Mass Art

Hi, I’m an ID sophmore at Mass Art. When I applied to schools in highschool I relyied a lot on my art department for school suggestions instead of researching ID programs. I a result I applied to RISD, Syracuse, and MassArt. I got accepted to all three and had my heart set on RISD but after visiting the campus and dealing with financial aid, I wanted nothing to do with the school.

My question is, how respectable is a degree from MassArt in comparison to say the likes of Pratt or RISD?

I’d like to think it matters mostly on raw talent rather then what school you graduate from but after reading through the forums I’m starting to think otherwise.

I suppose basically I’m asking whether I should stay at MassArt (which I’m fairly happy with the ID department) or whether it would be in my benefit to transfer.

Where did you grow up? Sounds like the same town I did- and I graduated highschool 25 years ago ;D

I didn’t go to Syracuse because my dad said he didn’t feel the school was worth all the money that were asking. (Hard to argue when your dad was a college prof in the area.)

For some reason my application to RISD was postmarked 1 day after the deadline so they didn’t even open my application… just sent it back.

Got into BU, MassArt and U Mass Amherst.

Went to Amherst. They gave me so much aid I think I only took out a$250 national direct loan- that’s it. I transfered after my first 2 years.

yeah, syracuse was very expensive for what seemed like a rather unimpressive program.

They gave me a large chunk of money to go there, but even with a 5 digit scholarship, mass art was still cheaper.

Mass Art is the only public art school in the country. If you are a state resident its the best deal going for a quality art school.

from someone who went through the RISD thing…

i cant speak for everyone because every experience is REALLY different, but for me it was the most enlightening and profound educational experiences of my life. If you see a school as a system of departments waiting to serve your every need than of course you would feel put off by RISD. it is a do it yourself kinda school. you have to consider what you want to get out of it and make your own paths. along the way you make your own friends of the faculty. a lot of people think your professors have to be nice to you - but just cause your paying them to give you criticism doesnt mean they need to take your arrogance. RISD is a kick ass school full of the most kick ass people out there. i rarely meet people who are in awe of their classmates except when im around fellow grads. it is humbling and uplifting at the same time as competitive and excessively challenging. Freshman year is unlike anything else and it is unfortunate that transfers dont get to experience it. in summation, give RISD another look, talk to the students… and if they dont say much its just cause they STILL havent slept.


MassArt is okay in terms of reputation, and you can’t beat the price. It’s also in a great location for internships and other professional contacts. If you’re happy there, maybe you should stay since, at a new school, you’d be starting from scratch in terms of contacts and networking. On the other hand, you could apply to other schools just to test the waters. Visit other schools, talk to the faculty and students, and get a better sense of how your experience would be elsewhere. Then, based on that and where you get in, you can always decide to stay or go. You don’t lose anything by applying, and putting together a portfolio for that is actually good for you in general, since you’ll need it for internships soon anyway.

Hey all;

As a design professional living in the Boston area, and working in Providence, I would like to offer the following opinion;

Where you get the degree isn’t everything.

I would say that it is 66% the individual, and 34% the institution. Ultimately, it’s what you are willing to put into the program that will give you the results you want. If you want to be a great designer, work very hard to become one, and embrace all that is offered to you and all that you can make happen by digging, challenging and making opportunities for yourself.

The 34% of the equation does go a long way. If your institution has programs to really challenge you, make you think and work hard, and give you the exposure to the tools to excel (drawing, thinking, construction theory, etc.) then it’s going to work for you.

I’ve seen some of the most talented people come out of po-dunk design schools (nor not even graduate) and I’ve seen some incredible vacuums of talent come out of the best schools (Art Center, RISD, CMU, ASU, Cal State, etc.)

In summation; make your college design experience happen - don’t expect to go to a prodigious school and come out a winner.

If your work is good, people will notice. A good problem solver / graphic designer can and will flourish at whatever school they go to. What gets you the job is a solid portfolio, communication skills, and a positive, self-starter attitude. What you get our of your education is what you put into it. It’s not about what school you went to but the real world experience you have on your resume - internships, actual professional experience.

I am currently working in a small company where one of its designer is only 23 yrs old, and she graduated from Mass Art.
Actually we talked about art schools today over the break.
She showed me her personal art works as well as group of her friends’ who went to Mass Art. And … I was amazed how talented these young people were.
She also told the story that the school offered very good portfolio class where all the teachers really put their hearts on every individual students’ works.
I was impressed by the story because 6+ yrs of art school experience in NYC, you have no idea how teachers are so cold and don’t care about their students.

