Schools with good balance of ID/Liberal Arts?

Hi all,

I’m a junior in high school and am just beginning to think about what schools to apply to. I’m looking to pursue Industrial Design, but I’m also hoping to find somewhere where I could study liberal arts alongside ID. I’ve looked into a few ID programs, namely Cincinnati and Art Center, but neither of them seem to offer much in the way of liberal arts.

Anyone have any suggestions on what schools to look into?


Hi Ben,

I’m currently a student at UC and it is very possible to take a wide variety of liberal arts classes. Your design coursework will take a lot of energy but there is time to study other interests. I know a lot of people who are minoring in marketing or some other area of study. I transferred into UC after having done two years at another college and am going to be coming out with three majors. That probably won’t be possible since you are coming directly from high school, but the school is very willing to work with you.

It is a state school: some of the intro courses are pretty boring, but once you get into the 300 level courses they become much more interesting. I really am pleased with my decision to come to UC.

As to other schools… When I was researching colleges, RISD was an interesting option because it has reciprocation with Brown. It’s possible to take courses at Brown while majoring at RISD. There’s also a dual degree program (which is insanely competitive) in which you can get a degree at RISD and get a bachelors from Brown. I’m sure there are a lot of options out there, especially at larger universities that aren’t purely art schools.

I hope this helps.

I went to Parsons and in terms of Liberal Arts I really can recommend it.
Since it belongs the to New School, an enormous university, you are open to take a very wide variety in terms of liberal arts. It’s location in NYC helps to gather a broad faculty on a high level.
Personally, that is were I see Parsons strength as a school.

You won’t have much time for liberal arts once you dig into your major. My advice would be to look for a school that prepares you to be a designer, you can read “Atlas Shrugged” and “Paradise Lost” on your own time!

Are you looking into taking a minor? I can’t speak for other schools but CCS had us take liberal arts classes along side our major. We had to take various courses but they were very open and in one word ‘liberal’. Many of the classes were creative writing courses with some concentrating on specific ideas. One I had was the ‘History of Detroit Churches’ which was awesome. Every week we visited a new church in the Detroit area and wrote about the architecture and it’s history. Fascinating course.

My suggestion is to call the schools you are interested in and talk with the academic and admission advisers. They are the ones that are going to have your answers. Also ask if you can talk with a current student as well and ask what their schedule is like.

And to add to Mike’s posting he’s right, once your in your major the last thing you want to do is start a 5 page paper at 2’o’clock in the morning after putting a final coat of primer on your model with just 3 hours of sleep under your belt…LOL.

Good luck!

Hi there,

If you’re not afraid of a daunting tuition, CMU seems like it might be a good fit for you. Our industrial design program is really good and in addition we’re apart of the larger university so you can take classes in english, drama, science, etc. etc. We also have a interdisciplinary BHA program which allows you to combine an industrial design major with a liberal arts major.

Thanks for the responses everyone. Very helpful.

mo: Thanks for filling me in. When I visited Cincy they made it seem like there was really no room to take outside courses, it’s encouraging to here otherwise.

As for RISD, I visited there as well and was very impressed with their liberal arts offerings, although their ID curriculum didn’t seem like exactly what I’m looking for.

bepster: Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll definitely look into Parsons.

Mike: That’s what I’ve heard! As much as I love ID I’d also like the opportunity to explore other interests…but it’s tough because I know ID entails so much work. I’m just hoping I’ll be able to find somewhere that will prepare me to be a designer but still let me at least dabble in some other things.

design detroit: A minor is definitely a possibility. Glad to hear CCS has some cool liberal arts courses. I haven’t had the opportunity to visit there yet but I’m hoping to this spring.

Linda: I’ve been reading into CMU a lot lately and it seems like exactly what I’m looking for. Strong ID department with lots of liberal arts options as well, and the interdisciplinary program looks great too. Right now I would say CMU is tops on my list.