I’m working with colleagues here at a UK university to develop programmes for professional development in product design [i.e. postgrad level, post-experience courses for professional designers]. Since I’m not a product designer by background but a professional development specialist it would help a lot to hear from you,
Check out our Master of Design Methods degree for practicing professional designers http://www.id.iit.edu/grad/mdm.html
Additionally, for your other questions, I would be happy to discuss them over email with you, you may contact me at email@example.com
1- in unis at the undergrad level you have to take many general courses which are most of the time useless. you find out you spend more time on those subjects than your major. so the school can reshape the undergrad to focus on grad, that way you can take courses that are more specialized but at the same time informative, things like humanities, economics, philosophy, etc. or on the science side.
2- master courses lack good text. virtually none. even the undergrad is weak. most teachers teach from experience or have to put together some repretoire of collected works of themselves and others to draw on. at the same time tech books are engineering oriented and there’s virtually no design involved other than bare definition of a process or specific conditions. there’re a lot of history, trend, and sketching books but that’s nothing for a grad student in design compared to the books in other fields. just compare design to math for instance.
3- most master courses are out of direction. niether students nor teachers seem to be interested on one important topic to focus on. instead everybody picks a project as his/her own and tries to be as creative as possible. but at the end not only is it incomplete there’s a lack of coherence and continuity to what the student has done in undergrad level and what the instructor has said in the class, or even what they intended to get out of the course in the first place.
4- there are no concrete divisions of courses into categories or other priority of selection. usually you take courses out of availability/capability considerations rather than relation/connectivity. you could do the former in undergrad but at master level i think you need some sort of a more professional progression.
5- projects are usually at theory level just like undergrad. industry needs to get more involved with the schools that offer better cohesive programs.
6- it’s also important that the schools put emphasis on the student rather than the project because the project that is featureless and cannot show the student’s individual way of thinking is really not a project.