How Selective Is Pratt Grad Program?

I will talking to the admissions folks later this week, but I am curious… any students/alums out there with insight into how selective Pratt ID graduate school is. Particularly how selective with applicants who do not have a design undergrad. If anyone can explain what their portfolio was like that would be cool.

– Ian

Particularly how selective with applicants who do not have a design undergrad.

I don’t think its very selective, but you must show your passion for this field. Those who already have BFA or BID, I see them more advanced in the classrooms. There are now number of ppl who had BID and have some work experiences. They were much more advanced in prototypes and able to manage the busy work schedules.
Those who don’t have art backgrounds are still working hard to catch up. Those who didn’t have undergrad art degree, often studied in bio, bio-med, research, engineering, business, math and psychology all became great team players for discussions and design researches.
There are some people who were really new to any designs-but I saw you were taking some classes already, so you might be alright.

Personally, I saw really good student portfolios but they all had ID backgrounds. Mine was based on my drawings and paintings. My drawings were all simple ID-like renderings. I used markers, pastels and paints to render and scanned in Photoshop for graphic works. They were mostly lighting for children, furniture with description of how it can be made, styling of cars, bunch of shoe drawings on one page and some wearable stuffs. My paintings were conceptual-illustration like, often compared to those in medical illustration/ text book illustration with some stories in it as personal twists. All the paintings were painted with high gloss-super flat paints, so they all looked as if they were machine made.
I took slides -10 ID, 10 paintings with an essay.
I also hand it in to the admission personally because I heard the admin process could be slow.

Don’t expect other Pratt students to write in here… It seems like I might be the only slacker who spend time in online. However just like you now, this site gave me some insight and priceless information. :wink:

Thanks for the info, NPK.

I am facing a difficult decision. I was all ready to apply to Pratt for a second BFA. I have something like a 2.5 GPA from by previous degree and I felt like this would prevent me from getting into any grad program. I talked to one counseller and he was a little bit encouraging about applying for the MID so I am reconsidering grad school. I need to make a decision soon – if I want to do undergrad again I need to get my portfolio and application in by Feb 1. If I am going to go for the grad program I will continue to take various classes untill I am ready to apply for Fall 2006 (I am enrolled in Product Design in Parsons Continuing Ed program for Spring).

I’ve read all the stuff in past posts about Masters versus Bachellors for people without ID degrees and I’m not really interested in opening that discussion again. For me it is largely a practical matter. In order to get a BFA it would definitely take 4 years – the classes are on a track and there is no real way to double up. It is not so much the time frame, but the money that is a problem. If I go to grad I will spend a little over a year taking undergrad classes, which I have already begun and then at least 2 years in Grad school. The schedule will be much more condensed since I will not be taking any general ed requirements. I really believe that I will make it work one way or another. A lot of people on this board have commented that MIDs are not as strong in terms of skills. I’m not so worried about – I will learn that one way or another and my drawing skills are already getting better.

So… what I need to find out when I talk to the admissions people is if my undergrad record from 8 years ago will be that relevant or if they will look at my portfolio, my work experience and admit me based on that. I also plan to take the Product Design class that Pratt offers for continuing ed people. It is intended for those who are applying to the grad program. I just need to get my schedule arranged so that I can take it.

I have always believed inorder to get into master’s, you need at list 3.0 GPA-but it could be wrong because this is private art school that we are talking about. Taking BID sounds really good to me. If you will spend about 3 or more years, BID program will benefit you much more. I think that the reason many people say BID is better is because BID courses require lot of toolings and machine works to make prototypes. I have seen 1-2-3 shop processes from undergrads, and lot of students were great in prototyping and general making skills. However, I feel like MID students benefit in some points such as maturity to understand thier position in life and value of time and money-since many students earn money for themselves and their families. They also have benefit to put together ID with their previous studies: Psychology+Design, Craft+Design, Engineering+Design and etc.
If you had bad grades and may be you didn’t like your undergrad studies, I think it might be good to start over in BID. I believe many of general education can be waved since you had already studied them. If somehow, you really need to finish the study in 2 years, which I don’t recommend, it might be good idea to expand rendering, basic computer skills, book readings and general design knowledge right now. Start borrow all the ID books from Parsons, read em’ and take notes. Continuing Ed from Parsons’ will make you bit stronger -<I don’t recommend their cont ed Table top course though. A tall, long hair lady teachs it. She is a nice person, but most of time, you will just sit and listen to her talking and never making.> Good luck to you. I hope you get in.

