Car Design Schools: Undergraduate Vs Master Programs
The Master Dilemma!
I am receiving too many questions about Master programs in Car Design schools with a particular attention to the real opportunity to become car designers once you got your Master degree.
Some of you complain about personal experiences that did not turn out exactly as you expected, and some others ask to be reassured that getting the prestigious Master degree will really open every door in car design studios.
Let me tell you, as I already wrote about it, to become a car designer is one thing...to implement your educational career with a Master degree is another thing!
Sometimes both experiences go very well together, some other times these experiences do not converge they remain parallel and here we have a serious problem!
To Become a Car Designer you need a Good School!
To become a car designer today you need to know first if you have talent and creativity. You have to put together what we call an "entry portfolio" which is basically a collection of what you draw. Mainly cars, but I suggest to add also landscape sketching, products, illustrations, and paintings if you have.
The entry portfolio will help school's committee to evaluate your level of talent and creativity, but also to understand your passion for design and car design.
Now that you have your entry portfolio you have to search for a design school with a Car Design or Transportation Design Department made of teachers who are designers themselves. Those teachers are not just academics with theory and rules they bring also the practical everyday experience in their teaching method. Their know-how is offered to students.
Imagine you got selected! You start an undergraduate program of 4 or 5 years during which you will have the time to:
- learn basics of drawing
- learn basics of illustration techniques
- learn basics of car design
- learn basics of modeling techniques
- learn how to make design projects
- learn how to model with all materials and Clay
- learn how to use Virtual Reality
- learn how to use Photoshop, Illustrators, Alias, Maya, 3DMax
- learn how to manage sponsored projects (GM, VW, BMW...)
- learn how to manage your presentations
- learn how to manage yourself and your communication
- -learn how to make your final portfolio
- -learn how to make job interviews (specific exercises...)
Do you understand now the reason why you need 4 or 5 years to make your final professional portfolio hoping to get a job in design?
The undergraduate program (course) is intended to teach you starting from basics and, step by step, take you to your bachelor day.
You should start at 19 or 20 years of age to end up between 23 or 25 years of age. You get your diploma which is generally a BS in Human Science in the Field of Transportation Design.
To me, this is the main course to follow if you want to become a car designer.
Master Programs in Transportation Design
So, until now I wrote about the classical course to follow in order to become a car designer with a recognized diploma.
What about Master Programs in transportation design?
The Master in Transportation Design is a 1-year course during which selected students make few advanced projects sometimes with sponsors. The objective of a Master Course is to give a higher education project management experience to students, in other words, give a higher level of experience that goes more in details about project management methods.
I would like to repeat this sentence to make sure you read and understand it:
The objective of a Master is to give a higher education project management experience to students, in other words, give a higher level of experience that goes more in details about project management methods. (My opinion according to my experience).
In this sentence, you have the difference between an Undergraduate Course & a Master Course.
I translate for you: if you want to learn how to draw cars you need an Undergraduate Course if you need to go more in details about design management and project management you need a Master Course.
At the beginning of this Hub I wrote about converging courses experiences and parallel ones, let's see this aspect in detail to understand the risk of problems.
Converging Courses experiences:
This is the case when you (students) get accepted to a Car Design school Undergraduates course, at the end you get your Diploma in Transportation design (potentially you can go and search for a job).
If you wish to implement your education to obtain a better preparation on Design management and Project management, you will follow a Master in Design. This way you will have an extra year to improve some of your skills mainly management and methodology.
Now you understand that with a Bachelor in Design plus a Master in Design you will search for a design job with all requirements to make a nice career. It is logic!
Parallel Courses experiences, we have a problem!
This is the most problematic case. When I write "parallel experiences" I mean the following case which is the most popular at my knowledge.
You (students) come from Engineering University or Architecture University or another type of field. You did not go to a design school for 4 or 5 years before choosing your Master in Transportation design. You did not get all the basics of drawing I listed at the beginning of this Hub. Basically, you are at an entry portfolio level.
However you have a dream, you want to become a car designer. You think that it is enough to go to a Master in Transportation Design plus your Engineering degree. You believe to have all requirements to compete against design students coming from Undergraduate program courses.
I am sorry but you are wrong!
This is the case when both educational courses remain most of the time parallel because it is impossible to learn how to be a car designer in 1 year at the age of 27 or 29 compared to young and fresh students who studied for 4 or 5 years Design!
For this simple and logic reason, it is difficult to put together a serious creative portfolio, only extremely talented people can make it because of their own high creative and skills level.
That extra year in a Master Program helps them to complete their level.
However, this is really the exception that confirms the rule it is not the everyday story!
believe me many many times I suggested to go to a real good Design school, make your 4 years at your best. Work on your final portfolio, if you wish to improve your management skills it is a good idea to follow a Master course in the same or another good design school or University.
This type of experience will be the logic one to follow.
If you are 18 years old and thinking to go to Engineering University to become a car designer STOP! Don't!
You will complicate your life and most of the times you will not make it!