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EDI Application Questions Answered

The MS in Engineering Design Innovation (EDI) program discusses some of the most common questions they hear from prospective students about the application process.

The Engineering Design Innovation (EDI) team has enjoyed interacting with prospective students via Zoom the past few months, and with the admissions season in full swing, we put together a list of some of the most frequently asked questions.

Take a look at our answers below, and if you have any additional questions, do not hesitate to visit our FAQ page or contact us directly. 

Has anything changed with the EDI application in response to COVID-19?

This year, due to COVID-19, EDI will not be considering the GRE in the application. EDI is also accepting the TOEFL Home Edition.

Do I need to have an engineering degree to apply for EDI?

Generally, we require a bachelor's degree in engineering, hard sciences, or a similarly technical or analytic discipline for admission. However, exceptions may be made for those who have technical or design work experience or can otherwise prove their ability and interest in design.

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

EDI does not require previous design experience. We look for a demonstrated interest in design and the human-centered design process.

How big is the cohort each year?

We keep our cohort size between 20 and 25 students each year. It’s important to keep the cohort small so that students are able to really get to know each other and learn from one another. That small size makes it competitive to get in, but we look for a broad range of people to make up the cohort. We have students who come to our program right after graduating from undergrad, and we have others who bring several years of design experience with them. We intentionally look for that balance so that we have students who look at problems and ideas in different ways.

Are students able to take classes outside of the EDI program?

Yes! As long as you have the required prerequisites, EDI students can take electives in graduate level offerings from across much of Northwestern, including the Kellogg School of Management, Weinberg School of Arts and Sciences, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, and the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship. EDI students also have access to The Garage, where students interested in entrepreneurship can gain experience and develop skills around co-creation, leadership, and networking.

How many 3D printers do students have access to?

A lot! From 3D printers to rapid prototyping machines, there never is a shortage when it comes to access 3D printers. If you haven’t already, check out the design facilities available to EDI students in the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center.

What are you looking for in our portfolios?

When we look at your portfolio, we want to get a sense of who you are. We want to hear about the work you've done, how you frame the problems you faced, and how you tell the story of your work. Explain to us what your project was, whether you were a part of a team, how you engaged with key stakeholders, how you went about solving the problem, and what you learned along the way. We know that some of you will have robust design portfolios while others may only have a project or two that they worked on during their time as undergraduates. That’s okay. We take that into consideration as we look at your background and your full application.  

We look for a variety of backgrounds. It’s what makes our studio culture so effective and impactful. We’re not a cookie cutter program, and when our students graduate and enter the workforce, they each do so with unique skills and interests. So, when it comes to your portfolio, show us who you are. Have fun with it, and we look forward to hearing your stories.

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