Liberal Arts BA - Master's or undergrad transfer for ID?

I know similar topics have been posted here a million times. I think I have read every one back to y2k. Just looking for some fresh insight into my specific situation.

I have a BA from Brown U (in providence, so right next to RISD) in Architectural Studies (basically just “art history” with focus on arch). I just graduated this year. I was originally planning to put a portfolio together for an MArch program, so I am taking an Intro to Prod and Trans class at Art Center and a woodworking class in furniture at Otis (in Los Angeles) to diversify my portfolio. I also took an ID class at RISD my senior year, Drawing for Design. It was awesome.

I have come to the realization that what I have really wanted to do all along is get into product design, so now I am shifting focus. Some questions arise. Specifically, with my OK portfolio (some arch design and drafting, some fine arts figure drawing and painting, some ID sketching, soon to incorporate what I produce in my Art Center and Otis classes) I do not think I am quite up to speed for a Master’s in ID, I am just not sure I have the requisite education or work experience.

So I am leaning towards applying as an undergrad transfer, thinking of Art Center, RISD, Pratt, UC, and Carnegie Mellon. I probably wouldnt pass out of any studio classes, but I would be able to skip most Liberal Arts classes. My thinking was that this would allow me to maybe do freelance or part-time internship work on the side, or at least give me a lighter workload.

So will I be judged by employers for taking this path? Would it be seen as the easy way out, since I already have a Bachelors? My main concern about a Masters program is that I will miss out on the fundamentals that are provided in these schools at the undergrad level. I want to thoroughly understand the design process, from concept to sketches to modeling and so forth. I’m not yet interested in the lofty concepts or in-depth research that would very likely be over my head in a Masters program.



I had a previous bachelors in a not really related field to ID.
What I did was to start my second bachelors in Product Design and then when my portfolio was strong enough, I transferred out of the bachelors into masters program. So I never earned a second bachelors but am right now earning my Masters at a far better school in similar time.

I would not worry about the employer and what he might think. What matters to them is your work, your process. How you got there is really not important. Do whatever works for you. I do not see any reason why any employer would look down on you because you chose a bachelor.
Depending on where you want to study, be prepared on a very low maturity level. I found that most challenging and very happy with my masters course now.

Thanks, thats some good advice. I hadn’t thought about that path but it is good to know there are other options out there.

I do have concerns about the maturity level of an undergrad program, or whether I might feel out of place as someone who has already done the undergrad thing. From the one ID class i took at RISD, I remember there was definitely a range, but most of the students seemed pretty serious and passionate about ID.

Are there any undergrad programs in particular that you think have a younger/ less mature student body? ACCD seems like it has a bit of an older group, RISD seemed to have some older students as well, but I dont know much about pratt, UC, or CM.

Hey MGroth, this is Jason,we had class together with Neumann. Fancy seeing you here :slight_smile: I have been attempting to find my way post graduation as well. I found that an MArch was not for me, but have been in heavy contact with RISD lately, as well as working professionals, trying to figure out if the design field is the right channel for me.

So far I’ve been looking at RISD’s Master in Interior Architecture, which is a blend of interior design and some light architectural work with walls and such, but does not lead to any sort of architectural license. I found that I am very interested in new lighting technology and how it can be applied and thought lighting might be my niche, and the MIA might be a good route despite the incredible expense (risd finaid < brown finaid). I did get the feeling that I had a good chance of admittance with the Brown connection, the person reviewing the files is a friend of Neumann’s lol.

More recently however I’ve been second guessing this notion. I would like something more entrepreneurial in nature and I have always been a tech nerd, so my most recent thoughts have been on trying to see if there is a link between ID, architecture, and entrepreneurship. Even if I may not be able to see it now, I’m attempting to figure out whether the MID at RISD would even be a good option. I can tell you that the program has changed a bit from what they posted online. Since those without experience would be dragging butt without experience the program is now 2.5 years for people without experience. You would apply in January and begin courses the following January (or whenever they start mid-year), which kinda sucks for me.

it seems like you have a pretty good clue as to what you want to do. and yes the portfolio is everything. one option not mentioned is to train yourself - take the notion of freelancing, with doing competitions, and filling in coursework like human factors and manufacturing methods part time. in 3/four years you could be farther ahead than getting a second bachelors.

its not for everyone - you have to be very motivated and organized, but it’s been done.

I feel for the above concerns; I have many of the same myself. I am pursuing Industrial design. I graduated five years ago with a BA in anthropology. I have been working as a carpenter since a teen and since my graduation. The last few years I have become much more of a craftsmen, spending a lot of time in the workshop and creating custom pieces of furniture and products for interior designers. I want to take this to the next level though. Industrial design. More material usage and a better understanding of how to create products outside of carpentry.
I do not want to lose out on any pertinent education if I pursue a master’s in ID. Academy of Art’s will accept me into the master’s program, but I do not want to be behind the bar starting off in this program. Is there anyone out there who has faced this dilemma and is working in the profession of industrial design. Will any lib. arts credits be accepted by different Industrial design programs/schools? Is an internship feasible before I continue my education? Should i take CAD/CAID classes, engineering courses, drawing/sketching classes before I apply. I would appreciate any feedback especially after this lengthy post.

You should be able to negotiate most of your liberal arts credits. As said, the important thing is your ability to get into a design position and be productive (skills), have enough understanding of the history and impact of design on culture to be able to operate with integrity (knowledge), and to be open to continued learning in the work place, be flexible, and demonstrate the ability to grow into and beyond that first ID job… how you get those things is really irrelevant as a bachelors doesn’t pay different from a masters… for that matter, I know a super talented designer that dropped out of school half way through his third year and went on to work for globally renowned firms.