Which school is good for a PHD?

Hi All,

I am keen to get some suggestions here. I got BEng of industrial design and and MSc of project management. My academic record was distinction. After working some years, I feel that I am suitable for pursuing academic position as my career. I was told that a PHD is helpful for this. I am afraid that I need financial support from school if I do a PHD.

Can anyone know which school would be a good choice for me? I am very interested in “design methold” “innovation management” “patent management” and I really want to have some research on integrating some project management skills into product design process.

Many thanks for your help!


As far as I know, CMU offers the only PHD in design in the states (carnegie mellon). I’d be wary of the program, as doing a PHD in design is… to me doesn’t make sense.

Find a good job at a good place. A lot of companies will actually pay for you to get a PHD (like Nokia, Cisco, etc). But those are usually for engineering PHDs, so I dunno.

Get in contact with Dan Boyarski from CMU, I think he’s the head of the PHD (very small) program.

First of all it would help to know which country(s) you are considering. PhD styles, the amount of time taken to complete, and funding, can vary considerably.

In the UK there are two main ways to get onto a PhD programme. The first is to apply for one which is advertised, these are generally part of an established group or specialisation within a department and will build on work the department has already done / is doing. Generally they will be funded and when you apply it’s more like a job than an educational course (there’s only one place). You can look here for openings:

The second way is to write your own programme of study and approach institutions to see if they would be interested in hosting your research. You will need to do a lot of investigating to see which institutions or departments fit your interests. It’s also less likely that you will receive funding, as many departments allocate all their money to the advertised posts.

The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise shows the quality of research in the UK. For Design and Technology, Loughborough University is the top institution.


Check out IIT in Chicago. They have a PHD in design as well. And they have a business and law school that might cover some of that “innovation” / “patent” business.

Thank you,tarngerine. I just like the enviroment of schools and fancy reading and writing. So a PHD probably is good for my interests. I will try to contact Dan and see what would happen the next:)

Matt_ thank you so much. I am now working in the UK. It seems that many fundings are only for European。“Unfortunatelly”, I am an Asian girl:)

Many thanks, loonatic. I will do it right now:P

I agree with this. I am not sure how much a PHD is going to help you. If you are interested in teaching most ID programs will allow you to teach with a MID and a significant amount of work experience. If it is a bout getting ahead in the field, it is still all about your portfolio and no amount of school is going to give you that.

My two cents.

Glad I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Think about it like this: you wouldn’t be able to design a product for the elderly if you didn’t understand them / empathize with them first, and an easy way to do that is through geriatric simulation (pretend to be them). If you sort of bend that example to this, you say you want to write about design, but you won’t be able to fully understand what you’re writing about without doing the nitty gritty work. I promise you you will still be able to write about design at an undergrad or masters level, but you will have a greater understanding. There are plenty of writing classes you can take (even as an undergrad) and many schools (CMU is still an option even for masters and undergrad).

Just think about it a bit more before you go for the PhD, eh?