The best way to demonstrate a passion for your design education is to include a research agenda in the application’s letter of intent/essay.

  • check out the design thesis here to see what you would be expected to produce to graduate…

Got into Pratt MID in 2001, and it wasn’t all that difficult, portfolio-wise. The program is unusual in that they are actively seeking a diverse range of backgrounds from the students, so if you have an undergrad degree and work experience in an unusual field, this may actually help you.

You will definitely want to work on drawing and making skills before you go, though, partly to help develop your portfolio, but also to build up your skills for your own development. If you’re relying on the MID program alone to teach you shop skills and hand rendering, you won’t have a competitive portfolio when you graduate.

Here’s what was in my portfolio (I had an engineering degree): several pencil, charcoal and pastel drawings from a course I took at SVA, a furniture model from a course I took at Parsons, a couple of bits of lighting I built at home for fun, a structure I built back in eng school, and a bunch of travel photography (no, really!). It worked.

I graduated from pratt’s undergrad id program in 2003. I’m currently at art center getting my second undergrad. Be wary of graduate id programs, most are only a source of income for the schools, and you definitely won’t develop the skill sets needed for professional work in the 2 years you’ll spend in the program, unless you already have a background in the industry. It will ultimately boil down to your work, nobody really cares that much if you have a 3.2 or a 3.7., or even a degree for that matter, provided you can perform. Pratt’s undergrad ID program is very strong, I only knew two or three grad students who could pull their weight during the duration of my time there. Call the department and ask to speak to lenny bacich with any questions, not deb johnson(chair).

Well, before we all start bashing the MID program, worth noting that much of this was already aired here:

The summary being that no, you won’t come out of a 2-year program knowing how to draw and model as well as if you came out of a 4-year program. On the other hand, an awful lot of grads with an MID and a Bachelors in something else (engineering, textiles, business, etc) do end up getting good jobs, though many have a title other than “Hot-shit Industrial Designer.”

I read that whole post and several other more, um… colorful posts on Pratt and grad vs. undergrad in the archive.

I actually just finished applying for the undergrad program. This was my original intention, but an admissions person was fairly aggressive about trying to talk me into applying to the grad program. In the end I went back to my original plan.

So what’s up with all the disgruntled Pratt students out there? Please tell me I’m not making a mistake… Actually it seems pretty clear that there has been a concerted effort to improve things. I felt pretty good about everything after my interview and tour.

I’m also applying to Parsons. I don’t know much at all about the program. There just isn’t as much info out there about it, but the faculty looks great on paper.

This is quite common, they want to fill those grad seats. Good for you for sticking to what you want to do.

Sounds like something to be wary of. Things that look good on paper often only look good there.

Pratt – MID especially – is in an unusual situation in that it’s almost a great school, but isn’t because of a few very dumb reasons. It does have some truly incredible designers on faculty, decent facilities, a strong legacy, some wonderful classes, proximity to an incredibly vibrant design, art, media and fashion community, and offers great opportunities for actually making things. It’s just very badly run…disorganized to a laughable degree. And this is very frustrating to students, who can clearly see what it could be like but isn’t.

Funny though, you’ll find much better evaluations of the program from those who’ve graduated from the program than from those who are in it. A friend and I once joked that it’s a better school to have gone to than to be in. I suspect this is because it takes a while after graduation to piece together the random assortment of skills you’ve learned, fill in the gaps, and realize that you actually know how to do some valuable things.

What it doesn’t do, though (and most good design schools do this) is take you systematically through a series of steps that will turn you into a good designer if you follow them dilligently. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: it is entirely possible to graduate with an MID and not be able to draw, and this sucks.

If you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to do, though, seek out the right classes and professors, take advantage of every opportunity that’s hidden there (and there are lots), then you can learn a hell of a lot. The level of inquiry and critical thought in the program is quite high, and in the end, this is probably more useful than being a blazingly hot pencil. It won’t, unfortunately, give you an astounding portfolio. Sad but true.

I personally am happy with the education I got.

Hitch – what happened to your website?

