Product Design Students discussing project on wall

Product Design (BFA)

You’ve probably been thinking a lot about your future lately. If you are interested in solving complex problems and improving upon the functionality and aesthetics of products, the profession you want to pursue is Product Design.

In our Product Design program you will learn how to develop an idea into a viable, market-ready design solution. Our curriculum is designed to equip you with the specialized knowledge and technical skill required for your professional career. By working on real-life projects, sponsored by major manufacturing firms, you will graduate with the interdisciplinary skills needed to succeed in today’s competitive and ever-changing consumer landscape… and job market.

What makes our program unique?
Montclair State’s BFA in Product Design is a focused, practical, studio-based degree program taught in an atmosphere that is immersive and multi-disciplinary. We place emphasis on human-centered design as a product of strategic thinking and research, which reflects the dynamics of the actual industry. Projects include collaboration with major manufacturing firms, based on real-life design scenarios and project deliverables.

Design Studio courses begin in freshman year.

There is so much to learn and we have so much to teach you. For those reasons, your entire four years of study will be dedicated to the principals and application of design, beginning in freshman year. By the end of your sophomore year, you will be equipped with meaningful 2D and 3D visual communication skills and proficiencies with free-hand sketching and digital techniques. You will become familiar with manufacturing technology and experienced with Computer Aided Design (CAD.) Your semester-long projects will explore identifying problems, examining users’ needs, and developing technically sound design solutions. You will be pushed towards your potential so that when you transition to your professional career, you will be fully ready. And you will have fun in the process.

Industry sponsored design projects.

As a product design major, you will work on real-life projects sponsored by manufacturing companies and design firms like Movado Group, Kaz Design and Ingersoll Rand, our esteemed industry partners. You will then present your projects to senior designers, design directors, project managers and Brand VPs. Their invaluable feedback, based on professional expectations, will boost your awareness of industry-standards and, ultimately, your career preparation.

Ingersoll rand
revo logo
Movado Group
Helen of Troy
Underarmour Future Show

Design Studio-like atmosphere and sense of community.

The ability to collaborate is critical to the success of a product designer. Listening to the client, working with the engineer… For that reason, we foster a team-minded atmosphere bolstered by customized, small study groups and a dedicated and supportive faculty.

National Accreditation

Montclair State University’s Product Design program is among the most competitive in the region and meets the rigorous standards of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD).

Professional Association

The program also hosts an active student chapter of the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA).

What You Will Study
Diagram showing components of industrial design

The BFA in Product Design curriculum consists of 120 credits which include core course requirements plus department-supported electives.

Product Design Major (BFA) – Curriculum‌View 4-Year Plan for Product Design

Internships provide invaluable learning opportunities and are a required component of the Product Design curriculum. We encourage students to pursue opportunities at dominant consumer product and design companies to gain hands-on professional experience that reinforces skill development. Several of our students completed internships that, in fact, jumpstarted their careers and resulted in their designs being made available on the market.

Companies where our students have interned include:

Study Abroad
Knowing the customs and expectations of other cultures has a critical importance in the design practice. Designers must be able to function in a global setting, collaborate on a global scale and design products for global markets. Students gain invaluable insights by spending a semester abroad and the knowledge they gain makes them more marketable than their peers.

We offer a Spring Break opportunity abroad to visit iconic automotive manufacturers and design museums, alternating between Italian manufacturers Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Alfa-Romeo, Pagani, and Ducati and German manufacturers Porsche, Mercedes, and BMW. Who are the designers and engineers keeping customers and devoted fans coming back for more?

Spend eight days walking and talking factory floors, showrooms, and collections of some of the most exclusive and excellent products mankind has ever made.

Each trip is an opportunity to become an expert on the history, the materials, the processes, and the human connection that it takes to make these icons what they are today.

Montclair State’s articulation agreement with Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest allows our students to study in Hungary for a semester at the renowned Mercedes-Benz AG-sponsored Transportation Design program.

Those who are not car enthusiasts have the opportunity to participate in other design projects, including with European companies engaged in design research and development.

This unique possibility to learn about design abroad exposes students to global perspectives while providing international networking opportunities.

Portfolio Requirements

The Product Design major does not require a portfolio submission, however, we do strongly suggest submitting your work. Any additional information we receive from applicants gives us more insight on the applicant and their desire to pursue this major.

If you have not taken art courses, don’t worry. Our first year design foundation courses are specifically developed to teach you the skills you need to strive in the major.

The most important thing for us is to see work that persuades us that you are passionate about Product Design and reflects your individual ideas outside of the high school classroom. We want to see what interests you, and how you can communicate your ideas visually, with adequate degree of workmanship applied.

