Final Grad School Decision (SCAD, UArts, UIC, NCState)


I am a mechanical engineer that decided to go to grad school for industrial design. I applied to 5 different schools and unfortunately I didn’t get into my easy number 1 choice, Pratt, so I am having trouble what school is the next best on my list. The other schools include:

SCAD - Accepted
UArts Philidelphia - Accepted
UIC - Should hear by next week
NCState - Should hear by next

Pros and cons of each would be most helpful.

Thank you

P.S. Both SCAD and UArts offered me scholarship money so the price will be about the same for each


I wouldn’t recommend Uarts. You’ll graduate with an ID degree and then end doing ME within a design firm; most of the firms within the area get projects like this because that’s mostly the type of projects circulating in that area. I’ve had the pleasure to sit down with many seasoned designers whom had, at one point in their careers, designed for Dupont, Agilent, Edge Product development and Bressler. All great people, but it wasn’t what I was aiming for 30 years down the line.

I’ve graduated from Uarts undergrad, designed for the local consultancies there, with immense success…for the consultancies. Not really worth it personally speaking if you want to do more strategy driven design projects. Most of the projects come in the studios from companies who need some banal styling or manufacturing efficiency. Nothing an engineer can’t solve with their undergrad ME schooling.

I’ve subsequently been living and designing in Southern Cal for about 4 years now. From LA down to north county San diego. I’ve gained way more knowledge and experience working with folks from Art Center, CSULB, and the like. My recommendation is to find a geographic area of what industry you’d like to work in, then apply to applicable schools with strong industry ties. Sorry, but Uarts won’t connect you anywhere…If location is an issue, I’d look at Parson’s New School if Pratt was out. Both my old professors now chair the Design programs there. Strong program, strong network. Good luck.

Thanks, I looked at Parson’s but they don’t have a graduate program (that I could find) for industrial design. It is too bad since I really wanted to be in New York City, had a Design Engineering internship and loved the area.

Just for more information about me, I am looking for a career away from typical boring and tedious engineering programs and go into a more creative and hands on field. My interests are mostly focused around consumer product design and not just working on making manufacturing processes more efficient. I have worked for two toy companies, Hasbro and Radio Flyer, and one fruniture company, Humanscale. I also dual majored in a program at my school called Design, Innovation, and Society, and also minored in electronic arts.

After doing some more thinking I think my choice is between SCAD and NCState (if I get in). UArts just feels too small which may raise issues when it comes to flexibility with electives and resources. UIC seems like it is not “non-ID undergrad friendly.” For SCAD I have heard that the school is basically for profit which opens up the potential for some provlems (not sure what though), but it makes the top 10 on numerous lists for top design schools and is very well known. NCState I do not know a whole lot about except that I can take a 3 year track to learn the foundation I missed out on, it is a state school and will be the cheapest.

I went to SCAD. I loved it. Got a fantastic education. Their Industrial Design building (Gulfstream Center for Design) is second to none in the nation. Go visit. Your mind will be blown. When I visited last year, they had about a dozen 3D printers (nice ones), at least one CNC mill, rotomolder, an entire machine shop and wood shop, two computer labs all running the nicest software.

Go visit SCAD in the amazing/beautiful city of Savannah, GA. One visit and you’ll be able to make up your mind.

Then again, that is the most important part. Visiting. Pick between two schools and visit them both. You need to remember that you’ll be living somewhere for a couple years of your life. Specifically, you’ll probably be living in their ID building, the city secondarily.