Virginia Tech® home

Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design

BS. IDS, Four-year Degree Program

The Industrial Design Program offers a four-year Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design (BSID) degree. The curriculum is centered on eight semesters of studio/laboratory instruction in conjunction with lecture courses that uniquely draws support from its place within the college, thus offering the student opportunities for discovery within a wide field of explorations. Housed within the School of Design, the program enjoys a rich educational community fostering collaborative scholarship across programs including Bachelor Science in Interior Design, Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, Master of Landscape Architecture, and PhD in Architecture and Design Research programs. Our college contains schools of Architecture, Visual Arts, and Performing Arts as part of a comprehensive land-grant university.

The focus of the first year in the Foundation Program is involved with basic elements of design, addressed visually, conceptually, and haptically. Studies are undertaken in two and three dimensions using various materials and tools. Inquiries are focused on the process of design, discovering, through experiment, methods of working that develop aesthetic judgment and means of self-evaluation. All architecture, industrial design, interior design, and landscape architecture majors study together for the first year.

The sophomore year is a constellation of courses with the studio (IDS 2015 and 2016) at its core. The courses surrounding the studio work hand-in-hand to support the focus of those projects. Students in the first semester of their second year take their first module, a required workshop (IDS 3224) taught by staff in the wood and metal shops of Burchard Hall. Studio professors oversee the intersection of workshop exercises and studio projects. The Materials and Processes (IDS 2034) and Design Visualization (IDS 2065) classes center coursework on the projects in the studio. Students apply information learned in courses such as Human Factors (IDS 2044)  Computer-Aided Industrial Design (IDS 2304) in their second semester. 

The junior year focuses on learning and applying systematic processes  in design. Central to this is an understanding and appreciation of the role of the user in a Human Centered Design approach and the ability to identify and address design opportunities through Design Research (IDS 3514) to both objects and systems. The guiding issues addressed in 3rd year mirror those facing the design profession, and include ecology, material usage, and universal design. Design competencies developed in the junior year focus on methods of experimental modeling and prototype building; the integration of computer technology into the design process; and the development of team problem solving abilities and team design work.

The senior year of the ID program centers on detailed analysis, research and application of the issues of production and marketing to the design of equipment, workspaces and environments, and health related products and services. Building on the previous studios and coursework, students continue with experimental modeling and the construction of full scale, interactive prototypes. Emphasis is placed on the development of independent decision making, often addressing the needs of special populations such as children, people with disabilities, and the elderly. Spring semester is dedicated to student directed Senior Thesis Projects.  

The internationally recognized program at Virginia Tech, fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), prepares individuals to enter this dynamic field through a rigorous curriculum and an experienced, dedicated faculty.


required pathways to general education courses

45 credits (which may be covered by in-major courses)

  • Pathways Concept 1f — Foundational Discourse: ENGL 1105-1106 Freshman English 6 credits

  • Pathways Concept 1a — Advanced Discourse 3 credits

  • Pathways Concept 2 — Critical Thinking in the Humanities: ART 2385, 2386 Survey of Western Art History 6 credits

  • Pathways Concept 3 — Reasoning in the Social Sciences 6 credits

  • Pathways Concept 4 — Reasoning in the Natural Sciences 6 credits (no labs required)

  • Pathways Concept 5f — Foundational Quantitative and Computational Thinking: Math 1014 + Math 1025 or Math 1025 + Math 1026 or Math 1535 + Math 1536 (5f)  6 credits

  • Pathways Concept 5a — Advanced/Applied Quantitative and Computational Thinking 3 credits

  • Pathways Concept 6a — Critique and Practice in the Arts: IDS-2114 History of Industrial Design 3 credits

  • Pathways Concept 6d — Critique and Practice in Design: IDS-2124 History of Modern Industrial Designers 3 credits

  • Pathways Concept 7 — Critical Analysis of Identity and Equity in the United States 3 credits

required professional courses

79 credits

  • ARCH 1015, 1016 Foundation Design Laboratory (1st year) 12 credits

  • IDS 2114 History Industrial Design (1st year) 3 credits

  • IDS 2124 History of Modern Industrial Designers (1st year) 3 credits

  • IDS 2015-2016 Industrial Design Lab II (2nd year) 11 credits

  • IDS 2034 Design Visualization (2nd year) 3 credits

  • IDS 2044 Human Factors (2nd year) 3 credits

  • IDS 2304 Computer Aided Industrial Design (2nd year) 3 credits

  • IDS 3015-3016 Industrial Design Lab III (3rd year) 12 credits

  • IDS 3124 Materials and Processes (2nd year) 3 credits

  • Topics in Industrial Design 6 credits

  • (IDS 3204 Professional Development, IDS 3224 Design Competencies, IDS 3234 Design Theory) 

  • IDS 3514 Design Research (3rd year) 3 credits

  • IDS 4015-4016 Industrial Design Lab IV (4th year) 12 credits

  • IDS 4044 Professional Practice & Entrepreneurship (4th year) 2 credits


9 credits

Total required for B.S. in Industrial Design: 124 credits

Minor Checksheet

Pathways Checksheet