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Twin Cities Campus

Product Design Minor

Design, Housing & Apparel
College of Design
  • Program Type: Undergraduate minor related to major
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2018
  • Required credits in this minor: 16
Product design is inherently creative and interdisciplinary, blending design, engineering, business, art, and other humanities. The program focuses on physically crafting the future in the form of new objects, systems and services. This minor will provide students with a tool set for innovation that can be applied to their major area of study.
Program Delivery
This program is available:
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Admission Requirements
A GPA above 2.0 is preferred for the following:
  • 2.80 already admitted to the degree-granting college
  • 2.80 transferring from another University of Minnesota college
For information about University of Minnesota admission requirements, visit the Office of Admissions website.
Minor Requirements
The product design minor requires a minimum of 16 credits.
Required core
PDES 2701 - Creative Design Methods (3.0 cr)
PDES 2702 - Concept Sketching (3.0 cr)
PDES 3711 - Toy Product Design (4.0 cr)
or PDES 5711 - Toy Product Design (4.0 cr)
Take 6 or more credit(s) from the following:
· ANTH 4121 - Business Anthropology (3.0 cr)
· ANTH 4035 - Ethnographic Research Methods (3.0 cr)
· CSCI 5127W - Embodied Computing: Design & Prototyping [WI] (3.0 cr)
· DES 3131 - User Experience in Design (4.0 cr)
· DES 3321 - Furniture Design: Exploration (3.0 cr)
· DES 3322 - Furniture Design, Practice (4.0 cr)
· DES 5185 - Human Factors in Design (3.0 cr)
· EE 1301 - Introduction to Computing Systems (4.0 cr)
· ESPM 3603 - Environmental Life Cycle Analysis (3.0 cr)
· GCC 3005 - Global Venture Design: What Impact Will You Make? [GP] (3.0 cr)
· MGMT 3010 - Introduction to Entrepreneurship (4.0 cr)
· MGMT 4171W - Entrepreneurship in Action I [WI] (4.0 cr)
· MGMT 4172 - Entrepreneurship in Action II (4.0 cr)
· PDES 2703 - Concept Visualization and Presentation 1 (3.0 cr)
· PDES 2777 - Product Form and Model Making (2.0 cr)
· PDES 3704 - Computer-Aided Design Methods (3.0 cr)
· PDES 3705 - History and Future of Product Design (3.0 cr)
· PDES 3706 - Designing for Manufacture (4.0 cr)
· PDES 3715 - Design and Food (4.0 cr)
· PDES 4193 - Directed Study in Product Design (1.0-4.0 cr)
· ME 2011 - Introduction to Engineering (4.0 cr)
 
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View college catalog(s):
· College of Design

