Funding opportunities for interaction design graduate studies

15 Jul 2012 - 1:32am
4 years ago
2 replies
2732 reads


I have a BA in Industrial design, I would love to pursue an IxD master's degree but there is a serious hurdle: they are expensive, but there might be a solution: Funding, but...

Fact:          There is a lot of funding opportunities if you are pursuing an engineering  or a science degree all around US and Europe, you have to look for research positions on their websites and/or get in touch with professors.

Question: Is there such opportunities for IxDers or designers in general ?


15 Jul 2012 - 9:08am
Dave Malouf

After 4 terms of teaching IxD, I have not seen any funding opps from corps for degrees.

what I have seen is that funding exists for some rare final projects.mitnis unclear if this sponsorship helps the student or the school.

What makes it hard for corps to fund IxD grad degrees is the framing of design degrees, especially in the US where there are almost no PhD programs, and the ones that exist are about researching design itself more than the creation of new ideas based on designing them. This may be different for architecture, but I'm unfamiliar w/ the more available Arch PhDs here in the US. (Or in Europe)

Getting an MFA or other grad equiv in IxD is probably more akin to getting an MBA. MBAs usually get funded in tuition reimbursement programs only after you are full time hired by a corp. it is a taxable benefit here in the US. But ppl get MBAs & other similar degrees on non-work time: online or night/weekend school or hybrids. Even Masters in Engineering ate very popular in these formats. 

The twist here is that IxD like many design degrees is really hard to teach online. The type of research we do, the fact that almost all programs are based on group work that requires in person engagement (during non-class time), that design when taught properly requires a studio environment, all make it impossible to do online well, if at all and in my opinion requires so much out of class time makes it impossible to do it next to a full time job. I know that SVA's program is run in the evenings, but I wonder if that is more for the adjunct faculty (none are full time) than for students to hold down jobs. (Probably part time & freelance are possible, but I doubt tuition reimbursing corps which almost always require full time employment.) 

Now in Euro Zone the costs and policies are so different. Tuitions are often free, and many countries even offer students stipends to live off of. 

so I suggest your best option is marrying a Scandinavian and go to Umea or Malmo.

Sorry I couldn't be more positive.

i would ask some progressive orgs out there to consider scholarships in design for indentured servitude might be something to consider. We pay for 2 years of your life, you give us 4. It's like being under contract for your smartphone. :)

Countries like Saudi Arabia & Malaysia do this for specific topics, and we know there are scholarships like this in medicine.

Here in SE Georgia, one corp is recruiting out of HS with the promise of a good wage now, on the job training, and tuition reimbursement for a BS w/ promise of higher wage when completed. That is both a time commitment on that corps' part and offering those students a reason to stay local.

l- dave

15 Jul 2012 - 12:47pm

Thanks for your thorough answer Dave, though I was hoping for a more encouraging one, anyway I should follow your advice.  :)

so I suggest your best option is marrying a Scandinavian and go to Umea or Malmo.

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