ArtCenter College of Design | Pasadena, California | Learn to Create. Influence Change.


The Graduate Industrial Design(GradID) program is looking for bright, articulate, and creative individuals who are driven to make a better future.

The students who thrive in our program and then beyond in their careers are innovators at their core but, for one reason or another, might have travelled down a different path in their prior endeavors.

We expect that the future of innovation will involve multi-disciplinary teams - so we emphasize being a multidisciplinary program. Each new class is a whole orchestra - not just the string section. We accept students who have earned undergraduate degrees in a wide variety of disciplines. We consider the diversity of our student’s backgrounds and life experiences as important factors in creating an extraordinary shared educational experience. Our student body is typically comprised of extraordinary individuals from around the world, preferably with some years of professional work and life experience that complements the completion of their undergraduate studies.

Applications for GradID are accepted for the Fall term only and are due February 1 for priority consideration including the best potential for scholarship awards. Acceptance decisions are typically made in the month of March. Applications will be accepted for review as long as space remains available.


A completed admission application

This may be completed online or downloaded: Industrial Design.

A nonrefundable application fee

A nonrefundable application fee of $50 for U.S. citizens and permanent aliens or $70 for non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. permanent alien residents.

Official transcripts from all colleges attended

A completed undergraduate degree must be verified prior to enrollment. Preference is given to students who have completed their prior studies with a grade point average of 3.0 or better.

Your Portfolio

Submit work that demonstrates your design and innovation abilities. Include examples of projects that show your process and how you develop your ideas into the project results. Sketchbooks and documentation of early idea development are welcome additions that complement more finished portfolios. We look for abilities to:

  • think and operate in terms of projects
  • take a systems  approach to resolve design solutions
  • write and communicate effectively
  • envision and produce broadly desirable 3dimensional objects and spaces
  • produce a high level of aesthetic sensibility in production; e.g.  style, proportion, shape, material, color, etc.
  • draw and/or otherwise visualize new ideas
  • identify important opportunities and needs
  • research, investigate and analyze design topics
  • experiment, think laterally and engage in creative idea generation activities.
  • develop desirable solutions for real needs and problems that create value for the human condition 
  • consider and plan for related business dynamics
  • exploit and employ appropriate technologies
  • profess expertise and depth in specific areas or disciplines

The following formats are acceptable:

  • Slideroom (Web-based).
    Our preferred method for submission is through Slideroom. Upload your portfolio images at https://artcenter.slideroom.com. A nominal fee will be charged by Slideroom for this service. Full instructions are listed on their site. For general artwork, we recommend scanned images rather than photos for best resolution. Film applicants should provide a DVD; see below for details.
  • Non-Returnable Printed Portfolio.
    Maximum size limit is 11” x 17”, including the envelope or covering. This can include a presentation format or simply individual samples of the work. This format works well for the design disciplines in which presentation or project formats are appropriate. Copies of sketchbook can be included in this format along with the portfolio. Work will not be returned. Mail with your name and address to: Admissions Office, Art Center College of Design, 1700 Lida St., Pasadena, CA 91103

Written essays

A) Personal Goals
In 1,000 words or less please describe:
a) Your motivations for pursuing study in GradID, b) why you think it is a good fit for you, and c) what you envision you would ideally be doing 5 to 10 years after successful completion of the program.

B) 2 years and $10 million
In an essay of 2000 words or less please answer the following: If you were given a budget of $10 million and an uninterrupted time period of 2 years to work creatively on anything that you wanted to, what would you pursue and why?

Your resume

A formal resume and bio covering educational and relevant prior experience.

Required English Proficiency Testing

Graduate applicants whose bachelor's degree was achieved in a language other than English must score at least 100 on the Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) or 7 on the I.E.L.T.S to be considered for admission.

Visit www.TOEFL.org or www.ielts.org for testing and procedures information. Art Center does not accept institutional scores, and all scores must be sent directly from the testing service. We do not accept electronic download scores from I.E.L.T.S. In addition, the College may require minimum scores on each section of the test.

Letters of recommendation

Submit two to three letters of recommendation from academic and professional references by mail to Art Center’s Admissions Office or by email to admissions@artcenter.edu.
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