Best Drafting Degrees 2022

Updated September 20, 2022

Are you ready to find your fit?

Our Best Drafting Degrees ranking can help you get a running start in this dynamic field

It’s the responsibility of drafters to convert concepts and ideas into detailed technical drawings. Using computer-aided design (CAD) software, a drafter will take the rough sketches of architects and engineers and turn them into blueprints for the final product.

Drafters help create everything from home furniture to microchips to space satellites. For a successful career in this field, you’ll need a strong understanding of engineering principles, manufacturing techniques, and end-user psychology. That’s where our ranking of the Best Drafting Degrees comes in.

Top 10 Best Drafting Degrees

#1 Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA
#2 University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN
#3 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
#4 Brigham Young University Laie, HI
#5 Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
#6 California State University Long Beach Long Beach, CA
#7 Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY
#8 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
#9 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, VA
#10 University of Houston Houston, TX
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What kind of drafting degree should you get?

To launch a career as a drafter, consider earning a degree in industrial design. These programs often allow you to concentrate on a particular facet of design.

For example, you may choose to specialize in product design, furniture design, or interactive design. All of these specialization tracks typically feature coursework in two-dimensional and three-dimensional visualization and drafting.

Are you still uncertain about whether you want to work in drafting? Not to worry: as an undergraduate, you’ll have the opportunity to explore numerous career options. Visit our list of the Best Colleges and Universities for a broader view of the top-ranked schools for undergraduate education.

How much money do people make with a drafting degree?

As of May 2017, the median pay for drafters was $54,170 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compare this to the median annual pay for all workers: $37,690. With an in-demand niche specialization, such as architectural, electrical, or mechanical drafting, you could earn even more.

Job opportunities in drafting are projected to grow 7 percent between 2016 and 2026. This forecast indicates that drafting jobs will keep up with the average growth rate among all occupations.

What can you do with a degree in drafting?

As you’re planning your academic path, it’s important to keep an eye on your career goals from the very beginning. Drafting and industrial design are broad disciplines. To get the job you really want, plan on tailoring your coursework and practicum experiences to your professional goals.

Depending on the program and specialization you choose, your industrial design degree and drafting skills can lead to a variety of job titles. Possibilities include:

  • Mechanical drafter
  • Architectural and civil drafter
  • Electronics drafter
  • Exhibition designer

What are the requirements for a degree in drafting?

The best bachelor’s degrees won’t just provide you with an education: They’ll prepare you for a career.

In light of this, it’s no surprise that many of the degrees on our list feature a capstone experience as a graduation requirement. This capstone experience is typically something that showcases your mastery of drafting and other design skills to potential employers.

There are numerous types of capstone experience you may complete as part of a bachelor’s degree program. You might be expected to compile a portfolio, undertake a one- or two-semester action research project, or complete an internship in the field.

What are the best drafting degrees?

We’ve determined the five most important indicators of an outstanding degree program: quality, reputation, affordability, value, and satisfaction. Our team of data analysts examines reports from, U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Educational Statistics, and other reliable sources to pull data points relating to each of these factors.

Using a weighted algorithm, we assign each school a composite score and rank it accordingly.

Ultimately, the best degree program is the one that lets you pursue your passions and brings you closer to your professional goals. With that in mind, we invite you to take a look at our ranking of the best bachelor’s degrees for a career in drafting.


See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Georgia Institute of Technology

    Atlanta, GA




    Located in the heart of Atlanta, the Georgia Institute of Technology is situated on 400 tree-lined acres. U.S. News & World Report ranks Georgia Tech seventh among all national public universities. As a technologically focused institution, Georgia Tech offers innovative undergraduate and graduate programs to over 25,000 total students. One of the institute’s acclaimed undergraduate programs is aimed at providing students with an understanding of Industrial Design at the intersection of design, technology, and business.

    Program Features

    The program at Georgia Tech leads to a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design. Students will take between 16 and 18 credit-hours in most semesters in order to graduate in four years. This degree offers three specializations: Product Development and Innovation, Health and Well-Being, and Interactive Product Design. Required coursework for this degree includes the following:

    • Introduction to Sketching and Modeling
    • History of Modern Industrial Design
    • Human Factors In Design
    • Interactive Product Design Studio


    Atlanta offers extensive opportunities for Georgia Tech students to work with nationally and internationally influential clients. Undergraduate students may work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MailChimp, Coca-Cola, Porsche, or another globally engaged organization. Georgia Tech also allows students to pursue the Industrial Design program as a minor.

  2. University of Notre Dame

    Notre Dame, IN




    Founded in 1842, the University of Notre Dame is a leading research institution anchored in Catholic values. Notre Dame’s 1,250-acre campus, adjacent to South Bend, IN, is home to a student body of over 12,000. The Industrial Design program at Notre Dame provides undergraduate students with opportunities for study abroad, internships, and participation in the International Design Excellence Award competition.

