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Should I go to grad school for graphic/web design?


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I'll be a senior next year at a liberal arts college, majoring in Mass Communications and minoring in Studio Art. I'm thinking about a career in graphic design or web design/development. I'm wondering if I should go to grad school, or if my time would be better spent teaching myself skills or learning at an internship. I've certainly got a ways to go in my design skills if I'm going to make a career out of it though.

So, design pros, what do you think--should I go to grad school, or is a grad degree in design a waste of time and money?

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Personally I think grad school for a graphic designer is a waste of money. (Unless you want to teach)

Nobody has given 2 craps about where I went to school or what I graduated in as far as jobs go. The only thing its been is more a topic of conversation.

All anyone cares about is your portfolio. I think everyone that wants to be in graphic design should go get a 4 year degree in design, but its hardly a requirement. There are plenty of uber-talented, successful designers that never stepped foot on a college campus.

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My advice to you would be to go out into the industry for a while before you decide whether you need/want a higher degree. An undergrad degree and a good portfolio are enough to get you a good job (some people have done fine without the undergrad degree), and experiencing working in design for yourself is the best way to get a feel as to whether or not you have the skills you need to do what you want to do.

I disagree slightly that grad school is a waste. I don't think it's necessary to go to grad school for design unless you feel like not having a higher degree is holding you back from moving up or getting the specific job you want after some time in the industry. But there are also programs with specific specializations, such as design management (like NYU's) that can add legitimate distance between you and people competing for jobs.

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I should clarify that, its a waste if you haven't had a design job yet. Its not going to hurt by any means, but I don't feel like its going to help you much if at all and in the end, be a waste of money for a young designer. I spoke in too broad of strokes there....

The higher degree isn't going to get you any better opportunity for your first job. For management or like I said, teaching, yes absolutly it's helpful and possibly a neccesity. I personally think it's best to work on your master's while you're working in the industry. To me, that applies no matter what it is in any field, unless you're in the medical field or a job that requires you have that higher degree before you even start...

Honestly, if I were to get a higher degree, I'd get a MBA before I'd get a Masters of Design. Or a Design Management degree would be excellent as well. But I would defiantly wait a while before investing that amount of money.

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Pat's absolutely right on this one - an advanced degree is best for managing a firm, so as he said an MBA or a Design Management degree would suit you better than an MFA. The only advanced design degree I could think that would be furthering in the industry would be an MFA in type design, received at the University of Reading in the UK or at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. Other than that, a bachelor's is fine, and industry experience is key.

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MFAs are for art snobs anyway :P. A ceramics MFA once told me that if you have to pay for grad school, you're not good enough for grad school. A lot of them, the school ends up giving them money because of scholarships and living stipends that add up to more than the cost of graduate tuition..

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If you want to get more education, then do it. Don't ever listen to someone who says you shouldn't. More education will never hurt you. At this rate with everyone having a 4 year degree, a further degree will set you apart. Oh and in this economy, you might as well go back to school and wait for the economy to get better. To anyone who says this is what you should do, well everyone is different, so all these people who say that people who get a Master Degree are snobs, well it sounds a little snobbish of them to call someone else snobs because they have more education. Do what you want to do, not what someone says you should do.

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What will going for a Masters do for you financially? If someone else is paying for it, then by all means go ahead. However, if you are paying this back, you would be wise to consider how long it will take to pay off your debt or if the additional study garners a significant jump in compensation. For many fields of study, it isn't worth it, especially with no work experience after leaving grad school.

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