Faculty of Architecture and Design



Industrial Design

Please note: Information on this page relates to the 2016 academic year unless otherwise specified.

On this page:

This subject is taught by the School of Design.


Industrial Design is a creative discipline which aims to connect human culture with technology in innovative ways. It develops original, useful and meaningful manufactured products or product systems that enrich our daily lives.

In anticipating the impact of the digital revolution on manufactured products and systems, the Industrial Design programme at Victoria University has made a strong commitment to digital technologies since its inception – in the form of digital tools for designing (parametric modelling, 3D scanning and rapid prototyping) making and manufacturing (CNC fabrication and Additive Manufacturing) or in the form of technologies for interactive products (tracking, sensing, monitoring and mobile technologies). 

The programme will equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to design a vast array of products—from medical, sports, and communication equipment to furniture, homeware and architectural fittings. Within this diversity of products and environments, you are encouraged to question traditional stereotypes and develop your own digitally inspired novel interpretations.

This programme will expose you to a wide range of historical, contemporary and future theories and approaches within Industrial Design, but maintains a strong emphasis on industry collaboration and global perspectives. We encourage a hands-on inquisitive and experimental approach to the use of materials, processes and technologies.

Industrial Design sits alongside the other design subjects—Media Design and Culture+Context Design. Cross-disciplinary study is encouraged within the School of Design and in the wider university context, enabling you to combine your studies in design with disciplines such as Engineering, Psychology, Computer Science, Management or Marketing in the form of a minor subject.

Industrial Design is a specialisation in the Bachelor of Design Innovation (BDI) degree. This undergraduate programme leads into the 180 point Master of Design Innovation (MDI) for those seeking a postgraduate qualification in Design.

For more detailed information on the School of Design and its programmes, see School of Design.

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Undergraduate information

Secondary school subjects you will need

Useful background subjects are creative disciplines such as Art, Design, Technology or Graphics, and essay-based disciplines such as English, History, Art History, Classics, Geography or Economics. 

Credit assessment of prior learning

If you have completed any study previously at another tertiary institute you may be eligible for some transferred credit towards your Victoria University qualification. Please check with the Faculty Office if you think this applies to you.

Degree requirements

The BDI in Industrial Design is a three-year undergraduate degree consisting of 360 points and is structured in two parts. In addition to core courses at each level, students do elective courses which provide opportunity to either include a specialisation or a minor in a related subject, or to engage with the wide range of courses offered within the BDI and other undergraduate programmes.

Part 1

Part 1 (120 points) is the first year of the Design Innovation degree. This year you take courses alongside students in the Media Design and Culture+Context Design programmes.

In Part 1 you will investigate a broad range of essential design ideas, principles, histories, theories, practices and strategies. Vocabularies of three- and four-dimensional design are also undertaken during this first year, allowing students to challenge traditional and presumptive definitions of design. These core design courses will equip you to enter Part 2.

Students complete 6 core courses and 2 elective courses as follows:

Core courses:

*If you have achieved 14 or more NCEA Level 3 credits in English, History, Art History, Classics, Geography or Economics you may substitute WRIT 101 or WRIT 151 with an additional elective course.

Part 2

Part 2 comprises the second and third years of the BDI degree, and requires 240 points—120 points each year.

Note: Entry into Part 2 requires good grades across all courses completed in Part 1.

In Part 2 you will develop your Industrial Design abilities through a series of studio-based courses and will gain a thorough knowledge of the key historical and theoretical approaches and precedents in the field of Industrial Design, its parameters and its relationship to other design disciplines.

2nd year courses, students complete 3 core courses and elective courses (120 points), as follows:

3rd year courses, students complete 4 core courses and elective courses (120 points), as follows:

Industrial Design elective course requirements

When selecting your electives in Part 1 and 2 you need to plan your programme to include:

  • at least 240 points from the BDI schedule
  • at least 200 points at 200- or 300-level.

You can also choose to use your elective courses to satisfy the requirements of a minor subject.

Industrial Design specialisations 

A student completing a major in Industrial Design may obtain a specialisation by including the following courses:

Industrial Design minors

The BDI allows an optional minor to be taken alongside the Industrial Design specialisation. A minor can be another subject offered within the BDI programme, or can be a subject offered by another faculty or school within the University.

A minor requires 60 points at 200- and 300-level including at least 15 points at 300-level. You need to plan ahead to ensure that you do any prerequisite 100-level courses as your first year electives.

Recommended minors include:

Please contact the relevant Faculty or School for course information relating to your choice of minor.

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Postgraduate information

Please visit our postgraduate study pages on the School of Design website for information about postgraduate qualifications in Industrial Design.

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How to find out more

Want to find out more about studying at Victoria? Register now to find out more about your study options and keep updated on application and enrolment information, open days and events.

If you need help deciding what degree might be right for you, or what courses to take, talk with a liaison officer or book a course planning session with us, call 0800 VICTORIA (842 867) or email course-advice@vuw.ac.nz.

If you’re a returning or transferring student, contact the Faculty Student and Academic Services Office, for help with degree planning and for information on admission requirements and transfer credit from other institutions.

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Related subjects and careers

The Industrial Design major in the BDI programme can lead to a variety of careers, including:

  • industrial designer
  • design consultant
  • CAD and parametric modelling designer 
  • designer for digital manufacture of furniture and products
  • designer for interactive furniture and products
  • design entrepreneur 
  • self employed designer/maker
  • exhibition designer
  • film industry designer

Industrial Design students who complete the one-year Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary) after their BDI can become secondary school teachers in the fields of design and technology.

Industrial students who complete minors can look forward to careers in the following:

Minor Career
Computer Science Project Development Manager
Psychology Human Centred Product Designer
Management Design Manager
Marketing Design in Business Strategist
Media Design Interactive Interface Product Designer

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List of courses

All courses are taught at Victoria's Te Aro Campus.

200 Level Courses

INDN 211 – Object Based Experiments

INDN 212 – Product Based Experiments

INDN 252 – Design Physiology

300 Level Courses

INDN 311 – Digital Form

INDN 312 – Brand + Identity

INDN 341 – Mass Production + Digital Manufacturing

INDN 342 – Digital Fabrication