An overview of the undergraduate program’s complete course and elective structure can be seen in the Study Sequence Chart [PDF].


The first year program consists of a multidisciplinary curriculum structured to develop the knowledge and skills important to the profession. Students take basic courses in Industrial Design that focus on both theory and practice, as well as courses in mathematics, physics, psychology, and economics. Courses include:

  • History and Theory of Industrial Design
  • Industrial Design Analysis
  • Projects I (studio)
  • Introduction to Economics
  • Introductory Psychology
  • Elementary Algebra
  • Physics


Mass-production technology, ergonomics, form and colour, perception, and computer applications are all topics introduced in second year. These courses establish a foundation for a range of industrial design projects, some of which are undertaken with practicing industrial designers. Students can choose their course electives from architecture, art history, business, computer science, engineering, psychology, and TSE (Technology, Society, Environment studies). Courses include:

  • Perception
  • Mass Production Technology
  • Computer Applications
  • Sensory Aspects of Design
  • Projects II (studio)
  • Ergonomics
  • Electives


In third year the emphasis is on more complex and structured industrial design projects which are accompanied by courses in ergonomics and contextual studies. Students also take a marketing course offered by Carleton’s School of Business. They are encouraged to choose third year electives from other disciplines on campus, especially business and psychology. Courses include:

  • Marketing
  • Projects III (studio)
  • Contextual Nature of Products
  • Industrial Design & the User
  • Professional Practice
  • Electives


In fourth year, the focus is on managing multiple design projects organized around a comprehensive, major design project. An intellectual understanding of design issues is fostered through a professional practice course, an industrial internship, and a design seminar. Students are encouraged to take elective courses in other departments in the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, Science, and Engineering to enhance their Industrial Design projects. Courses include:

  • Seminar
  • Major & Minor Projects IV (studio)
  • Internship
  • Electives