Parsons

Product Design (BFA)

  • The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Product Design cultivates the technical and critical skills you need to design products that enhance human abilities and relationships. In this major, you address contemporary realities including sustainability and technological change while exploring materials, fabrication, aesthetics, and social engagement in both local and global contexts. Shops and studio space are shared with other graduate and undergraduate programs taught at the School of Constructed Environments — Architecture, Interior Design, and Lighting Design — as well as Fine Arts, fostering interdisciplinary work.

    This program is part of Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments (SCE). As a BFA Product Design student, you benefit from SCE’s integrated academic community through access to students and faculty of related making disciplines. Learn about the SCE community and explore our blog to see what students, faculty, and alumni are doing in NYC and around the world.

    Read More About the ProgramRead Less

    Tools of Design

    Courses help you acquire broadly applicable studio and critical thinking skills, including research graphic representation, modeling and prototyping, and professional presentation techniques. In art and design history and theory courses as well as related studio classes, you build essential research, writing, and critical reasoning skills while developing conceptual foundations for creative inquiry. Electives in areas such as user-centered design, digital and physical model making, professional practice and entrepreneurship, material innovation, wood and metal fabrication, experimental ceramics, and design for the public realm enrich your practice.

    Resources for Growth

    Partnerships and internships with companies like Harry Allen & Associates, Areaware, and Movado Group provide opportunities for real-world experience and career growth. Museums, archives, and organizations like Material ConneXion complement Parsons’ research resources, including the Angelo Donghia Healthier Materials Center. The program hosts industry practitioners for lectures, project consulting, and crits. Design professionals discuss challenges in product design that range from theoretical issues to practical matters like prototyping and manufacturing. Design professionals discuss challenges in product design that range from theoretical dimensions to practical matters like prototyping and manufacturing.

    Future Opportunities

    Graduates pursue careers in industrial design, product development, manufacturing, furniture design, humanitarian and service design, health design, and toy design.

  • Curriculum

    The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is awarded upon completion of 120 credits, as designated by the program. A maximum of 60 credits of undergraduate-level coursework may be transferred from other institutions. Students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and fulfill all requirements in a timely manner.

    Note: This curriculum applies to students who enter Parsons as first-year students in fall 2013 and after. Current students who entered Parsons in a prior academic year and incoming and prospective transfer students with sophomore or junior standing should refer to the Parsons catalog appropriate to their catalog year. See Academic Policies for more details.

    First Year F S
    PUFY 1000 Integrative Studio 1 3 -
    PUFY 1010 Integrative Seminar 1 3 -
    PUFY 1100 Sustainable Systems* 3 -
    PUFY 1020 Space/Materiality** 3 -
    PUFY 1030 Drawing/Imaging** 3 -
    PUFY 1040 Time** - 3
    PUFY 1001 Integrative Studio 2 - 3
    PUFY 1011 Integrative Seminar 2 - 3
    PLHT 1000 Objects as History* - 3
    Program Elective
    - 3
    15 15
    Sophomore Year F S
    PUPD 2010 Design Studio 1 3 -
    PUPD 2027 Models, Mockups, and Prototypes 3 -
    PUPD 2020 Process Drawing / Digital Presentation 3 -
    PLDS 2190 History of Design: 1850–2000 Lecture 0 -
    PLDS 2191 History of Design: 1850–2000 Recitation 3 -
    PUPD 2011 Design Studio 2 - 3
    PUPD 2090 Computer-Aided Industrial Design - 3
    PUPD 2030 Materials and Manufacturing Processes: Lecture - 3
    PUPD 2031 Materials and Manufacturing Processes: Recitation - 0
    PLDS 2500 Intro to Design Studies: Lecture - 0
    PLDS 2501 Intro to Design Studies: Recitation - 3
    Program Electives
    3 3
    15 15
    Junior Year F S
    PUPD 3010 Design Studio 3 3 -
    PUPD 3050 Human Factors, Ergonomics, and Interface  3 -
    PUPD 3011 Design Studio 4 - 3
    PUPD 3080 Portfolio, Publication, and Dynamic Media - 3
    Program Electives
    3 3
    Liberal Arts Electives
    6 3
    ULEC University Lecture Elective
    - 3
    15 15
    Senior Year F S
    PLSD 3500 Advanced Research Seminar: Constructed Environments 3 -
    PUPD 4010 Design Studio 5: Interdisciplinary Projects  6 -
    PUPD 4011 Design Studio 6: Capstone - 6
    Program Electives
    3 3
    Liberal Arts Electives
    3 3
    ULEC University Lecture Elective
    - 3
    15 15
    TOTAL CREDITS 120

    *Objects as History and Sustainable Systems can be taken in either sequence, one in the fall semester and one in the spring.

