Arts & Design: Improving your Career Prospects

Arts & Design: Improving your Career Prospects

QS Staff Writer

Updated September 13, 2021 Updated September 13

Career options for art and design graduates are plentiful. However, competition can be stiff. A specialist graduate qualification can, therefore, be invaluable in helping you to stand out from the crowd in the worlds of design, photography, fashion, journalism, music, theatre, fine art and illustration.

"Individuals make the major, and often life-changing, commitment to study at postgraduate level for a variety of reasons," says Samantha Kirby of the University College Falmouth in Cornwall, England. "Postgraduate study is your chance to specialize."

A postgraduate qualification is the bridge between having a talent for art and design and making a living out of that talent. "Falmouth combines the vocational with the non-vocational; you develop personal research interests, while learning practical skills and gaining insight into career paths. Students find inspiration here but also make professional contacts that will endure throughout your career."

At the Academy of Art University in San Francisco great emphasis is also placed upon preparation for future careers: "The Academy of Art University graduate programs are designed for students who desire to improve their portfolio," says Jeff Chromy.

"Because Academy of Art University's Graduate School is so portfolio-driven, alumni have an edge in the job market as having a tangible portfolio to hand to potential employers is a graduate's ticket to a successful career."

Academy of Art University offers MFA and M.Arch degrees in 12 areas of art and design emphasis. Programs include: Advertising, Animation, Architecture (M.Arch), Computer Arts: New Media, Fashion, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture and Design, Motion Pictures and Television and Photography.

Students can take classes in copywriting, fashion merchandising, sculpture, cinematography, digital photography, car design and much more. Students can also enroll in a flexible online degree program.

"Through the Academy of Art University intensive and advanced graduate degree programs, students can develop and enhance portfolios fit for industry needs," continues Jeff.

"The Academy offers studio courses that expose students to a range of hands-on art and design projects. Graduate students also have the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with an Academy instructor or industry professional of their choice to develop specific conceptual and technical skills to help them successfully bring their final thesis project to completion."

The Academy of Art also runs many industry events where students can network with professionals in their chose field. "The Annual Spring Show brings in art and design industry professionals from all over the country," says Jeff.

"Students have the unique opportunity to present their portfolios and some get hired on the spot! Academy MFA Fashion students have the privilege as the only school invited to Bryant Park to show their collections to the world at New York Fashion Week."

"A postgraduate degree from Academy of Art University demonstrates the ability to balance the creative with the practical," continues Jeff. "Graduates can think outside of the box - and make a living doing what they love. Academy graduates carry a professional reputation that gives them an edge in the marketplace. The list of companies that hire graduates every year reads like a who's who list of art and design. New media alumni are driving the booming technological renaissance, while fine art and photography students are filling galleries all over the world."

Samantha Kirby says that Falmouth's location is part of the school's success: "Our stimulating, vibrant and beautiful environment attracts a special kind of person to study, work and live here. The influences of our location on the work of our staff and students has been recognised and applauded nationally and internationally.

"Our graduating students are highly sought after and enjoy a reputation for excellence in their chosen disciplines. Their innumerable achievements reflect the quality of the learning experience at Falmouth with its first-class facilities, high-calibre staff, international contacts, and an entrepreneurial ethos"

New York University Tisch School of the Arts Asia, located in Singapore, offers a Master of Fine Arts degree in Animation and Digital Arts, Dramatic Writing and Film. In each program, the curriculum is identical to the school's campus in New York. All instruction is delivered in English. The school opened in 2007. "

Earning a Master of Fine Arts degree from our school is challenging and unlike any other post graduate training," says Josh Murray, Associate Director for Recruitment. "Tisch Asia is a place for students to be creative, to experiment and to take risks. They become critical thinkers, and they have an intense understanding of the industry in which they will work."

In the second year at Tisch Asia they have students from 20 countries. Many of their applicants are from the US, but Josh has been encouraged by the number of applicants they have received from India, China, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.

"As our enrolment grows, so will our diversity," he says. "The ability to travel to this part of the world is appealing to adventurous students. And the access to the untold stories of the region is unprecedented for animators, filmmakers and writers. "

Tisch Asia also gives students access to an American arts education based in southeast Asia. Graduates from the US school have won every major industry award according to Josh: "From the Academy Award to the Tony Award and beyond, graduates from Tisch School of the Arts are leaders in
their field."

The admissions process to Tisch Asia, like for many postgraduate art and design courses is competitive, "but we do not require prior experience in the field to apply to our programs. We, in fact, look for applicants with diverse backgrounds," says Josh.

"It is so very important that applicants take time to articulate their intense interest and passion for the arts, and we need to see that applicants are dedicated to a two- or three-year arts education program. The creative portfolio is essential and represents each student, their vision, and indicates to our faculty the potential for success."

Falmouth also search for a passion for the subject when sifting applicants says Samantha Kirby: "We welcome applications from students with appropriate qualifications, equivalent qualifications, prior learning/experience and a demonstrable interest in the subject."

Application numbers to their MA courses are growing annually, as awareness of the courses grows. In 2007 Falmouth published their first Postgraduate Prospectus which has helped increase awareness and held a number of Postgraduate Open Days and Open Evenings. They are seeing more applicants each year from India, China, Taiwan and the US.

Graduate applicants to the Academy of Art University must include the following standard documents, according to Jeff Chromy: statement of intent; resume; official college transcripts and their portfolio, for placement purposes.

"Academy of Art University welcomes anyone who is interest in pursuing an MFA, regardless of skill level. A candidate applying to the MFA or M. Arch. program, however, may be required to take preparatory classes in advance of entering graduate-level classes."

This article was originally published in October 2012 . It was last updated in September 2021