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Product designers for the future

This programme is unique in Belgium, and we have just been awarded as one of the best Product Design schools in the world!

Do you want to design products and services that are both meaningful and sustainable and that improve our living environment? Think of lighting, lawn mowers, smart devices, travel bags, wearables or kitchen tools, but also buses, machines, VR headsets, wheelchairs, and really all the products we use in our daily lives.

In the Bachelor of Industrial Product Design programme, you learn every step of the design process: from creative concept, design and technical development to the presentation of a production-ready design. Key concepts include circularity, creativity, material knowledge, prototyping and sustainability.

Practical experience is ever-present in this creative programme. In the design studios and prototyping workshops of the Industrial Design Center, you experiment with wood, metal and textile processing, 3D printing, laser cutting, water jet cutting, thermoforming, welding, ceramics, and more. You will also be challenged to test your concepts with real people, make them technically ready for production, and refine them in terms of shape, material, color and texture.

Ba. Industrial Product Design (IPO) @howest (Kortrijk) with subtitles

Specialisation starting in semester 4

In the second semester of the second year, you choose one of three possible minors. This allows you to add your own personal touch to your studies while getting a taste of the direction you want to go.

Choose from:

  • Design for Industry: focuses on engineering and production
  • Design for Identity: focuses on style, form and visualisation
  • Design for Impact: focuses on people and society

You can also choose in your first year to follow Interior Design.

This elective course allows you to specialise in spatial design: not only designing interiors, but also all the objects within them. You will develop your own style that promotes sustainability and eco-friendliness. Alongside your technical skills and knowledge of materials, production and design, you will also use the most modern design tools (including VR) to realise your ideas.

 Interior Design
Major

This elective programme focuses on interior design concepts and matching furnishings and accessories.

Design for Impact
Major

This minor focuses on people and society.

Design for Industry
Major

This minor focuses on engineering and production for industry.

Design for Identity
Major

This minor focuses on the end user.

Your class schedule

Every week you will have between 20 and 24 hours of lessons. Your lesson hours are scheduled to be as complimentary as possible. Below you can view a sample schedule. Schedules may vary from year to year. The final class schedule for the school year is finalised in September.

Sample Class schedule

studenten in het atelier

A broad base

There is no such thing as the ideal preparatory course for IPD. The main requirement is that you are curious about the diverse topics within the world of industrial product design.

The first three semesters are therefore the same for all students. They lay the foundation for the programme and teach you the skills every designer needs. You also get your first design modules.

In a number of other modules, you will discover what suits you best: are you more of a designer or are you mainly interested in production? The answer will help you choose your minor in semester 4

IPO Programme

Specialisation

In the fourth semester, you will choose one of three minors, allowing you to add your own personal touch to your studies while getting a taste of the direction you would like to go.

Each minor focuses on a different context:

You can also choose to follow Interior Design. This path starts in the first year. Interested? Be sure to take a look at the elective options.

Professionalisation

In semester 5 and 6, we bring all students back together and immerse them in real-life situations.

Together with a team, you form your own design agency where you develop new products from A to Z, and bring them to the market.

In the final year you will also have intensive exposure to the professional field while you complete your internship and bachelor's thesis within a company.

Course unit descriptions for this study programme
voorbeelden van producten door IPO alumni

Where will you be able to work?

With a degree in Industrial Product Design, you can work in almost any sector: lighting, mechanical engineering, interior design, design agencies, etc. You will work in multidisciplinary teams with R&D managers, designers, technicians and experts from other fields. Of course, you could also work as an independent designer.

The jobs we prepare you for are diverse. This list gives a selection of possible careers:

  • product designer
  • industrial designer
  • project planner
  • materials specialist
  • production supervisor
  • visualiser
  • CAM-programmer
  • prototyper
  • installation designer
  • (re)designer
  • CAD-drafter
  • mechanical designer

94% of our graduates work as designers in manufacturing companies, design agencies or in their own studios. Their work wins awards regularly but at home and abroad.

Quality assurance in every programme

Quality assurance is embedded in the daily operation of our entire programme. We continuously and systematically improve the quality of our courses. The involvement of students, field professionals and alumni is crucial in this process.

In 2020, the Industrial Product Design bachelor's programme was reviewed by an independent and external panel. The review was conducted by VLUHR QA. The quality of the programme was evaluated positively. For the report click here (in Dutch)

Recent graduates of the Industrial Product Design bachelor's programme have stated that they were satisfied with the quality of the training they received. Graduate satisfaction is monitored every year with an exit survey completed upon graduation. Click here to see a review of satisfaction figures.

Opleidingskwaliteitszorg aan Howest
Cost estimation for this study programme
Studenten Toerisme en Recreatiemanagement met lesgever aan de Broeltorens in Kortrijk

How to apply as an incoming international student

All information on nominations, applications and tuitions can be found here.

Bootcamps and webinars

Would you like to know what Industrial Product Design is like? Why not take part in a bootcamp or follow one of our webinars! You'll get a taste of how the programme works while getting to know our Industrial Design Centre, the lecturers and some future fellow students.

Bootcamps are a great way to get a taste of the atmosphere at IPO. You can stop by for one of the bootcamps at our IDC on one of the following Wednesday afternoons: 14 February, 8 May or 4 September 2024, from 13:30 to 17:30.

Pre-registration is required.

Subscribe

On Wednesday, 14 February at 15:00 CET, you can learn about our campus, way of teaching and ask all your questions during an online webinar.

This webinar is also for prospective international students and will therefore be held in English. Pre-registration is not necessary.

Join the webinar here

On Wednesday, 8 May 2024, you can learn about IPO online and ask all your questions to our professors and students. This webinar starts at 10:00 CEST.

This edition of the webinar will also take place in English. There is no need to register in advance.

