Which of the following for Master of Industrial Design?

I have been accepted by the following schools for the Master of Industrial Design program. Choosing one of these three does not seem to be an easy task. Its driving me crazy. Looking for some opinion here.

About me: My undergraduate major was Mechanical Engineering. I am shifting stream to Industrial Design now.

School One:
Georgia Institute of Technology
3 year MID
Pros: The ‘Georgia Tech’ brand
Cons: A whopping price tag of $107,000

School Two:
Philadelphia University
2 year MS in ID
Pros: Proximity to NYC
Cons: A not so popular school

School Three:
Iowa State University
2 year MID
Pros: Valued more than PhilaU
Cons: Located in a geographically ‘Design Unfriendly’ location

it’s unusual for the ME - ID shift to work smoothly, generally it’s the lack of aesthetics or skills like drawing that force many students like yourself into either UX work or Research. I’d choose the program that offers the most flexibilty in shifting focus.
Or wait a year and attend Pratt or IIT, they specialize in training up non-design undergrads into proper ID’rs

Why do you need a Masters in ID? To build on what no-spec said, unless you are already “trained” in the fine arts basics of industrial design, that being sketching/illustration primarily, you will not pick that up in a Masters program; a big part of what industrial designers do is “tell” others by “showing”.

Money might be better spent enrolling in a first-year industrial design program; Pratt, ITT, etc. to get a taste of what you think ID is and if you have the skills, or develop-able skills, to continue.

I just came out of Georgia Tech’s undergrad ID program, and was/still am fairly connected to the program with current and past students in the grad program. The short summary of our grad program is that it’s in a strange place, getting better, but still undeniably ‘research-focused’. There are a small handful of kids who get out and end up doing actual industrial design, but it’s increasingly rare and I likely wouldn’t recommend the grad program if you’re dream job is classical, consumer-oriented industrial design (especially consulting).

As mentioned, that means getting “UX” and research based jobs pretty attainable, but if you’re shooting to go into product development after school, Georgia Tech’s program will make that difficult. The school’s culture is very engineering heavy, so you might enjoy being there… but ultimately may end up back in mechanical engineering after graduating. With that said, I think it’s a great location, a beautiful campus, and some of the most dedicated faculty members I’ve ever met.

The better question, really, is what do you want to do after graduation? Or rather, what wouldn’t you want to do?

Double posting, but this is one of the smartest, most accurate reflections I’ve ever read on grad school. I know a lot of MID folks who would’ve benefited having heard this before enrolling.

I don’t have personal experience, but my intuition (and the advice of others who have personal experience) back this up. From everything I’ve seen, a master’s in ID means very little without a bachelor’s in ID–I didn’t even know it was possible. Try a first-year bachelor’s program and see if it feels right for you.

Master’s in ID are usually sought by those with bachelors degrees in ID who want to redirect or refocus their career, or get a teaching job after a good stint as professionals.

I teach undergraduates at Georgia Tech (hi Eddie) and agree you should develop a focus before you put in the 2 or 3 years required for a masters. We would love to have you at GT, and the engineering focus of the school at large might give you some opportunity to collaborate on some interesting projects. There is a transition year at GT designed to help non Industrial Design students understand the field better, and to help them find their own path. There is a growing trend to combine ID with other disciplines like ME, CS, or UX etc. and there are new jobs popping up looking for ID students that have a deeper educational background - so that might work to your advantage. (Warning: this is completely biased information - I do not know anything about the other 2 schools you mention - they are probable fine schools)

Welcome to core77 Stephen.

Thanks for your comments, and your disclaimer :wink:

I can vouch for Iowa State and I know the program is closely tied to the massive engineering school there. Coming from an ME background, you’d probably fit in nicely. The program is in it’s infancy but it has the ear of some large corporations tied to ISU, so I wouldn’t say it’s design unfriendly.

I’m not so sure about going to a school that’s heavily tied in with the ME program… Personally, coming from ME, if I were to go for an ID undergrad I’d pick the most stylistically focused school possible to help broaden my spectrum.

Personally, coming from ME, if I were to go for an ID undergrad I’d pick the most stylistically focused school possible to help broaden my spectrum.

+1 … you already know how to think like an engineer.

+2. Go to an art school, get out of your comfort zone.

To echo what everyone else has said, from someone in a ID based graduate program coming from a non fine arts background… If you want a job designing products, do an ID undergrad. I’m in the middle of my MFA, currently doing an internship in UX, because that’s the direction everyone (instructors/industry) has pushed me, mostly because my fundamental art skills aren’t up to par. It’s ok, but it is not as fulfilling as product design. If I am to ever get a job in that area, it’s going to be due to a lot of woodsheding. You really have to start at the start to get the fundamentals.

The other angle is that maybe you want to do product development management and the masters is your path to that. It might work, but one of my Prof’s response to that is “why would anyone hire someone with no product design experience to oversee product designers?” I don’t know the reality of that question, but it certainly seems like something viable to ask.

I’d 100% agree with your professor on this, don’t think many jobs exist looking for ‘Jr. Design Managers’ with 0-2 years experience :slight_smile: .