The Quest for a 2nd Bachelor's in ID

Hi guys. I’d gotten so much useful info from this board so I wanted to give back. I’ve been emailing tons of schools regarding financial aid, General info, and cost and I figure I can compile everything here for easy access. I’m still waiting to hear from some schools and I’ll update when I get more info. I’ll also be going through the “2017 Scholarship Guidebook” and will try to post any relevant scholarships I find.

NOTES: 2nd degree students are not eligible for federal grants/assistance except for loans but there is a max limit for undergraduate degrees

VT is no longer accepting external transfer applications for ID but you can transfer as another major and do an internal transfer

RISD does not offer financial aid for 2nd degree students.

UC does not consider students with a gpa under 3.0 however they will count classes taken from multiple schools towards your overall gpa.

Schools that offer financial aid
Drexel* (may offer need based will confirm)
Art Center* (they do offer need based scholarships)

*merit based

Depends on FAFSA
UL Lafayette - students are allowed 210 registered hours for financial aid eligibility

That’s all for now hope this helps someone. Feel free to chime in if you have any info/see any mistakes.

If you can complete your prerequisites in one year, a master’s in two, why would anyone spend an extra year to get a bachelor’s?

You save a year on tuition and I’m guessing grants and other financing is better if your second degree is a master’s and not a bachelor’s.

It’s been hashed out a lot on these boards that a masters is more research based and for bettering the skills you have while a bachelor’s is better for gaining skills/portfolio development.

I don’t have any art/design experience so a bachelor’s is a better choice for me.


What don’t you understand about “complete your prerequisites in one year”?

This holds true for any master’s without having a relating bachelor’s, not just design.

On paper that sounds great, but I think someone with no design experience would have a tough time developing the necessary fundamentals and skills to have a strong portfolio in 3 years. UC DAAP runs a 5 year program for students with no portfolio, and Art Center runs a 3 year program with one. A 3 year program without any portfolio requirement seems like a shortcut to get another degree.

Why is it people get so fucking defensive of their 4-year program?

The first year at any university is bullshit humanities, science, foreign language, math, English, etc courses. They have zero to do with design. The second year is fundamentals. The last two years are where the real education begins.

Any university requiring more than 4 years is scamming you out of money.

There are many programs that offer a 3-year design masters. And since those people are serious about it, I’d put their portfolio up against any 4-year design bachelors.

Get over it already. And again, the same is true in areas other than design. Got a design bachelors and want a chemistry degree? Get a masters.

I’m counting on transfer credit to get the fluff credit out of the way. I’ve taken all the humanities courses I need. I’m also looking into pure art schools that just offer studio courses and the like for experience. I’ll admit I haven’t done the research for masters because I’m pretty set on getting a 2nd bachelor’s.

I didn’t mean to start a debate on this thread I just wanted to help other graduates like me who wanted to get a 2nd bachelor’s to get into ID.

Industrial design is about problem solving.

The most common mistake of newly-minted industrial designers is they cling to one solution without considering others.

You have determined the pros and cons of a second bachelors. My intention is for you to consider other solutions to your problem.

You’re right. I have not looked into master’s as thoroughly as I should’ve. I will go ahead and research some master’s programs and compare them to the school’s respective bachelor’s program to see which is a better fit for me. Hopefully the schools will be less bias about their info since I’ll be applying to the same school just different programs (the money will still be going to them regardless so here’s hoping for in-depth answers) I will try to post my findings to help other students like me.

As someone who did go back to school and receive a second bachelors degree in ID, I do not regret it at all, though it may not be the right course for everyone.
My first degree was a B.A. in Photojournalism, so it was necessary to learn the fundamentals of design. I was lucky enough that my Alma matter, Western Washington University, had a stellar ID program so when I returned, waiving many of the pre-requisites was easy (In-state tuition also helped). Though because the WWU ID program is based in the engineering department and is a B.S. degree, I did have to do a few more science pre-requisites. My previous degree only shaved a year off my second degree, but part of that was the program set up, which requires a sophomore year of fundamental classes before applying to the major, in which only 12 students are selected per class.
I can’t imagine not having the base I do in design history, skills and philosophy, and the hands-on application of my education was invaluable.
Going back to an undergraduate program as an older student has its challenges, I was only in my late 20’s and without dependents, and I can see how a Master’s program may be more flexible and fulfilling for someone who has more responsibilities and a greater age gap from the majority of undergrads.
I was able to get one scholarship through winning a design competition, but I did not qualify for many of the traditional scholarships due to already possessing a degree. I also found the class schedule was difficult to maintain a traditional job.
I am still considering getting a master’s degree at some point once I have worked in-industry for a few years and have narrowed down a focus.
Anyways, my experience is not everyone’s, but I’m happy to chat with anyone who is considering a second bachelors degree or has interest in the ID Program at WWU.

