Masters in Design Research w/o ID undergrad?

Hey everyone,

I’ve been skimming through the forums here to see if this has been asked to no avail. I’m a 34 year old career switcher. I’ve been in investment management/finance for the last 13 years and I want out. It’s never fit my personality and even though I’m decent at it, it doesn’t scratch my itch to do something meaningful with my life. Blah blah blah. :slight_smile:

I did most of that with a high school diploma. I finished an undergrad in STEM/Management at Arizona State University this past August. The program was through the engineering school and it included multiple classes in product design/ux design/psychology and entrepreneurship related to it. It was a blast and it really helped me bring my future plans into focus. I’m currently in the middle of a MSc in Biomimicry through Arizona State and I’m considering my next step. The Biomimicry degree has a huge component related to design/engineering.

I’ve been looking into design research programs. Does my background mesh ok with that? I have several design projects from my undergrad and this graduate program to start my portfolio with and I have a lot of traditional contemporary art in my background as well (mostly digital mixed media and constructed 3D art). Would I be able to find a job without a undergrad in ID? Design Research seems cool but I can’t find a ton of info on it (as I’m realizing it is a very broad field) or the preferred backgrounds.

Thanks for putting up with my lack of knowledge. I have been researching this to death but I figured I would ask the experts while I go blind reading a zillion articles.

There’s a similar post going on right now + there have been a few regarding Masters without a BS/BA.
What is a Design Research program and where do you expect to work with that? Seems too specific.

  1. Do some research on Coroflot, Monster, Indeed for the type of work you want to do and see what they require. Not many firms look for just design researchers or for Master degrees.
  2. Browse through some of the Coroflot portfolios and see how your work compares to theirs. ID is not art or Engineering.

It all comes down to your portfolio.
-There are people that go through the 4 year process and don’t work in ID because of they never developed their skills enough.
-There are high schools students that learned early enough about ID and have been sketching on their own to the point that they could get an internship based on their sketching skills alone.
-You will be competing with people that had 2-4 years of ID education working and learning from another 20+ students and learning from 8+ teachers, mentors and lecturers. You will also be competing with recent grads with 1-4 years experience.
-You could probably get an ID job with a Masters in ID and your background but the odds are not as favorable. It will depend on your portfolio at the end.

I think design research is a little different than industrial design in terms of background requirements. A lot of people in design research have non traditional and carried backgrounds. I recommend proving through linked in and finding a few design researchers and asking if you can have a phone call or email exchange with them. Even better, find someone local and take them to coffee.

The design researchers I’ve worked with have had backgrounds as traditional designers, some were cultural anthropologists, or came from the tech side. The most important things I’ve found were to be naturally curious about human behavior, follow constant process, have an objective mind set, and collaborate with other disciplines to craft and mine insights.