Graduate School Conundrum

16 Jan 2010 - 10:22am
4 years ago
12 replies
1902 reads
R.E
2010

I am based on the east coast (DC area), not interested in moving too
far away, not so good at math--so most computer science grad programs
are probably out of the question. I started my graduate degree at a
well known school in Digital Media but had to leave due to unforeseen
circumstances and my interests have slightly shifted.

I am highly interested in interaction design and physical objects.
My question is does it matter where I study? or what I study?

There are so many programs out there in different fields and it's
getting hard to sift through them, i.e (Industrial Design, Human
Factors, Digital Media, Interaction Design, Computer Science, HCI,
Information Design...I feel like I am drowning in a sea of graduate
programs. What should I be looking for in a graduate program??

Any guidance or thoughts are appreciated.

Comments

18 Jan 2010 - 5:29am
Rob Nero
2005

It is great that you are interested in all of those areas. But it will be
impossible to study all of those areas at once. One suggestion would be to
do some research/reading on your own, before applying for grad schools. A
grad school will give you a chance to explore various disciplines, methods,
techniques, and forms, but not all of them. Grad school is not a magic
bullet. :)

Do some research, go to some schools, email students or professors at the
programs. Each program will be a little different and may suit you better or
worse.

Rob

18 Jan 2010 - 9:32am
R.E
2010

Thanks for the suggestion. I am doing some reading now and I do think
I expect too much (Magic Bullet) from a graduate program. I have been
admitted to a program in Interaction Design and Information
Architecture but feel hesitant to attend because it is not a big name
school. My other alternative and inexpensive way to go is to attend a
state school locally and major in Information Management so that I can
pursue work in their research labs (HCI), which is well known.

Because I did attend a grad program already in an unrelated field,
Art/Digital Media, and spent so much, I know how schools can sell you
one thing and it be completely different once you are actually there.

I think what I am trying to get at is does it matter how well known
the program is in the long run? If the program is deficient in lets
say the creation of physical prototypes how can you make up for them?

Thanks again for the assistance.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=48401

18 Mar 2010 - 7:09pm
NikkiK
2010

Rita, I assume the program you are speaking about is the University of Baltimore IDIA program. If so, have you selected to attend U.Baltimore? How are the classes? I have been admitted, but  like you stated, am hesitant to attend because it seems that the program is isolated from research with technology companies or getting sponsorship from tech. companies. Let me know your thoughts please!

18 Jan 2010 - 10:20am
david.shaw6@gma...
2004

Hi Rita,

To be honest with you, based on my years in the industry, what matters more
at this point is your work experience than having a graduate degree. Sure,
a degree can help you focus your interests, but if you are looking to work
in the industry, save some money and gain some experience first. Then, at
some point if you decide you want to further your studies of HCI/IxD, there
are various options to pursue. I don't think a degree is an "entry-fee"
just yet. Explore all the different areas within a work context, then take
it to the next level if that's what you choose.

HTH,

David

On Sun, Jan 17, 2010 at 10:32 PM, Rita Escolero <rita.escolero at gmail.com>wrote:

> Thanks for the suggestion. I am doing some reading now and I do think
> I expect too much (Magic Bullet) from a graduate program. I have been
> admitted to a program in Interaction Design and Information
> Architecture but feel hesitant to attend because it is not a big name
> school. My other alternative and inexpensive way to go is to attend a
> state school locally and major in Information Management so that I can
> pursue work in their research labs (HCI), which is well known.
>
> Because I did attend a grad program already in an unrelated field,
> Art/Digital Media, and spent so much, I know how schools can sell you
> one thing and it be completely different once you are actually there.
>
>
> I think what I am trying to get at is does it matter how well known
> the program is in the long run? If the program is deficient in lets
> say the creation of physical prototypes how can you make up for them?
>
>
> Thanks again for the assistance.
>
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=48401
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
"Making peoples lives easier daily... since 1969"

w: http://weatherdude.wordpress.com

18 Jan 2010 - 10:24am
Dan Saffer
2003

The most important question you can ask when evaluating any graduate program is this one IMHO: what are your alumni doing, and for what organizations? If the answer doesn't match up to what you want to be doing several years from now, then it might not be the program for you.

The people you go to school with are almost as important as the faculty, as is the alumni community afterwards.

Dan
Carnegie Mellon '05

Dan Saffer
Principal, Kicker Studio
http://www.kickerstudio.com
http://www.odannyboy.com

18 Jan 2010 - 4:50pm
jet
2008

Dan Saffer wrote:
> The most important question you can ask when evaluating any graduate program
> is this one IMHO: what are your alumni doing, and for what organizations?
[...]
> Dan
> Carnegie Mellon '05

What he said.