I don’t think my response warrants that sort of reaction, but if I offended you I apologize.

My four year program was four years of design, there was in fact no humanities involved, and based on my experience, I couldn’t imagine cutting it a year short, especially coming from no design background. My campus was also shared with our 3 year Master’s program, so my opinion comes from what I saw and is only to contribute to the “discussion” and help the original poster in making an informed decision.

Agreed. My 4 year program started with a foundation year of art and architectural history, color theory, 2d theory, 3D theory, and figure drawing. The full year. Looking back on it the first year was the most important year for me personally. It shaped me as a designer and all of the art history gave me a lot of context, studying various art, architecture, and design movements and the geopolitical forces that shaped them.

Every school is different of course, and every person is different. I found it super valuable and of course I look for that base level of knowledge in the people I work with.

Not intending to troll this, but I have to disagree. The first year with the ‘bullshit’ is often called Foundation, and its here that you learn the lay of the land not just regarding what your school of choice has to offer, but interact with the other students who may be in your studio, get a sense of the pecking order of art/design programs at the school, explore other fields…which looking back had as much to do with “design” as the core design classes did. One of the things that irked me about foundation year was hearing some other students in my 3D class complain “I want to be a photo major, why am I doing this” or even in 2D “I want to be an ID major, why does this matter”. It ALL matters. Your job is to absorb as much as possible, to fill the cup until overflowing and then sleep and then fill it again. Editing-down at this point in one’s life is truly short-changing the university experience by assuming you know what needs to be learned.

While your school may have had that in their 4-year process, many do not and follow the process where foundation is in the second year like I described. The graduates from those programs are successfully having design careers.

The need to live and breath design in your entire life is an unneeded cliche. We are not special. And that extra year will not make you more special. And there is absolutely nothing in that extra year you couldn’t accomplish while working. This thread started out of concern for the cost of school, so again, why pay for a year you don’t need?

Cost of education should definitely be part of the decision process and so should the length of the program. Students pursuing masters level degrees have more opportunities for financial aid via fellowships/scholarships/lower rate loans, than you would have pursuing a 2nd Bachelors degree. And adding an extra year of school will end up costing anywhere from $20k -$40k extra depending on the school and your living expenses. Additionally, as you get further into your twenties and thirties, adding that extra year on to an education program starts to become a much more serious commitment than it was in your early twenties. These are big decisions, so I just hope that the OP (and others in their situation) takes all of the comments here with a grain of salt and does what appears to be best for him/her personally in their current life situation.

That said, I have an bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and did a 2 year Masters in ID Program. I currently work as an ME/ID hybrid at a small engineering firm. I came in as the 2nd class of a newly started program, and was not required to do any preliminary fundamental classwork. I will honestly say that I wish I had been required to take those fundamental classes (art history, color theory, etc). And I definitely wonder at times if doing a Bachelors in ID would have been a better choice for my professional development and would have allowed me to transition completely into ID.

However, with respect to finances and life-planning, however, I am completely satisfied with my choices. I got to spend 2 years as a full time grad student, graduated with a relatively low amount of debt thanks to a fellowship (which I wouldn’t have had access to pursuing a BA), and found a job at a good company in a new city paying me more than I was making prior to grad school.

As many threads on this forum will reiterate, no one cares about your transcript or GPA when applying for jobs. Only your portfolio matters. I believe it is hypocritical for people to say that, and then scoff at others who take the masters route because they feel like it is “cheating” or something. The reality is that everyone applying to a job posting with the position of “Industrial Designer” will be judged by their portfolio and essentially has the same chances of getting that job with their entry. (spoiler: chances are low, but that is a topic for a different thread). Whether you get there by adding an extra year of structured school study, or fitting in additional self-study of the fundamentals during a compressed schooling program, you’ll end up with new skills and experiences that will shape your professional career and your life. So, either way… you win!

Thanks to everyone who commented on this thread. I want to keep this going in case it might help someone. I know it’s helping me.

I’ve emailed some schools for some feedback and I’ll share what they said. I’m still waiting on some and I’ll admit I’m judging these schools by how long it takes to get back at me. Some haven’t responded at all and I’m a little irritated, but that’s besides the point.

As for getting a Masters or a second Bachelors… if you want to get specific skills in industrial design you could consider the undergraduate program. This will provide you more core skills as an industrial designer. MFA, on the other hand, will show a more natural progression for your education and will expose you to wider types of opportunities, such as interdisciplinary collaboration, design research and theory, etc. Many grads from our MFA also get jobs as industrial designers but keep in mind that the program does not go as much in depth in core skills.

For the Master’s track, you can see the list of undergraduate courses in this link that you would need to take in the first year in order to “catch up” in the master’s level courses. This would be the only difference between the 2 year and 3 year tracks, however that is the exact reason why it has been designed. I don’t believe you would be at any disadvantage as I imagine the college admits students separately with their desired track in mind.

