Advice - Syracuse U. and other ID programs in the US


i just found this site and it’s great.

i already have a bachelor’s degree in biology and art (2-d work) from a liberal arts college. after working in the sciences for a while, i decided i would like to return to school to become an industrial designer. i have a particular interest in sustainable design.

i’m still in the process of applying to schools. the only school i’ve visited so far is syracuse. they seem to have a strong program and i felt a connection with the head of the department. i thought originally that i wanted to study id on the east coast, but now i think i would like to open up my search to just about anywhere in the us. any recommendations on schools? the downfall to syracuse is that there isn’t much of a city and i don’t think i could find much employment/internship opportunities while in school. i’ve heard some good things about the art center college of design.

any input would be greatly appreciated.

thanks, cordelia

i am only a sophomore in ID at Western Michigan University. I am currently in the process of looking at ID schools for the second time because I will soon be transferring out of here. My good friend Zach is in the architecture program at Syracuse and tells me quite often how awesome the ID program is there. They are a very prestigious school, and from i know he said they spend their first year entirely on sketching and perspective, no marker renderings until 2+ years. As for art center my good friend luke transfered there this year (now a freshman at art center). He went here (WMU) last year with me, and i have to say my skill level was ahead of his in sketching/rendering. He sent me many of his sketches today actually, and I would have to say that his sketching is far beyond mine, and he talks about scott robertson( and feng zhu( being teachers there and how influential they are. check out those sites and u will understand the calibur of teachers out there. Right now I am 99% sure that I will be transferring to ccs in Detroit, and after all my research i am very pleased and excited to attend it. If i had a choice, i would go to art center, but money is the issue(california living blah blah etc). Also consider the program at Cincinnati of ohio, my brothers girlfriend is a junior in the product design there and her portfolio is very impressive. she has many good things to say about it there also.

hope that all helps man.

thanks for all the info matt. i’m glad to hear good things about syracuse. i was drawn to their program, but haven’t had a chance to talk to too many students. also, thanks for the info on other programs.

goodluck with school.


Re: SU
I went there. Run-of-the-mill it ain’t.

If IDSU had a strength, it was brain power. It is far from a trade school as many other ID programs are. Sure, you’ll learn to master the skills but the stress is on solid design philosphy and to challenge convention. Problem solving was the focus.

When I went for interviews, employers were looking for convention. I ended up getting hired on the spot at a medical engineering firm. It wasn’t at all what I expected. Their clients were doing very experiment and scary stuff.

hey steve-

thanks for the feedback. sounds like syracuse is a great school for id. i was curious to know when you graduated from their program. and, do you think it prepared you well for working in the field? what you said about the program sounds great, but it also sounds like it was a rough transition for you to your working life in the field. maybe that doesn’t have much to do with the id program though, maybe it was more the company.

i was initially attracted to su more than the other schools i looked into. your experience makes me more confident of my impressions of the school as a prospective.

thanks again.

You were getting a University education where you have to take Psychology and English requirements + others. No Co-Ops. Outside the ID program, its a great university with an inspiring campus. They expect you to be a thinker, not just an artist. ID was considered one of the hardest majors along with the Arch. program which could also chew you up and spit you out. (considering there are a few hundred areas of study there, its an impressive recognition.) Environmental concerns were pinnacle. Not having been back in several years, I couldn’t tell you what its become. They’ve changed the name of the major to Industrial & Interaction Design. I was there from 95-00.

Also, if it means anything to you, one of my classmates landed a Design Management position right after graduation for a major player I’m not sure he ever had to draw on anything outside of a napkin after graduating.
Ofcourse, that is rare… Was it a rough transition for me? Only that I lacked the experience of working in a firm as an intern so I didn’t have the same level of confidence as some others that had worked internships over the summers. I took the summer after graduating off and packed through Europe. I returned in Aug. and it took me about 2 months until I had a few offers. I was working by the end of October of 2000 but I think everyones situation is different. You never know whats going to come your way regarding employment.

Would I go SU again? In a heartbeat assuming the program has progessed but I would break skulls to get into the business, engineering, applied physics or information system technology classes there for electives. I think a minor in one of those fields would have been an added bonus on a resume.

In addition, if you decided you didn’t like the ID program, you had the whole university of solid academics to transfer into. People switch majors all the time. It nice to have the option if required.

yeah, one of the advantages of going to syracuse is that i could take classes in other fields like business to boost my resume. i just wonder why i don’t hear more about syracuse on places like this site…?

again, thanks for all your feedback.


No problem.

They’re all employed perhaps. Over-worked and underpaid like the rest of us. I’m the only one out of my class that I know of doing the solo thing.
SU is also not that big of a school. 10,000 undergrad and about 20 design students max in a class. However, the art dept. at SU is bigger than many art colleges alone. VPA is the 2nd largest major on campus next to A&S.

Regardless, I’m not trying to pimp the school to you but thought I would give my own perspective. There are other schools that have a similar university setting. If I knew what ID was all about before I applied to schools, I would have filled out some additional apps at Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Stanford perhaps. Those schools are top notch and crossing the lines where I might have had a good chance of getting in if I knew what I was looking for at the time.