--jet
Carnegie Mellon '09

--
J. E. 'jet' Townsend, IDSA
Designer, Fabricator, Hacker
design: www.allartburns.org; hacking: www.flatline.net; HF: KG6ZVQ
PGP: 0xD0D8C2E8 AC9B 0A23 C61A 1B4A 27C5 F799 A681 3C11 D0D8 C2E8

18 Jan 2010 - 7:26pm
Dave Malouf
2005

I half agree w/ JET and Dan.
If your goal for grad school is vocational I agree. But it is not the
only reason for going to grad school in part or in whole.

What is the philosophy of the program?
What are the professors?
What is the coursework?
What do you NEED in your career dev path?

What everyone who came before you even for vocational purposes says
nothing about you as an individual. It only speaks to the program as
a group.

I would be cautious of such a vocationally centric line. Many
programs pride themselves on being anti-vocational, or non-vocational
in their nature and their people are dong amazing things inside and
outside of industry.

Rita, what do you want to be when you grow up? It is the #1 question
I ask any prospective student. Your list is exhaustive of media, but
it doesn't say what you want to do w/ them when your done. What is
your ideal job?

-- Dave Malouf
Prof. Interaction Design
SCAD

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=48401

18 Jan 2010 - 7:40pm
Brooke Baldwin
2008

Rita

We're all going to give you different answers - the answer we
would/have already given ourselves.

Of course Dave, JET, and Dan encourage you to attend grad school.
It's what they've done/do. It's what has worked for them. It's
what worked for me, too.

There's no easy answer here. There are serious advantages to getting
an advanced degree - it'll get you in the door where others without
it can't, it'll help boost your future income, it'll expose you to
an alumni group that can open career doors.

Describe a typical future work day to yourself. Then come back here
and we can help you figure out more clearly what that means.

good luck
brooke

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=48401

18 Jan 2010 - 7:44pm
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jan 18, 2010, at 4:40 PM, Brooke Baldwin wrote:

> Of course Dave, JET, and Dan encourage you to attend grad school.
> It's what they've done/do. It's what has worked for them. It's
> what worked for me, too.

Not saying it's for everyone. I've worked with great designers who have nothing more than a high school diploma. Depends on your life circumstances and what you want/need to know and what you want to do.

Dan

Dan Saffer
Principal, Kicker Studio
http://www.kickerstudio.com
http://www.odannyboy.com

18 Jan 2010 - 8:45pm
R.E
2010

Thanks everyone for the comments.

In regards to "Rita, what do you want to be when you grow up? It is
the # 1 question I ask any prospective student. Your list is
exhaustive of media, but it doesn't say what you want to do w/ them
when your done. What is your ideal job?"

I don't think I have considered the possibilities of employment and
that leaves me stuck. I originally went to graduate school because I
wanted to create Interactive Installation Art--While I was there I
started creating wearable computing devices and then had to leave. I
don't feel like I received many useful hands on skills while there
and if I return my graduate work will still be art focused not design
focused. I want to create interactive devices and objects that can be
used in a functional way, wearable or not. I am not opposed to art
but I want to have a career other then art professor which seems to
be where most students are now.

-Rita.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=48401

18 Jan 2010 - 10:35pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Based on art & your requirement of "near DC". I would really suggest
you consider NYU ITP. Based on Dan's criteria you'll see an amazing
human capital and based on our interest in expressionism there are
tons of opportunities.

Good luck, however that goes for you.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=48401

18 Jan 2010 - 10:42am
Erin Stewart
2010

Hi Rita,

I am currently a Master's in Information Management student at
University of Maryland, College Park's iSchool. I'm guessing this
is the program you were referencing in one of your earlier post. I
also looked at the IDIA program at University of Baltimore (I'm
guessing the other program you referenced), but was also concerned
about UBalt not being well known. I am about to start my second
semester in the MIM program and I have been very happy with my
decision to attend so far. One of the core classes is in user
research, so you get HCI coursework right from the start. The HCI Lab
is also housed in the iSchool department (physically at least) and
students are definitely encouraged to use their resources and get
involved. One current research project I've seen going on is
sponsored by Google and involves understanding UI design through a
kid's perspective. I do think that what David Shaw said has some
merit - I'm not sure that student without work experience or a
current job get as much out of the courses, but I feel confident that
what I'm learning will advance my career a lot. I love the program so
far, but also work as a Web Developer for a college in the University
of Maryland system, so 1) what I learn is immediately helpful at work
in many cases and 2) my tuition is almost 100% covered since I work
for the University System. I would be happy to talk to you (or anyone
else) off this discussion board if you have more questions about the
program.

Erin
emstewart at smcm.edu

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=48401

Syndicate content Get the feed