Join the webinar here

Info day
Saturday 9 March
FROM 10h TILL 16h
Read more

Come and visit us

These are the next info days in Kortrijk:

All info days

More info?

Receive the brochure by post
Subscribe to the newsletter of this study programme.

Student met brochure van Howest

Strengths of the programme

International opportunities

Do you like to look beyond borders? Then during the Industrial Product Design program at Howest, you will certainly get the chance to do so. During study trips, you will gather inspiration from designers in Europe, the US, and Asia and visit renowned companies such as Lenovo or Boeing. Occasionally, you will also receive lessons from foreign guest speakers or work with international students in thematic design weeks.

In the final year, you can spend a semester studying at a foreign design school or doing an internship in a foreign company.

Unique in Belgium

Howest is the only Flemish university where you can study the Industrial Product Design bachelor's program. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to complete the entire program in English, together with international students from all over the world.

Kortrijk is also one of the UNESCO Cities of Design. You can see this in the many creative programs on our campus and in the city.

Hands-on

In our design studios and prototyping workshops, you will work with current design tools, technology, and various machines. In this modern, well-equipped environment, you will have all the opportunities to work on real cases from the industry.

You will learn how to properly design and prototype a product. And you will sharpen your skills in areas such as CAD, sketching, graphic design, electronics, and VR.

During your internship in the final year, you will first observe for six weeks in a company and then in the final semester, you will work together to come up with a concrete solution for a design challenge.

Strong link with the professional field

You often work closely with companies. During labs, projects, and internships, you apply all your design skills to concrete tasks for the manufacturing industry. In addition, you will visit trade shows and companies and during the design weeks, you will be coached by professionals from the field.

Upon graduation, you will not only have a diploma, but also a strong portfolio. Volkswagen, B'Twin, Samsonite, Orange, P&G, Extremis, Renson, Barco, Inbev, Sioen, as well as the healthcare sector are just a few of the many companies and organizations we have already worked with. This also contributes to the high job security after obtaining your degree.

Personal guidance

At Howest, the professors know you by name. We don't have overcrowded lecture halls, but smaller class sizes where each student can flourish. This offers the great advantage that we can guide you closely.

studenten aan het werk

Studeren aan Howest als internationale student was één van de beste beslissingen die ik ooit had kunnen nemen in mijn persoonlijke en professionele leven. Ik zou niet zeggen dat het geen uitdaging was, maar het was zeker de moeite waard! Ik kon samenwerken met ontwerpers uit andere landen, leren van lectoren met veel ervaring en kennis en werken met verschillende soorten materialen en processen voor de ontwikkeling van producten.

Als student industrieel productontwerp volgden we de meeste lessen in het IDC, het gebouw dat je tweede thuis wordt. Mijn favoriete klaslokaal was zeker het naaiatelier. Het zat vol met materialen en inspiratie om verschillende soorten producten te ontwerpen. Maar dan is er ook nog de houtwerkplaats met machines die je in je eerste jaar leert gebruiken. Je kunt er in het begin een beetje bang voor zijn, maar alles wordt makkelijker als je er eenmaal mee leert omgaan.

Diana Martinez
International Student - Mexico

Register now!

Have you decided? We look forward to welcoming you to our Howest community! 
You can find all information about registering via the link below.

Apply now

Studenten in pauze met koffie op de campus

FAQ

If you don't find what you're looking for or have a specific question about this program, please feel free to contact us. We are available every weekday from 9am to 5pm. Direct other questions to this contact person:

Becky Verthé

Becky Verthé

Academic Director

Silke Vanloofsvelt

Silke Vanloofsvelt

International Admissions Officer

In the case you buy a laptop through Howest, you can look here which laptop is recommended by your course. In the case you already own a laptop or wish to buy a new one yourself, it needs to qualify to the same specifications.

Would you like to study abroad for a semester? Or are you interested in an international internship? You can! You will discover all the opportunities to go abroad within Howest on this page. During your studies, we will work together to make your international adventure a reality!

Unfortunately, there is actually no such thing. Or rather, every prior education has tangents! We touch on technical, artistic, scientific and humanities topics. We have students from almost every preliminary course. So for one subject, you can be ahead, while for another you are a freshman! We provide 'portfolio modules' in the curriculum. These support you in moving up, your study methodology and discovering your strengths and weaknesses. Besides prior education, your motivation and other interests are equally important! The chances of success are about the same for most preparatory courses.

Each module contains theoretical building blocks and application-oriented practical lessons. Industrial Product Design is mainly a practical course with about two-thirds being labs, workshop or consultation. So one-third of our classes are theoretical, ranging from ergonomics, technology, history of design to manufacturing techniques. The curriculum no longer includes languages. We teach mathematics and apply it in technology and engineering classes. This approach allows you to earn points throughout the year and also keeps the exam period an achievable and enjoyable one!

How do I know if I am making the right choice? We organise bootcamps at the beginning and at the end of the summer holidays. These two-day workshops will introduce you to our way of working, the design process and your future classmates. Getting a 'taste' here already can also help you make your choice for Industrial Product Design. And you will learn from the start what your strengths or weaknesses will be when you choose this bachelor's programme. You can register at howest.be/entry-courses.

Initially, we want to train you to bachelor Industrial Product Design. But in those three years, we also work on your personal identity, interests and abstraction skills. About one student in five gets a taste for it after Industrial Product Design and wants to continue studying. This may be in an additional bachelor's programme (some students still opt for an abridged programme in furniture design or plastics, for example). At home, you will find the master's programme in Industrial Design Design Engineering at UGent. Or you can opt for a master's in architecture or product development, at home or abroad; a postgraduate degree is also possible. Thus, at Howest you can combine a master class with part-time work, follow our start-up school or jump to a 'brand and packaging' course at another university of applied sciences.