Grad School: Integrated Product Design

This is my first post so please bare with me. I have been out of school for three years (ME from the University of Pennsylvania.) I have alwasy been driven to useful products and want to return for a Masters in Product Design. I wanted a program that took a very integrated approach, and I have been accepted to and am between Stanford’s Design Program and UPenns very new program in Integrated Product Design.

I have always been an east coast person (my family is all the in Philly area) and take a very pratical yett creative approach. I know Stanfrod has amazing ties and program, but my hestition is that the design side if Fine Arts heavy, where as Penn approaches it from an ID side, but is very new.

I would be interested to hear thoughts about the two programs to help me come to a decision.


It is really hard to say what I did to get into the program. I think th edegree you are getting should probably be fine because you will have a lot of ME classes under your belt. THe only thing I can say right away is that I am prettysure Stanford looks for work experience. Penn perfers that as well, but I do not think are as strict.

I did go out to CA to see the program. It was nice but definitely seems to have a Fine Arts approach. I am trying to decide if Penns will have the influence the Stanford program will because if comparable iI would stay on the East coast. I have a week to decide :open_mouth:

I would definitely choose Stanford over UPenn. Frankly I never heard of the program at UPenn. Stanford porgram is run by Ideo, and from what I understand most graduates find themselves working for Idea once they are done. I was actually going to apply there as a second thought but missed the deadline by a couple of weeks… :unamused:
It is more of a fine art program from what I understand, you get an MFA…

I agree and disagree. I would definitely choose the Stanford program over UPenn as well. It seems to be a harder program to get into, and is recognized world wide. If you know you want to stay on the east coast the rest of your life I think UPenn will be alright since it has a lot of pull on that side of the country. I would say do the stanford program and not limit yourself. In the end its up to what you want to do. It would suck hating life for 2 years because of where you live. On Stanford’s website I believe it says you either get a MFA or MSE, depending on what dept. you apply to. In his case he would get a MSE. I think you cant switch over but it is a lot of work. IMO the MSE is way more prestigious.

Stanford any day!

btw…which one do you guys think is better…

Upenn - integrated product design OR
CMU - Masters in product development

upenn ipd

why so?

well it matters what you are looking for. From what i seen the product development program at CMU is more of an engineering/marketing type deal. While the upenn considers more “design” type curriculum. To me the Upenn program seems like it spits out some one who would work at ideo designing stuff like stanford, while the other program is more like technical management. I’m not positive what you want to do or whether these statement are completely true or not. this is just what I see, when looking at both programs’ descriptions.

Hi Comongoose…Thanks for your comment. I do agree with you to some extent. But, not completely. Because, CMU does offer courses like Geometric Modeling, Design For Manufacturing, and Design Studio topics as well (like photography). Although, I too feel Upenn IPD is better (w.r.t the curriculum), but then it is new and CMU has corporate partnerships…so I wonder which will fetch you a good job after the degree?

I actually am interested in a design intensive program giving you the knowledge of the entire product development cycle. What I want to do is bring a concept from paper to life, i.e., be involved from scrath. I had applied to Stanford, but got rejected (that was the ideal course). FYI…I have an admit from NCSU (industrial design…3yr course), Upenn - Waitlisted, CMU - awaiting reply. So, instead of doing the 3yr course (it becomes expensive too), Upenn/CMU is a better option. But, if I get admit from both…I will be confused.

I request you to comment on this link Upenn (IPD) vs. CMU (MPD) (don’t want to make toot angry)

toot…I hope you don’t mind this (I apologize, if you do). Infact, I would be glad if you could help me…since I believe you and I share the same interest. Besides, you have studied in Upenn and worked for 3yrs I believe (I am international student, Undergrad in Biomedical Engineering, 2yr Work-ex as a Design and Development engineer for medical devices…resume link So, your insights would be very helpful.

I wish you all the best in life! (If you choose Upenn…Hope to see you!)

hey Toot, I graduated around the same time at Penn in Digital Media Design. I’m also in a similar situation.

