3.2.2    BA (Industrial Design) (Hons) Programme

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The BA (ID) programme at NUS was first offered in 1999 with support from the Faculty of Engineering and School of Business.

The Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design, BA (ID), is a four-year undergraduate honours programme, consisting of courses crafted with our synergistic three-pronged approach:

  1. Design Thinking: Out-of-box innovation strategies and investigative methods to discover new ideas and unmet needs.
  2. Multi-Disciplinary Aptitudes: Behavioral sciences, social economics, business strategy, engineering and technology knowledgedevelop  entrepreneurial strategic thinking and holistic problem-solving.
  3. Artistic Sensibility: Training of imagination, taste, and craft-like ability to give pleasing and appropriate aesthetics and emotion to ideas, through traditional and 2D/3D digital means, so that solutions are both functional and desirable.

The combined approaches equip our graduates with high-level strategic thinking, and enable them to translate problems and ideas to tangible, desirable solutions, i.e. meaningful products, environments and experiences that people love to have, love to use – and those which have a big impact on lives.

As part of our strategy to be thought leaders in industry, a major component of the course is a series of industry-sponsored ‘vertical studio platforms’. These are project teams comprising a mix of year 2 to year 4 students, encouraging cross-pollination of thoughts, skills and learning.

In these platforms, students tackle both conceptual and real-life projects led by our industry collaborators, e.g. Asus, Dell, L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, BMW Group DesignworksUSA, Tupperware, Toshiba, Osim, ICI, Swarovski, HansGrohe, Risis and Nakamichi.

Students may customize their individual course during the 4 years by selecting from amongst these different industry platforms – Each student will get the opportunity to be involved in 6-7 of these projects.

The programme has been proven to be effective in grooming students for the design and related industries. Apart from the success in local and international competitions and awards, recent graduates have achieved recognition in gaining scholarships for further studies as well as being placed in well-known design practices and reputable companies.

Students can also opt to do a second major in Management (Technology), offered by School of Business, in four years.

International Exposure

To broaden our students’ exposure to global challenges, two-thirds of each cohort are involved in one-semester overseas exchange programme during their 3rd year. Students typically go to distinguished design schools in Switzerland, France, Japan, Netherlands, Finland, USA, Germany, Italy and China.

Career Opportunities

Students are educated to become expert innovators and master problem-solvers. These attributes make them highly valuable in any industry.

Graduates pursue careers as industrial designers, interaction designers, brand and packaging designers, design managers, product managers and innovation consultants. It is also possible for industrial designers to rise to corporate leadership levels in the areas of creative innovation or design. These are highly-coveted positions, such as Chief Designer, Chief Innovation Officer (CIO), etc.

Armed with design, business and technological knowledge, graduates will be well-positioned to serve in R&D companies, technology start-ups, design consultancies, service industries, marketing sectors and government agencies as well as in design education.

Table 1: Curriculum Structure of the BA (Industrial Design) Programme
1 University Requirements 20
a General Education Modules (GEM) 20
2 Programme Requirements 108
a Essential modules taken within the Department 108
3 Unrestricted Electives (UE) 32
Total 160
Table 2: BA (ID) programme is structured as follows for Cohort admitted in AY2018/2019 onwards
   Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4
   1st Semester 2nd Semester 3rd Semester 4th Semester 5th Semester 6th Semester 7th Semester 8th Semester
General Education
5 Pillars (20MC)
⑤ GEQ1000
Asking Question (4MC)
① GER1000
Quantitative Reasoning (4MC)
②Human Cultures – 4MC
③Thinking & Expression – 4MC
④S’pore Studies – 4MC
Industrial Design Major Requirements (108MC) Design Lecture Modules     ID2323 Technology for Design


Modelling and Sketching for Design (4MC)
Materials and Manufacturing for Industrial Design (4MC)
  ID2116 (NEW)
Computing for Design (4MC) 
ID1223 History & Theory of Industrial Design


Human Centred Design (4MC)
ID2111 Computer Aided Industrial Design


Project Research (4MC)
Design Studio ID1105
Design Fundamentals 1 (8MC)
Design Fundamentals 2 (8MC)
Design in Context & Sustainability (8MC)
Design Platforms 1 (10MC)
Design Platforms 2 (10MC)
Design Platforms 3 (10MC)
Design Platforms 4 (10MC)
Design Thesis Project (12MC)
Unrestricted Electives (within/outside SDE) (UE) – 32 MCs

Table 3:            Industrial Design Unrestricted Electives
Optional Industrial Design Electives
Semester 1
ID2113 Visual communication Design (4MC)
ID3124 Creative Communication & Design Argumentation (4MC)
ID3125 Colours, Materials & Finishing (4MC)
Semester 2
ID2112 Digital Design & Fabrication (4MC)
ID2114 Form, Material, & Making (4MC)
ID2115 Digital Sketching & Painting (4MC)
ID2122 Ecodesign & Sustainability (4MC)

Teaching Approach

Design modules are taught through design studios. Critique sessions will form part of the studio procedure in teaching. Lecture modules include formal lectures, followed by seminars/tutorials.

Assessment and Examination

Assessment criteria will vary according to the modules offered. In the Division of Industrial Design, design modules are assessed by 100% “continuous assessment” (CA). The other essential modules may also be assessed by 100% CA or a combination of CA and examination.

Students who fail an essential module will retake the module when it is next offered and must sit for the examination in that Semester. For a retaken module, students have to attend lectures and tutorials and complete assignments and examinations. A new CA grade has to be obtained.

Students who fail a GEM/SS/Breadth/UE module may either replace it with a new GEM/SS/Breadth/UE module or retake the failed module the following year. There is no limit to the number of times a student may retake the same GEM/SS/Breadth/UE module.

A student who has passed the examination of a module will not be permitted to retake the same module for the purpose of improving his/her grade.

Progression of Students

Please see the table below:

Minimum MCs (in general) for promotion to the next level IDS1 -> IDS2 [>=40 MC]

IDS2 -> IDS3 [>=80 MC]

IDS3 -> IDS4[>=120 MC]

Graduation Requirements for four-year BA (ID) (Hons) Programme

Students are required to take all essential modules offered in the semester to which they have progressed, provided they have passed the relevant prerequisites. In addition, they may take modules to satisfy University and other requirements. ‘Fulfilling’ Modular Credits means reading and passing the modules, which carry the Modular Credits.

Advanced Placement Credits

Polytechnic diploma holders admitted to the programme may be granted advanced placement credits (APCs) for relevant modules. This is subject to Departmental consideration, given the wide range of subject modules from the polytechnics.

For up-to-date APCs list, please refer to:

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