less than 4 year program?

so here’s my deal, if anyone could point me in the right direction that would be great.

i applied to pratt’s grad school for the fall and didn’t get in. (i have no design background, but figured i’d try…made a portfolio of some of my work etc.)

anyway… i would like to change careers to industrial design, but does this mean i’m going to have to go to an undergrad program for 4 years?!

does anyone know of a less than 4 year program something that’s for career changers… something in between a masters and a bachelors?

any advice would be great.


The Institute of Design has an “executive masters” degree, the MDM: http://www.id.iit.edu/312/

Does this make you an Industrial Designer? Absolutely not, but its a good school and could help you get a design job.
What are you changing from?

well, I have a previous bachelors in the Culinary Arts/Restaurant Management and Sommelier.
In my senior year there I realized I wanted to combine my passion for the culinary world with design.

So what I did, was to apply to an undergrad in Product Design to learn the basics.
This spring, I dropped out as a Junior and am starting a Masters in Industrial design in the fall.

But honestly, if you have a previous degree, you might not even need a degree in Design.
Who is really concerned about the degree if the work is good?
I was considering working instead of going for the masters because I had a few job offers but since the masters program in Sweden is free and hard to get into, I took it. it’s a great chance to start my own business.
Every time I was offered a job in Design though, nobody was interested in the degree but rather in the skill level.
The skills have to come from somewhere and a basic design undergrad will teach you.

I would actually not recommend going for a maters in design without prior knowledge or training in the field. It will only hold you and the masters group back and you will have to play catch up.
Instead I would recommend to go for the undergrad, pick up the skills quickly, get the good jobs on campus (like being 3D printing tech), befriend teachers and grad students, enter lots of comps and then, when ready, drop out and go for a job or apply for a masters if you really need a degree.

Dropping out is not a failure. Sometimes it doesn’t make any sense to stay.

Go for undergrad. There are no shortcuts. You will learn everything in undergrad. For example, at Art Center, the grad program is usually for people who have an undergrad in something else but are too… arrogant/proud to retake an undergrad. As a result, the program’s a load of bull compared the the UG (source: Art Center professor). I recommend you take an undergrad degree, and if you really work hard enough, you may get a job offer before you even graduate. It’s possible to complete Art Center’s undergrad in 3 years (8 terms in a row, no breaks). But what’s your reasoning for wanting less than 4 years? Why would you want less experience; less knowledge?

Regarding the “career changers” program. What makes you different from someone who’s getting their first degree? Both of you have no background in design (actually the other one may have more than you), you may be older, and may have more life experience, but in terms of design education, you are at the same level. Why should you get a special, shorter, course when the bachelor’s program can fulfill the purpose?

Not trying to be hostile, but I recognize people have an ego problem when it comes to changing careers and taking another bachelors: you just don’t learn the same thing in a masters program. Masters programs are for MASTERS, hence the name.

Apologies if I was a bit harsh, but that’s my POV. Go apply for an undergrad program. You learn more. Don’t let your ego/impatience ruin your career/waste your time with a program that’s you wont learn anything from.

I think you are completely out of line and have no understanding of what a grad. program is vs undergrad, your comment shows immaturity at best and your very young age … You are not even in either programs and have no experience at ACCD except taking a couple of classes at the Art Center at Night which isn’t even in the main ACCD campus.
when you spend that much money for a program, pride and ego have very little to do with it, you want to do the best move for your career and when you present your portfolio for acceptance, your “EGO” doesn’t play any role, your are either accepted or not… I also know the instructor that likes to speak poorly about the grad. program( and from time to time the undergrad program as well ) , which in my opinion is more about venting his own frustrations rather than an objective look on the grad. program which he actually know nothing about and which has proved to be a very successful program… Also this particular instructor isn’t even in the ACCD faculty, he doesn’t teach any undergrad or grad classes, only art center at night… and high school students. So it’s not fair to act as if there were an academic consensus from all ACCD faculty, which is quite the opposite. Not to mention that the grad. ID program at art center is rated number one in the country. I really don’t understand why you would bad mouth a school which you are not even part of? Or act as if you know anything about the ACCD grad program ( or undergrad for that matter…), which you do not. Spreading rumors that are not true is not only wrong but can tarnish your reputation… And taking a couple of night classes in the ACCD public program doesn’t make you an expert… I find it ironic that every-time I read a similar comment they always involve someone that actually isn’t an ACCD student…

As for the question asked, First of all a grad. program isn’t a shorten" undergrad program. The primary focus is on critical thinking not " how to"/“hands on”, the aim and goals are very different. The maturity level is very different too, between undergrad and grad, which really should play a role in choosing an undergrad vs grad program (assuming you would qualify for the grad program). Undergrads are “young adult” usually in their twenties, they don’t have much life nor professional experience. They think in term of pure design, rather than limitations such as clients, budgets, legal issues/limitations, team management, resources, etc… Choosing one program vs the other shouldn’t because a grad program is shorter.It is the wrong approach. Most grad. students at Art Center for instance are engineers, architects etc… that want to apply their skills to I.D. most have a lot of working/technical/managerial and leadership experience and can contribute something substantial to I.D. But they most likely already have the sketching and fabrication skills needed for I.D. If you don’t have any experience with either, an undergrad program is most likely needed.