    Program Features

    Students can choose either a Bachelor of Fine Arts or a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design. The BFA track requires 22 courses (67 credit-hours) within the major, while the BA track requires 12 courses (36 credit-hours) within the major. Students will need to earn a 3.25 GPA in seven core courses before they are formally admitted to the BFA program. Coursework for the BFA degree may include:

    • Industrial Design: Digital Solid Modeling
    • Origins, Concepts, and Processes of Graphic Design
    • History, Application, and Art of Typography
    • Industrial Design: Collaborative Product Development


    Because the BFA track features more design studio experiences, students earning this degree will graduate with a larger portfolio than BA students. On the other hand, the BA track is ideal for students who would like to double major, or pursue a customized program of study at the intersection of industrial design and art, engineering, anthropology, or another complementary field.

  3. Carnegie Mellon University

    Pittsburgh, PA




    In the 2018 World University Rankings from Times Higher Education, Carnegie Mellon University was named to number 17 in the United States (and number 24 globally). The university’s School of Design is one of the oldest and most respected design schools in North America. Reflecting the transdisciplinary nature of industrial design, the School of Design’s undergraduate programs allow students to customize their degree path based on their career goals.

    Program Features

    Students may choose to earn a Bachelor of Design with an emphasis in Products, Communications, or Environments. Alternatively, students can pursue an Interdisciplinary Degree. This program allows students to evenly balance their study of design with study in the humanities or sciences. Both of these degrees are highly flexible, allowing students to take courses such as:

    • Collaborative Visualizing
    • Human Experience in Design
    • Color for Communications and Environments
    • Type, Form, Meaning, and Context


    Carnegie Mellon operates a unique program called the Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology Network (IDeATe), which is designed to foster collaborative, interdepartmental studio experiences. Through the IDeATe Network, undergraduate students can add a concentration in one of eight creative industry areas. Concentrations are available in animation and special effects, sound design, entrepreneurship for creative industries, and more.

  4. Brigham Young University

    Laie, HI




    Brigham Young University is a top-ranked research university enrolling approximately 30,000 undergraduates and 2,800 graduate students. The campus of BYU is located in Provo, UT. The university’s comprehensive academic programs include over 170 undergraduate majors and more than 100 undergraduate minors. The Industrial Design program emphasizes the use of state-of-the-art tools to communicate ideas and the application of end-user psychology in the design process.

    Program Features

    Presented by the Ira R. Fulton College of Engineering, the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design prepares students to create, develop, and communicate product and service concepts. Undergraduates will complete all 100-level foundation courses before applying to the Industrial Design program. This is a limited enrollment program: Admission is capped at 40 students. Available coursework for this degree includes:

    • Tools, Materials, and Processes for Industrial Design
    • Exploration in Innovation Design Techniques
    • Furniture Design and Advanced Woodworking Processes
    • History of Interior Design and Architecture


    This program provides extensive opportunities for multidisciplinary team projects, internships, and field experiences with industry groups. Industrial Design students may be eligible for departmental scholarships based on talent, need, and leadership. Students who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will receive a lower tuition rate than non-members.

  5. Purdue University

    West Lafayette, IN




    The flagship campus of the Purdue University system is located in West Lafayette, IN. U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Purdue at #18 on its list of the Best Public Universities (and #56 among the Best National Universities, public and private). Through Purdue’s Industrial and Interaction Design program, students will learn to utilize problem-solving innovation to develop and create products, systems, and services.

    Program Features

    Students at Purdue can earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design. This degree is presented by the Department of Art and Design within the acclaimed Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts. In addition to a 36-credit-hour Industrial Design required core, this degree path offers an array of electives from which students may choose. Available elective coursework for the BFA in Industrial Design includes:

    • Lighting Fundamentals of Photography
    • Computer Modeling and Animation
    • Information Visualization Design
    • Studio in Visual Communications Design


    Students in this program will use industry-standard modeling and rendering software such as Rhino 3D, Solidworks, and Keyshot. After passing a required portfolio review in the spring of their sophomore year, students will have 24-hour access to dedicated design studios. In their junior and senior year, undergraduates will work with practicing industrial design professionals on corporate sponsored projects.

  6. California State University Long Beach

    Long Beach, CA




    A member of the 23-school CSU system, California State University Long Beach is a hub of innovation and discovery. Research and technology parks throughout the Greater Long Beach area are home to companies spun off from campus-originated research projects. Graduates of the Industrial Design program at CSULB have gone on to careers in motion picture special effects, transportation technology, medical design, computer and microchip technology, and small consumer appliances.

