McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University
Undergraduate Engineering at McCormick
Starting with the Engineering First® courses you’ll take during your first year, you’ll experience the full range of McCormick’s benefits: getting hands-on engineering experience, working in small classes taught by world-class faculty, doing research in fields that will change the world in nearly unimaginable ways, and developing skills that make well-rounded engineers — and just as importantly, well-rounded people.
Choose to be whole-brain™
Complex problems have complex solutions. Energy and sustainability, global health, poverty, and education — true solutions to these challenges involve multiple considerations: ethical, economic, technical, and legal. McCormick’s curriculum is crafted to produce whole-brain™ engineers who think and work across disciplines — engineers whose deep technical skills are augmented by creative and humanistic thinking. To broaden their body of knowledge, Northwestern requires its students to study outside McCormick and encourages participation in extracurricular activities (of which there are plenty).
Choose to make a difference
McCormick is committed to producing better people — not just better engineers — and our students work to make the world a better place.
A team of undergraduates designed a prosthetic fitting device for patients who have lost an arm. A senior won a national Dyson Award for building a portable, hand-crank refrigerator that could keep vaccines cool in developing countries. Biomedical engineering students helped arrange a Brain Fair to teach Chicago schoolchildren about the wonders of the human mind.
Through these experiences, McCormick students learn the value of solving global problems, not just engineering problems.
Choose to be at the center of things
Interdisciplinary study and collaboration are at the core of McCormick’s vision. Engineering doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and your McCormick education won’t either. Every year, faculty and researchers from McCormick’s eight departments collaborate on hundreds of papers and research projects, both with other McCormick faculty members and with scholars throughout Northwestern. From the Feinberg School of Medicine to the Kellogg School of Management to the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, McCormick researchers work across disciplines to produce the type of scholarship that’s changing the world.
(See an interactive illustration of McCormick’s collaborations over the past decade.)
Choose a new approach to engineering
Producing whole-brain™ engineers means teaching more than just equations and theories — it means teaching to solve problems creatively and to communicate these solutions effectively. McCormick’s Engineering First® curriculum does this with a two-part sequence of courses that you’ll jump into your first year. Design Thinking and Communication (DTC), formerly known as Engineering Design and Communication, puts you to work immediately on team-based real-world design problems brought to you by individuals, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, and industry. It also teaches the writing and presentation skills you’ll need to thrive in a competitive marketplace. The other course sequence, Engineering Analysis, teaches you the fundamental science that every engineer needs — and how to apply this knowledge to engineering problems.
Choose to study with the best
McCormick students enjoy small classes taught by 180 full-time faculty members — professors recognized as leaders in their field who hold numerous patents, work closely with industry outside the University, and routinely receive major awards to pursue cutting-edge research. McCormick’s 1:9 faculty-student ratio means that world-class faculty get to know you by name, and unlike at larger universities, undergraduates frequently play active roles on faculty-led research teams.
Choose to explore the workplace
Managed by the Office of Career Development, McCormick’s Co-op program is a five-year combination of formal academic studies and invaluable on-the-job experience. Co-op students supplement 12 quarters of undergraduate study with 6 quarters of hands-on experience at one of nearly 200 corporate partners — including Abbott Labs and the huge number of national businesses headquartered in the Chicago area. In that time they build strong professional networks and get a better idea of what sort of work they’re interested in pursuing after graduation.
Choose a close-knit student body
About 1,500 undergraduates study at McCormick, with 350 incoming freshmen every year. McCormick’s and Northwestern’s size creates a unique balance: It’s large enough to attract the highest-quality faculty and students, support Division I athletics, and forge strong ties with the area business community; yet small enough for lasting bonds to form between both classmates and the larger student body. McCormick’s many student groups also strengthen the undergraduate community, and provide even more opportunities for personal growth.
Choose a great American city
Situated along the north shore of spectacular Lake Michigan, Northwestern’s Evanston campus is a blend of historic and modern. The Evanston campus sits 12 miles — a quick ride on the El — north of downtown Chicago, and Northwestern students have easy access to the vast array of professional sports, music, art, and cultural diversity the nation’s third-largest city has to offer. Northwestern’s location also means nearly unparalleled access to major corporations, research centers, organizations for study, internships, co-op positions, and eventually jobs — McCormick graduates are very popular with employers.
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Engineering