Final ID Graduate School Decision: Opinions?

Hello all!

I’m am currently an undergraduate architecture student at the University of Oklahoma who will be graduating in May with my B.Arch degree.
I have applied to some graduate Industrial Design programs and was looking for a little bit of feedback to help me make my final decision.

I have been accepted to the following thus far:

  1. Art Center College of Design (Not the ID program, but the Environmental Design Program)
  2. Parsons The New School (Brand new MFA in Industrial Design program)
  3. Syracuse University (MFA Collaborative Design)
  4. California College of the Arts (MFA Design in Industrial Design)
  5. Rochester Institute of Technology

I am still waiting to hear from:

  1. Pratt
  2. School of Visual Arts (Interviewed with department chair last week)

I am hoping to get into the Pratt and SVA programs, and should hear back from them withing the next week or so.

I will have a tough decision to make and have perused the current discussions boards, but I was hoping to gain some insight mainly into the Pratt, Parsons, and SVA programs. Anyone have any experience with anyone from or in the programs? I will not be able to visit before I decide, so really any feedback on any of these schools would be helpful.

I would eventually like to open my own architecture + design firm, so any program with insight into the business aspect of design would be a plus. This is why I have leaned towards SVA’s Products of Design program- it seems to be up and coming and quite a well rounded program.

Thanks in advance for the help!


I highly recommend the MID program at Iowa State University, it is a great balance between design and engineering. Its a new program, only 5 years old but is probably the hottest program at the university as far as attention and making their presence known. Currently the Industrial Design department is leading a project to design a bike share system for campus in its entirety. The bikes, the docking stations, the locking mechanism, the software, the infrastructure planning is all being done by students. So far over 100 students from 11 different departments have worked on the project in the 3 semesters it has been going. The students think BIG and then carry through.

I hope you don’t mind if I piggyback onto this post so I don’t spam the boards with similar topics.

I applied to very different schools from you, as I was looking to study abroad in Europe (the tuition of the schools I was looking at were either much cheaper or about the same. plus I would have to relocate from a different country anyway…so why not?). As a result, I cant really give you any real input into the schools you have listed. (sorry!)

I’m currently also trying to decide which Grad school to choose and am looking for any advice or input.

Currently I’ve paired down my choices to:
RISD (USA) Masters of Industrial Design
RCA (UK) MA Design Products

Both programs have undergone a few major changes in the past 3-4 years (change of leadership/department direction).
A few questions:

  1. Are there any RISD or RCA grads out there? How would you describe the learning/studio environment? program structure? How are critiques?
  2. How do you compare such different schools?! Does it just boil down to location? Reputation? (RCA seems much more well known outside the US) Or?

Many Thanks!

I know a little about the Art Center program, I graduated from Gradid at Art Center but took a few Environmental Design classes as electives. First, David Mocarski the chair of the department, is a great guy, he really cares about all of his student, knows everyone by name and is amazingly knowledgeable. Another plus, is that the department has a lot of connection with the industry, and a good number of classes are “sponsored” by big name companies in both furniture and environmental design, so you get “real life” experience so to speak. Also,in the Art Center Tradition, pretty much most of the instructors are practicing professionals and either have their own studio/company or work for one. The facilities as far as building your projects and prototypes are great as well, and the shop assistant/instructor are very knowledgeable and helpful. All power tools and related machinery are state of the art and very well cared for.
I have heard good things about CCA as well…

Both are great schools, you can’t go wrong with either. When I searched for a grad program. RISD was on top of my list, I visited the school, talked to the chair of the department and one of the student as well. I was very impressed by the school and the program. I was accepted but ultimately I chose to go to Art Center College of Design. Mostly because they had a longer more comprehensive program — 6 full terms vs 4 at RISD ( and other schools)Also the fact that they were rated the#1 program swayed me a little more… I know RISD has added a term to their program, so I believe it is now a 5 full term program. I think what really matters is not so much what is the best school, but what is the best for you… RCA is probably cheaper than RISD, and this might be something to consider. If you live in the U.S then an experience in the U.K might be nice, and vice-versa of course… As far which school is better known, I am fairly certain that anyone in the industry anywhere in the world will know either well.