want to study ID, but no experience yet...

hi, i’m a rising senior in college majoring in operations research in our engineering department (a bit like industrial engineering). i’ve been interested in ID for a long time, but my school doesn’t offer an undergrad program. i learned a lot about engineering, and i took a few courses that are relevant to design and business. this only made my interest in ID stronger. now that i’m considering post-college plans, i would really love to apply for ID programs for graduate school. but it looks like a lot of grad programs are looking for students with an undergrad ID degree and professional experience. how should i go about my grad school search? are some programs more likely to admit a novice applicant (with lots of passion for ID) than others? what can i do to prepare? i’m looking for ID programs that emphasize functionality and efficiency as much as it does aesthetics. i don’t KNOW much, but i WANT to know. i guess i’m generally confused about the process, but i would do anything to make myself more prepared for this field. thanks for all your help. :wink:

edit: as i continue my search for grad schools, i’m becoming more and more discouraged that ID isn’t a field i can just “get into.” my main question is: even if i were to apply to programs that don’t require an undergrad degree in ID, how and where can i develop my own portfolio?

Hi jhk,

You are going to hear a lot of different opinions on this (especially the value/non value of grad school), so I’ll try a different angle.

There are barriers to getting a job in a consultancy or in corporate position if you don’t have an ID background (obvious reason being that they need people who are instantly productive). However, there aren’t any barriers in actually designing things (except physics). Just jump in and try it- pick a thing that’s not too complex to build and make a design- build it and live with what you made.

Then do it again- and again. (at the same time as looking at schools, calling people, doing the things that the other’s will suggest) Before long, you’ll have 5-6 ideas that will show others what you are interested in and how you look at the world. That is important and valuable for getting into schools, but more importantly, gives you a new view of what design can be about.

Good luck.


To develop your portfolio…if ID’s really something you want to do…you’ve gotta push yourself…I’m in a similar position right now…got a undergrad degree in Engineering, but am trying to get into ID (Including grad. programs.). All I can tell you is to keep working on your designs, practicing your drawing/getting what’s in your brain to paper, and read stuff about ID.

I know you’re going to be finishing up you undergrad degree right now so time’s probably not that available, but if you want to learn more about ID, see if there’s any night classes available at an Art School/Community College near you.

As for grad programs that don’t require undergrad degrees in ID, there are a couple…for US schools, just check out IDSA’s website for the list of schools offering ID grad programs and check their requirements…there’s also a link on this messageboard for ID programs in Europe…

Good Luck!

thank you so much, jimr and GreatDivide! it was really encouraging to read your posts. i feel motivated now, and i’ll be taking my own initiative to get things rolling, as you two advised. thanks again! i’d be grateful for any other suggestions. =)