Few questions regarding UC, Virginia Tech, and Carleton

  1. What is the University of Cincinnati’s focus on? As in, some schools are more art-based, some are more engineering-based, etc. It’s a school I’m considering but I really would prefer a more engineering-type program, versus art based.

  2. How is Virginia Tech looked upon? Is it a good / well known school for ID, etc?

  3. Carleton: How is it looked up outside of Canada? I don’t really intend on living in Canada, so if it’s got less credentials and such and isn’t as well known outside of Canada, it’s probably not worth going there…?

  4. How would you rank these schools in terms of ID programs (1,2 & 3)?

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As far as UC goes, I’d be hesitant to pigeon-hole it as one or the other, but I guess if I had to I’d say it’s leaning a bit towards a more art -based focus, as evident by the mandatory first year foundations program where you are pooled with other majors and focus on broad design foundations and principles; and the lack of any significant engineering or technical class requirements.
BUT they do have a strong collaborative with the engineering school as evident in their win at the PACE competition last year
http://www.daap.uc.edu/stories/UC_Sets_the_PACE_with_a_Competitive_Design_Engineering_Win

So there’s definitely a good amount of both going on at the school.

UC is highly regarded on this forum. Virginia Tech (which I and several on this board are alumni of) is a great program that is developing VERY rapidly because of some extremely talented professors (including the former IDSA president and the current IDSA education chair). It’s a school thats also got more engineers then you can shake a stick at so there are a lot of cross discipline opportunities (Myself and other students have had the chance to work with engineers on everything from Formula SAE cars, the GM pace project mentioned above, to bipedal robots).

I speak highly of VT because I’ve seen how much change has gone on in the past 6 years alone - I can only imagine how much improvement will continue over the next few years. I’ve also been told there has been some restructuring of the faculty and the program which I believe will help it move away from its Bauhaus/architectural roots and become much more competitive.

Blacksburg is also an absolutely WONDERFUL place to live. Goregous town, low cost of living, pleasant people, beautiful campus, etc. I was there for 5 years and I still go back every few months to visit friends and faculty. Oh yeah - and last time I checked it was the cheapest school on the list. Graduating with $50,000 less in debt is a realistic consideration.

Carleton is also a great school - I work with several Carelton alumni.

But Canada is cold. And I hate the cold.

If you have questions on VT specifically feel free to drop me a line or do a search on the forum - theres already several responses I’ve posted regarding it.

I can only speak for UC since my daughter is a student there.

UC is primarily a design oriented school. Yes, they have fine arts too,but most students will tell you that their School of Design is what they are known for.

UC is also primarily known for its coop program where ALL design students get 1.5 years of (usually) paid experience in firms related to their major. Unlike that of other schools who may also have coops and internships, this coop program is formally integrated into their curriculum.

Starting after the sophomore year, students attend class for two quarters a year and work at various firms for two quarters a year. Feedback from the coops is required not only from the student but from the employer. This gives UC feedback as to its students and for further training. For example, if a new software or technique is being utilized by companies, UC will find out about this quickly and adjust its curriculum accordingly.

This is a MAJOR difference in my opinion between UC and other schools. At most other schools professors tend to be a bit too academic ( and out of the work loop). This can certainly create a danger of not keeping abreast with what’s going on in the industry. This isn’t a problem at UC since industry feedback is constantly occuring.

I only have experience with UC, and I would not really call it artsy. The one thing that may seem artsy is the foundations drawing class, which is all still life and boring portraiture, very traditional textbook stuff.

Contact the schools you’re interested in and ask for curriculum planners and advising sheets.

Go on the DAAP website and search for daapworks 2008. They have a small gallery of senior ID work to give you an idea of what comes out of the program. DAAP has a show at the end of each term. Try to make it to one of these. See for yourself, you know?

UC’s design theory is extremely holistic. They stress the fact that you receive a BS rather than a BFA because successful design requires a thorough and meticulous thought process. Design at UC is about problem solving while training students so that aesthetics come naturally. Though it may be more info than you were looking for, the best way to describe UC’s methodology is a basic breakdown of each year:

Freshman Foundations: Basic understanding of at and design principles and practices. Major studios are broken down into one quarter each of color theory, form theory (i.e. 2D layout, composition, proportion, etc.), space theory (3D) and three quarters of drawing that cover the full gamut of art and design from basic perspective, to design drawing, to still life and portraiture. Digital studio introduces Adobe CS3 (or whatever new version comes out) and 3D modeling. Standard gen ed requirements include three quarters of art history.

Sophomore: First year if ID specific studios. Years two through five have ID and Design Communications (drawing/rendering - both traditional and computer-based) each quarter. First and second quarter projects (three or four per quarter) focus on specific design elements (e.g. consumer profiling, mechanisms, emotional aesthetics, etc.) LOTS OF SKETCHING. Third quarter project (hand held power tool) is a full quarter and covers everything from technical and consumer analysis to ergonomics to aesthetics. Other courses include design and ID history, materials and processes and 3D modeling.

Co-ops begin after the second or third quarter sophomore year and alternate with school each quarter thereafter. UC is a great help with setting up job opportunities, but students are also encouraged to establish new connections independently.

Pre-Junior: ID studios focus on universal design and emotional interaction, though all applicable aspects are taken into account. SKETCHING. Design process become less instructed and more guided.

Junior: System design (i.e. very deep projects that require solutions to a number of issues) First quarter is normally a corporately sponsored project while the second is a chair.

Senior: Sometimes a full first quarter project then a thesis quarter, sometimes a small project to allow more time for thesis. Theses are the students’ choice, subject to faculty approval, and have ran the range of all fields of design. A synthesis of all previous skills learned, senior projects and theses are expected to of a quality that would be impressive for top-level firms and companies.

Hope this helps.

I wouldn’t call UC art-based… more aesthetic based. I really think they try and ingrain the basics of design into your foundation and let your ingenuity and creativity take over from there.

I wouldn’t even say it’s aesthetic based. While it does play a large role, there is also a great deal of focus on user interaction (i.e. usability, emotional connections, etc.)