product design College of Design
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Graduate Minor

Product Design can be described as the planning of an item intended to be manufactured and sold. These items exist both as discrete artifacts and as actors in larger social systems, such as branded environments, services, experiences and social interactions.

Products are everywhere, from the toothbrush you used this morning to the bike, car or train you rode to work, to the laptop and pen you are using right now, to the airplane you will be on in the future. All of these products affect our lives across the social, political, economic and cultural spectrum. To design products is at essence shaping the future of civilization.

Product design is inherently creative and interdisciplinary. The sculptural concerns of a model-maker interface with an engineer’s desire to optimize functionality. An anthropologist’s observations about how people meet challenges are augmented by a marketer’s approach to tailor product branding to specific sub-cultures. Product cost and feasibility is determined in part by business and marketing studies. Physiologists, psychologists and kinesiologists contribute to the product’s interaction and comfort of use. At the University of Minnesota, all of these areas and more come together in the design of products.

Requirements

A graduate minor may be earned in product design when it logically relates to the graduate major field. The minor program is designed to suit the particular needs and interests of the student. The course of study is determined in consultation with the student’s major advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies for the minor.

To receive a minor in product design, a student should experience at least one team-based product design process wherein they take an original concept to a working prototype stage with some level of customer involvement. The student should be capable of coming up with creative product concepts, visualizing these concepts, and making well-crafted purposeful prototypes. Ideally, this student will also have exposure to and an understanding of a variety of manufacturing processes and materials, and have a general knowledge of human factors, marketing and intellectual property.

Classes have been selected from across the university that will provide a student with a strong introduction to many of the skills needed to pursue a career in product design. Product Design Minor courses are grouped into the following categories:

  • Product Design Process
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Drawing and Visualization
  • Prototyping, Manufacturing and the Environment
  • Human Factors
  • Understanding the Consumer and Market

Curriculum

To complete the Product Design Graduate Minor, Master’s students are required to take 11 credits and PhD students are required to take 12 credits. There are two components to the minor—core courses and additional courses. All students take PDes 5701, Creativity, Idea Generation, and Innovation, and also select one of four product design process options. Remaining credits to meet the credit minimum are to be selected from a list. Courses that meet the core requirement can be used as additional courses if they were not taken to meet the core option.

A minimum of two PDes courses must be taken to fulfill this minor. Courses listed under the core requirement can be used to fulfill the remaining credits if they were not taken to meet the core option.

Product Design Core Courses

Required Courses:

PDes 5701 Creativity, Idea Generation, and Innovation

Select one of these Product Design Process options:

Option 1:
PDes 5711 Toy Product Design

Option 2:
DES 8151 Product Development: Softlines

Option 3:
ME 8221 New Product Design & Business Development 1
ME 8222 New Product Design & Business Development 2

Option 4:
BMEN 8401 New Product Design & Business Development 1
BMEN 8402 New Product Design & Business Development 2

Option 5:
ENTR 6041 Initiating New Product Design and Business Development
ENTR 6042 Implementing New Product Design and Business Development

Options for fulfilling the remaining credits

Design Process

PDes 5711 Toy Product Design

DES 8151 Product Development

BMEN 8401 New Product Design & Business Development 1
and
BMEN 8402 New Product Design & Business Development 2

ME 8221 New Product Design & Business Development 1
and
ME 8222 New Product Design & Business Development 2

Creativity & Innovation

DES 8164 Innovation Theory and Analysis

Drawing & Visualization

PDes 5702 Concept Sketching & Rendering

PDes 5704 Innovative Computer Modeling and Rendering for Design

GDes 8362 The Nature of Representation in Visual Communication

Prototyping, Manufacturing, & the Environment

PDes 5703 Product Form and Model Making

PDes 5706 Designing For Manufacture

CE 5571 Acara Global Venture Design: Grand Challenges

ME 5221 Computer Assisted Product Realization

ME 5223 Materials in Design

ME 5241 Computer Aided Engineering

ME 8243 Topic in Design: Smart Products

ESPM 5603 Environmental Life Cycle Analysis

ESPM 5605 Recycling: Extending Raw Materials Supplies

Human Factors

DES 5185 Human Factors in Design

CSCI 5115 (or SEng 5115) User Interface Design, Implementation, and Evaluation

GDes 5386 Fundamentals of Game Design

KIN 5505 Human-Centered Design – Principles and Applications

KIN 5001 or HUMF 5001 Foundations of Human Factors/Ergonomics

Understanding the Consumer & the Market

ANTH 4121 Business Anthropology

ANTH 5121 Business Anthropology

MKTG 6055 Buyer Behavior

MGMT 6050 Management of Innovation and Change

PDes 5705 History and Future of Product Design

Other courses may be substituted with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies for the Product Design Graduate Minor.

Application (.pdf)

A list of the Product Design Graduate Faculty members can be found here.

Would you like to know how this minor could benefit you? ...which classes are the best match for your interests? Contact Barry Kudrowitz, Director of Graduate Studies for the Product Design Graduate Minor.

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Barry Kudrowitz,
Director of Graduate Studies for the
Product Design Graduate Minor
barryk@umn.edu

 

Barry Kudrowitz,
Assistant Professor and
Program Director
barryk@umn.edu

 

Contact Information

College of Design

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Minneapolis Offices

101 Rapson Hall, 89 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-626-9068 | F: 612-625-7525

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