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New Student FAQs


When does Boot Camp start?

Boot Camp normally begins in early September, approximately three weeks before regular classes begin.

What is Boot Camp?

Boot Camp is a pre-term workshop that is required for all incoming EDIs. The workshop consists of a set of intensive training sessions that provide students the opportunity to strengthen their skills in selected tools of the design trade, including 2D visualization and communication, 3D modeling, and mechatronics. Students work on a project that allows them to practice their newly acquired skills. Sessions are primarily devoted to instruction, and students are expected to work on their own time to complete the project within the given timeframe.


When do I register for class?

New student registration opens in late September. During Boot Camp, second-year EDI students will be able to field questions about elective courses and the registration process.

Use these resources to help during the registration process:
CAESAR: Student Information Portal Login
EDI Curriculum Breakdown
Segal Course Catalogue


What types of activities are EDIs involved in outside of class?

Students take it upon themselves to get involved in a variety of extracurricular activities. Examples include outreach-based activities such as mentoring Design for America (DFA) student teams or volunteering with local elementary schools; cohort-based activities like the EDI volleyball team; and activities just for fun such as pottery classes.

Do students typically have part-time jobs while in EDI?

Due to the demanding nature of the EDI program, students typically do not have jobs during the active terms. Additionally, EDI students are encouraged to participate in a design-related summer internship between their third and fourth quarters.

How do EDIs get placed in internships?

Formal services are offered through McCormick’s Engineering Career Development office. Students are also invited to attend informal design innovation mixers hosted by Segal. Additionally, students are encouraged to leverage the vast EDI alumni network. Please note that internship opportunities vary and no student is guaranteed placement.


Should I live in Evanston or Chicago?

Our EDI classes tend to be split down the middle — about half of our students live in Evanston and another half live in Chicago. Students who live in Chicago usually live near the Purple Line CTA train, which operates express trains to Evanston. Students also live near the Red and Brown Line trains, which easily connect to the Purple Line.

Learn more about housing at:
Northwestern’s Off-Campus How To Guide
Chicago Neighborhoods Guide
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Maps


How much does EDI cost?

Please refer to The Graduate School website for additional information about the cost of tuition. Tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year is $17,413 per quarter for full-time enrollment (3-4 credits). The EDI program comprises four quarters of study. Tuition usually increases approximately three percent each year. 

Are there TAships available or other ways to help fund my EDI education?

A limited number of students are selected to receive partial TAship awards during the admissions process. Once on campus, interested EDIs are encouraged to apply for other funded TAships as they become available through the Segal Design Institute. Learn more by visiting the The Graduate School Financial Aid Office website.


Do I need a car?

Both Evanston and Chicago are extremely accessible by public transportation. If you live in Evanston, or near a CTA train that connects to the Purple Line, there is no need for a car.

Will Northwestern pay for my CTA pass?

The Graduate School (TGS) and CTA provide the CTA University Pass (U-Pass) to full-time graduate students. The CTA U-Pass program uses fare cards called Ventra, a contactless payment system that serves as a U-Pass.

You can learn more about transportation options on campus by visiting the Northwestern Shuttle Services and the Northwestern Transportation and Parking websites.

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