    **The three first-year studio courses — Drawing/Imaging, Space/Materiality, and Time — can be taken in any sequence, two in the fall semester and one in the spring.

    Faculty

    Program Contact


    Full Time Faculty

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        Profiles

        Highlights

        Learn more about what Parsons students, faculty, and alumni are doing throughout the city and around the world. Explore the SCE Community

        Facilities

        The Product Design program has 10,000 square feet of classroom, office, and lab space. Each student is exposed to product fabrication while professional faculty and technical staff assist them in producing full-scale prototypes and presentation-scale models.

        The dedicated Product Design studio spaces include

        • A 4,000-square-foot wood shop facility with traditional woodworking machinery, vacuum press equipment (for plywood bending), and CNC router tool
        • A computer-controlled three-axis router/shaper table
        • A model shop with traditional machinery for model making with foams and plastics and facilities for plastic vacuum forming, plastic casting, rubber mold making, painting, and finishing
        • Two metal fabrication shops with machine tools such as lathes, milling machines, MIG, TIG, and ARC welding facilities
        • A nonferrous metal shop used in manipulating precious metals
        • A 1,600-square-foot ceramic studio, which includes model making, mold making, and slip casting facilities; three oxidation kilns; and a glaze booth
        • A computer lab with 8 PC workstations, 11"x17" scanning, and 11"x17" color laser printing capabilities
        • A 3D printer capable of printing a full-scale presentation model in plaster or resin

        In addition, product design students have access to a broad range of facilities including the SCE support facilities, located at 25 East 13th Street. Visit Parsons Academic Resources to learn more about the Making Center and available facilities.

        Admission Requirements

        Application and Financial Aid Deadlines

        1. Application Deadlines:
          • Fall Term Early Action Applicants: November 1
          • Fall Term Regular Priority Applicants: January 15
          • Fall Term Transfer Priority Applicants: April 1
          • Spring Term Priority Applicants: October 15
          • Fall Term Readmission (review readmission information below): August 1
          • Spring Term Readmission (review readmission information below): November 1
        2. Financial Aid Deadlines
          • All applicants admissible into our program are considered for a merit scholarship award that is determined by the strength of their application. Scholarship award notification is communicated at the same time as the admission decision. International students are eligible only for merit scholarships. If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, we encourage you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be found on the Web at www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA is available each year on October 1. (The New School’s federal school code is 002780.) You do not need to wait for an admission decision to apply for federal aid; we recommend submitting by our FAFSA priority deadlines:
          • Fall: February 1
          • Spring: November 1

        Application Instructions

        All applicants are required to apply online using the Common Application. Save your work frequently and print a copy for your records. You must complete all required fields and uploads prior to submission.

        Any additional supporting documents that need to be sent by mail must include an Application Materials Cover Sheet. All supporting materials must be received before your application can be reviewed.

        See below for additional information regarding submission of transcripts and recommendations.

        Some of your required materials will be submitted through SlideRoom:

        1. In addition to submitting the Common Application, you are required to submit the portfolio and Parsons Challenge through SlideRoom.
        2. Finalize your portfolio and Parsons Challenge at the time you submit your application. Doing this will help prevent any delays in reviewing your application, as we need to receive all required materials before we can place your application under review.
        3. Once you have submitted the required SlideRoom materials, a confirmation number will be emailed to you. Save this number for your records.

        Required Application Materials

        1. Application Form: Complete the Common Application. All applicants are required to apply online.
        2. Application Fee: A nonrefundable $50 application fee and a $10 SlideRoom fee, payable as part of the online application.
        3. Official Transcripts:
          All applicants must provide official high school and/or college transcripts. If you are currently in school, submit transcripts for all coursework taken to date. Applicants who have attended multiple high schools may submit only the graduating school’s official transcript as long as courses taken at previous schools are reflected on that transcript.

