ID schools - grad vs. undergrad

hoping to get some advice here from ID students/professionals. I have an undergraduate degree in architecture, but have been working in communications for the past 5 years. i’m ready to get my brain working creatively again, and have decided to study ID (ideally product design, perhaps communication design).

i’ve been looking at schools, and it seems like the majority of graduate-level programs are designed for students with an ID background. since i don’t have one, i feel like i have two options:

a) a secondary undergraduate degree from a school like DAAP or arts center
b) an “interdisciplinary” graduate degree, from a school like IIT or the “designed objects” program at the art institute of chicago.

any insights onto which of these would be more valuable? i hear such good things about DAAP and loved their program/facilities, but question whether four years in school and a second bachelor’s degree makes sense when other options will get me through school, with an advanced degree, more quickly.

thanks much!

why arent you interested in architecture?

buildings are beautiful, but the working environment in architecture blows pretty hard. I’ve got a B.Arch and am looking to go back for graphic design… I’ve noticed that some programs offer a year of ‘post-grad’ that doesn’t lead to a degree but covers the basics. Maybe do one of those and then apply to a masters program?

rationalist hit the nail on the head - architecture seemed pretty thankless and less design-oriented than i’d have hoped. ID seems like it will be a bit more pragmatic and grounded.

Pragmatic and grounded are two things not often associated with ID graduate degrees, but I understand that it is difficult to get financial aid for a second undergrad.

thanks, yo - is this your subtle way of telling me that an undergrad is probably sufficient for a career in actual product design?

LOL: I guess it was a bit enigmatic.

My wife went to the art institute, based on her experience I would not recommend it. Self directed majors, no grades… from what I saw it seemed like the inmates might have been running the asylum.

I have no first hand knowledge of IIT (though I know some people on here do, and they seem to love it or hate it) but from what I gather it seems more research oriented.

It all boils down to what you goal is. If you want to be doing hands on design work at a major firm or corporation, I would say there is no better place than DAAP based on the folios I’ve seen in the past 24 months. Art Center and CCS are right behind.


My daughter attends DAAP as an undergrad. Don’t get me wrong, it is a terrific program for undergrad. The courses and coop are first-rate. It provides a really good combination of both the theoretical and practical side of design.

However, the graduate program seems to be a different thing altogether. They provide a MFA in general design, whatever that is.

Also, I don’t think that the grad students coop. I could be wrong, and you should check it out.

Frankly, I think you would be better off for grad school going to either Art Center or Pratt Institute.

Cincy (that’s DAAP, right?) is out for grad if you don’t have a BFA. I called them about my own situation, and they said that an architecture undergrad is not sufficient to meet the graduate entry requirements, that I should go into the undergrad program with advanced standing (probably junior transfer) instead. They sounded quite strict about it.

yeah, that sounds about right. DAAP (cincy) only offers grad programs if you already have an ID undergrad, so i’d be looking to either head back there for a secondary bachelor’s (hmmm…) or head elsewhere for something more advanced.

just don’t want to end up graduating from a master’s program to find i can’t get a job due to lack of background/basic level experience.

it sounds like youv’e reached a conclusion - and I’d agree that a DAAP Bachelors is the best possible way to enter the profession.

thanks much, everyone, for your insights.