Re: [IxDA] Should I go to grad school?

3 Jul 2010 - 12:16pm
6 years ago
3 replies
866 reads
Richard Carson

A two year MA program might look good on your resume, but is it worth all that money? Other than a piece of paper, what else does it offer you? What can't you learn on your own, that you can learn in grad school? The world is filled with much knowledge that you can obtain outside of school. An impressive portfolio definitely says more that a one liner on your resume.


3 Jul 2010 - 4:11pm

I for sure agree with Richard's comment. If you are passionate and have a drive to learn about this great practice there is enough knowledge of the world to teach yourself. I always thought higher education was just to build up your work ethic. To me its just a piece of paper. Let your work do all the talking

----Design Responsibly

3 Jul 2010 - 9:45pm

I love school and learning through a curriculum created by experts for the soul purpose of molding professionals. I've had the work experience already and I appreciate the administration and organizational efforts of graduate professors very much. The other thing that grad school gives you is collective collaboration with other students and it helps push your scope of understanding. You literally learn how to learn better.  If you break down the cost into actual hours and figure out how much the profs are earning, it really isn't exhorbitant. I definitely felt (naively) my undergrad degree was just a piece of paper. Now that I'm an adult and have 20 years of work under my belt, I feel that the learning is the entire reason for grad school. The paper is just something you can put on your resume.

5 Jul 2010 - 8:54pm
Dave Malouf

Education is a somewhat personal thing I have found. I have met people who have done an amazing job getting a GPhD (Google PhD). Great story in fact from Chris Anderson he tells in his bits > atoms article where the person who becomes his go to man for his startup has a GPhD and that the culture of DIY has tons of these people. He truly was the best of his micro-world. At the end of the article he says that this same person went to school to get a real PhD. Why? He talks about the formal structure in foundations, and the time to reflect that only an academic environment can give.

Misconception about higher ed is that it is primarily about education. It is only partly about education. What it is more about is knowledge creation. Not knowledge aggregation and distribution, but knowledge creation. Predominantly graduate students and professors do this creation, but they need people to teach to. The first order of validation of knowledge is through teaching. It is only through teaching that knowledge can be parsed down so that it can then be distributed in small quantities, giving professors and others practice before large scale distribution (aka books).

But let's even look just at this from persona professional development perspective. I have noticed even before I became professor (Yes, I just outted myself; though I'm in a non-tenure non-research institution) that the people I respected the most and saw the best work and thinking from all had higher ed degrees at the masters level. Why? b/c they have the theoretical depth that self-taught people seldom ever reach. It's not impossible. Further a masters in ANYTHING is more meaningful than none at all. Of course, the piece of paper is more meaningful on a resume if people get the connection, but from a real meaningful look at work productivity, the rigor and intensity that goes into any masters program is definitely worth it.

Now the flip side to this is if you are an institutional person. There are some people who just don't do well in institutions of any kind, so formal anything probably won't really work for them.

As for SCAD specifically ... It is where I work, so I won't say too much since I'm obviously biased, but I will say like most places if you work through the system you can definitely get an amazing experience. It's actually an exciting time at SCAD in Design of any kind. But when you choose any school be sure that you connect w/ faculty even indirectly. Is there anyone at that school who works in the area that excites you? If so then I'd go there. If not, you should go where the faculty or department are doing things directly that interest you. Professors give their best attention to students who are working in their areas and the worse to other students.

SCAD does have one thing w/ its MFA in Interactive & Game and that is a complete online program. Hard to beat that if that interests you.

-- dave

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