PhD in Interaction, Industrial, or Information Design


I’m looking for PhD programs in Interaction, Industrial or Information Design in the United States. I’ve located CMU, Arizona State, NC State and IIT. Am I missing any?

Now the hard part - does anyone have any knowledge of student reactions to these programs, or links to blogs or journals about the innerworkings and feelings about their experiences there?

I’m specifically interested in reactions to NC State’s program, as it seems to be the newest …

Thanks :slight_smile:


Check out this link: Home - Stcsig

You might check out these organizations for Information Design programs:

The Usability Professionals’ Association:

Association for Computing Machinery:

Society for Technical Communication:

Check out MIT:


(I’m sure they offer a Phd although this is the certificate program:

Are you sure you know what you’re getting into? Unlike in engineering PhD’s in design can seriously limit your employment opportunities. Why not just get out there and design?!

Try Interaction Ivrea in Italy

laureng - thanks for the links, although I didn’t find a substantial amount of new information there; I already have a masters degree backed with half a dozen years experience, and am familiar with the organizations you listed.

guest - Ivrea doesn’t offer a PhD, and the initial message requested the United States.

cg - I have a fairly good idea of what I’m getting into, but if you have data to backup your rather abrupt statement, I would love to look at it …

Thanks :slight_smile:


Just to back up cg a bit,

from my experience in industrial design, I have never met a designer with a phD in 5 years of consulting at a successful firm with 100+ clients (talking with the designers at those clients as well) and now working corporate for a few years at a company with about 200 designers.

I’m NOT saying it doesn’t happen, just that in my specific experience in INDUSTRIAL DESIGN, I’ve never run into any, and after talking to a designer for like 20min, the subject of school usually pops up.

I’d love to hear what you are looking for, what more can you gain in the academic environment?

I’m reminded of a quote from le corbusier:


Phd in Design?

I have heard of MD’s or Phd in Biology or Physics- subjects that you actually do research. You are going for a Phd in design because you don’t have what it takes to be a designer. You either have the gift or you don’t. It seems that you don’t. You sound pretty arrogant to me. If you are really serious about getting your Phd, why don’t you go and research the schools yourself! Instead of asking us of our opinion. You can’t even do that, so why the hell bother doing a research based Phd in design if you can’t even do your own research. You don’t know where you are going as you’ve claimed! Go get a job and treat that job as your PHD!!

I agree with YO and the other guy!!!

I hope not to see any of your future designs. Wait, studios will probably never hire your PHD ass.


Hey Guest,

Now who do you think is arrogant? You have never met anyone with a PhD in Interaction Design? Ah, maybe its because its a new field.

You are arrogant in that you ask for help and in the end, you just throw suggestions away. You think you know it all.

First, there is a big difference between Interaction and Industrial design. Which one do you want? You don’t even know which PHD you are going for. Interaction means human interaction with objects, machines or computers just to make these things more human. Or object to object- etc. It is about ergonomics or fuctionality. Whereas ID, it is about art, beauty, and aesthetics.

You are better off studying games design - which is the ultimate interaction design- in Vancouver Film Institute in Canada or Art College in San Fran.


my sides

Hello, I wish to study PHD in Industrial Design so that I will be able to cure many designers that put out bad designs!!!

man core threads went to shit really fast. if this is evidence of the future of core, i wont be visiting for a very long time. bad, baaaad decision core admin. very bad.

ps. guest (the immature one, not the original poster) go cry to mom you little twit. u know nothing of life.

I wanna know which guest you are talking about?

now this is the old core I loved to hate!

Whereas ID, it is about art, beauty, and aesthetics.

Well then why are most of my development programs aimed at improving user interface, and ergonomics?

Very few only focus on syling…those pay crap fees anyway.

However I do feel that a PHD in Industrial Design is a bit over kill, unless you have 15+ years of professional work under your belt and you want to become a professor. Look at the stats for the industry, nearly all only have BS-ID/BFA-ID/BA. Most professionals who seek higher ed, choose business, marketing, market research, kinesthetic (ergonomics/human factors), or sociology.

Regardless, a degree will never cover up a lack of quality skills, and most of the people (not all so do not get offended) I know who went on for higher degrees directly out of school, did so because there skills were not up to par to find work. Or they did so after 6 months of looking for work.

I agree with the previous poster, get work under your belt first. In Industrial design experience, and skill set are far more important than degree level.

To the Designer,

Then you are are a Carpenter!!. Ultimately, if a product looks good, people will buy it. If it is unique, people will buy it. If you take a survey on industrial designers, their products will always be about style and uniqueness- their designs stem out from their hearts and minds - which means higher prices - then higher wages for them.

Where do you work? Ikea?

And don’t bother replying! I already know I suck at design. It’s just easier to blame my failure on poor public taste than on my lousy skills cuz I know I’m good. So just don’t bother!


Show me a open position on Coroflot that’s hiring PhD’s.

Name one designer that has a PhD.

I know PhD’s in Human Factors (NOT design BTW) who have complained to me that their “overqualification” has seriously limited their opportunities. They are typically trapped in underused “labs” at major corporations and protected by outdated concepts like “tenure.”

You could always lie and say you just have a Masters, at least there are a few opportunities for that in Interaction Design (but good luck finding one in Industrial Design.)

What I ment by that was that the client aproached us with the charge to improve ergonomics, or redesign the interface, or we have this new technology can you develop the device to utilize it…not to improve styling. Never did I imply that product styling is of no importance. I simply said that when a client mearly wants styling work they are veiwing design as a commodity and only willing to pay very little for it.
…$100k development program vs. $2k styling program…