Applying to ID program at SJSU

Hi everyone,
I am currently a 4th year at University of California, Irvine, about to graduate spring 08 with a BA Studio art degree and digital arts minor. Over the past few months I have been researching Industrial design because I am very interested in pursueing it as a career. I have a few questions.

  1. To apply to San Jose State, what units are transferrable to the ID program there, being a studio art Graduate with a B.A? Also, who in the department should I contact to ask further detailed questions pertaining to me applying there for Fall 08?

  2. Currently I work as a graphic designer part time, and have been made an offer upon graduation to continue working there for a decent salary. However, I have already decided I want to pursue ID as my career instead of graphics. But, the catch is that I do need the money to put myself through school a second time for ID, so would it be possible to go to CSULB instead while working simultaneously? (my job is in socal)

  3. Which program is better SJSU or CSULB? for the money, and location my choices have to be between those.

  4. Any other advice on getting my B.S. in industrial design being a student who has a previous B.A. in an art field, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!


SJSU only offers a B.S. not a Masters. It seems like SJSU and CSULB are pretty comparable though I don’t know too much about CSULB. At SJSU, pretty much no classes ever transfer into the ID curriculum. So, it will take you a minimum of 4 years to get a ID degree regardless of how many other classes youv’e taken (the ID curriculim is 4 years just in itself). Go to to get more info and talk to John McClusky he is the guy in charge.

Personally, I would keep your Graphic Design Job in SoCal and go to Art Center for a Masters in ID.


Thank you guys for the responses. I find this forum very informative and helpful.

Although Ideally, I would like to stay at my graphic design job, it is in Irvine, CA, which is pretty far from Pasedena so I don’t think it would be possible. Thus, when I graduate, I was hoping just to take out a student loan and be a student full time at an ID school to pay it back when I get out. On that note, I have more questions =)

On Art Center- isn’t a Masters, especially at Art center less hands on than an Undergrad program. The undergrad program is intense and difficult to get into to begin with. With no experience in ID what so ever, how would I even compete, furthermore, get in? Because I have no experience what so ever in ID, I want the most training possible to allow me to compete in the ID job market… I know Art Center is REALLY expensive, which is why I was looking more into the State schools.

What about Academy of Art in SF? I know its more expensive than state schools, but not as much as Art Center. I know in the past it was not as known for ID, but how about currently compared to the other schools mentioned such as SJSU, CSULB, and Art Center?

Funny you want info on SJSU and Academy of Art University - I went to SJSU for 2 years and now I’m a senior at Academy of Art. I left SJSU because I really disliked San Jose and because the program is not as good as Art Center and Academy of Art. Though SJSU does put out some decent grads, you need to work extra hard and be talented to compete with Art Center grads. I believe that Art Center is the best out of these schools. I got accepted to Art Center when I wanted to transfer out of SJSU but they wouldn’t accept any transfer credits, it was a lot more expensive than AAU, and I don’t like LA and love SF. AAU is becoming better for ID every year. They offer 4 concetrations (product, transportation, furniture, toy) but the main 2 are Product and Trans (cars). I think they emphasize too much on trans. A lot of people come here for a second Bachelors or a Masters. The masters is only in ID with no emphasis. The 2nd Bachelors usually takes something like 3 years to complete. The bachelors graduates usually actually have stronger skills than the Masters graduates because they’ve been at it for a longer time. AAU is good for skills - sketching, modelmaking, computers, Alias. SJSU however is probably better for aesthetics and problem solving. I feel I got best of both worlds by spendng 2 years at each school. Example: SJSU offers only 1 class for all computer skills/programs and AAU offers 6 classes for the same computer skills/software. Most of AAU’s instructors are Art Center grads and a couple are SJSU grads. Most instructors work in ID as well as teach. AAU’s ID building is located in a great area in San Francisco - close to lots of restuarants, bars and more importantly award-winning ID firms. SJSU is located in the ghetto of downtown San Jose. San Jose offers some intern opportunities, but mainly in Palo Alto. As for commuting from Irvine to Pasadena - you got to do what you got to do (though LA has horrible traffic). I commute (with bike and train) 1.5 hours each way to Palo Alto from S.F. 3 days a week for an internship and I go to school the other 2 days. Getting accepted to Art Center is not easy. But if you already have some Graphics and computer skills than you’ve got something. You need to practice freehand sketching products in perspective a lot and possibly modelmaking. I believe that Pasadena City College offers Saturday night courses specifically for preparing an ID portfolio to get into Art Center. Having a Master’s degree is nice - you can teach with it and you will have an advantage over those with only a bachelors. Anyways, I hope this info helps…I got to get back to work.

powdahound thanks for the info!

how is AAU with internship programs? and in terms of the program itself, I know for SJSU there are portfolio reviews annually. Does this occur with AAU as well?

In terms of Art Center Prep, I did not know about the Pasadena city college saturday school, i will definitely look into that!
Thanks for all the advice.

You’re welcome. At AAU you can get 3 units towards graduation for an internship twice. The catch is that you still have to pay for the 3 units of internship. I did that with my first internship but with my second internship I felt it was a waste of money and decided I would rather take an extra class for the same price. AAU currently does not have an annual portfolio review like SJSU but I heard that they are thinking of implementing one. However, since the classes at AAU are expensive compared to SJSU students who feel incompetent tend to drop out. The incoming freshman class at both AAU and SJSU is something like 30-40 people a semester and the number of graduates a semester from each school is usually less than 5! Basically if your’re not good enough at SJSU they kick you out and at AAU if your’e not good enough the instructors will give you a hard time and you decide it’s not worth the money if you suck. In the end, the 5 graduates from each school usually get jobs but it’s only about 1 person a semester that gets a job at a really great ID firm. You can say it’s a competitive field.

I graduated from a UC and am currently entering my 3rd year of ID at SJSU.

You will not be able to transfer much from the UC system… maybe a class or two. It will still take you 4-5 years to graduate.

SJSU is not glamorous in anyway, but you will be able to learn there if you want to. I really like it.

so just out of curiosity, before you guys attended AAU or SJSU, did you have prior experience to ID? Thats pretty scary that only 5 graduate per semester! I have no ID experience whatsoever. I hope I can excel!

No not ID but other arts and crafts. In highschool I took woodshop, ceramics, drawing/painting, and drafting. Don’t worry too much, just try your best and you will probably succeed.

No real ID background when I started. But it isn’t necessary… that is what school is for! Graphic design background will help you… you still need to do tons of PS and Ill work.

how is the employment outlook like after graduating from SJSU nowadays?
Academy of Art?

also, although I plan to study product design to gain a broad range of ideas, skills, etc., i am very interested in footwear, which of these two schools would be better suited for that if at all?

The employment outlook of both schools is pretty good. You can do footwear at either school - just work on it on your own if your classes don’t offer footwear projects. Academy of Art often has sponsered projects and Nike and Keen have sponsored a couple footwear design projects in the past few years.

Doesn’t Long Beach State still have an ID program?