Undergrad ID @ Georgia Tech?

Hello there!

I’d like to know more about the undergraduate ID program at Georgia Tech–if you’re a current/former student, your input would be much appreciated.

  1. What’s the ID program like in comparison to that of other schools?

  2. Would it be feasible for me to “double-major” in Industrial Design and Mechanical Engineering? (I know GT doesn’t allow double majors, I’m basically just talking about getting two undergraduate degrees simultaneously.) I’m willing to graduate in five years, if that’s what it takes.

  3. What’s the overall environment like? (Student body, professors, classroom experience, etc.)

Thanks :slight_smile:

I’m currently in the 3rd year design studio at Georgia Tech. There are some really great things about being a design student here and some disadvantages too.

On the good side, Tech is filled with really smart people, and has tons of great resources for every student as far as technology goes. In the design program in particular, there’s a nice machine shop students learn to use including 3d printing for rapid prototyping, CNC machines, lathes, bandsaws, hand tools, and a knowledgable staff. There’s also the advanced wood products lab which has some massive CNC machines, and you can take classes on parametric modeling and learn about some of the more advanced things tech is doing with materials and engineering. There’s an IDSA chapter here and we go to conference and are competitive for the southern conference merit award. I’m excited to go to Austin, TX this spring… Tech also has a lot of active inter-major projects. You can do your senior design with various engineers, take classes that include design students and computer or mechanical engineers, and I recently heard about the Solar Jackets team (that is building solar cars for international competitions) needs designers for modelmaking, testing, materials, and other duties. The design program here is still pretty new, and the third year studio i’m in has about 50 students with 3 professors, and the occasional guest speaker and that kind of thing. The common first year is a love it or hate it thing. It means the first year of studio is a combination with architecture and bc majors, and covers a lot of basic skills from charcoal light studies to technical drawing. You’ll do projects on products, and buildings, as well as developing your artistic eye.

A mechanical engineering degree will typically take 5 years on its own, and you’d have to talk to an advisor about other possibilities, but that doesn’t sound very realistic to me. Several of my friends started out ME, and are now design students (they had to drop their mechanical engineering degree) but they still have some valuable knowledge, especially about CAD, Solidworks, and being logical.

The classroom experience is pretty open. It’s really nice after the CFY to have your own desk, and the studio as a real second home. In and out of class, industrial design students are probably the most social with each other, and close as a class with other students and their teachers. Other classes at tech, like the maths and sciences you will take will be the opposite of personal.

I’m guessing you’re considering tech because you live in-state? This major can be anything you want it to be because of the class structure and the options you have for directing your study as you get older. If you’re in the southeast but not in georgia, other schools may offer you more as far as arranging internships and research for you, while this is mostly left to the student at tech.

I could talk forever, but you should give some more information about yourself if you want better input!
Good luck

Just a few additions to SHIELDS’ comments. I went through Tech as an Electical Engineer, and then again as a Master’s student in ID. That took about 8 years.

Actually, Georgia Tech has one of the oldest industrial design programs in the US, although certainly the program is not very big compared to the engineering schools. I also recall talking to one student who was trying to work through a double major in ME/ID, and I believe she mentioned that it would take her 5.5 years, as there is very little course overlap. I found that the engineering classes were extremely mentally demanding, while the design studios were extremely time consuming… I think it would have been really, really tough to do both at the same time. Not to say that the design classes WEREN’T mentally demanding, but the thinking and work was perhaps more straightforward and hands on that working Laplace transforms. :slight_smile: If you’re a rockstar and don’t care about having a social life, then go for it. :slight_smile:

That being said, I would talk to advisers from each school about your options, starting with ID because they are very student-friendly. I will say that in terms of environment, ID professors were much more approachable and the ID school is much more of a ‘family’ feel than the engineering schools, mainly because the engineering schools are so big and rather impersonal. Unless things have changed much since I graduated, I think you’ll find a mostly-male student body (although I remember ID being about 50/50), and overall the campus is pretty darn serious. Atlanta is a great place to be for culture and fun, and there are a few decent local opportunities for work after graduation.

Shields & modern artisan: Thanks so much for replying!

Here’s a bit more about myself:
I actually don’t live in-state–I’m from CA. I only started considering majoring in ID a couple months ago so I don’t have an art portfolio, which is why I’m applying to schools that don’t have a portfolio requirement (Tech and U of Cincinnati). That being said, I do believe that I have sufficient artistic ability. I definitely prefer Tech over UC because if I decide that ID isn’t for me, I can change majors and major in engineering at a top-notch engineering program (I was originally planning to major in either computer engineering, mechanical engineering, or computer science). The only problem is that as far as I know, admission to Tech is far more competitive, and especially as an OOS student my chances are pretty slim…

This question is mostly geared towards modern artisan; however, I would love to hear everyone’s response. I am going into my 3rd year at Tech as a EE and am completing my first co-op rotation for the Fall. I’ve been debating whether I want to stick with just engineering or move into another field/combine engineering with design. I began talking with the ID department at the company I work for and from what I’ve seen I enjoy it. They have given me several resources to learn from and have decided to give me a small project on the side during my rotation. Right now, I need guidance on what route I should take. Here are my dilemmas:

  1. I would more than likely have to wait till the Fall to take the Intro to ID course since they only seem to offer that class in the fall.
  2. I am already so invested in EE that adding on ID would be very work intensive since EE already takes up so much of my time.
  3. My drawing skills are bad.
  4. The engineering environment is not ideal.

I enjoy what I’m learning right now as a EE and I like my job, however, it’s not what I want. I feel as if I don’t exactly fit in with the engineering world and I’m not passionate/in love with what I’m doing. Plus, I am in desperate need of the creative environment ID offers since the engineering I have been exposed to seriously lacks it. ID seems to be a great in between with engineering and design and I feel that I would love it. Do you have any advice to give? What else can I do to expose myself to ID to see if it is a good fit? Also, do the ID courses at Tech teach you how to draw since I would desperately need to improve those skills? Do you think I should stick with EE and graduate with my bachelor’s and later on decide to come back for ID? Or just push through it and try to get Bachelor’s or a minor? Any advice would be great and deeply appreciated. Thank you.