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Frequently Asked Questions

Please click the links below to get the answer to the following questions. Attend an info session / open house to get a complete overview of the mpd² program.


What are the requirements for admission into your program?

Applicants normally have an undergraduate degree in design, engineering, or related discipline. Applicants must have appropriate work experience and/or quantitatively based degrees. However, the undergraduate degree is not as important as having some experience in the field, as applicants must have at least 3+ years of work experience related to product development. There is no GRE requirement. International students must submit their TOEFL scores with the code D223.

When will I find out about my acceptance into the program?

After all parts of the application are submitted, a review committee evaluates each applicant. Once the review committee has made a decision, the applicant is contacted.

When does the current application period close?

The application period typically closes in late spring or early summer for the September class. We do accept applications past that time frame, although the likelihood of being placed on a wait list increases significantly.

What should be included in a portfolio?

Your portfolio should represent your interests, past experiences, approach to problem framing, and provide tangible demonstration of your capabilities as relates to product design, development and/or business.  Portfolio projects should focus on work completed in a business context, but we are also interested in seeing personal work that may help communicate your creativity, leadership or executional prowess.

We recognize that applicants’ portfolio materials may take different forms and that not all disciplines lend themselves to traditional design or engineering portfolio formats.  Please feel welcome to include a variety of curated materials that convey your unique skills and POV.  Formats could include project case studies, photographs, blogs, videos or other relevant medium.  

Portfolio submissions should be uploaded through the online application system either as a website link or a PDF.

Are standardized tests required for admissions?

No, there are no GRE, GMAT or other standardized tests required. International students are required to provide a TOEFL with their application.

Program Structure

How is this program different from an MBA?

The program takes the traditional MBA and combines it with professional courses that are devoted to product design and development. The faculty have modified the standard MBA courses and specially designed them so that they focus on product development. The program is designed to allow you to "take a seat at the table."

What type of master's degree will I receive?

The mpd² degree is a Master of Science in Product Design and Development Management from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science / Northwestern University.

When does the academic school year start?

There is a program orientation in mid-September and the first day of classes for new students is usually in the third week of September.

How many classes are required for the degree?

The mpd² degree consists of 22 courses worth 0.50 credits and two one-credit courses. It is a two-year program for part-time students or a nine month program for full-time students.  

What is the duration for a typical class?

Most courses meet for five weeks, with the exception of MPD 445 Product Management and MPD 409 Business Model Design that meet for the full ten-week quarter. Part-time students generally take two courses at a time for a total of four courses per quarter. 

Are the classes lecture based?

Although the courses include some lecture time, the classes are very interactive. Student involvement and participation are the norm and break out sessions are frequently held.

How are students graded?

The program is a rigorous Northwestern University master’s degree and grading is taken very seriously. Faculty expectations for master’s students are A’s or B’s. A “B” average is required for graduation from the program.

Is the program STEM/OPT eligible?

The Master of Science in Product Design and Development Management is STEM eligible under CIP code #14.9999 and is eligible for OPT. 

Student Life

What companies do mpd² students come from?

  • 3-2-1 Launch!
  • 3Com Corporation
  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Alcoa Inc.
  • Andrew Corporation
  • Apple Inc.
  • Aqua-Aerobic Systems, Inc.
  • Arecibo Observatory
  • Artisan Shop & Gallery
  • Bang & Olufsen

View the complete list of almost 150 companies

Will we have a chance to meet our classmates before school starts?

There will be a social dinner in the summer where everyone will get a chance to meet for the first time.

How many hours should I plan on studying each week?

Classes meet for a total of six hours every week. Students should plan on 10-12 hours of outside of class study time which includes weekly team meetings and personal study time.

What is the typical schedule for a class day?

8 a.m. – 9 a.m.

9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Class 1

10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Class 1 continued

12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Class 2

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Class 2 continued


How much is tuition for the mpd² program?

Please refer to this link to see information about tuition.

Are there any additional fees?

Books, snacks, breakfast, lunches, and parking passes are supplied for the students. Students must pay for University-approved insurance (if they do not already have approved coverage) and for a monthly transit card.

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