Canadian ID School choices (Carleton vs OCADU)

Hi, I have just received an acceptance letter from both Carleton University in Ottawa
and OCAD University in Toronto.

I did my research for both schools and talked to my friends who are actually attending OCADU and Carleton for the ID program.
From my understanding, Carleton is more engineering based and teaches more technical aspect of design.
In contrast, OCAD seems to be more focused on aesthetic parts and presentation of the ideas.

However, according to the course guide for both schools, OCAD looks more flexible than Carleton.
Since I’ve already studied engineering at the University of Calgary for 2 years, some of the courses at Carleton
appear to be unnecessary. (I am only saying this because I already have the engineering background)

So my question is, would it be any difference in terms of available jobs after graduating from each school?
Personally I want to do a product design for a sporting goods companies such as Nike or Adidas.
In order to proceed my goal, which school would be the best choice?

If there isn’t much differences, I would choose OCAD because I love the atmosphere and the energy of the city.
(Not to mention the bars and clubs)
But, if Carleton is worth to give it a shot, I am willing to go there as well.
If anyone knows about these schools please give me an advice.
Thank you.

As far as I gather Carleton has more math and physics focus (engineerin’) than any other ID program in Canada.
I think you’re right to assume that you won’t learn too much more engineering than in your years at U of C, however it would probably pertain to ID and materials more-so. I think that for your interests, athletic stuff, OCAD is a good choice. To keep up with the fast pace of seasonal fashion and goods you’ll need to have a good artistic side. I feel like there won’t be a huge differentiation between the two in the job market. That’s just my opinion as a fellow Canadian who’s done some research on schools.

I’m a Carleton grad, and footwear designer (and have taught a footwear class there recently a few years - if you are lucky maybe I’ll do it again sometime). My opinion is biased accordingly so take it with a grain of salt.

I think Carleton is a much stronger school, in all aspects. I am located in Toronto so often get portfolios from OCAD grads, as well as some CUSID (Carleton School of ID), and a few Humber grads.

In my view, the program is much more rigorous at teaching the fundamentals of ID knowledge needed for a professional designer of any kind. There is a strong emphasis not only on studio skills (CAD, sketching, presentation, etc.), but also research, business, product engineering, understanding the user, ergonomics, mass production, etc.

First year requirements normally (at least when I was there) have you take maths, physics, psychology, business, physics, engineering courses from those specific faculties. ie. you aren’t getting a watered down version of “math for stupid designers”. If you have an engineering degree already, I’m sure you would qualify to have some of your credits accepted (know a lot of IDers that came from engineering).

Sporting goods design requires more than just good aesthetics. It requires a good understanding of the user, ergonomics and anthropometrics, product engineering and construction, materials and production techniques, etc. All these are taught in individual courses at Carleton, as well as reinforced through studio projects.

I’m not sure what kind of sporting equipment you want to design, but there have been several very well done 4th year final projects at CUSID in the realm. I’ve seen everything from a Sea-do, to bikes, para-olympic ski rig, climbing and hiking equipment, etc.

Carleton has a very good placement rate of grads. It’s a very well respected school across Canada (considered the best by most rankings I’ve seen) as well as the US.

I obviously can’t speak much about the OCAD program, but from everything I’ve seen I would certainly say there is a big difference in the programs, both in goals, methods and specifics. If you have a engineering background, that may also be a benefit to better fitting the style of process at Carleton.

Yes, Toronto is much cooler than Ottawa. But Ottawa can be OK to deal with in the summer at least, and most of the time at school you’ll be very busy with studio anyhow, so not that much time to get out :slight_smile:


If your choices are between these two, I’d go Carleton. Check out Humber as well.
From what I’ve seen from fourth year students, Carleton students are much better fit to start working in a design/engineering/manufacturing environment upon graduation. Not to knock on OCAD too much, but they really are a much more arts-oriented school, where products being designed are more sculptural than production-oriented.
You will get good practice in aesthetics and presentation from Carleton, but also get the business/marketing and concept resolution that I haven’t seen a whole lot of in OCAD projects.
Your best bet is to take a look at the portfolios of students coming out of both schools. Check out the Rocket Thesis Show (May?) which will have students from Carleton, Humber and OCAD showing off their thesis projects.

Thank you all for your replies.
It is such a dilemma for me to choose between two excellent institution.
I should check the portfolios from both schools before making the decision.
Thanks again for your help!

Hi Double J congrats on getting into to the ID school at CU.
When did they tell you you got in?

I received the e-mail on Apr. 2nd. The next day of portfolio deadline.
I submitted my portfolio in early March.

Congrats early bird :smiley:
I’m just waiting for my response :slight_smile:

I received my email on the 11th, so the offers are definitely made throughout the month. :slight_smile:

did carleton send you the email or ocad?

have you decided which school yet? I got an acceptance from ocad but im still waiting for carleton to reply. Im having a hard time deciding like you.
if i went to ocad i’d be surrounded by other ‘creatives’ (lol) but at carleton the only other design oriented program is the one for architecture. there’s also living in toronto that i need to consider the profs at ocad probably have great connections with design firms over there (google and facebook have hq there and id love to work for them :slight_smile: )
carleton is kind of secluded from that but they have a great facility and i can save on rent since i’d be living with my parent ahhh its so confusing :S

I finally made my decision to go to Carleton yesterday.
I had very much same ideas about both schools like you mentioned.
However, the reasons I choose Carleton over OCAD are
*Carleton teaches more practical stuff than OCAD (for example you learn SolidWorks at Carleton and Rhinos at OCAD)
*Yes, OCAD has more creative atmosphere but it doesn’t necessary make you a creative person .
*Carleton has way better scholarship program than OCAD.

For me, it was a difficult decision to choose between two schools.
OCAD is definitely the best art school in Canada. I have a friend who graduated from OCAD ID program and works at Umbra right now. I did a lot of research for each schools but I just felt it right to go to Carleton. I guess you just have to follow your heart in the end anyway. Good luck!


Hey ricecracker when you checked carleton central was this the respons

Decision: Admitted: Final


Thanks for the insight double_j when you checked carleton central was this the response you got

Decision: Admitted: Final

Thanks and congrats on getting into carleton :slight_smile:

yeah!! i accepted the offer from carleton…should we start a facebook group?

Hi all!
Anyone knows if Carleton is still sending offers of admission? Mine is still " late decision required" on central.
Got kind of worried reading this thread.
If anyone of you has some admission tips concerning portfolio and high school grades, I gladly welcome them :slight_smile: (if happens I have to apply again for next intake)

For info, i am an international applicant from Mauritius

I’m sure if you emailed the department they would be able to tell you if all the offers have been given or if theres some kind of wait list.
Don’t worry though I applied twice to the architecture program at Carleton and was rejected but I worked on trying to improve my portfolio (thankfully i didnt get in bc industrial design is much more interesting :slight_smile:

I remember reading in some other forums that students were being accepted in early May you can never be sure I think your best option is to email the industrial design department and ask them if they have given out all of their open spots.

Take care and good luck :slight_smile:

Congrats! yes, it sounds like a great idea! I’m in
can you make the group and post it for others?