I think the school that has good faculties are good place. Imagine, each one of them care about their students as their own children. How cool is that? You will learn very valuable things from teachers who teach with passion.

1 more thing

School is getting more exspensive every year. This is making the state schools (like MAss Art) very competitive. It doesn’t surprize me that they have some of the top students.

I too seriously considered transfering from my school halfway through. I decided to stick it out, and make sure I took what I needed to transition to the professional world (part of which was an exchange symester)

…In your case, you like the program, but are worried about the rep… don’t worry about it. If you are learning, building your skill set, and doing great work, you’ll be fine.

Hi, I would like to heartily second everything “ID Professional” mentioned.

I’m a RISD grad myself (great experience, no gripes but lots of loan$), but have many faculty/friends at MassArt, and think it’s a terrific school - competitive, with a high educational standard and an excellent location. And what a great deal! If you feel you’re getting a good education then my advice by all means is to stay.


Stay at MassArt. You may lose credits transfering elsewhere and waste time and money. Take a semester (or two) off and do an internship(s).
Always think of the end game, the PORTFOLIO. When I look at resumes, I may be impressed by an Art Center, but it’s the work and presentation that I’m interested in. Look at the portfolios on Core77 and who you are competing with for jobs when you graduate, that’s a good focus point. Talk to your teachers, but especially working professionals outside your school about what they’re looking for in new talent. Go to the merit awards for your district and see what everyone else is doing. When I was in school, I kept myself in my own little school world until the beginning of the second semester of my junior year. I though I was the shit until I got a reality check during an internship at a firm where some really talented men and women were doing it for real.

First portfolio - got you into school, nice job, now send it home to your mom. If I see high school work in an internship or junior designer portfolio, I throw it right in the garbage.

Second portfolio - freshman and sophomore year - This portfolio should show your developing skills and thought processes. The focus of this portfoilio is to get your internships (yes, more than one internship). Don’t go for polished work. You can keep it rough, but well organized. Show off your Illustrator and Photoshop skills in the way you present your portfolio.
I’ve been most impressed by student’s work when their Illustrator and Photoshop work is invisible to me, and I think I’m looking at a professional’s work and not disjointed pages of filter exercises. As an intern, you’re supporting my team, and I want to see some marketable skills. The less I have to teach you, the better projects with real substance I can give you. Start getting your 3D CAD time in. Learn how to make simple, clean surfaces. When you’re on your internship, keep up with the 3D CAD and pick up pointers. You may need to do this on your own time.

Third portfolio - This is the six-shooter used to get your first job. I may be looking at some progressive devlopment, but I’m most interested in the story you’re telling me. WHAT is the problem and HOW are you solving it.
And please be prepared! Make your professors aware of the hot portfolios out there and ask them how to make yours better. I always thought some classtime spent critiquing (sp?) portfolios off the web would be useful.

I know I went off topic here and left out a lot of pertinent information, but where you went to school is irrelevant. MassArt has descent teachers (who probably went to Art Center, and Cincy, etc…) and MassArt has a descent rep, but get out there and do your internships. I think that’s where you’ll get the best perspective of what employers are looking for. Then again, I may be full of s**t. Stop reading this and start sketching maggot!

I agree with everything you have said, but the “bigger” named schools (Art Center, CCS, CMU, Cincy,…) tend to have more in-school collaboratives with big name clients than other schools.

You could always go across the street to Wentworth

sorry to bring back an old post, but I figured I’d reply.

As this semester is wrapping up, I feel alot more confident in my school.

I know for a fact that the facilities at MassArt are lacking in comparison to some of the big name schools, however, I feel like the teaching would be tough to beat. After seeing Pratts work, and some other schools work at IDSA, I felt pretty confident that it was indeed the PERSON more then the school.

Thus far I’m very impressed with the Professors and with Prof. Read now coming over from Syracuse, I think the department going to become well rounded.

as for wentworth, I didn’t know they had a program until I saw the merit presentation. I’d be curious to see what their pumping out.

Thanks for following up - glad it’s working out for you!


not so fast there… please dont forget that the University of Cincinnati, college of DAAP is a public school.

is cincinnati strictly for the arts though?

if not, he was simply saying its the only public college strictly for the arts. I know at one point it was, but I’m not positive that thats true anymore.

Massachusetts College of Art is the only public school in the US devoted solely to art and design. Plenty of public universities have art/design departments or schools within them, but that’s quite different.