Central St. Martins Advice

I am an american college student who is thinking about applying to Central St. Martins’ foundation year. I was wondering if anyone had some advice for the portfolio or anything else that I could find helpful. Any information regarding international student grants/scholarships would be helpful as well. I orginally started out wanting to do industrial design but have switched to fashion instead.

anyone with any advice?

there is no international student grants/scholarships provided in CSM.
you don’t need to prepare much for the foundational course. you just need to show them your strong interest in fashion. However, the course is quite exciting. you will learn a lot of skills in workshop. it will help you to build a great portfolio for your future study. BTW, most student in that course are Japanese.

Is Debbie Wythe that bad? I like her works, and as I have stayed about 6 hours with her, it seems that she has a lovely personality. Always kind and funny. Maybe they expect too much from students in foundational course (she is a BA lecturer). for other teachers you mentioned, i have no idea. But if they are as rude as the tecnician in wood workshops and some computer rooms, then i agree with you.

Yes personally i find the quality of teaching from central saint martins very poor and extremely lacking. Yes the technicians are plain horrible but that whole i dont care about you attitude is mirrored from the visiting tutors to the whole tutors right down to everyone else. People at CSM, put on a show and an act on open days ,believe me i have been caught in that place and would honestly and truely say that it is the worst place to study.

However, if u care solely about name or prestige, then yes central is for you but remember as more and more get to know just how poor and how deep the cracks are in central saint martins - its reputation will quickly evaporate. Personally i study BA Product Design in the first year and it i find a lot od the projects basic and the lack of time spent helping the students is one of the crucial most disgusting aspects on the way all courses are run. But don’t u know it is all about the name …

pls don’t be fooled - i was burnt too. :frowning:

oh my god! it seems so bad! Is their fashion program as poor as their product? This is a huge dissapointment for me.

Sorry, if you mean the foundational course, I have no idea.
But when it comes to Product design and Industrial design, then you shouldn’t have say so if you are not there for longer than two years.
The first year always just for open your eye, equip the basic skills needed as a design student in such area. People don’t care about you because you are not mature enough to be cared. When you finished the first year, you knows how to use the college, the library, your tutor, your classmates, even the visiting tutors. later on, you knows what you are going to do. Then it is time for them to serve you. all the resources, and social relationships are ready for the students who really use their mind in study. That is not bad.

I study product design at Central Saint martins and i find the course very poor and lacking, as people have said before me. Especially in the second year, as my tutors don’t stick to time and schedules and often don’t bother to keep with times with students. For example: I booked a meeting with the second year tutor Paul Sayers and he never made it for the time. I was left waiting in the cold damp corridor sitting for 2 hours waiting - why should people be treated like dirt just cos they want to learn. In the first year, we had Chris Lefteri, he was okay, but now he just spends most of his time writing books. The third year tutors are very sarcastic and the contextual studies tutor is very odd.

I feel very let down by Central. I would honestly tell people not to apply to central saint martins cos it isn’t the place it used to be - i an speak for the product design department as i study there and since it changed management the place treats students in a second class way. Also because I come from Canada, all the tutors have an annoying habit of making rude comments about my accent. I feel very depressed and can’t wait to finish the course. :frowning:

Let’s accept the opinions of central student (and others in this thread):

I personally wouldn’t bother going to Central Saint Martins. The place stinks, the tutors don’t mark work fairly, they are late, and rude to students, when students spit in other student’s face they laugh out aloud: Debbie Wythe - lighting designer. The whole place is a waste, they hate anything realistic and they are scraping onto their little shreds of a past good reputation

But, then ask a slightly different question, which is: What UK schools could be recommended for a foundation year? The criteria to recommend this school would be:

  1. The quality of instruction
  2. Expense
  3. Acceptance, by faculty and students, of foreign students
  4. Appropriateness of the foundation year as a lead in to an industrial design BA program.