I would defer to the Design School for more specific questions as they will be most familiar with the two tracks. Ultimately, it would remain a personal decision on whether you wanted to complete at least 30 undergraduate credits to receive the ID bachelors degree or the 42 mixed credits (21 undergraduate level, 21 graduate level) and work toward your masters degree.

As you can see it depends on the school. You’ll have to compare the tracks for each school and then see which school has the best program for you. I’ve reset my search from “which degree should I get” to “what do I want to do and what program is going to get me there”. I’m looking for a school that would give me solid sketching skills but also allow me to make actual models and develop it for production. (more than just a one class introduction of each.)

Getting away from cost for a bit. Here’s a comparison of what I think the school’s focus is based on their website (feel free to correct me if you think I’m wrong)

  • +CCAD (prototyping, brand development)
    +CIA (3d modeling, rapid prototyping, digital sketching, cars cars cars)
    +UW-Stout (welding, very general art education)
    +OSU (sketching, analogue modeling, 3d modeling)
    +Wentworth (design/sketch/cad, modelmaking)
    +Auburn (fabrication)
    +RIT (drawing, prototyping)
    +Drexel (model making)
    +Art Center (everything!!)

Virtually every ID course has these skills as 1st year fundamentals. Why would you need more than one introductory class? The fundamental skills can be practised with self directed study, rather than consuming a valuable 2nd/3rd year class. If you want to develop a really strong skillset then it’s all on you to practise, practise and practise in your own time.

You redefined the problem.

You are on your way to a successful NPD career.


That is exactly the right way to do it. Begin with the end in mind.

Time to roll out this old chestnut:

I agree with others against getting a second bachelor’s. Not because it’s a wrong but b/c consider what you’re asking yourself in terms of money. If you’ve ever had a high loan, or been in credit debt, then you’ll know how painful it is to have a loan. It’s usually $200 you’ll have to pay every month for a good amount of time. Unless you’re going w/ a full-ride scholarship or you’re fortunate enough to have your parents pay for a second bachelor’s, you’re better off going to a Master’s program that is expecting you to not have any experience. Employers don’t care about education as much as you think you do. They really do just want to see a portfolio, someone who’s flexible and open to criticism, and a good transcript b/c the transcript tells them you’ll show up time and do the effort and that’s it. Once you get hired, you’re not going to be used for your history and all that “foundational” stuff. It’s nice for you to have and you’ll be reading articles and books and stuff for your benefit, but for them, they don’t care.
Undergrad is actually about teaching you HOW to learn. The foundations are so that they have some material to teach you these techniques. If you don’t know how to educate yourself, then you’re 1st undergrad school wasn’t a success. So what that means is, instead of saying I don’t have the foundations in history and art, I need to go back to school, what you should be saying is I don’t have the foundations in history and art and I need to do some reading on these without having to lean back on “mommy & daddy” aka undergrad school. That’s all they’re going to do to you anyway when you go back to school- assign you readings and then repeat everything you read last night in today’s lecture. You’re best off networking- talking to people to see what you need and going to events to put yourself in that environment, and doing any history reading on your own. For art foundations- art is all about practice. Just do projects for yourself over and over. Take a community college class, etc. For human-centered design, there’s a course by UCSD on, also for free. (edX is another open and free online education. Linda is not free but is may have something. Linda or Lynda? I forget, but it’s created by Linkedin.) I heard MIT also launched a free online education program as well called open courseware. Then after talking to people and seeing what technical skills you need, you can use sites like Udemy to learn about the software. (I’m not promoting. These are just sites I’m recommending b/c they’re all I know.) In fact, you can do all this in the 1 year it’s going to take for your to apply to graduate programs and hear back from them. That should catch you up. And that’s what you undergrad should’ve taught you- how and where to find information you need for any subject. You shouldn’t have to go back to school and pay 60K only for a teacher to give you a list of books for you to read when you should be able to do all that on your own now.
Most of all, don’t think as masters’ as being the end of the line, but if you really feel like you can’t do it on your own, consider an AA from a community college. It’ll be cheaper. The curriculum might not be what you want, so you’ll have to look into that.
Do look more into masters. I was in your position, thinking a 2nd bachelor’s would be the way to go. Then I saw I’m not eligible for any grants, which would mean loans from undergrad and masters school (there are no grants for masters too and most companies that help pay only pay a small portion of your education), and I said forget that. I should look into masters more, like you, and now that I have been, I’m not looking back. It’s the same amount of time, something you’re going to want to do anyway, will teach you the same stuff, just at a quicker pace, and will give you a higher pay raise. Wow, this is a really long post. Sorry!
Best of luck!