Campus News

College of Design Launches Product Design Program, 1st of its Kind in Kentucky

The new Product Design program will officially launch in the College of Design (CoD) in Fall 2020 with its first cohort of students.
The new Product Design program will officially launch in the College of Design in Fall 2020 with its first cohort of students.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 29, 2020) ­— With recent approval by the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees and the Council for Postsecondary Education (CPE), the new product design program will officially launch in the College of Design (CoD) in Fall 2020 with its first cohort of students.

"No other institution of higher education in Kentucky offers a degree in industrial or product design,” said Dean Mitzi Vernon. “By providing this new program, UK will be a magnet for Kentucky high school students who would otherwise have to travel outside the Commonwealth to experience such an opportunity."

Students will obtain the Bachelor of Science degree in product design upon completion of the four-year curriculum, which includes a diverse array of special topics courses from contemporary technology, health care, professional development to furniture design and more.

The BSPD program aligns with the University of Kentucky Strategic Plan in fulfilling the goal of undergraduate student success by offering a new degree choice. And for those applicants outside of Kentucky, a product design degree with special emphasis on ergonomics, UX/UI (user experience and user interface) and health care devices and systems puts them at a competitive advantage in the industry. The CoD has been working hand in glove with the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) as they simultaneously launch their new undergraduate degree in BME with an emphasis on design thinking. The two programs will share at least six courses across their curricula.

Students will also have opportunities for collaboration with the UK colleges of business, engineering and nearly all of the health care colleges as well as engaging in a cross-disciplinary environment within the CoD. The college is also home to the School of Architecture, the School of Interiors and the Department of Historic Preservation.

"Product design is tangent to everything we see, touch and use. The field attracts those who have an optimistic way of looking at the future, reframing problems as opportunities for new and sustainable artifacts, systems and service,” explained Dean Vernon. “There isn't a more relevant time than now, in the era of COVID-19, to make a new program, a 21st-century program in product design."

With the completion of the college’s new state-of-the-art adaptive reuse building in 2022, product design students will be at the forefront of an expanding profession that lays the groundwork for long-term, universal impact.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.