I posted this in a different thread
"I’ve done some research into Penn’s IPD program. It seems to be well staffed. Mark Yim the director of the program is a big name in robotics. I’ve also taken a class with Karl Ulrich and he’s a very good professor. The only downside I see to Penn is that the program is very young. I talked to an admin over there and I think she said the program is only ~3 years old and there are no graduates yet. Only a dozen or so students are admitted each year. "

I’m looking for a well balanced Industrial Design masters. Right now I’m leaning towards a engineering school with ID programs. Still looking for the right one.

I visited Art Center College a few weeks ago and was really impressed by the student work. US News and World Report ranked them #1 of MFAs in Industrial Design
Their undergrad program was very art centric. The way they set up their masters they assume that you have a BFA in product design. So for a person of my background they suggest getting another bachelors (no thanks!). I wouldnt be opposed to taking some classes there before apply to a school.

Hey gooeykabloui…interesting inputs. I don’t know much but from your comments I think the program at Stanford (Joint Product Design… is very good. Also, check out the ID program @ Carnegie Mellon.

I couldn’t agree more with you about Prof. Karl Ulrich (I have read a book by him called Product Design and Development v3). But, I fail to understand why are there no graduates yet? (3 yrs is good enough to complete a masters degree! I think if you take a full time course you can complete it in one year…plz correct).

Also, I am a little confused with the tuition fees of the IPD program. According to me, if you complete it in 1yr, the tuition cost will be around $36,000. But, if you choose to do it part time (which I think is the current scenario with the students)…the tuition is $4776/course unit…please correct.

Are you aware of any biomedical engineer pursuing the IPD program? And, is there any research going on in the field of Medical Device Design? (I am actually confused between Upenn-IPD and CMU - Masters in Product Development…because IPD is very young).

Lastly, are there any financial aids available for this program (grants/assistanship)? Are on-camus jobs easily available? What are the living expenses/month @ Upenn? Comments from you would be very helpful. Thanks!


Actually Art Center doesn’t have an MFA for I.D. The graduate program is a Master of Science. And the bachelor is a Bachelor of Science as well. And it is anything but Art Centric. Actually most of the Grad. Student have a degree in engineering. Also one of the reason they are rated #1 by U.S news ( did you even read the article) is that Art Center is very much not an art centric school. Actually the methodology and requirement to make the list was to be cross discipline especially in business and thinking strategy. Which is why some schools which are highly rated by Design Intelligence, don’t make the Business week list.

Hello All,

Sorry I have been MIA, but I htough I would be getting emails if there were responses. I did not receive any so I thought no one was talking. Anyway, If you are looking to do ID then Penn and Stanford I would say are not the right program for you. I would look at schools that have ID degrees…cranbrook RISD…Penn and Stanford are not ID programs, but they do touch of some of the subjects since they are integrated programs.

In terms of the cost of Penn, it is by course, so the program is 10 credit multipled by the $4700 or so per course. They do have background courses you would need to show proficiency in, so you might need 11 or 12. It is to bad they offer no scholarships.

So as to date, I still have not decided. Most say to go to Stanford because it is a different experience, but then when I mention my family on the east coast and that I would like to move back to Philly at some point…they all switch back and then say maybe Penn is a good choice. It is tricky to tell because both programs are going through changes.

I will keep you posted, but I feel like I am an expert in the background behind both courses so ask questions if you have them.

Hi Toot,

So I’m in a similar situation as you between Stanford and Upenn. I’m sending out my application and wanted your feedback as to what you put into your portfolio since I’m a mechanical engineer and don’t have too much art related stuff to put in there. Upenn’s requirement is 15-25 images, which I was a little worried about. Also, which program did you choose and if you could give me some insight into them, that would be great. thanks. Please message me or email me. thanks!!!

Hi all,

I see this thread is almost 2 years old. Where did you guys end up going?