I graduated with an English degree in 2004 from a big 10 university. I’ve realized that I want to go back for industrial design. My grades weren’t awesome. about a 2.6 overall with a 3.2 in my major and an upward trend of improvement.
Does anyone know what UIC looks for in their potential ID students? I’m thinking a second bachelors since I don’t have a portfolio of work to show for a masters program. I’m curious as to how difficult this may be given the circumstances of my application.
First, I might look into the two ID schools within the University of Illinois system first.
There is UIUC, and UIC. At the time I graduated in 2005, UIC was still struggling with
being a very small program, and wasn’t very organized. UIUC’s program was much more organized, and within the midwest, thier students recieved a lot of respect; as there are many well known Alum currently working in the field. Although its in Champaign, it was fairly well connected as long as the IDSA student chapter was proactive.
Second, portfolio is very important because it shows how you solve problems creatively. That being said, if you can show a creative problem solving approach, you may have an advantage. Without a portfolio though, you may find it to be a challenge. You may have better luck looking at design, user research, or interaction design, which all fall under the umbrella of ID as well. Don’t want to discourage…
Thanks for the info I appreciate it. Is the undergrad program also very dependent on a portfolio? Just curious. I may be better suited for an undergrad program since I’m looking to have a very hands on approach to things. From what I’ve read, the masters programs are a lot about the process and planning in design and less about the concepts and aesthetics. Is there truth to that?
Thanks a million
UIC’s ID program has improved and still improving. It used to be a big program and I’ve heard that a lot of good/positive changes are happening right now. I know Stephanie Munson is a professor there and doing really good teaching so I’ve heard from students.
The last years or so I know a lot of alums from UIC that have managed to work for and contribute to the design industry to a lot of Fortune 500 or Fortune 100 companies. So they may not be that well known but a lot have done quite well. I know Stefan Andren (class of 97) worked for NIKE or still does and now he even created his own company called Krown Lab. A lot of the alums have gone back and have been active contributing their time with students reviewing portfolios and helping them improve.
Besides UIC and U of I, there’s Columbia College, School of Art Institute, IIT’s Institute of Design - these are all in Chicago except U of I of course. So I suggest you go and visit these schools, talk to the professors/students. Ask for the requirements and go from there.
Anybody coming into UIC in any art or design field at the undergraduate level, who doesn’t have a real solid college level portfolio already, enters what they call the foundation program. That means you’ll be taking six of the following introductory level course: drawing, sculpture, graphic design, responsive (electronic) art, photography, time based visual arts (film), and industrial design. While you are taking these classes, you will be building a portfolio. You submit it toward the end of your first year to see if you can get into the major of your choice. I’m in this foundation year now, and haven’t gone through the portfolio submission yet, so unfortunately, I can’t give you any further insight into that aspect of the program.
Whether or not you’re willing to put in the extra introductory year is definitely something to consider. I’m a transfer student, and a little older than just about everyone in the program, so for me it is a bit frustrating devoting the extra year. But, I’m working toward something I really want to do, so to me it’s worth it.