Masters or Undergrad?

Hey all.

I’m currently a junior Mechanical Engineering major, and will be graduating next year. I’ve been working as an industrial design intern at a local company for the past two years, and have decided that that is where my talents/desires lie. My question is whether I should pursue a Masters in ID, or go back for a second undergrad. Obviously, it’d be nice to have a Masters in my resume, but my thought is that the education I’d get as an undergrad would be more applicable.

I’m browsing for schools now, planning on visiting Cinci and GaTech sometime in August. I’m definitely looking for a school with an emphasis on the reality of product creation, not just on making pretty pictures. Does anyone have any experience going from ME to ID from a school perspective?


i’d reccommend art center-
Quite a few of the students there already have an undergraduate degree, and almost everyone I’ve met there who had one was in ME. SO you might fit in there pretty well

and besides, they have a great reputation!

Use the search feature, this has been asked a million times.

Also, thought they each have their own approach, every ID school is about a lot more than making just pretty pictures. Saying that is like saying I want an ME program to teach me more than just adding 2+2…

Yo- Your point is well taken about the emphasis of certain schools. Perhaps ‘pretty pictures’ wasn’t the right adjective. Schools, regardless of major, have native influences; and they emphasize different aspects of a given career/major, driven in large part by the faculty and by the personality of the school itself. My point was simply that I’m looking for a school that celebrates the aesthetic privilege and joy inherent in ID, but also celebrates the aspects that don’t get as much press. There is a fine line unique to this profession where what is created is, on one side of the line, strictly art, or on the other strictly functional. I see the mission of the classic designer as blurring that line- not just creating objects that make you think, or capture your attention, but creating products that capture your attention, and then do their function in a new or better way.

Now I’m off to the search function!

actually, your ME background is a fantastic base to build upon.
At the consultancy where I intern, I had to hear from one of the engineers on my second day while I was working in SW:

“What are you doing? You are not supposed to care about tolerances. You are the designer, they will probably be wrong anyway. Concern yourself with the function instead. Have a nice rendering of your idea by lunch time so that I can flesh out how it goes together.”

And he is probably right.

In your case, you CAN do all that since you already learned it.

I would actually suggest that you consider a rather conceptual and artistic school to really push your style and concept.
This means maybe rather RISD, Cranbrook or Parsons instead of Art Center, SCAD or DAAP.

But then again, school is always what you make of it!
Just know that you have a great advantage!!

Best of luck!

have you looked at a Masters of ID at Stanford?

It’s really prerequisite to have a ME degree to get into that program, though it doesn’t outright say that - it would take a designer at least a year to build up the engineering prerequesites to be accepted. It looks like the program is tailored around that previous experience too and builds a specialized ID experience from it. You might not end up an emotionally stylistic designer when you get out, but I guess it produces another kind of designer.

it’s another path you could take

i think academy of art university in san francisco will offer you the practicality you are looking for in ID. from what i have seen a lot of masters program in design tend to be more theoretical than practical, which is a benefit in it self, but i found that AAU offered classes in the curriculum that focused on building the skills you may have learned if you were to have an ID undergrad degree. its like an extension of the undergrad degree so to speak. I would look into something like that, if you feel a masters may be lacking as far as practicality in the field goes.