Too Many Grads Redux

Kathryn Weinstein
Associate Professor
Queens College, CUNY

A startling revelation concerning outcomes for students graduating with graphic design degrees emerged from Steven Heller’s (2005) article, Too Many Grads or Too Few Competencies? The Design School Dilemma. The article estimated that as many as fifty percent of students graduating from design programs quit the field within one year after graduation. Is the fallout due to design programs graduating too many students who lack the competencies for gainful employment in the field or is there simply a glut of graduates relative to the number of entry-level positions?

This study examines whether there are an excess number of graphic design graduates in relationship to the actual number of jobs available nationally. The author compares the number of students graduating from four-year colleges with a degree in graphic design or related fields in 2013 against the number of estimated job openings during the same time period. Additionally, the author estimates the number of graduates from other types of accredited degree programs that may increase competition for the same types of jobs as graduates with bachelor degrees in graphic design. The results reveal the extent to which the field may be over-saturated for entry- level employment in graphic design. This study may be used as a basis for further research for design educators.

PRESENTATION: TooManyGrads_K_Weinstein_3_2015

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 1.5: Rhode Island School of Design on Saturday, March 7, 2015.