Help me and your wildest fantasies will come true....

Ok, maybe they won’t. It was worth a shot…

So, here is my situation, or at least a good idea of it:

I am currently a student at the University of Victoria, BC. I did first year engineering there, but that just wasn’t my cup of tea. Too much math, no creativity. I needed something different. I remembered seeing a special on IDEO, and thinking that was the sort of thing I wanted to do. So now I’m kind of in limbo in my second year, just taking classes before I transfer, which brings me to the question: What school should I go to?

Ok, before you all go off and tell me to come to your school, I’ll put a few constraints on where I want to go. Ok, maybe a whole lot (doesn’t hurt to aim high):

I will probably need an english speaking school. I speak a little spanish (I’m half Mexican), understand it pretty well, but probably not well enough to warrant going to a Spanish-speaking school. I’ll have no problem with going to different countries, but I’m not sure how well I’d do in a school that wasn’t in my native language.

Ok, so after it (probably) being an english speaking school, I guess I should say what kind of school. Well, first off I’d like a school that has a lot more than just ID. I’m a musician, so a music program of some sort is a must. Second, freedom. Now I’m totally new to what “freedom” means in terms of design. I just know that engineering != freedom. I’m a bit of a rebel and have wanted to start some sort of open source design movement for a while now, so I guess a school that would not discourage me in that pursuit. Also, I’m not exactly made of money, and do not want to go to school only to spend the next 10 years paying it off (Ok, if the best school is really expensive, I can make exceptions).

And the last part : location. Now I am Canadian, and have a US green card (not sure if either make any difference). I guess the english speaking thing whittles the possibilities down a bit, so here I go: First off, I would like it if the school were close to or in a metropolitan city. Having lived in Victoria for a while, I have realized how much I want a city with a lot of life. Concerts, museums, etc are all important, so I would prefer it if I don’t live too far away from civilization.

And now for the nitpicky stuff (which you can ignore if you want): Having lived in the states for a while, I have realized that I’d prefer to steer clear of it if possible. I’m not a fan of the politics and don’t like the high tuition, so if possible, not there. Granted I know there are great schools there, and if the best school for me is there, I’ll go there. Don’t hesitate to mention US schools. Just saying I’m a bit weary of the US at the moment.

Ok, before I finish, I guess I should ask about getting in once/if I find the right school.

How well are my engineering credits going to transfer? I’m not exactly what you would call good at drawing (all my artistic talents were spent on music so far); do I have a chance provided I try my best to improve my drawing skills? How important is drawing vs ideas (I’m better at the ideas side of things)? And I guess any other advice you can give would be of great help.

I know that was a lot of stuff, and I applaud you if you actually took the time to read it all. Thank you in advance.

That leaves you with one answer - Emily Carr in Vancouver. End of story. Any other recommendations are just blowing smoke.


you are my hero pedro

Hey hang in there!

It is definetly hard to know what and where is right for you and i would be a little less picky on your choice. IF there is one thing I have learned in 3 years of ID, it’s that most things are different from what you expect.

That said, all those BS sounding words of advice along the lines of “You get what you put into your education” seem true, to me at least. So I would say that picking a school based on detailed factors isn’t to wise.

Pick somewhere that has a good reputation but also somewhere where you can be happy.

Now I am a little bias since I go to OCAD but I feel that it is changing and some will be the top ID school in canada(if it isn’t already) The teachers are what really make this school great, they are Canada’s best and really know what they are saying. Plus Toronto is a great city and the school has amazing facilities.

However the downside to the school is that they don’t teach all that is nessisary in today’s job market. They may claim that design is more creative than technical but it is impossible to succeed without a strong technical knowledge base. This may however work to your advantage since you know engineering.

So that is my call, but check it out and see! good Luck

I would check out Carleton, Humber, OCAD, and Emily Carr, if you haven’t already. I have a feeling that Carleton may suit your needs best, especially since your engineering credits have the biggest chance of transferring over there.

Thanks a lot for all the help so far guys. I know the constraints were really picky. Sorry bout that. I was just seeing if the “perfect school” did exists, or was there one at least close. I know the best education comes from “nose to grindstone university”, but I was just seeing what was available within those limits. You guys can ignore the US comment if you want.

I was just wondering about Emily Carr. As an arts school, would the focus be more on the artistic aspect of things and less in the engineering aspect? I’d like to make things look good, but I’d also like to have an idea as far as how they actually work rather just “ooooh, shiny”. And as far as Carleton goes: how does it rank on a world scale? Anyone go there? Also, and I know this is way out of my league, but how is Stanford’s program?

Also, what would be some good schools outside Canada? I’m sorry if I mislead you guys into thinking only Canada, but I’m game for any school that would accept me as an English speaker (ok, maybe spanish too). Ok, maybe not every school. You know, good school in a metropolitan city with a music program. Screw money for now. I’ll sell tupperware or something if I have to.


Well as I mentioned I attend OCAD and am currently studying in Amsterdam at the Rietveld Academy which is simular in format to OCAD. The program her is english and the school has a large internationl student base. The program is very opena nd creative based and that is what you will find with most schools unless it is a technical based program.

