Industrial Design Schools in the DMV?

Does anyone have suggestions for schools offering graduate studies in ID in the Mid-Atlantic region? My family home is in south central PA and work takes me to D.C. weekly. I’d like to find a program somewhat close to some point of that trek. Any ideas?


That’s going to be a tough find. I’ve seen so many programs try to get up and running - Towson State (North of B’more) developed a program back in the 90’s when I was still at B&D, it floundered. Now, Maryland Institute College of Art (in B’more) is trying to develop one. Philly has one or two nice programs but I don’t know of any directly between DC and SC Penn (Gettysburg/ Harrisburg areas?) I often need hot hands and SW CAD hybrids if you’d like to add to your real world experience - we’re up in Bel Air, MD and our team all works remote.

Thanks for the offer but I’m worried my skills wouldn’t be up to par. I’ve been fascinated by design for the last few years as I’ve been building a small business, but I don’t know that my puttering around in the studio qualifies me for a real design job.

Why do you think the programs have so much trouble?

I think the US’s manufacturing base was the biggest factor for the locations of “founder” ID firms 75ish years ago (heavy industry in the midwest, shipbuilding, textiles and some farming along the east coast, heavy farming in the rust belt, tech and textiles on the west coast, etc) so those firms became established and flourished along with expanding industry in those areas - Ohio, for instance, remains a hotbed of design because it’s still a hotbed of industry, Detroit still has the Big 3 (kinda), so firms will always be nearby.
But here in Baltimore, we had three founding industry leaders - Duncan Black & Alonso Decker (put a Stanley in front of it now), McCormick (the spice company) and DeWitts (“snake oils”) - McCormick never needed ID, SB&D is still an ID powerhouse and DeWitts went under with the founding of the FDA (in 1921 - I only know the story because the founder was my great, great, great grandfather - he was one of B’more’s “big three” back in 1900). So in the 90’s B&D was a driving force for Towson’s ID program but I don’t think they did a good job fostering its growth, so within one graduating class it was gone. The MICA experiment is still too young to judge but I don’t believe SB&D, Under Armour or Becton Dickinson (the three largest “product” manufacturers still in the area) are working closely with the program - and if that’s the case it’ll be gone soon. I hope I’m wrong!

Wow, that’s fascinating, thanks for the information. Looks like I might have to head out west.

Industrial design graduate programs prepare students to create products and systems that optimize value, function and appearance for consumers. Examples of products that industrial designers may develop include cars, toys or home appliances. Through a combination of classroom instruction and experiential learning, students may learn to create design recommendations through models, drawings and descriptions—and work in concert with engineering, marketing, managing and manufacturing groups.

Industrial design graduate programs may be available at the masters, doctorate and certificate level, helping students with many backgrounds and learning needs find an option to help them succeed.

Have you looked into Innovation related grad programs?
UMBC: Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Leadership Program
John Hopkins/MICA: DESIGN LEADERSHIP Design Leadership (MA/MBA) | MICA
…or another 2 hours south of DC (Richmond, VA).
VCU: Master of Product Innovation