We are most curious about seeing your free-hand drawings of physical objects. Concentrate on including drawings directly from your own imagination, and drawings from direct observation, such as:

  • still life of consumer products
    • furniture, footwear, transportation, appliances, sports equipment, etc.
  • drawings of building exteriors and interiors, (not technical but freehand, perspective, onsite observation)
  • figure drawing

As secondary focus, you may also include:

  • images of models you built
  • paintings (but only if they represent represent three-dimensionality)
  • sculpture and ceramics

A maximum of ten (10) pieces may be submitted for review. Focus on including the strongest examples of your work.

Important to note: Poor photographs or scans reflect badly on the quality of work and will impact a reviewer’s perception. It is important that your images (jpg, pdf) are oriented correctly for easy viewing.

Refrain from including:

  • work from drafting or technical drawing classes
  • architectural plans and models you were assigned to do in a high school drafting class.
  • CAD modeling images, reproductions of graphic novel, cartoon or TV characters.
  • any work of offensive nature.

If submitted, this portfolio will be reviewed in conjunction with your application for admission to the University.

Recommended reference for portfolio preparation:

Sketching: The Basics

Applying as a Transfer Student

Transferring Course Credits – Overview

Transfer applicants must first be accepted into a major before courses completed at any prior accredited higher educational institution can be evaluated for transfer. The Department of Art and Design follows University published guidelines for transferring credits, including any articulation-agreement policies that may apply to your previous institution(s.)

Undergraduate Admissions will first evaluate your transcript(s), after which an Art and Design program advisor will determine whether and which courses may count towards the intended major degree requirements. Courses not included in the articulation agreement (e.g. for institutions outside New Jersey) will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis. Evaluations are based on comparing levels and content of incoming courses with comparable Montclair State courses in accordance with reviewing catalog descriptions, syllabi and congruence of material covered.

Courses deemed to qualify must receive final approval at the Department, College and University levels. Equivalent transfer courses for New Jersey Community Colleges can be found at

Product Design Considerations

  • Applicants transferring from community colleges must complete the four-year sequence of major studio classes of the BFA Product Design program unless they demonstrate excellence in visualization, model making, digital sketching and human factors, as well as completed courses that focus on these subject areas.
  • You may be considered for the sophomore level if you have completed the first year of studies at a university in an accredited Product Design program and have achieved at least a C+ or higher in each major course. The majority of your work must directly apply to the Product Design area and demonstrate adequate knowledge of related subjects.
  • Notes:
    • The same compulsory portfolio requirements as for freshman candidates apply to students transferring from community colleges.
    • Because this is a BFA design program as opposed to a BA fine arts program, a maximum of nine credits of 100- and 200-level coursework taken at the community college may be accepted for Studio Course credits, depending upon the grade(s) received and the presented competence level. With no previous product design education, transfer students from community colleges will have to complete the four-year Product Design program.
    • If you are transferring from a New Jersey community college into the BFA in Product Design major, please follow the guidelines suggested on the NJ Transfer site.
    • The NJ Transfer’s Plan Academic Program (RTP) feature allows you to choose the institution at which you are currently enrolled and the Montclair State program into which you wish to transfer and lists the best courses for you to take while at your current institution.
    • While at the community college level, it is important that you concentrate on your foundations classes (e.g. 2D and 3D Design, Color Studies, and Life Drawing), rather than taking too many classes in an area of specialization, as they may not satisfy the required competence level of a BFA degree.
Career Opportunities
Visual Communication Design BFA

Good design is about merging visual and emotional appeal with functionality, relevance and commercial viability. Society demands products that minimize environmental impact– from their production to disposal. You will graduate from our program prepared to face these challenges on a local and global scale, having developed tools to visualize the future and the skills to become a socially responsible designer. Companies where graduates have begun their design careers:

Product Design career areas include:

The College of the Arts has a College Career Services office, dedicated to helping students find internships, develop resumes and explore career opportunities as they approach graduation.

Our Faculty

The Product Design program offers the opportunity to learn from recognized and accomplished designers. Our full- and part-time faculty, as well as industry experts and visiting professionals, have designed breakthrough products for markets worldwide.

Together they bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and cultural sensitivity to the classroom.

Moreover, guest speakers from various design and sciences fields provide additional expert insights to deepen our students’ knowledge about the design profession.

Product Design Faculty

Montclair State University’s Art and Design programs are among the region’s most competitive and meet the rigorous standards of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD).

About Studio Facilities

The Department of Art and Design occupies several buildings on campus that house fully equipped facilities for all art areas. Outside of the department, students take their education classes in University Hall, the University’s recently constructed, largest academic facility.

All Studio Facilities

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Contact Program Director: Dr. Denis Feigler