MID without a Bachelors in Design

Hello. I need some advice. I am an economics major in a University outside US. I am passionate and driven about Design, however I have no formal training in design. I have no “FORMAL” training in Photoshop or Illustrator or CAD or any of that, but I can do a bit. Though whatever I have learnt, I have learnt on my own, from books and the internet. But the point is that I love designing. Forget the world, I wanna design my own Air Max someday.

Now I have a feeling I can make a portfolio on my own and with a little help from here and there. Althought my university has no program in Industrial Design or Graphic Design. I plan to learn from books and tutorials about how to make a professional Portfolio.

My Question is, is it reasonable to get an MID or is doing another undegrad degree in Design? Frankly I dont want to spend another 4 years studying, I want to get into the workforce as soon as I can, because that’s where its at. Plus I don’t have much money to do a four year thing. Can I do that with an MID?

So could anyone shed some light, if its worth doing MID without any prior formal experience. Erm, another thing… I was looking at different schools, and schools like Pratt and Univerity of Illonis and CCA offer MID without any prior experience in Design. To Quote Pratt addmision site:

" Applicants may present a bachelor’s degree in the fields of art, liberal arts, business, engineering, or other disciplines including the professional design fields. However, applicants with deficiencies in their design preparation may be required to make up courses on the undergraduate level. A portfolio of twelve to fifteen slides is required of all applicants. A portfolio may be reviewed during a personal interview with the department chairperson. Students requesting this option should contact the chair of their department. Applications will be considered after the January 1st deadline if the programs are not filled."

Thanks a lot for anyone reading this and taking time out to reply to me :slight_smile:

You might also want to check out the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s program in Designed Objects, which is basically an industrial design program that is a little more open to alternative methods and outcomes. (saic.edu)

In academic lingo what you are looking for is a “first” professional masters degree rather than a “second” professional masters degree program that insists upon an undergrad in that discipline.

I teach at SAIC and was also in your shoes 16 years ago with a degree in mechanical engineering. Advice that was given to me and that I feel obliged to pass on is do not look into 4 year undergrad programs if there are other grad options out there. Undoubtedly you are more mature than the typical 17-18 year old and do not want to take a less efficient 4-year course.

My experience is that more mature ‘first professional degree’ students are incredibly motivated and focused–much more so than the majority of undergrads. This allows them to progress quickly. That said, it is not easy (and most would claim, impossible) to pick up all of the skills in 2 (2+) years that you would in 4 years. Some schools like RISD (and others likely do too) require more than 2 years, depending on your skills.

This is an issue near and dear to my heart, so feel free to contact me further.


I’m not sure what type of design you want to do, but the average freshman age at Art Center is much higher than your typical undergrad program. It is also very intense and focused. I have an intern working on my team right now from Art Center, he is 34 and kicking some serious ass. Gabe’s first degree was in international banking, so a similar situation to yourself. I’m not sure if he would have the skills he has now if he went straight to a grad program.

Are you saying the 34-year-old is a freshman, or a first-year grad student?

i’m currently in the MID program at Pratt. I’ve completed 2 years, and will finish up in one more semester.

My background was in mechanical engineering, so I came in with very little knowledge about the design field. i would highly recommend Pratt’s program to you, because it is set up for students with non-design backgrounds. 90% of my class of 27 did not study ID undergrad. the first year of the program requires foundational design courses in color, drawing, and 3D which will get you well on your way.

Thanks for replying guys.

J_Rod, since you are at Pratt, could you tell me whether the portfolio has to be at par with students who have completed a Bachelors in ID, or are the standards lower for judging non-ID students?

Secondly, how would you rate my chances of getting admitted at Pratt’s MID considering I am an International Student and one who is looking for considerable aid.

Also, could you or any one else tell me about other programs like Pratt, that have a pre-Masters year before the actual program begins.

Thank you once again.