    Program Features

    CSULB’s program leads to a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and requires 120 semester-units. The curriculum for the degree covers rapid visualization, materials and processes, presentation techniques, design methodology, financing principles, and other key skills for industry professionals. Specific course titles for Industrial Design majors include:

    • Modeling and Prototyping Techniques
    • Design Materials and Tools
    • Advanced Idea Generation for Designers
    • History and Theory of Design


    Undergraduate students will have the opportunity to participate in corporate sponsored projects. In the past, partners for these projects have included Unisys, General Electric, Hewlett Packard, Apple, General Motors, Toyota, and many other globally influential brands and organizations. In addition to the BS in Industrial Design, CSULB’s Department of Design also offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Design.

  7. Rochester Institute of Technology

    Rochester, NY




    In 2018, Princeton Review ranked the Rochester Institute of Technology among the Best Northeastern Colleges. RIT occupies a 1,300-acre campus in Rochester, the third largest city in New York State. International campuses are located in Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo. The multidisciplinary Industrial Design program at RIT will provide career preparation in a number of complementary fields, including publishing, photography, engineering, and information technology.

    Program Features

    The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design degree incorporates foundational coursework in the liberal arts, art history, major-specific courses, studio electives, and open electives. The options for the art history electives are diverse: Students might choose to take courses in topics such as Renaissance Painting in Flanders, Art and Architecture of Ancient Rome, or Scandinavian Modernism. A typical degree path might also include courses such as:

    • 3D Design
    • Integrated CAD
    • History of Industrial Design
    • Industrial Design Career Planning


    RIT maintains membership in numerous professional organizations, such as the Industrial Designers Society of America, Society of Environmental Graphic Designers, American Institute of Graphic Arts, and International Interior Design Association, among several others. These organizations provide students with opportunities to participate in enrichment activities, attend conferences, and network with other professionals in their field.

  8. James Madison University

    Harrisonburg, VA




    Enrolling approximately 22,000 undergraduate and graduate students, James Madison University is located in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. JMU ranks among the top 100 Best Values in Public Colleges, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. The ranking reflects a combination of outstanding tuition value and top-tier academic quality. Undergraduate students will benefit from the cutting-edge, career-focused academics in JMU’s Industrial Design program.

    Program Features

    JMU offers a program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design. This degree requires 41 credit-hours in general education courses and 78 credit-hours within the major. Another six credit-hours are required in scientific literacy and quantitative methods courses, bringing the required total to 125 credit-hours. Coursework within the Industrial Design major may include:

    • Science, Technology, and Society
    • Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship
    • Systems Design and Placemaking
    • Survey of World Art: Prehistoric to Renaissance


    There are a limited number of seats in upper-division classes for the Industrial Design major. Students pursuing this degree will need to pass a portfolio review before they enroll in upper-division coursework, and admissions are competitive. After graduation, students will be qualified to pursue a career in product design, lighting design, model making, social innovation, and many other fields.

  9. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

    Blacksburg, VA




    In a “Their Students Love These Colleges” ranking from the Princeton Review, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University earned first place among 382 institutions. Home to nine colleges and a graduate school, Virginia Tech offers 110 bachelor’s degree programs and 170 master’s and doctoral degree programs. The nationally renowned School of Architecture and Design at Virginia Tech offers undergraduate degrees in Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, and Industrial Design.

    Program Features

    Virginia Tech’s Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design aims to nurture a student’s independence. With a focus on humanistic delivery of services, systems, and products, the Industrial Design program emphasizes innovative technological development as well as ethical responsibility. Offering open studios and dedicated desk space, this program is deeply rooted in a “learn by doing” approach. The degree path features the following required courses:

    • Computer Aided Industrial Design
    • Human Factors
    • Design Visualization
    • Professional Practice and Entrepreneurship


    All Industrial Design majors will be required to complete six credit-hours in professional electives. These electives may be earned in subjects such as Metals and Metal Processes, Technical Writing, Public Speaking, Sculpture, Digital Art, and many other fields that intersect with design. The Industrial Design program is also available as a minor for undergraduates.

  10. University of Houston

    Houston, TX




    The University of Houston is a state university established in 1927. Today, UH serves more than 45,000 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. The Corporation for National and Community Service has recognized UH for addressing community challenges and promoting lifelong civic engagement among its students. The conceptual framework of UH’s Industrial Design program is based on three core principles: Integrated Learning, Collaborative Learning, and Project-Oriented Learning.

    Program Features

    The Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design was established in 2003. It was the very first undergraduate program of its kind in the surrounding four-state region (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and New Mexico). The degree is presented by the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture. Students in this program are required to complete at least 132 credit-hours, which they may earn through courses such as:

    • Architecture Design Studio
    • Design Research Methods
    • Design Interaction
    • Design Practice and Business


    UH is home to the Burdette Keeland Design Exploration Center, a premier digital fabrication facility. The center is open to students of Industrial Design and integrated disciplines such as Architecture and Interior Architecture. All three of these disciplines share the same undergraduate curriculum for the first semester. Students who wish to continue on to graduate study can earn a Master of Science in Industrial Design from UH.

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