Pratt MID ---vs--- SCAD MFA in Industrial Design

Pratt MID —vs— SCAD MFA in Industrial Design

  • If I put in 100% effort, which school will I get more out of?
  • If you were/are an employer, which school would you prefer to hire from?
  • Which school is better use of my time and money?

0 voters

I am having serious trouble deciding between Pratt and Savannah College of Art and Design for a graduate degree in Industrial Design. As I understand it Pratt is more rigorous and perhaps has better name recognition, but may leave me less practically prepared than SCAD, which seems to be more marketable skills oriented. I am not sure which specific area of ID I want to pursue. I know Pratt actually likes this because they want to mold you through their program; but I do not know if I should be entering SCAD already knowing exactly what I want to specialize in. Thoughts?

I am pretty familiar with Pratt – I have taken classes at there and have spoken to several students and alumni, but I know much less about SCAD. I know that you get out of school what you put in to it, but my big fear is that SCAD won’t push me enough, or that I won’t get the same kind of traditional art school background and small group feedback that Pratt provides. On the other hand, SCAD seems to be very professionally-oriented and well organized (and cheaper) and has internships built into the curriculum. Their purpose is to give you the skills to get the job; less about ‘vision’ and more about job training. I have an art history and studio art background but no actual design experience – maybe a practical SCAD education is what I need to make it as a designer.

Lastly, I have live in Brooklyn for the last 8 years and I really think I would love to move to Savannah - I am going to visit in two weeks - but does anyone ever stay in Savannah? Are there many design jobs there or do most people simply come for school and move on?

Thank you all for your help! I can’t wait to make my decision and be able to sleep at night again.

I am listing below some facts and some general perceptions that I have about each school. Please understand that this is simply information I somehow gathered and may not be perfectly accurate/correct. I don’t know everything about each school, which is obviously why I am posting here for feedback. Thanks!

These are my general impressions…. Any thoughts? Would you hire someone from one shcool over the other, and why?

Pratt MID --------vs— SCAD MFA in Industrial Design
2.5 – 3 years ----vs— 2 years
Brooklyn ---------vs— Savannah
More expensive --vs— less expensive

  1. Molds designers (art school) —vs— trains future employees (professional school)
  2. More rigorous art school curriculum —vs— less rigorous with less art/form emphasis (more corporate?)
  3. Decent facilities & admin organization —vs— better facilities & admin organization
  4. Seems more “sink or swim” —vs— seems more supportive during school and after
  5. Find your own internship —vs— internships built into final year
  6. small collaborative classes give better cirts —vs— more difficult to learn from peers because not one group you move through
    the program with
  7. are grads hired? —vs— 85% of grads working in field (according to SCAD info session 2010)
  8. name recognition/general perception of each?
  9. which will give me a better a professional-level, completed portfolio to present to clients when I graduate?
  10. professional networking of each?

That is a pretty good list you made, I’m not really sure there is anything anyone can really tell you at this point thats really going to be able to make this decision for you. These topics have been coming up a lot and I hate to be redundant, but at this point its really up to you. Keep looking at that list and think about what’s most important to you.

Good luck!

Thanks. I am inclined to go to SCAD - I like that it’s a cheaper shorter program and I would really like to be in Savannah. But I also don’t want to pass up what seems to be a better school (Pratt) just because I was too scared to pay for it. It Pratt really worth the extra time and money? It the education and name recognition really that much better?

take some advice from a wise man… “trust you gut” (Stephen Colbert) (stephen is the wise man not me)

I see these threads all the time and what will happen is alum will tell you how great their school is over the other. (im a SCAD Grad for the record) then some one who has never even visited either school will tell you about how one or both of them suck, because someone equally uninformed told them so.

It seems like you have done your research. both are good schools, so go with your gut.

I applied to both programs, plus School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and I’ve been accepted into all of them. My choice: SCAD.

Pratt was very impressive when I visited. I went into a lot of rooms and looked at everything on the walls and saw what I thought was amazing work everywhere. The problems; they have no money and small resources. It’s Damn good their fine art is so amazing, because there isn’t really the option of doing much high-tech work. Also, their admin departments have a terrible reputation for being rude and unhelpful. From the little interaction I’ve had, I’ve seen nothing to dissuade me of that.

SAIC was off my radar until I visited. I got a good vibe from them, but they seem new and they a definitely tiny, with limited facilities. If I lived in Chicago already, I’d maybe look into it some more, but I don’t.

SCAD has everything I was looking for. The Gulfstream center is awesome. Even better than RISDs legendary 4 stories of fabrication facilities. Savannah seems a great place to live and it’s very cheap compared to the other cities these programs are in. I’ve seen thesis projects at SCAD, and some are better than others, but as long as there were some outstanding examples, there’s nothing to say I couldn’t do just as well. The final pluses are the interactions I’ve had with the school so far. They have been far more attentive and interested in helping me put my best foot forward in the application process. They have also, at least in words, addressed what happens after school so much more than a school like Pratt or SAIC.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

If you’re going to Savannah, try to take as many classes with Bob Fee as possible.

He’s pretty much amazing.


He quite simply is the brightest man I know. We used to say the “Bob has forgotten more about design than we will ever learn.” He is also a great educator.

I agree with most of what has been said. You have done your homework and you have to go with what you feel is right. I too am a SCAD alum, but PRATT is a great school as well. I have worked with many Pratt grads and they have been very talented and know their shit.

I was born and raised in Savannah and grew up around SCAD. I attended SCAD on scholarship as a high school student (and had a class with bob fee), and am “in” with a few of the professors including those that just launched the year-old sustainability program. I have toured and worked in the Industrial Design facilities, which are beautiful working environments. Savannah will fuel your imagination - beautiful local and international identity.

