EDI Admissions

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We will begin accepting applications for our Fall 2017 EDI cohort in September of 2016.  If you'd like to learn more about the program or the admissions process, please contact EDI Program Assistant Jeffrey Hutter.

EDI students are chosen based on their backgrounds, ability to learn, and their contributions to the overall program experience.

While students with other academic backgrounds and work experience in engineering design are considered, most prospective EDI students have either an undergraduate degree in engineering or an otherwise technical background.

As part of their online application, applicants are required to submit a portfolio of their past project work. In general, the standards for test scores and GPAs set by The Graduate School are used for guidance in the admissions process, but every application is considered individually.

The admission process may also include a personal interview or phone call, as deemed necessary.

We strongly encourage applicants to arrange a campus visit and meet with one of the directors to review the program structure and discuss personal goals.

Contact Amy O'Keefe, associate director of the EDI program, at edi@northwestern.edu or 847-467-4275 with any additional questions.

How to Apply

To be considered, applicants must submit the following:

  1. A completed online application form. The program code for EDI is E23MS.
  2. A Statement of Purpose
    In the Statement of Purpose, please also answer any two of the following four questions:

    a) Pick a product that you think is well designed and explain why. Do the same with a product you think is poorly designed.

    b) You’ve just finished sketching a new universally accessible kiosk for the London underground. How could you build and test a prototype in one hour?

    c) A dental supply company wants to create a new product line targeted toward hygienists in China. What would you do to understand the needs of the user?

    d) If you could spend one year solving one problem, what would it be and why?
  3. A professional resume or CV
  4. Official scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing). Results must be sent directly from ETS to The Graduate School at Northwestern University (institutional code 1565). Please note that you do not need to indicate a department code on the ETS form.
  5. Two letters of recommendation, submitted online or through the mail. E-mail addresses must be provided in the online application for recommenders submitting online. Mail submissions should be sent to: Amy O'Keefe, Segal Design Institute, 2133 Sheridan Rd, G.301, Evanston, IL 60208.
  6. Unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions attended, scanned and uploaded to the online application. We do not require official paper transcripts to be sent through the mail until after an admissions decision is rendered. All admitted applicants are required to send paper transcripts through the mail to The Graduate School of Northwestern before matriculation.
  7. Electronic submission of past project work. Portfolio submissions uploaded through the online application system as a "writing sample" should be in PDF format and should be under 2.5 MB in size. Alternatively, you may submit a link to your online portfolio within the body of your application.
  8. Applicants whose native language is not English must also supply scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The EDI program requires a minimum TOEFL score of 95 (Internet-based test) and a minimum IELTS score of 7 out of 9. Please see the admissions FAQ section of The Graduate School website for more information.

Additional questions? Please visit our frequently asked questions for EDI admissions page.

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Financial Aid

There are a very limited number of one-quarter fellowships available for students in the EDI program. Recipients of these fellowships are selected based on the merit of their program applications; no additional steps are necessary in order to apply for a fellowship.

In addition, a limited number of TA positions may be available through the Segal Design Institute, and are generally awarded after students arrive on campus in the fall. Please see The Graduate School website for student loan information.

Applying to Multiple Programs

For the upcoming graduate admissions season, which opens on September 6, 2016, applicants hoping to enroll in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science in Fall 2017 will be able to submit applications to up to two PhD programs.  Applicants interested in this option are required to designate their first and second choice of the two PhD programs.  The fee for an application to a single program is $95; the fee for an application to two programs is $150.

The program listed as the applicant’s first choice will take precedence in admissions decisions.  The second choice program will review an applicant’s file only if the first choice program does not admit the student.

A PhD applicant may also request that her or his file be considered for a self-funded Master’s degree in the first choice fields if she/he is not admitted to the PhD Program.

Questions about the two-application process should be referred to Bruce A. Lindvall, Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies, at b-lindvall@northwestern.edu.

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