Humber College Vs. Carleton University


I’m a grade 12 student in Toronto and interested in pursuing ID.

Humber vs. Carleton, what do you think?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of both?

Is their an affect on future possibilities based on the fact the Humber is a college compared to Carleton which is a university?

Appreciate any piece of information and advice.


hope i can offer some (abeit biased help).

I went to Carleton University School of Industrial Design (grad with coop program 2001).

In my opinion, Carleton has by far the best ID program in Canada, and is well recognized internationally (although perhaps not as much as some of the top US programs, given the relatively small number of grads coming out of the school).

The program is a well balanced program, somewhat more practical/engineering focused than many other ID school that take a more “art” approach to ID. Required courses (at least when I was there) included mass production technology, engineering statics, physics, calculus, marketing, psychology, etc. in addition to the usual ID studio and theory courses.

As a result, most of the grads from Carleton seem to be well prepared to get involved with real ID work, coming from a good experience of practical design experience and understanding of user, consumer, market and manufacturing issues.

The only down-side i can offer of the program, (although I believe this is changing in recent years), is that being so practically focused, there isnt as much focus on skills (ie. sketching/rending) and concept development as in some other schools.

From what ive seen at a few humber ID shows, the program can offer some good education, but seems to be lacking in real-world knowledge of things like manufacturing, business, engineering, etc., instead offering a more basic and skills focused education. if someone here has more direct knowledge of the program, please feel free to correct me. at the same time, however, i should note that good work can/does still come out of humber, as ive seen a few humber grads move into good positions in various companies/consultancies.

i dont think the college/university thing is as much of an issue as what/how you’ll learn and your experience/portfolio coming out the program.

as a suggestion to help better evaluate, i’d suggest you check out some coroflot portfolios from students/grads from both programs to be able to better evaluate the skills/work produced by both schools.


why not ocad? seems to be the better of toronto schools.

carlton is great, (and i concur, the best school in canada) - although i do agree that some students may find it’s pragmatic nature restraining. less emphasis is placed on aesthtics and styling, with more foucs on usability, manufaturing, and real-world problem solving…

This is untrue, I agree that Humber doesn’t teach the business side of design or at least didn’t when I was there. But Humber is known for its manufacturing based design education.

In defense of my school (I attend Humber College for Industrial Design) there is alot that has been left unsaid. As it stands, it’s the only ID course offered in college but with a University level degree which, of course, puts it on par credential-wise with our dear friends at Carleton. Also, within the degree there are actually two specializations. A student can either continue their 3rd and 4th years in product design, or begin an Automotive Design specialization as I have. Finally, we get to the practical aspect. We study not only the fundamentals of manufacturing and the materials used, but we ALSO study the professional aspects like business law and how to collaborate in a design environment with people of different disciplines such as psychologists, ergonomists etc… As for job opportunities, we’re essentially unlimited in that regard, especially with the opportunity granted by a paid work-term BETWEEN semesters 6 and 7 (The summer between 3rd and 4th years). Hopefully this has given a little perspective on the actual depth of our program at Humber given the fact that our Degree program is relatively new but already making a name for itself (Especially at this years Canadian International Autoshow)


i had a great experience at humber. the benefit of getting a degree and studying the “why” was a great combination with the college atmosphere of learning the “how”. the professors really cared and that made a difference. most of the industrial design in canada is in toronto, and going to school in toronto was a huge benefit. finally i had an awesome co-op, i spent a summer in vancouver and enjoyed every minute of it.

hope this helps!