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Online Application

Initial application deadline is January 15, 2021. Applications submitted after this date will be considered on a rolling basis.

Admissions Requirements

EDI students are chosen based on their backgrounds, ability to learn, and their contributions to the overall program experience. As part of their online application, applicants are required to submit a portfolio of their past project work. 

For additional questions about applying to the EDI program, please contact Cindy Wells, Program Assistant for EDI, at

The items listed below must be submitted as part of your application to the EDI program.

Completed Online Application

The online application can be completed and submitted through The Graduate School website. The program code for the EDI program is E23MS.

Statement of Purpose

Please submit up to two pages including your Statement of Purpose and answers to two of the four design innovation prompts below.

Statement of Purpose

Tell us about your specific areas of interest within design innovation, your intentions during the program, and also your vision for how your experience in EDI will fit into your future career plans.

Design Innovation Prompts 

Please respond to two of the four prompts below.

a)  If you could spend one year solving one problem, what would it be and why?

b)  Describe a positive experience you've had recently with a service or a product. Explore ways that experience could evolve scale to increase efficiency and/or inclusivity.

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) 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? Please respond to this prompt with a visual asset rather than a written response.


A copy of your professional resume or CV must be included in your application.

GRE Scores

This year, due to Covid, we will not be considering the GRE as part of the MS, EDI application.

Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation must be sent through online submission. Email addresses must be provided in the online application for recommenders submitting online.

Unofficial Transcripts

Unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions attended must be 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 at Northwestern before matriculation.

Portfolio of Past Work

Portfolio submissions of past project work should be uploaded through the online application system as a "writing sample" and should be in PDF format and under 2.5 MB in size. Alternatively, you may submit a link to your online portfolio within the body of your application.

Personal Interview (if necessary)

A personal interview with EDI program staff (in the form of a telephone call or video chat) may be required.

TOEFL/IELTS Scores (if necessary)

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 section of The Graduate School website for more information.

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