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Admissions FAQs

General Admissions Questions

Do I need to have design experience in order to be admitted to the EDI program?

No. We do not require previous design experience for admission. We look for a demonstrated interest in design and the human-centered design process.

Be sure to highlight such interest in your past academic project examples, work experience, and personal statement.

I don't have an engineering degree. Can I still be considered for admission?

We generally require a bachelor's degree in engineering or a similarly technical or analytic discipline for admission. However, exceptions may be made for those who have significant technical work experience or can otherwise prove their ability to excel in graduate-level engineering coursework.

I am currently an undergraduate student at Northwestern. What is the process for applying to be a BS/MS student in the EDI program?

For the combined BS/MS program submit the BS/MS application and all of the following materials to the associate director of the EDI program, including:

  • a one-page Statement of Purpose, including answers to the design questions listed on our application requirements page
  • your current resume
  • sample project work (PDF format or web link)
  • two letters of recommendation
  • a copy of your unofficial transcript

The online application is not required for BS/MS students, nor are GRE test scores. If you are admitted, the form will be sent to The Graduate School on your behalf and you will be informed by The Graduate School of your acceptance. Please allow several weeks for the processing of the BS/MS form.

Do you accept students for matriculation in the winter or spring terms?

No. Students may matriculate only in the fall term.

An exception is made for BS/MS students already at Northwestern, who may matriculate during any term and take elective coursework before beginning the EDI core course track in the fall term.

Do you offer automatic admission to Northwestern undergraduate students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher?

No. We do not have a policy of automatic admission for any student.

If I apply before the deadline, will I get an admissions decision earlier?

For all complete applications submitted by January 15, we will provide either an admissions decision or notice of deferral by mid-March.

You may request an earlier decision, however, making such a request may slightly decrease the likelihood of a successful admission.

Admissions Requirements

What are the minimum GPA and test score requirements for EDI?

We generally follow The Graduate School's guidelines on minimum GPA and test scores:

  • a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0
  • a minimum GRE score of 157 or above (V), 158 or above (Q), and 4 or above (AW)
  • a minimum TOEFL score of 95 (Internet-based test) or minimum IELTS score of 7 is required ONLY for international students who have not previously studied at an institution where the primary instruction language is English

In some cases, other factors are prioritized over grades and scores. Please note that grades and scores are considered alongside a wide range of other factors in determining admissibility to the EDI program. Every case is considered independently.

What type of project work should I submit with my application?

The best projects demonstrate that some initial research or exploration was required in order to scope the work. Take care in communicating the purpose and key learnings from each project sample submitted.

If you have a personal website showing past project work, we encourage you to include the website link in your online application. Otherwise, please upload a PDF of your work as a "writing sample" within your online application. All uploads must be less than 2.5 MB in size.

Generally, applicants submit two to six projects, depending on each project’s scale and the amount of descriptive information required.

Many of our applicants have traditional engineering backgrounds and little or no traditional design experience, so we do not expect traditional design portfolios from them.

Under what circumstances is the TOEFL/IELTS requirement waived for international students?

If you received an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English, you do not need to take the TOEFL or IELTS.

If you have taken the TOEFL/IELTS within the last two years, you may request to have those scores sent from ETS.

Under no other circumstances can the requirement be waived if your native language is not English.

Finances

How much will it cost me to receive an EDI degree?

Please see current information on tuition and fees for graduate study at Northwestern. Tuition rates are per quarter of study, and the EDI degree requires four full-time quarters: fall, winter, spring, and fall.

What are my options for financial aid?

There are very few funding options available to terminal master's students. Segal offers a handful of partial TA positions every year to support our undergraduate course work. These positions are usually awarded to EDI students based on application merit. No additional application is required to be considered. Most EDI students rely heavily on student loans while in school. Financial aid information and applications are available through The Graduate School.

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