A student presents her wood design.

Product Design (BFA)

This program will launch in fall 2022.

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. 
 

Curriculum

Sample Curriculum

School of Design core: 24
Major requirements: 45
Discipline history: 12
Critical Studies: 30
Free electives: 9

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First Year

Fall: 16.5 credits
Drawing as Seeing (3c)
Design Process, Theory, and Communication (3c)
Digital Design Lab (3c)
Writing I Placement (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)
Free elective (1.5c)

Spring: 15 credits
Drawing as Thinking (3c)
Design Studio (3c)
Writing II Placement (3c)
Discipline history (3c)
Free elective (3c)

Second Year

Fall: 15 credits 
Human Factors (1.5c)
Design Research (1.5c)
ODR* selection (3c)
Design for Persuasive Visual Communication (3c)
Philosophy & Context of Product (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)

Spring: 15 credits
Elements of Product Design (3c)
Prototyping & Fabrication I (3c)
Design History (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)
Free elective (3c)

Third Year

Fall: 15 credits 
Prototyping & Fabrication II (3c)
Emerging Materials (1.5c)
Design for Sustainability & Ethics (1.5c)
ODR selection* (3c)
Contemporary Issues (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)

Spring: 13.5 credits 
Product Service System (1.5c)
Design for Social Innovation (3c)
ODR selection* (3c)
Intro to Business Prep & Creative Practice (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)

Fourth Year

Fall: 15 credits
Prototyping & Fabrication III (1.5c)
Entrepreneurship & the Object (1.5c)
Senior Thesis I (3c)
Internship, Workshop or Interdisciplinary Project (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)
Free elective (3c)

Spring: 13.5 credits 
Senior Thesis II (3c)
Presentation & Portfolio (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)
Critical Studies (3c)
Free elective (1.5c)

Faculty Spotlight

Phil Holcombe
Phil Holcombe

Product Design (BFA)
Meet the Director
Virginia Geshan Headshot
Virginia Gehshan

Product Design (BFA)
Tony Guido Headshot
Anthony Guido

Product Design (BFA)
Justin Bernard Headshot
Justin Bernard

Product Design (MDes)
Andrew Dahlgren
Andrew Dahlgren

Product Design (BFA)

Alumni & Careers

Chris Santone headshot
Chris Santone

BS '15

Product Design (BFA)
Becca Danna headshot blue shirt blonde hair
Becca Danna

BS '11

Product Design (BFA)
Lorenzo Buffa
Lorenzo Buffa

BFA '12

Product Design (BFA)
Jaime Salm
Jaime Salm

BFA '01

Product Design (BFA)

How to Apply

The following materials are required for your application.

This program will launch in fall 2022.
 

Admissions Deadline: There is no set deadline. UArts operates on rolling admissions basis, which means we will receive and process applications throughout the year as space remains available in each program. 

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A completed application for admission
A nonrefundable $60 application fee

A nonrefundable $60 application fee

A personal statement
  • Your individual voice and personal insights play an equally important and valued role in an admissions review. Your personal statement allows you to share your story, express yourself and place a spotlight on your creative journey—past, present or future. It helps us get to know you and your dreams, ideas, challenges, opportunities and/or goals in a way your transcripts and other application materials can’t. 

  • Here are some questions to help you shape your personal statement. Interpret them as you wish. There are no right or wrong answers—there’s only your story.

    1. When and how did you realize you wanted to be an artist?

    2. How will University of the Arts help you achieve your creative and professional goals?

    3. How do you want your creativity to affect the future?

  • There is no word count requirement, but we recommend you share your story in 250 to 500 words. Upload your personal statement with your application for admission or email it to undergradcredentials@uarts.edu.

Official transcripts
  • Official transcripts from the high school(s) you have attended are required. For transfer students, transcripts from each college you have attended are required. They must be mailed directly by your school in a sealed envelope to the Office of Admissions, emailed directly from your school, or sent through a secure electronic transcript delivery service. Transcripts sent or emailed by students are not considered official. They should be sent to the Office of Admissions, University of the Arts, 320 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19102 or via email to undergradcredentials@uarts.edu.
  • For transcripts from outside the U.S., refer to the instructions for international undergraduate students.
Your portfolio

All students applying to visual arts programs—those in the schools of Art, Film and Design—are required to submit 15–20 examples of original artwork. You may choose to include work from a variety of media or select one area of focus you want to highlight. Your portfolio should demonstrate your creativity, showcase your skills, represent the art forms you have studied and highlight your ability to communicate ideas. Get more tips about submitting your portfolio

International applicants must submit proof of English proficiency.

International applicants must submit proof of English proficiency

Optional materials

You can also submit SAT scores, a résumé and/or letters of recommendation. None of these materials are required. Learn more about submitting optional materials.

Apply Now

Scholarships & Financial Aid

UArts recognizes the extraordinary talent of our students through a range of merit-based scholarshipsAll applicants are automatically considered for such scholarships—no special application is necessary.

Nearly 80 percent of UArts’ undergraduate students enrolled on a full-time basis are eligible for some type of need-based aid. Additionally, some scholarship opportunities take need-based criteria into account. All students who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens and are enrolled in a degree program are encouraged to apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Learn more about scholarships and financial aid.

Get Started

Start your application

Begin your application today. Our admissions team will help you throughout the process.

Apply Now

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