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Masters in Communications Design in NYC


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Hello all,

This is my first post. I work in finance right now (6 years) and want to transition into the design field to pursue a career in communications design and/or design research. While I have a lot of the business/management/communcations skills, I don't have refreshed technical skills (in Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) I have to stay in New York and have been exploring some Master degree programs. Here is what I have found to date:

NYU-Tisch: Interactive Telecommunications Program (MPS degree)

NYU-School of Continuing Education: Graphic Communications Management and Technology (MA degree)

Pratt: Communications Design (MS degree)

Which do you think would be the best program for me, given my background and what I want to do? I'm looking for a school and program that is reputable, has good resources (especially in career services when it comes to finding internships and a full time job at the end) and a reputable and involved faculty.

I don't know any people in the industry, and while I've met with all the schools, I would really like an unbiased opinion. If there any other programs in NYC that I should be looking at, please let me know. Thanks in advance!

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  • 3 months later...

I think many would agree that Pratt has the best Communication Design MFA in the city. ITP at Tisch is a completely different animal (and to me more interesting); it's not "Communication Design", though of course it is both communication and design. Depending on your timeframe for applying, I'd say get to their winter show this year - you can get a good idea of the types of things they do (it's also free and loads of fun). Anyway, you could do worse... I have several friends who went to ITP and Pratt and they're all doing well!

Oddly, there aren't that many CD/GD MFA programs to be found in New York... SVA has some interesting new programs popping up lately (interactive, branding, etc.), I'd at least give them a look.

PS: I don't know anything about the continuing ed MAs at NYU... which unfortunately probably speaks volumes.

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That's what I thought about NYU's programs. I think they are just getting started, and have a while to go before they get reputable. I attended a class there one night and I was not impressed. I want to be somewhere where the professors actually want to teach. I also attended a class at Pratt. Maybe it was the course, but again, not impressed. The professor forgot some materials, the A/V equipment wasn't working. The admissions department doesn't get back to you by phone or email.

I actually found Parsons to be more responsive and organized, but unfortunately, the program isn't right.

I guess I'll just have to keep exploring, though I'm hoping to find something in time for a Jan or Fall 2010 admission.

Thanks dialect again for your help, your responses are much appreciated.

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Just curious, since you mentioned ITP @ NYU - have you looked into the MFA in Design + Technology at Parsons? Again, it's not "Communication Design" exactly, but an interesting program. Communication Design (BFA) and Design + Technology (BFA + MFA) are the same department. Check out cdt.parsons.edu for more info.

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Dialect, I have. I think the program requires a portfolio, which I don't have, at least not a professional one. Finding a program (good) that is both in NYC and does not require a professional portfolio has been a challenge. Which is why the Parsons AAS looked tempting at first glance. I am considering taking a series of classes at NYU SCPS (photoshop etc.) or Noble Desktop if I don't find anything. It won't be a degree, but at least I'll have some skills that make me marketable.

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Getting into a good program with no work to show is going to be nearly impossible. Professional portfolio or otherwise, just about any school wants to see something that demonstrates a basic aptitude for creative thinking.

I know you said you'd lost interest in the Parsons AAS program, but based on what you're saying, it sounds like the best fit. There are great instructors, and all that's required to get access to them is proving on the home test that you have potential. To me it's a ridiculously minimal requirement for the level of instruction available.

Taking Photoshop classes alone will do next to nothing for your design skills. You need to know Illustrator, InDesign, etc., but those are just programs... it's more important to learn about typography, color, concept, etc. Of course those software classes are also part of the Parsons program, but they're just tools that supplement the main offering - without the design classes, you're not guaranteed failure, but you're definitely starting out with a disadvantage.

So my question is: what specifically at Parsons (or what I've said about it) makes you think it's the wrong choice? Keep in mind that I worked in the design field for quite a while before attending; there was a lot of "review" for me, but many of my classmates struggled to keep up because they were completely new to graphic design. My point being that if I got something valuable out of the experience (having already worked in the field), surely you would as well... no?

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