Project Clients

Submit a DTC Project

Complete the online form below to submit a project proposal for our core freshman course, Design Thinking and Communication (DTC).

Project Examples

During fall and winter quarters, DTC students work on projects that make a positive social impact, with a special focus on projects for people with disabilities.

In the spring quarter, students work with businesses, non-profits, and individual entrepreneurs to explore engineering solutions to everyday challenges.

Examples of past DTC projects include:

  • an arm sling for water skiers with disabilities
  • child-safe window blinds
  • eco-efficient metal treatment processing
  • improved connectors for peritoneal dialysis
  • innovative toys for children with multiple disabilities
  • a medication dispenser
  • a mobile CAD station for a local design firm
  • modifications to teaching labs at Northwestern
  • a new design for a wheelchair
  • a portable thermoplastic heater

Browse our DTC project gallery

We will consider any proposal that is user-centered, solution-independent, and feasible for freshman to complete within two months. Not all proposals are suitable for DTC students, including those that:

  • already contain a specific design solution
  • simply need to be prototyped
  • are already involved in any step of the patent process
  • are large-scale and difficult to model
  • are essential to a client's bottom line

Project proposals will be reviewed for suitability and offered within the next available academic term. 

When you submit the project proposal form, be sure to identify:

  • Who will be the primary contact throughout the project?
  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • What are the shortcomings of any partial solutions that already exist?
  • Who are the specific end users who encounter this problem and how will the students reach them during the project?

If your proposal is accepted, please be sure to sign and return a hard copy of the Student and Client Understandings form (PDF).

If you have additional questions, please contact Jake Pollock at