I would be interested in hearing your opinions.

I was reading comments from those very unhappy St Martins students and I just can’t believe how rude and exaggerated they are. I’ve also graduated from the Product Design course several years ago and my advice for those people would be to work harder… then they would have had less problems, they would have had less time to make unjustified comments about the tutors and workshop technicians and they would have graduated as a skilled designer!

Anyway, my experience on the Product design course was very good. I’ve been thought important practical skills: researching, drawing, using computer programs, model-making (there are very well equipped workshops and helpful technicians), preparing presentations and so on. There is also a part of the course which is called Contextual Studies where I was given the opportunity to engage with the theoretical side of deign. I was looking at design from different perspectives: history of design, cultural and communication studies, sociology, anthropology, philosophy… I must say, it is not the most technical course, so if you are intending to be a 3D Cad visualizer or want to go into the engineering side of design then it is better to choose some other course. But if you want to be a skilled creative designer who additionally is aware of cultural processes, the society, who is concerned about consequences of their design, who is challenging norms and asking questions in order to innovate then this course is the right one!

I also want briefly to refer the tutors, which were mentioned before by some other people, from my perspective: Debbie Wythe is a very good tutor with valuable experience in the lighting design industry, enthusiastic, very kind and helpful. Jamie Brassett is the programme leader of the Contextual studies who is also an excellent tutor, very knowledgeable, friendly, always there to give constructive advice and support. And Paul Sayers is the 2nd year programme leader who again is a superb tutor, very pleasant, organized and encouraging. And all the other tutors are very helpful too.

I can also ensure that this very positive experience of the Product Design course at St Martins does not limit itself only to me. I am sure a lot of my ex-classmates would share my opinion.

have you thought about Brunel? Kings College? Brigton? Loughbrough? De Montfort? Northumbria?

Why were you going for a foundation year and not jump in to a degree?

If you like walking, excercising then u will like the stairs that is at csm! :neutral_face:

Hi ,
i m product designer and have got through the masters programme in northumria,Loughborough and kent university…

i also have an offer from central saint martins .BA 2nd year product design.
how is the college and is the faculty any help…i want to continue my design education purely to explore design and get an exposure to the european market…but i would also like to study in a prestigious college…

I can also reapply to the MA ID in CSM good as i have 4 years of work experience,but the degree doesnt matter as much as the learning… i wuld like to go into a more theory based course than engineering based one… It would be great if you could help me choose the best .which course and college…


i m going to csm for ba product design this coming september. does any ex- and current students give me some advice? Do I need to install some design softwares in my personal computer so i can work at home too beyond school hours? what are the computer programs that you learn for 3 years in product design? also, do u guys know what’s the job prospect of people graduating from product design csm so far? thank you so much for your help! when u guys talk about how teachers have been very unhelpful, i experienced dat too in foundation at chelsea but then one thing i got from there is dat i truly learn to be independent and i guess this is a crucial thing for a designer. dont u think? thanks guys and hope to hear from u all!

hi everyone,

i will be entering BA product design in CSM this autumn and i am shopping for a laptop. can you give me any suggestions on what kind should i look for? my friend said that MAC is good but considering that i have been using PC laptop all these times, i dont really want to change to MAC unless i have to. it is too much a hazzle. thanks and hope to hear from you all soon!

warning, as someone who has spent some time in the real world product design field in the us, i cannot by any means endorse CSM for design.
the metal shop is in the basement while the woodworking and perspex shops are 5 floors up. you spend alot of your day running up and down these flights of stairs, also because you are not permitted to use wood in the metal shop or visa vesa. besides that the instructors are always on lunch, at the same time, meaniing the whole department shuts down for atleast an hour everyday. it is poorly managed and organized, and limited access.
by all means it is what you make of it, but by the time you get threw all the british beuracrasy, and poor work ethic, there isn’t much time to get alot out of it.
also find your own place to live, stay away from there dorms.