View sample plan(s):
· Product Design Sample Plan

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· Product Design Minor
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PDES 2701 - Creative Design Methods
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
This class is an introduction to a variety of tools and methods used in developing new product concepts. The focus of the class is on the early stage of product development which includes user research, market research, idea generation methods, concept evaluation, concept selection, intellectual property, and idea presentation. Students work individually applying the content taught in lecture to a semester-long design project. Students meet in teams bi-weekly to present and critique their work.
PDES 2702 - Concept Sketching
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
This class is an introduction to manual sketching techniques, specifically for the communication of conceptual product ideas. The focus of this class is on free-hand perspective drawing. Students begin with basic principles, simple shapes, light and shadow, and later learn how to combine forms to create conceptual objects with realistic perspective. In this class, there are weekly drawing assignments and presentations.
PDES 3711 - Toy Product Design
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02649 - PDes 3711/PDes 5711
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Toy Product Design is an introduction to integrated product design process in which elements of industrial design, engineering, business, and humanities are combined and applied to a semester-long design project. Cross-functional teams of six students work together to design and prototype new toy product concepts with help from industry mentors.
PDES 5711 - Toy Product Design
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02649 - PDes 3711/PDes 5711
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Toy Product Design is an introduction to integrated product design process in which elements of industrial design, engineering, business, and humanities are combined and applied to a semester-long design project. Cross-functional teams of six students work together to design and prototype new toy product concepts with help from industry mentors.
ANTH 4121 - Business Anthropology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01996
Typically offered: Every Spring
Anthropological/ethnographic understandings/research techniques.
ANTH 4035 - Ethnographic Research Methods
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
History of and current issues in ethnographic research. Research projects, including participant observation, interviewing, research design, note taking, life history, and other ethnographic methods. prereq: 1003 or 1005 or grad student
CSCI 5127W - Embodied Computing: Design & Prototyping (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
In this course, you will learn and apply the principles of embodied computing to human-centered challenges. Through a semester-long team project, you will learn and demonstrate mastery of human-centered embodied computing through two phases: (1) investigating human needs and current embodied practices and (2) rapidly prototyping and iterating embodied computing solutions. One of the ways you will demonstrate this mastery is through the collaborative creation of a written document and project capstone video describing your process and prototype. prereq: CSci 4041, upper division or graduate student, or instructor permission; CSci 5115 or equivalent recommended.
DES 3131 - User Experience in Design
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Introduction to theories/principles of human interaction with designed objects. Focuses on affect/emotional quality of designs. Objects, interfaces, environments. Digitally mediated experiences.
DES 3321 - Furniture Design: Exploration
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01644
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Furniture design as discipline, not as method. Material. Objects that mediate our environment. History, design criteria, technology, craft. Group case study, research presentation, individual making/presenting of concept-prototype.
DES 3322 - Furniture Design, Practice
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
The hardest things about the creative act is learning how to start something before you know what it is. The simplest objects are always more formally complex than the mind can accurately imagine. This course teaches design thinking through furniture constructed using a fast, loose & ad-hoc "children-club-fort-building" method of discovering & visualizing while making. Direct-construction design is tangibly satisfying and will provide powerful context for all other scales of creative, design and planning methods. Your results will not be conventionally good-looking, but you will make real & functioning cultural things. All exercises will be dependent on connecting to ideas beyond commonly recognized boundaries of the furniture. Think "Chair-ness, not Chair." You will be taught basic welding and wood joinery to provide fast & viable structural frames, "surfacing" methods in wood, foam and fabric composites, and an introduction to mold making and material casting. You do not need to be good at making, but you must be game to try. Craft is important so-far as basic structural usability is attained. Ideas will always trump material "correctness."
DES 5185 - Human Factors in Design
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Theories/methods that influence the assessment of physical, social, and psychological human factors. Development of user needs with application to designed products that interact with human body. prereq: Grad student or sr or instr consent
EE 1301 - Introduction to Computing Systems
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
C/C++ programming constructs, binary arithmetic and bit manipulation, data representation and abstraction, data types/structures, arrays, pointer addressing, control flow, iteration, recursion, file I/O, basics of object-oriented programming. An Internet-of-Things lab is integral to the course. prereq: concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in MATH 1271 or concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in MATH 1371
ESPM 3603 - Environmental Life Cycle Analysis
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01075
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Concepts/issues relating to inventory, subsequent analysis of production systems. Production system from holistic point of view, using term commonly used in industrial ecology: "metabolic system."
