How do I Choose the Best Postgraduate Design Program?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Choosing the best postgraduate design program is complex because making a good decision depends on a number of factors. Finding a program that meets your exact needs and provides adequate preparation for a career in design is often difficult if you have highly unique interests. A postgraduate program is often more specific than an undergraduate degree in design, and so students must choose to focus on a particular area of design. The chosen program must also be affordable from your own perspective, either because you expect the investment in education to pay off or because of scholarships. Other considerations, like location, school reputation, and faculty, must also be taken into account.

In order to choose the best postgraduate design program, one of the first things to think about is what area of design you find most interesting. Landscape design, for example, is very different from garment design. While all aspects of design involve planning and conceptualizing, a postgraduate program usually prepares an individual for a particular industry. Design is usually characterized not by the mental skills involved but by the products designed.

A postgraduate design program might precisely fit your interests, but if it is not a reputable program, it will not be helpful when looking for employment. In many industries, a specific school may be regarded as the best in a certain country, and discovering which school is considered the best by the professional industry can often in help choosing the best program for your career. If possible, you should find out about the successes of graduates, including both exemplary alumni and the job statuses of the entire program in terms of percentages.

Many students find themselves drawn to a program because of specific faculty members or highly advanced facilities and opportunities. If you have a personal investment in a school because of prestigious alumni or any other reason, it is a good idea to think about the possible practical outcomes of going to that school. Just because a single talented person graduated from a school does not imply that all graduates will be talented, but it can make it easier to get a job if the school has a recognizable name.

There are also practical considerations when choosing a postgraduate design program. You must often compromise on location, as there may not be many schools that offer a specific program, but you should still keep in mind the cost of living and whether you like the area. Once you have gotten into a number of programs, the total cost of the program often plays a role in determining which is the best overall. Going to school for design is an investment, and you must think about the ways in which that investment might pay off before committing to a program.

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