills required to prepare and submit the portfolio, and the necessary support to navigate the application process.

Transfer Students

  • Submit a portfolio and essay to be reviewed by a committee of School of Art & Design faculty, who will determine admissions into the major. The priority deadline is no later than noon on October 1st for spring admission and March 1st for fall admission. You will receive direction on how to submit your portfolio in a separate handout accompanying your acceptance letter to UW-Stout.  
  • Submissions may be made after the priority date, however there is no guarantee when it will be reviewed for a decision nor what art-specific coursework you may be able to get into after the review is completed and whether or not registration for the next semester has begun.

Transfer students are considered both fall and spring. This includes portfolio and essay submission priority dates. Students applying for one of the BFA programs will remain admitted as a "Pre-BFA" student if you: 

  • do not submit a portfolio/essay
  • apply after the BFA program has closed
  • are not approved for the BFA program after submission of a portfolio/essay. 

You may then apply for a change of major in subsequent semesters, depending upon available openings in the program. If needed, BFA Foundations courses will be available to "Pre-BFA" students pending seat availability. 

IND Advisory Board

2018 IND Advisory Board

  • Jennifer Astwood, Program Director & Associate Professor, Department of Design
  • Matt Bently, Vice-President, IDSA Student Chapter
  • Devin Berg, PhD, Associate Professor, CSTEMM, Department of Engineering and Technology; Program Director, Mechanical Engineering
  • Logan Ernster *15, Designer, P-Soup
  • Erik Evensen, MFA, Assistant Professor, CACHSS, Department of Design; Interim Program Director, Industrial Design
  • Michael Hammond *00, Design Manager, Trek
  • Amelia Kennedy, MFA, Design Manager, 3D Design Studio - Target
  • Michael Leighton *02, Senior Design Manager, 3M
  • Sheri Marnell, Program Director + Lecturer, CSTEMM, Apparel Design + development and Business Programs
  • Noah Norton '00, MFA, Associate Professor, CACHSS, Department of Design (in absentia)
  • Ben Pratt, MID, Professor, CACHSS, Department of Design
  • Dave Richer-O'Connell, MFA, Visiting Assistant Professor, CACHSS, Department of Design
  • Katie Thompson *07, Design Manager, QBP
  • Caleb Toft, President, IDSA Student Chapter
Industrial Design senior Natalie Huertas talks about her experience at UW-Stout as a first generation student. / Hannah Sweet, Miranda Morrell and Lindsey Zakrzewski

School of Art & Design Facilities

Modern studio classrooms provide open, creative environments for learning. Extensive open studio hours allow access to these spaces outside of class periods:

  • Fine Art Studios
  • Design Studios
  • Computer Laboratories
  • Process Laboratory
  • Print Laboratory

Two galleries are housed in the School of Art and Design, a student gallery and the John Furlong Gallery. These, along with other spaces on and off campus, provide student, faculty and outside exhibition opportunities throughout the academic year.

Hands-On Experience

Student Work

Our students gain experience working on real-world projects with a unique combination of art and technology.

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