          Transfer Applicants: Transfer applicants who have completed fewer than 24 college credits (on a semester system) must submit high school transcript(s) in addition to college transcripts. Students who have completed any college coursework must apply as transfer students, regardless of whether they plan to apply those credits to their studies at Parsons. Applicants are required to report and submit transcripts for all colleges and universities attended. The following majors do not accept juniors: Design and Technology, Fashion, Integrated Design, and Product Design.

          By Mail: Official transcripts should have an original signature or a raised university seal, and must be in a sealed envelope that has been signed or stamped by the issuing university’s registrar or records office. Applicants can either send official transcripts with an Application Materials Cover Sheet or request that institutions send transcripts directly to The New School. See “Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials” for our mailing address in the Additional Instructions and Information section below.

          Electronic Transcripts (U.S./Domestic Institutions Only): The New School accepts electronic transcripts only from our approved vendors. The New School’s approved vendors, in order of preference, are
          • Naviance
          • Parchment Exchange
          • SCRIP-SAFE International
          • National Student Clearinghouse
          We do not accept electronic transcripts sent directly by a student or school offices. Note: All international academic credentials must be submitted as indicated in the International Academic Credentials sections below.

          High School Equivalency: For GED, TASC, and HiSET, send official test score results by postal mail.

          Homeschooling: Homeschool applicants must provide the equivalent of a high school transcript with course or subject titles, duration of study for each title, content of study for each title, and an assessment of performance or “grade.” Preferably, the courses completed at home are part of a curriculum developed and evaluated by a nationally recognized diploma-granting organization or agency. If not connected with such an organization, homeschool applicants must obtain and submit a GED as confirmation of completing a generally acceptable secondary school curriculum. If an official transcript from a state homeschool association or sponsoring public high school is not available, homeschool students must submit an equivalency or GED, TASC, or HiSET exam results. Individual homeschool transcripts with date of completion do not suffice as official proof of graduation.

          International Academic Credentials: All transcripts not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

          International Academic Credentials with Transfer Credits: Applicants who attended postsecondary institutions outside of the United States are required to have their transcript(s) evaluated by World Education Services (WES) or by another member of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES). A course-by-course evaluation must be prepared for each transcript. In the absence of an evaluation, the Admission Committee will do its best to render a decision. Please note: In some cases, a review cannot be made without an evaluation, and a committee decision will be delayed.

          If using WES, visit www.wes.org for instructions and to begin the application process. The “Required Documents” section will explain what to send. If you request your report online, search for “The New School” when selecting our institution. WES will send your completed evaluation directly to The New School.

          If using another NACES provider, follow instructions for that provider. Mailed evaluations and translations should be sent to the mailing address provided for supporting materials. Applicants forwarding these sealed documents should include an Application Materials Cover Sheet.
        4. Parsons Challenge: Create a new visual work inspired by the theme within a piece submitted in your portfolio.  Support your process by writing one 500 word essay describing how your ideas developed. You may also submit up to two additional visual  pieces that document your process.  All forms of media are acceptable—drawing, video, photography, sculpture, 3D work, collage, and digital images. The Parsons Challenge helps the Admission Committee understand how a prospective student develops ideas, visually communicates those ideas, and defends the work in writing. The Parsons Challenge is completed in SlideRoom along with the portfolio.
        5. Portfolio: The portfolio must be completed in SlideRoom only. Freshman and transfer applicants must submit a portfolio of eight to 12 images. Portfolios can include a range of media such as drawing, painting, sculpture, fashion design, animation, performance, graphic design, or sketchbook pages. We encourage you to show experimentation and breadth, and the portfolio does not need to specifically address the major to which you are applying.
        6. Essay: The New School brings together a dynamic group of students interested in art, design, performing arts, entrepreneurship and critical thought. We would like to know more about your interest in joining our community and why you would be a good fit for The New School. We are particularly interested in knowing why you have applied to a specific school, college, program, area of study, or campus. 
        7. Test Scores:
          SAT and ACT: The New School does not require submission of SAT or ACT scores for applications to be considered complete. Should you feel your SAT or ACT test scores are beneficial to your application, you may submit them for our consideration.  Note: Homeschool applicants must submit standardized test scores from either the SAT or the ACT. Homeschool applicants may submit two standardized subject test results in lieu of the SAT. The SAT institution code is 2638. The ACT code is 2854.

          TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE: All applicants whose first language is not English must submit valid TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores. The minimum score required for TOEFL (IB) is 92, for IELTS is 7.0, and for PTE is 63. Our TOEFL institution code is 2638.

          The New School does not require TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores for applicants:

          • Whose native language is English
          • Who have attended a secondary school where English is the primary language of instruction (minimum of three years attendance)
          • Who have successfully completed two full semesters of non-ESL college-level expository writing
          • Who have earned a four-year degree from a U.S. college/university or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction (minimum of three years attendance)

          Arrange for the testing service to send your test scores directly to The New School using the institution codes listed above. We accept scores from the past two years. If your scores are older, you must retake the test. For more information, visit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE.

          Applicants also have the option of enrolling in The New School English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Students must pass Level 6 to waive the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE requirement. Visit the ESL website for more information.
        8. Letter of Recommendation: Applicants applying directly from high school must submit the Common Application School Report, one counselor recommendation and one recommendation from a teacher. Students transferring from other colleges or universities must submit one recommendation from a professor with whom they have studied. Recommenders can submit recommendations online; instructions are included with the online application. If preferred, the recommendation form can instead be sent by mail in a signed, sealed envelope. To send by mail, download the PDF recommendation form found in the online application, complete the personal information, save the form, and forward it to the recommender for completion and submission. Applicants can also send signed and sealed recommendations to the Office of Admission using an Application Materials Cover Sheet.

        Additional Information and Instructions

        1. Applying to More Than One Program: In any given term, a student can apply to only one department or program within The New School. Applicants who file more than one application in a given semester will be required to withdraw one of the applications, and application fees will not be refunded.
        2. Application Materials: All materials submitted in association with The New School application become the property of The New School and cannot be returned to you or transmitted to a third party.
        3. Advanced-Level Credit: AP, IB, and A-Level Courses: Accepted applicants will receive further instructions later in the process regarding AP, IB, and A-Level scores.
        4. Test Score Codes:
          • TOEFL: The institution code is 2638.
          • SAT and AP: The institution code is 2638.
          • ACT: The institution code is 2854.
        5. Application Status: Applications become complete and ready for review once all required items have been received by the Office of Admission. You can check your application status online at the Admission Hub.

          Allow at least 14 days from the date you submitted your application for items to be matched and shown as received on the Hub. Applicants are responsible for following up with schools and recommenders to confirm that items have been sent.

          The Office of Admission will periodically notify applicants by email if their file is missing any documents and again when their file is complete for review. These notifications are sent to the email address provided in the online application.
        6. Interviews: Interviews are not required. Applicants with questions about Parsons or the admission process are encouraged to attend an information session. Please review the Admission Calendar for dates and times.
        7. Homeschool Applicants: The New School welcomes applications from homeschool students. The Admission Committee does not require advanced preparation in every academic area, but applicants should demonstrate substantial work in English, history, social studies, foreign language, mathematics, and science.
        8. Readmission: Application for Readmission (PDF) should be completed by students who wish to return after an absence of four semesters (fall and spring). Students must reapply to the program to which they were originally admitted. Readmission is only available for current New School programs. If you are looking to transfer 24 or more semester-based credits, you should apply for admission as a transfer student according to the instructions outlined above. The following materials are required of applicants seeking readmission:

          • Application for Readmission (PDF)
          • Statement of Purpose
          • Employer recommendation (if applicable)
          • Transcripts (required if you have attended another college or university since last at The New School)
          • Updated portfolio at the request of faculty
        9. Internal Transfers: The online Internal Transfer Application is required for all current New School students who wish to transfer from one New School college to another. Students who wish to change departments or majors within the same college should speak to their academic advisor.

          Internal applicants should submit the following requirements:

          • Lang BA candidates: Two Admission essays
          • Parsons BFA candidates: One Admission essay explaining why the switch; 8-12 piece Creative Portfolio & Parsons Challenge
          • Parsons BBA candidates: One Admission essay explaining why the switch; Parsons Challenge
          • Jazz BFA candidates: One Admission essay; live audition
          • A letter of recommendation from a current professor is helpful but not required.

        10. Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials:
          Parsons School of Design
          Office of Admission (PS 100)
          79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
          New York, NY 10003
         
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