Yes or No: Online Industrial Design Diploma Programs

Like many design schools, the Rochester Institute of Technology offers degrees in industrial design and architecture. Unlike most design schools, however, RIT recently announced they are rolling out a master’s program in architecture… online.

They are not alone. In fact, according to the Online Schools Guide, “online architecture degrees are available at the bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate levels.” Site lists 31 accredited schools offering such degrees.

Which begs the question: what about industrial design? At the time of going to press, I have only been able to find one accredited school claiming to offer an online degree in ID: the Academy of Art University of San Francisco. However, the Online Industrial Design Diploma The section of their website makes no mention of the degrees – bachelor’s, master’s, certificate – that they offer as options online.

The AUA has posted this video demonstrating how their programs work online, but it’s not specific to identifying:

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For those of you who have obtained identity degrees, could you imagine getting one online? It had been a while since I had graduated, but I couldn’t see that a “distance education” model was working for me. The camaraderie developed in classrooms and studios, the ability to see what all of your peers were working on, the help we gave each other, the future friendships and professional contacts we formed, it all seemed irreplaceable. We have given ourselves some internship tracks and job leads. Perhaps more importantly, many of us had jobs that awaited us after graduation due to in-person education; we had bonded with professors who worked as industrial designers, and a lot of them hired a lot of us (indeed, that’s how I got my first two gigs) after the Graduation.

While I cannot imagine that an online industrial design degree program is a suitable replacement, I guess it’s worth noting that not so long ago the idea of ​​buying anything online – let alone meeting romantic partners online – seemed absurd. So I will monitor the evolution of all this.


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