What is the graduate program for me?

Hi guys - I’ve been doing quite a bit of research about masters in design but I was hoping to glean a bit more information from the community.

I’m looking for an industrial design program with a more conceptual approach (as opposed to engineering) that would accept students from a liberal arts background. I do have experience in fine arts and will be doing some internships before I get started so my background in design is not blank. I’m also open to living anywhere in North America or Europe. Universities that are open for applications to start this coming Spring semester would be a bonus.

I’ve found quite a few options but I don’t want to influence your responses quite yet. Any suggestions?

Since no one is taking the bait, here’s a bit more about my situation.

I’ve just graduated with a BA in Biology and discovered through my time in college that I really want to continue in industrial design. I did all I could to construct a portfolio with the resources available to me hoping that this academic year would be a good time to find internships and give me a bit more background before going to grad school.

I realized during the past month how amazingly difficult it is for a profile like mine to enter an internship, especially as I compete with students that studied or are studying ID.

So far I have gotten one offer from the design department of a large company who works mostly in interaction design (not exactly what I’m looking for, but it sounds good enough for a quick internship).

My options for this (academic) year are two. The first would be to hope I can spend the year doing internships (hopefully two different ones), while improving my portfolio along the way, and applying for grad school for fall 2008. The second is to apply right away to start in spring 2008, while I do an internship this coming fall. The problem is that few of my preferred universities propose spring entry, though I am very interested in Pratt.

Any thoughts?

you really should consider a 2nd bachelors.

the Masters is not useful unless your planning on teaching.

Unfortunately, I’ve spent 4 years spending 30k a year and I don’t think I can afford another four. It seems, for example, that the masters at Pratt offers what I’m looking for.

In what sense is it useless?

first, its going to be at least 3 more years, grad or undergrad. any school offering to get you into the profession in 2 is just after your money.

second, ID is a very pragmatic feild. nothing it says on your resume will get you a job. the Masters will only eliminate you from being considered for entry level jobs - which is where your skill level will likely place you.
(try to imagine getting a biology job with 2-3 years school.)

Universities’ require terminal degrees for tenure - the only time a Masters is needed.

Mostly however, the main reason to consider not getting a Masters, is the that Grad school by-and-large is just two more years of undergraduate training, (like Pratt who specialize in accepting non-design Bachelors’).

This is true in most casses, although it’s starting to change. In more ‘legitimate’ academic Grad schools (like IIT, CMU) the program is very research and theory intensive and not helpful to someone trying to change careers.

the Masters will only eliminate you from being considered for entry level jobs - which is where your skill level will likely place you. -no_spec

I will have to disagree with this. Obtaining a master’s does not eliminate you from being considered for an entry level position. That option is only eliminated by an unwillingness to start at an entry level salary. Why would a company not consider you for an entry level position you have applied for and are qualified? Also remember, while obtaining an undergraduate degree, the first two years are often not entirely focused on your intended degree. A master’s program would allow you to immediately focus on your area of interest.

A better question for you, kepano, is, do you have an area of ID you are more interested in? That may help you narrow your choice of schools.

I found this older thread where someone was asking many of the same questions, and there is also some discussion on Pratt’s MID program in particular:

I’m pretty much in the same boat as you kepano, except I’m a year behind. I have one more year of liberal arts undergraduate work, hope to piece together a portfolio by the time I graduate, find a couple of internships and then hopefully get into Pratt’s MID program.

In response to no_spec’s comments about being eliminated from entry level jobs, I find that hard to believe. Even though my credentials may read MID once I graduate, there’s no way in heck I’m going to expect to be noticed more than a UC DAAP BA graduate, who has spent four years of rigorous ID study and interning. Of course if you come into an interview and spend all your time waxing poetic about how you have a MID while applying for a entry level job you’ll look like a fool and probably don’t deserve the position in the first place. But if you are to tell me that if I apply for an entry level job and poses internship experience, a master’s degree, and a strong portfolio, that an employer is more willing to move on someone with a weaker portfolio and credentials because they have a BA…???

I know at twenty-one I am not that far removed from the 18-year old crew, but just the thought of being lumped in with a bunch of them again and reliving the undergrad college days makes me tired, I know they’re not hooligans; but there’s definitely is a more calm, professional feeling to Pratt’s grad students; and I’d much rather surround myself in that environment for the next three years.

I’m glad to read your comments ScriptID and hefty-unicycle, my thought process was similar to yours.

Another argument for jumping straight into a masters would be that I’ve already done quite a bit of sketching, painting and Photoshop work (still lacking in the 3D department) and have, if I may say so, a bit more intellectual experience that helps in conceptualizing and problem-solving. Returning to an introductory level would be quite a step back.

To answer your question, ScriptID, I am very interested in the design of functional objects. For example, I would love to work on culinary tools such as those done for OXO and Zyliss. There are many simple objects that we use everyday that could be better designed (functionally, ergonomically and esthetically) and that’s what I hope to work on.

Read up on all the threads related to the Grad vs. Undergrad debate. you arent the first to ask why…