GCC 3005 - Global Venture Design: What Impact Will You Make? (GP)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02315 - CEGE 5571/GCC 3005/GCC 5005
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Students will work in teams developing sustainable business and technical solutions to address an environmental or social challenge in India. Teams may address a challenge related to water supply, energy availability, food/agriculture production, waste management, public health or a topic mutually agreed upon by the instructor and student teams. During the semester, a product or service must be designed, and a sustainable business model must be created around it. Technical and business development professionals based in the US and India will act as mentors to provide advice to each team. Each team will have one US-based mentor and one India-based mentor. The teams are expected to use a discovery process, design thinking, ideation and input from field research in solving the challenge. A primary focus of the course is up-front work to identify the "right" problem to solve. The model should be built around the customers' needs and wants, as they will need to pay for the product or service to achieve a scalable model.
MGMT 3010 - Introduction to Entrepreneurship
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02347
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Fundamentals of entrepreneurship. Career paths, including new business start-ups, franchising, acquisitions (including family business succession), corporate venturing, and entre-preneurial services. Legal structures for new business formation. Aspects of business law/ethics.
MGMT 4171W - Entrepreneurship in Action I (WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Two-semester course. In fall, students identify a business oportunity, develop concept, determine resources required, and launch the business. In spring, students implement business plan, manage business, and determine exit strategy. prereq: 3010, [4008 or concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in 4008], completed coursework in business core, CSOM upper division, approved application
MGMT 4172 - Entrepreneurship in Action II
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Second of two-semester sequence. In fall, students identify business opportunity, develop concept, determine resources required, and launch business. In spring, students implement busienss plan, manage business, and determine exit strategy. prereq: 4171
PDES 2703 - Concept Visualization and Presentation 1
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
This class builds upon the fundamentals taught in PDES 2702 Concept Sketching. Students learn to draw complex geometries and organic forms and how to add shading, shadow, text and backgrounds to enhance their drawings. Markers and other physical tools are introduced in this class as a means of further refining a sketch. In the second half of the semester, students learn to digitally improve their sketches and are introduced to the fundamentals of digital sketching with a drawing tablet and digital sketching software. As this class is taught in smaller sections, there are many opportunities for students to present and critique work. The basics of design portfolios are covered at the end of this class.
PDES 2777 - Product Form and Model Making
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
This class is a hands-on introduction to prototyping tools, materials, and techniques for product design. Students learn the basics of working with foam-board, foam, and wood to create physical models and will be introduced to different surface treatments and finishes. Assignments are designed to build a sense of craftsmanship and attention to detail. There are multiple individual projects focusing on different materials and techniques. Each project involves practicing oral presentation and group critique.
PDES 3704 - Computer-Aided Design Methods
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02062 - PDes 3704/PDes 5704
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
This class provides an overview of computer-aided design (CAD) methods for product designers. The primary software covered in this course include Solidworks and Keyshot. These programs are used to make three-dimensional computer generated models of product concepts and render the models to appear photo-realistic. This class may also cover additional 2D and interaction design software.
PDES 3705 - History and Future of Product Design
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
This class covers critical milestones in the history, evolution, and trajectory of modern product design as well as the human relationships to consumer goods, including production and consumption. In some assignments, students have the opportunity to apply the topics discussed towards imagining the future of the product design industry.
PDES 3706 - Designing for Manufacture
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
This class is a hands-on overview of common manufacturing methods, tools, and considerations for product designers. The focus is placed on plastic and metal related processes specifically machining, forming, casting, and molding. Throughout the course students apply the theory of design for manufacturing (DFM) and design for assembly (DFA) to a series of design projects. This course also covers related topics such as material identification, bill of material, cost estimation, part drawings, tolerances, fasteners, part finishing, and sourcing parts.
PDES 3715 - Design and Food
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
This class is a hands-on introduction to principles of design applied to the food industry. Students develop new food concepts working in a kitchen classroom with regular advising from local chefs and food industry experts. The class is structured into four modules: creative design process, flavor and texture, visual aesthetics, and user experience. In each module students learn different design and food preparation methods and apply them to a design challenge. Several restaurant outings are incorporated into the curriculum.
PDES 4193 - Directed Study in Product Design
Credits: 1.0 -4.0 [max 8.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Independent study in product design under tutorial guidance. prereq: Undergrad, instr consent
ME 2011 - Introduction to Engineering
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Skills critical for practicing engineers. Mechanical engineering, engineering design. Visual, written, and oral communication forms. Computer-based design tools. Substantial design projects, including prototype construction. prereq: CSE lower div