Associates or Masters in Graphic Design?

Hi everyone,

I know this is mostly an ID site, but I was wondering if anyone here could give me some graphic design advice.

I’m looking to go back to school for GD and am debating if I should get an Associates or Masters degree. I already have a bachelors degree in science and have worked in marketing for a few years. I’d rather not spend another 4 years getting a 2nd BA due to financial reasons as well as the fact that I’m not getting any younger! I have an illustration portfolio, but no real experience in GD. Professionally, I want to go into brand identity and/or design strategy.

In terms of GD, is an Associates adequate given that I already have a BA? Or is it more worthwhile to get a Masters? Or do degrees not matter, and I could just enroll in a BA program and drop out when I feel “ready?”

Currently, I’m looking at these Assoc. degree programs in NYC:

  • Parsons - Graphic Design AAS
  • Pratt - Graphic Design AOS
  • FIT - Communication Design AAS

Any advice on degrees or schools would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for your time,

well, it’s a difficult question.
for ID there’s really no shortcut, an associates would barely qualify you for low level grunt work. in GD I imagine it’s similar, and you’d have to learn everything else on the job, and work your way up. So, if your not gettng any younger - how long are you willing to work to get ahead? get where I’m heading? 4 years of school or who knows how long pushing a broom…

Personally I’d think a Marketing degree would get you into strategy/management faster.

I definitely see your point, no_spec - you may be able to get into the working world faster if you skimp on school, but it may not be the level of work you want.

Yes - design strategy/ management is quite different from doing logo and package design at a branding firm, however there seems to be some overlap in terms of the qualifications and skills needed (at least from what I hear). I basically need to figure out which direction I want more.

Either way, design fundamentals could prove helpful. For example, most Design Mgmt programs such as IIT’s require you take an extra year if you come in without design education/experience.

I don’t know if it’ll apply to GD or not but read the threads here debating entering the feild with a Masters.

Many feel that in Grad school the 1 year of getting up to speed and 2 more years spent doing as much research and writing as studio work will leave you with a portfolio weaker than a 4years Bachelors’ and without job experience, your too green for entry level work - let alone management.

others argue that the Masters shows braoder horizons deeper thinking and greater potential and that proves that you’ll get up to speed rapidly, though overqualified at first.