Industrial Design


Program Information:

Program Statement:
    Iowa State's 60-credit Master of Industrial Design (MID) specifically emphasizes systems thinking as one of its core languages when reframing problems as opportunities for future contexts. Systems design, change theory, problem reframing, strategic and creative thinking, and innovation by design are some of the fundamentals of the MID framework. Industrial Design is a human-centered discipline that questions existing boundaries and makes connections among diverse domains. Therefore, the program challenges students to develop the ability to recognize and define problems in new ways, and thus find opportunities others might have missed or undervalued. As a strategic problem-solving process, Industrial Design tries to reimagine how we should go about developing innovative, sustainable and durable solutions for people and society at large that genuinely lead to better quality of life and better futures. The MID program actively connects with other knowledge domains and disciplines, to research how things are with the drive to propose how they ought to be. This is achieved through the challenging balance between critical and creative ways of thinking [and working] when devising novel, useful and meaningful artifacts, services, experiences and environments. Ultimately, the program integrates the design triad of people, business and technology, in innovative ways and is based on insightful research to create new value and competitive advantage in a variety of societal, economic and environmental contexts.
Degrees Offered:
  • Masters of Industrial Design (M.I.D.)
Learning Goals:
  • • Understand and analyze the impact of wicked problems challenging society, environments and eco-systems in the 21st century and its interdependencies at a local, regional and global levels.
  • • Apply systems thinking as a ‘language’ in design to analyze wicked problems, and evaluate the most powerful leverage points for design intervention.
  • • Apply design process model(s) as a means to manage the development of solution ideas from problem framing through to concept generation until prototyping and turn that into viable business opportunities.
  • • Employ research (data collection) and analysis methods strategically to support the different phases of the design process, when recognizing/discovering, defining and representing problems to learn about users/stakeholders, products, contexts and experiences.
  • • Assess and adapt models or applications of change theory, strategic management and design thinking tools to implement identified opportunities into pivoting actions of social innovation and civic entrepreneurship.
  • • Create innovative and meaningful design solutions for short/mid/long-term contexts, at varying levels of scale, with a view to improve quality of life and foster sustainable and resilient future communities.

Program Contact:

Contact: Jennifer Anderson
Phone: 515-294-7415
E-mail Address:

Mailing Address:

    Iowa State University
    715 Bissell Road
    295 Design
    Ames, IA 50011

Admission Requirements:

Graduate College Requirements:
  • 4 year Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)
  • Academic Records/Transcripts
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA (Program may alter requirement.)
  • Proof of English Proficiency.
Program Specific Requirements:
  • Resume/CV
  • OPTIONAL: Statement of Purpose (SOP) (you may leave this field blank within the admission application if you choose not to submit this)
  • Digital portfolio
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Program Requires GRE: No
  • Program Requires GMAT: No
  • Program Will Review Without TOEFL or IELTS: No
International Requirements:
  • Financial Statement: Application
  • English Proficiency Minimum:
    TOEFL Paper (PBT) 550
    TOEFL Internet (iBT) 79
    IELTS 6.5
    PTE 53
    Duolingo (approved through spring 2023) 105

Application Information:

Application Deadlines:
    The priority application deadline is February 15. Submissions received after February 15 may be considered, although priority is given to timely submission. Spring entry is not available.
Application Details:
    This program is open to domestic and international students.

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