But I am not attending SCAD.

SCAD is a business, looking for money and hoping to make its customers happy - giving students innumerable ways to customize and create their education. This lack of core curriculum makes me uneasy, and why I am attending a school with mind-blowing rigor, deep practice, and concentration in only 16 majors. I hope to get a very strong foundation and core to branch off of later. This highly contrasts a SCAD education. But, I have seen how quickly things can move at SCAD - the Sustainability program was started by a class of students and two professors, one from Industrial Design and the other from Architecture, within about a year. SCAD is hungry for innovation and growth which may be the spirit you want.

So my advice is, if you attend SCAD, work to create your network. It is important to surround yourself with the right people at SCAD, because just attending won’t guarantee your immersion with the best.

I don’t know anything about Pratt.

I am not sure I really understand your point here. Is SCAD a large art school with many majors? Yes, but that does not mean that it does not provide a great education and the students are not walking out of there ready for work. Pretty much what I got from you post was that SCAD is a business and does not care about the students. This is completely false.

This lack of core curriculum makes me uneasy

Again, not sure were you are coming from with this. You spend at least your first year in core classes. This varies from Drawing class to 2D design, to Color theory, to Anatomy and Comp and Lit. This is no different than any other art school.

Speaking negative of a school because they are up with the times and continue to grow is ridiculous. SCAD is a great school and continues to provide many students with great an education that go on to work for numerous different successful firms. But back to my previous statement so does PRATT.

if you’re in brooklyn, maybe you should check out the current pratt mid thesis show in dumbo at the powerhouse arena. it was featured on core’s front page a few days ago, could give you a better idea of what to expect from pratt’s program.

Hey Kawita76, what did you ever decide?

I have made my decision! After much thought, talking with the head of an ID company, internet research and visiting both Pratt and SCAD, I have decided to go to Pratt. I will never be 100% sure of this decision, but here is what influenced me:

  1. I was most attracted to the collaborative environment at Pratt. Everyone moves through the program together, while at SCAD everyone started at different places throughout the semester and went through the program on their own.

  2. A toss-up: Pratt is a more established and older program with its own design philosophy, SCAD graduate is pretty new; however, SCAD is FAR more organized than Pratt. Pratt’s administration is kind of a huge mess, and there has been a lot of upheaval (new chairperson, too many students admitted, etc) in 2010.

  3. Whether or not this is true, the program at Pratt did seem more rigorous - like I would be pushed harder to grow as a designer, while the program at SCAD seemed to be more skills-based, more of a training program.

  4. SCAD would have been cheaper but I already live in Brooklyn (where Pratt is), so the cost/effort of attending one school over the other kind of evened out in my mind. I was excited about living in Savannah, but really I feel NYC is a much better place to grow as a designer. I’m going to be tens of thousands of dollars in debt either way, so I figured being a bit more in debt would be worth it to live in the city that I love.

Thanks everyone for your advice! I hope this helps others with their choice of school, and maybe I’ll post again at the end of the school year to let people know if Pratt lived up to my expectations.

Wish me luck!

You made the right decision. SCAD isn’t in the same league as Pratt as far as I.D. I think you chance to be successful after graduating are much higher with Pratt than the are with SCAD.

good luck.

Hello Kawita76,

I’ve applied for the same program to the same schools and was wondering if you could give me some insight into your decision and Pratt as its been a year since enrollment.

Much thanks.

Hi Caymannher -

If you have specific questions feel free to send me a private message.

I just completed my first year at Pratt, MID, and I’m thinking about transferring to SCAD. I was in the over booked year mentioned earlier. We started without a studio then they crammed us into a studio way too small for a group our size, then before Thanksgiving we moved into our larger space which was better. Cliff notes: more of us came then they expected and it showed. However, sections of courses were added so no one got shut out of a course. They may have not gotten the instructor they wanted but that could have happen with 24 kids as well. Our class kind of fell between the cracks and as evident by our semester ending “discussion” the higher ups in the department seem to deflect the circumstances of our class away from their responsibility. The program was having some conflict because it is caught between the traditional program and the future program. Half of the faculty want the change half don’t and the entrenched faculty dug in early. They are all working on it but yeah, times are a little rough as far as harmony.

The professors are largely very good. Some are divisive and others are there to remind you how connected they are. Most of the faculty is wildly successful and run their own firms. Yes, the administration of the school is unbelievable obstinent to correcting their mistakes, which they never catch before you do. The department is a little better but it is on a smaller scale.

Brooklyn is awesome, but if you are working hard enough you rarely get to enjoy it so you might as well be in outer space. The facilities are adequate, but the one laser cutter or CNC machine will break right before you need it. However, the workshop on the fifth floor has a ton of capabilities and the techs there are awesome and very helpful. Just ask a question and they’ll get you going in the right direction.

In summation, I think Pratt lives somewhat on its laurels and is woefully disorganized. Drawing is the only class you really draw in and the program moves so quickly through every project in the first year that you do not have a chance to incorporate feedback into development unless you re-do it on your own for ID View which is basically taking a result they didn’t like and hoping they’ll like the next one.

Finally, I am glad I have had Pratt’s core fundamentals in 3D, color, drawing, and form. I love Pratt, most of the amazing professors, and the people in my studio. I just don’t like the way the school treats students and the department is slow to implement the needed changes and they have no money despite the sky high tuition.

Did you end up going to SCAD? I just got accepted there for the MA in industrial design. I wanted to know how the program was and if you liked it.