Oh and also finding a school with music and ID is almost impossible so i would give that a second look.

In canada however, ECIAD is a very art centric from what i know there projects are very “modest” to use a term. They are very furniture based and I feel are somewhat behind in current design practices. Carleton is very technical and engineering based. The majoristy of there thesis projects reflect this well. Humber is very much like carleton but have a more buissness and practical side. OCAD is based on Design as a process and thinking skills. You may not learn how to make the correct draft angles on a mold but the thinking process is very emphasized.

Hope this helps

I am currently finnishing my 4th year at ECIAD… Sadly they do not teach much software and only a few manufacturing classes are offered. You will end up spending more time outside of class learning things you should be getting in school. The programs seems to be a few steps behind in the design world in the since you will spend one semester polishing MDF instead of ideation and exploration

I hear Sweden has some great schools that are taught in English - perhaps someone with knowledge of them can elaborate.

Take all of this OCAD vs. Emily stuff with a grain of salt. Of course everyone is going to recommend the school that they are currently attending… I think a more honest assessment of the quality of your education can only come a few years after you have graduated and have had a chance to put your skills to the test.

It is true that traditionally Carleton is more engineering based and Emily Carr more liberal. This has a lot to do with how the departments are set up. At Carleton I believe the ID dept is in a large campus situated with/near the engineering dept. At ECI the ID department is in an art school with painting and sculpture. This obviously influences the general vibe.

This may change soon however as ECI is working on a new building with BCIT and UBC that will see a lot more crossover with engineering students.

If you end up in Canada any of the schools mentioned will be fine.

Music + ID isnt impossible, I’m a first year ID student at Carleton but the guy down the hall from me in residence is taking music, so I’m guessing we have a music program here. I was originally going for engineering instead of ID and Carletons facilities is what changed my mind. I wasnt too impressed with OCAD, too artsy for me (since electrical engineering was my original plan), first year ID here has calc, algebra, and two physics courses manditory as well as economics, not sure if you get that at OCAD (when I went for my interview there I was told the only academic course they offered was english, dont know if thats true). I also have a bias here spending a lot of time in Toronto as a kid and I really dont like that city, too big and dirty for my tastes (I’m a hick from up north okay?). Ottawa is great, big enough to have all the museums, theaters, etc. but still small enough to avoid a lot of the big city problems.

Of course the ridiculous number of bylaws in Ottawa is the pits, they have bylaws for everything.

Doing some research as to the things I want to do, I found what I’d like to do is Industrial Engineering and ID. Maybe as a double major, maybe as IE bachelors and an ID masters. The music is secondary. I need it available, but it’s not the selling point.

Anyone have some suggestions on which would be a better route, and what schools would offer such things? Thanks.

the obvious answer is Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Pasadena is right outside Los Angeles and it is the sweetest design school ever. Check it out.

industrial engineering? make sure you are researching the majors correctly. My understanding of IE has nothing to do DIRECTLY with product. So i dont see how IE and ID would relate closely where you could apply your knowledge of both simultaneously.

“Industrial engineering is also known as operations management, systems engineering, production engineering, manufacturing engineering or manufacturing systems engineering; a distinction that seems to depend on the viewpoint or motives of the user. Recruiters or educational establishments use the names to differentiate themselves from others. In healthcare, industrial engineers are more commonly known as management engineers, engineering management, or even health systems engineers.”

As for schools, I have heard very good things of UMEA in sweden, and TU Delft in holland. Central st martins, coventry, and RCA in england also have solid programs. no idea about the music programs.

way to bring a 3 year old thread back to life. Nice work guys.

HAHAHAHA. Oh, this is precious. How on earth did THIS thing get going again. Oh well, I might as well take advantage of it.

So I’m still messing around at UVic. Sad, I know. I’ve sent in my application to the University of Glasgow and the University of Brunel’s PDE programs. They were the only ones I could find…till I checked these forums and found out there were more. Bummer.

I’d like to hear from people who either have attended or attend either of these programs. Reputation helps, but it’s too often misleading. I really haven’t heard much about either, but that may have something to do with the pond between me and them. I hear Glasgow is a really nice city to live in, with lots to do. Other people say it’s rough. Haven’t heard to much about Brunel, except from one person on the bus who went there for chemistry.

Either way, my opinions about school haven’t changed too much since I posted here long ago. I still hate the way most schools are organized, with boring lectures, pointless assignments, and lots of requirements which are often of little use in the field. My sister goes to a school in New Mexico called St. John’s that has an education system that I like, but it’s a great books program, and I already know what I want to do. I want a school that’s more interested in making great designers and engineers than it is on graduating people with some form of a score.

I know this isn’t much use given I’ve only picked two schools, both of which probably fall into most of these problems, but I figured it would help, if only a little, in the comments. Feel free to ignore the rant. I get angry with school a lot. However, if you DO know of a design school that addresses these issues (I don’t care if it doesn’t include engineering), PLEASE tell me. Hmmm, maybe I should make a different thread for that…