In my experience with people looking to go into a grad ID program, this is pretty rare. It seems that many that go to undergrad in ID have no training or experience in a creative field, for example an accountant wanting to get into ID. In this case, I do think undergrad would be the best option. There are no core skills to build upon. To me, it would seem like skipping pre-med. It can be tempting to see a 2 year grad program as a shortcut, but as stated, it isn’t. A good grad program should build on core skills + professional experience, as it sounds like the ACCD one does.

My question has always been is a masters level degree in Industrial Design necessary? What is the function of it? Where do most of the graduates from the ACCD program land in terms of employment?

I could see a masters degree in design, applied creativity, or something similar for designers, architects and so on. This would focus on managing clients, pushing clients to do great design in a way in which projects still move forward, managing and building cross disciplinary creative teams, budgeting, billing, quoting + extensive design history starting with the first fabricated goods (pre-history bone and wood tools), design philosophy, some light anthropology…

Master’s degree is often for people who want to combine two or more disciplines within their career. For instance for an engineer it makes quite a lot of sense to do a master’s in I.D. Same with an architect… But it could be less obvious disciplines such as a Medical Doctor that want to develop products or new solutions for the medical field. When I was interviewing at RISD they had a journalist that wanted to write exclusively on I.D. If you compare the curriculum of the I.D undergrad and Grad, it is quite different, and the focus, at least at ACCD seem to be different as well. A lot of the focus in undergrad is craftsmanship and creative thinking. It is stiff very focus on product design and trans. The focus on Grad, is critical thinking, leadership and the expansion of I.D in today’s world. For instance designing new systems, such as traffic in a city, urban development, materials, etc… An Industrial Designer could benefit from a masters by doing research in an area he or she doesn’t have any experience in. Let’s not forget that a lot of what a master is, is pure research… And the success of the program largely depends on how much you are willing to put in. My research thesis, without giving away too many details will be on a material that can achieve different positive environmental solutions during it’s entire life cycle, from the row material, to a finish product, to “it” being recycled and re-use indefinitely… The property of this particular material would be similar to carbon fiber. A Master’s give me a couple of years to research my project as well as to create a possible assortment of products that could benefit from such a technology. As far as jobs ACCD masters usually leads to leadership positions or people that want to create their own company.

One thing to keep n mind is that every master’s program is very different from one school to another, as well as the kind of Master’s you get. Most are MFA, some such as RISD are master’s of I.D. ACCD’s is a Master’s of science and the longest program since it’s a 3 years program which you can do in two if you don’t take summer’s off… All other schools are 2 years. I heard that RISD is adding one term making it 2 1/2 years.

And last, two, ( three really) of my favorite designers Charles and Ray Eames and Florence Knoll studied industrial design under a Master’s program. Their undergrad studies were in architecture. Actually there is a great number of well known product/industrial designers who gravitated to I.D by doing their masters in I.D.

That 2.5 year program at RISD does exist. I’m going to be the first class to undergo this new program. They created it because they found that people who were entering the grad program who had no prior formal design training found themselves lagging behind the others who did. They spent most of their time trying to catch up to the same level as the other students who had former ID training.

What they’re now offering is a choice between a 2.5 year program or a 2 year program. Both are from the same pool of 10 or so grad students but half of them can take the 2.5 year path. Half start in January and meet up with the rest of the class in the Fall when the 2 year program normally begins.

I chose to take the longer path because my undergrad was not in ID. I do have a design background, but the design program at UT Austin has a broad design curriculum covering a little bit of everything. Most graduates from the program end up working as graphic designers.

Graduate school seemed like my best option if I had any hopes of becoming an industrial designer. I am hoping that this extra semester at RISD will help me catch up with the rest of my peers and allow me to be at the same level rather than being one step behind. I don’t have a specific focus as of yet, but that is one of the reasons why I chose to go to grad school, to expose myself to all avenues of ID. (and also to avoid this economy and the job market for a while)