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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 2019
  • 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 - Product Innovation Lab (4.0 cr)
or PDES 5711 - Product Innovation Lab (4.0 cr)
Take 6 or more credit(s) from the following:
· ANTH 4035 - Ethnographic Research Methods (3.0 cr)
· ANTH 4121 - Business Anthropology (3.0 cr)
· ARTS 3890 - 3D Modeling and Digital Fabrication (4.0 cr)
· CSCI 5127W - Embodied Computing: Design & Prototyping [WI] (3.0 cr)
· DES 1002 - Improvisation for Design (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)
· LAW 5026 - Intellectual Property and Technology Proseminar (1.0 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 3704 - Computer-Aided Design 1: Solid Modeling and Rendering (3.0 cr)
· PDES 3705 - History and Future of Product Design (3.0 cr)
· PDES 3715 - Design and Food (4.0 cr)
· PDES 4193 - Directed Study in Product Design (1.0-4.0 cr)
· SCO 3001 - Supply Chain and Operations (3.0 cr)
· ME 2011 - Introduction to Engineering (4.0 cr)
 
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· 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 - Product Innovation Lab
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02649
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
A hands-on experience in integrated product design and development processes. Elements of industrial design, engineering, business, and humanities are applied to a semester-long product design project. Cross-functional teams of students in different majors work together to design and develop new consumer product concepts with guidance from a community of industry mentors.
PDES 5711 - Product Innovation Lab
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02649
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
A hands-on experience in integrated product design and development processes. Elements of industrial design, engineering, business, and humanities are applied to a semester-long product design project. Cross-functional teams of students in different majors work together to design and develop new consumer product concepts with guidance from a community of industry mentors.
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
ANTH 4121 - Business Anthropology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01996
Typically offered: Every Spring
Anthropological/ethnographic understandings/research techniques.
ARTS 3890 - 3D Modeling and Digital Fabrication
Credits: 4.0 [max 12.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02516
Typically offered: Every Spring
In this class, students will learn the basic skills of 3D computer modeling and digital fabrication to generate objects using the Department of Art's 3D Printers, 3-axis CNC Router and Laser Cutter. Instruction includes computer modeling in Adobe Illustrator and Rhino, transfer of files and object fabrication.
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 1002 - Improvisation for Design
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course explores how the art of improvisation can build collaboration, communication, and creativity skills. In this class we will focus on how improvisation is applied to fields of design, however these skills may be applicable to other disciplines. Through both readings and an interactive curriculum of improv exercises, students will learn specific tools to facilitate idea generation, collaborative team processes, idea selection, sketching and critique.
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
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Addressing many of the world's most pressing environmental and social challenges requires not only an idea, but a plan to establish a scalable solution. In this project-based course, multidisciplinary teams design venture solutions to global grand challenges related to environment, health and development. For example, teams may address a challenge related to water supply, energy availability, food/agriculture production, waste management, or public health. This fall, teams will identify a specific challenge in Puerto Rico, India and Greater Minnesota; design a product or service; and create a financially viable and impactful business solution. Professionals and experts based here and in their various locations will mentor each team. By the end of the class students will have a well-designed venture plan and will be well-prepared to compete in the Acara Challenge for fellowship funds to pilot their ventures if desired. This is a Grand Challenge Curriculum course.
LAW 5026 - Intellectual Property and Technology Proseminar
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02179
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Fall
The field of intellectual property extends across the boundaries of business, technology, innovation, and law. In this course, students will be introduced to a broad range of IP related topics presented by leading practitioners working at the intersection of law and technology. Topics may include trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, patents, IP transactions, IP litigation, emerging technologies, intellectual asset management, IP valuation and commercialization. Lecturers may include corporate general counsels, firm lawyers, transactional lawyers, litigators, consultants, tech transfer officers, R&D Leaders, and CTO.
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 3704 - Computer-Aided Design 1: Solid Modeling and Rendering
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
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 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
SCO 3001 - Supply Chain and Operations
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Managing the operations function within manufacturing and service organizations, and across the supply chains of these organizations. The supply chain is the set of organizations and the work that they complete to collectively create customer-valued goods and services. Course emphasizes decision making in work processes, including decision related to managing processes, quality, capacity, inventory, and supply chain activities. Quantitative and qualitative methods are used for improving management of operations.
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