ID degree

I am interested in getting a degree in industrial design, however I don’t want to get a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree. I am more interested in a diploma or a certificate which is a one year, one and a half year degree. It would also be better if it is an online degree.

Do you know an institution that provides such a degree?


There is no adequate way to get an education in industrial design in 1 year online.

If you wanted to try to self teach, you could learn a lot from resources like this site and the internet, but ultimately when an employer looks for new hires they typically want someone who comes from an accredited university.

It’s not to say you couldn’t self teach yourself drawing and CAD and wind up with something that is in the design field, but your options are going to be extremely limited.

ID Education includes a huge amount of topics including the pragmatic - sketching, CAD, model making as well as academic topics - design history, design research/ethnography, human factors, etc. There is no way to cover all those topics in under 2 years with any level of rigor.

What is your background?

On thing to think about is your competition. Why would someone hire you with an online degree when they could hire someone with a 4-5 year education who has spent that time immersing themselves in design, a social culture of design, internships, portfolio building and so on. It just doesn’t make much sense when there would be so many other candidates with more qualifications unless you had a portfolio that was utterly mind blowing.

Think of it another way, would you want a doctor or lawyer who took a few online courses and had no other training? I would not expect very good results from that doctor.

I can’t add anything to the above mentioned advice as they are all relevant and very on point. Also they come from two people that have been in the game for quite some time (sorry fellas) and have seen countless applicants.

You haven’t really mentioned why you don’t want to do a 4-5 year bachelors but I will assume it will be a combination of your age and finances. I will also assume you are based in the US?

If all of the above is true you could consider studying abroad. For example here in the UK our bach degrees are 3 years and for an international student, although not cheap, are a fraction of what you’ll pay in the US. Plus you’ll get to study/live somewhere else. Thats all depending that you don’t have a wife and kids…but you need to be a bit more specific!

There are no shortcuts. You have to put in the time.


Thanks guys for your input.

I do have a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and that is why I thought that maybe a shorter degree in ID would be suitable. In addition as you mentioned age is a factor in my decision. With a master’s degree I have had enough studying I really don’t want to add much more to that.

As for getting a degree online, I believe that most education is heading that way and it is really good. My sister did her MBA online and I believe that it might even be better than my degrees on campus. The limitation of an ID degree online is that non-theoretical material needs to be accommodated somehow.

So I have some skills from my mechanical engineering degree and I would like to have some sort of degree in ID.

So as mentioned, unless you come out of the online course with an absolute killer portfolio you may struggle to find your feet as an Industrial Designer in the way I believe you wish you would like to.

However, as mentioned in another thread that given your ME background you could place yourself as a ‘design engineer’ which in most studios are worth their weight in gold. You wouldn’t be involved in the strict styling of products but will be on hand to get products ready for manufacture and work with the designers to make sure that what is coming out of the end of their pen can be made a reality.

This is exactly what I am doing along with studying design and ID on the side to support my engineering.

Have you worked in NPD (new product development) before and want to move into a more creative/artist position? Or are you looking to get into NPD from a different engineering discipline?

If it is the latter, I’d suggest getting your feet wet as a design engineer. As previously mentioned, their skills can be valuable.