Academics & Research

New design major joins fall course book

With the increasing demand for professional industrial designers in the job market, UH is aligning its student success goals with workforce needs.

Architecture sophomore Joseph Yang spends his evenings after class completing projects alongside her peers. | Nichole Taylor/The Daily Cougar

Architecture sophomore Joseph Yang spends his evenings after class completing projects alongside her peers. | Nichole Taylor/The Daily Cougar

The UH System Board of Regents has recently approved a Master of Science program in industrial design from the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture.

“This program will be the first of its kind in the State of Texas,” said the Academic and Student Success Committee in its proposal to the Board.

“This unique interdisciplinary master’s degree integrates curriculum in applied art and applied science to improve the look, feel and functionality of products.”

According to the proposal, the industrial design master’s program will include intensive coursework and lab hours for graduate students and is not offered by any other university in the state.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that about 45,000 industrial designers are employed in the nation, and employment opportunities are expected to increase by 9 percent in the next 10 years.

The Texas Workforce Commission expects the in-state demand for this job to grow at a rate 12 percent faster than the national average.

Although students in the bachelor’s program for industrial design have already won several awards, such as top honors during the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s 2011 “Prevention through Design” conference, they will be able to extend their experience with this master’s program as of this fall.

“That kind of experience, that kind of in-depth research and being able to show that skill, it’s so important for finding a job afterwards,” said former industrial design student Rachel Young.

The Committee wants the program to be directed by a full-time tenured faculty member with a degree in industrial design. It also proposed coursework be offered by existing faculty, and a new faculty hire — to earn a salary of $62,000 — will provide curriculum support.

According to the degree proposals pro forma, a document citing financial activity and expenses, the master’s program’s net annual loss will total $69,251 at the end of Fiscal Year 2014, but by the end of FY 2018, it will have a net annual gain of $38,735.

University officials expect the master’s program to bring more prestige to UH and, specifically, the architecture school.

“The proposed program will further enhance the College of Architecture’s position as an educational leader in innovation, breakthrough integrative design, and commercialization of technology and design,” the program description said.

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1 Comment

  • This is a good step, but UH needs to do much more in attracting Science and Engineering Students. A&M recently announced a new goal of 25,000 Engineering students. Houston being the Engineering capitol of the World should be moving that direction. More Engineers less lawyers is so much more beneficial to the community.

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