I managed to dig up your coroflot portfolio by accident. Very nice… the bumble seating is hot!


Thanks, though I haven’t updated the corefolio in quite a while, so the best of the seating isn’t up there. Website host had a hard drive crash – should be back up this afternoon.

what is your website or corefolio listing? I’m curious about your work


I attend parsons-

++ if you have any questions or need any assistance please just shoot me an email

Website is up again, here. Mostly school projects, unfortunately, since recent freelance work has been NDA to the hilt (except for the Bumbles).

This is quite common, they want to fill those grad seats.

True but not true.
Private Education is run by students’ tuitions, thus it is a huge business.
Almost like a corporation.
However, this semester, Pratt didn’t accept any new student for $$.
The school knew there are enough students and like to limit the numbers.

The corporation has its boss.
I think at Pratt, instructors are like salarymen who get paid by the big boss.
So they must be say things careful, or perhaps can’t say something they really want to say.
So, I want to say…since I am just a student who don’t care much.

Dear Big Boss,

Can we stop fixing the campus road? If you really want to fix it, fix the backside where parking lot is. The road is full of pot holes…Oh, my car.
Can you start fixing the bathrooms as soon as possible?
Can you not install the new windows, but spend that money to teachers. What is more important? The new windows or teachers?
When the teachers and administraves are happy with $$ bling bling, they will work hard to educate us, thus you will get more $$ in return.
Can we have air conditional system in gym? If we do, please turn it on. It’s so hot that I can’t run inside. You must visit there and run for yourself sometime. Health=Better Works=more money=returned funds and scholarships from the outter source.
The securities are so rude to students all the time, please educate them or change them to kinder, better people. Even a cash register lady is rude. You go ask the students. Its upsetting to go cafeteria looking at rude ppl.
Oh, I am sure everyone hates to go to registration office. Send a spy to check the guy who is so angry all the time… He hangs up the phonecalls.
Advertise for the department please…! Don’t expect New Pratt Kids to come into and advertise for free. Look at New School U and SVA. See why they became so successful in few years.
When everyone are happy, the school goes up. That simple.
If there are not enough money, don’t buy stuff for yourself. You are the boss.



Are you saying that the MID program didn’t accept new students this semester? Or the school in general?

About the rest of your post: Yikes. NPK, you were a good Pratt defender… are you converting to a Pratt hater… jus kidding.

When is Pratt going to get it’s act together. They have good history, reputation, and faculty. It’s sad that they can’t get the administrative stuff sorted out.

We have only one new student this semester, but he is from Europe by scholarship. Sort of Exchange student.
Thus we don’t see any new faces.

I still love Pratt. I decided to stay for one more semester. I want to go slower, and I think two years for most of people are bit fast to learn everything that we need. Start with getting internships while in school, building connections and real house jobs are important I think. It’s something that teachers can’t teach us. We must go out and do as we study. I have an internship interview coming… Hope I get one.
Admin. in Pratt is Don’t ask Don’t tell policy. It has been our tradition, I heard. Even an instructor who was a student here about twenty years ago had same problem. Maybe it’s just Brooklyn thing. They say “Chill Bro~” lol.

ok so, i am a senior in pratt’s wonderful industrial design program. there are alot of people that rank on pratt’s program because of a few lame professors. it is true that the administration at pratt is a bunch of b/s, especially within the industrial design department. last semester senior reviews almost didnt happen because of a lack of organization or just a lack of care…i dont know what it is. i have personally felt negatively about this school since i began my sophomore year (freshman year is amazing) however i feel as though, while a pain in the ass and frustrating as hell most of the time( be it poor facilitites, stupid or ignorant professors, bad security, impossible to register, two weeks to get a studio key…etc.) that pratt has in a way prepared you for the frustration that is reality. if you can do well in this school, and if you have the drive, and the vision, and you know who you want to be then you will be succesful in the end. To be honest there are days that i wake up and think about where my almost 30 grand in tuition goes to every year. but then you go to class, and although its unorganized you have a really amazing passionate professor, and you have a few really extraordinarily talented people amongst you. then you think your doing ok. give it a few years, or atleast until a certan few people have been retired and pratt id going to be amazing. i for one will teach there one day and i will keep the legend of pratt alive…pratt will be ok.