Product Design (BFA)
This program will launch in fall 2021, pending accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Product Design at University of the Arts teaches you to create objects, services and systems that solve problems and improve lives. We offer a number of unique curriculum tracks that allow an unprecedented amount of freedom to shape and focus your design education in the way you imagine. Equipped with human-centered problem-solving techniques, Product Design students learn to untangle and solve the issues of our time.
Courses in our program examine a range of contemporary topics, including emerging manufacturing methods, virtual prototyping, sustainability, entrepreneurial best practices and design ethics. The products you’ll create in these classes will help you explore your curiosities and ask deep questions about the changing world around you.
An interdisciplinary mindset is central to our work. Our product designers learn to work with students in other majors to amplify their projects: You might partner with interaction designers to develop internet-enabled devices or collaborate with graphic designers to brand your market-ready products. By taking classes outside your major, you’ll have access to experts in related fields, as well as facilities and resources that refine your vision, including UArts’ Center for Immersive Media, Greenfield Makerspace, and Corzo Center, the last of which supports the entrepreneurial spirit through grants and consultation.
You’ll graduate from UArts’ Product Design program transformed and ready for a professional career in product design, or to set out on your own and start a meaningful business that acts as a force for good: positively affecting customers, community and the planet we share.
Program Director Phil Holcombe is a designer and educator who’s deeply curious about the relationship between design and learning.
As the program’s director, Holcombe emphasizes cross-disciplinary investigation, emerging technologies and entrepreneurial mindsets. He helps senior students develop product design theses that are elegant, useful, responsible and market-ready.
In 2010, Holcombe founded what would become Form & Faculty, an interdisciplinary firm that works with universities, schools and museums around the world to design physical environments, communications and learning experiences. Some of his recent projects include work with the Center for Architecture + Design, Columbia University, the Franklin Institute, Institute of Design at Stanford, Temple University and University of Pennsylvania. In 2012, Holcombe’s firm earned Certified B Corporation status, meeting the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.
Further, Holcombe has played a meaningful role in shaping the storytelling and communications efforts of the Charter High School for Architecture and Design, where he serves as a trustee and chair of the Marketing and Communications Committee.
As a User Experience Researcher (UXR) at Google, Becca understands and advocates for end users to make sure each product is delightful and usable. Her primary responsibilities are to be curious about people and their behaviors, be comfortable meeting new people, find meaning out of massive quantities of seemingly unrelated data, and be able to articulate recommended business directions. She designs, conducts, analyzes, and presents findings from user-centered research methodologies that align to business needs. Becca collaborates with developers, product managers, designers, and other business leaders to deliver best-in-class user experiences to meet strategic business objectives. While delivering on project needs, she enables the cross functional team by educating them in Design Thinking and human-centered design best practices.
Prior to joining Google, Becca was a Senior Design Manager at IBM leading a talented team of UX designers, researchers, and visual designers. While at IBM, she established lean UX methodologies, practices, and reviews across the entire business unit. In addition, she successfully led multiple projects that were released to market.
Jaime Salm was born in Medellin, Colombia in 1978. He received a bachelors of Science in Industrial Design in 2001 from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Following graduation he founded MIO, a boutique design consultancy exploring opportunities in the field of sustainable design. He exhibited his first collection of environmentally innovative furnishings at the 2003 International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York. As Co-founder and Creative Director of MIO he has built a practice that bridges the divide between business and sustainability through design. Today MIO is a certified B Corp leading the way with a collection of furnishings and a transdisciplinary design studio for the circular economy. Jaime's work with leading organizations such as Comcast, TD Bank, Paris Presents, Philadelphia Center City District, Urban Outfitters and Target Corporation focuses on creating the products, services and strategies necessary to build a truly sustainable culture.
Jaime's designs have been showcased in galleries and museums worldwide, including The National Building Museum in Washington, The Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, The Ontario Science Center, The Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, which has included his wallpaper designs in their permanent collection. His work has been widely published by periodicals including: Metropolis, Interior Design, Better Homes and Gardens, The New York Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Contract Magazine and Azure and in books such as: The EcoDesign Handbook, The International Design Year Book, Transmaterial, Experimental EcoDesign: Architecture Fashion Product, (ART)IFACT and The Independent Design Guide, among others.
Jaime has been a guest speaker at corporations and educational institutions including Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, The University of Pennsylvania, Jefferson University and The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Liftoff! is the School of Design’s spring exhibition. This aptly titled launch showcases student work from our four programs: Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design and MDes Product Design. With the help and expert guidance of faculty and staff, our students have created work that distinguishes them as artists and designers of the highest caliber. This exhibition marks not the end of their academic years, but the beginning of their professional careers.
Drawing as Seeing
Design Process, Theory, and Communication
Digital Design Lab
Drawing as Thinking
Elements of Product Design
Prototyping & Fabrication I
Prototyping and Fabrication II
Design for Sustainability & Ethics
Product Service Systems
Design for Social Innovation
Business & Preparation for Creative Practice
Prototyping + Fabrication III
Entrepreneurship & The Object
Senior Thesis I
Senior Thesis II
Presentation & Portfolio
Professional Practice: Internship
Start your application
Begin your application today. Our admissions team will help you throughout the process.
See UArts for yourself
The best way to get to know UArts is by visiting our campus in person. Come see a show, visit a gallery, and get to know the neighborhood.
Not sure where to start?
We're glad you want to learn more. Our admissions team is happy to send additional information about our school.