Undergraduate Study at McCormick
The concept of whole-brain engineering™ runs through all of McCormick’s bachelor’s degree and other specialized programs. Each program delivers a balanced education through coursework, research, internships, and extra-curricular activities. You can even design your own program within engineering, or combine an engineering degree with a second major at Northwestern.
At McCormick, our goal always is to help you articulate and pursue your individual goals and develop into a well-rounded engineer capable of achieving your full potential.
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- Whole-Brain Engineering
- A Whole-Brain Experience
- Connections Across Disciplines and Schools
- Innovative Curriculum
- Advising Resources
- Award-Winning Faculty
- Groundbreaking Research
- Chicago: A Great American City
Complex problems have complex solutions. Energy and sustainability, global health, poverty, and education—true solutions to these challenges involve multiple disciplines. 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 one of the many extracurricular activities offered.
Through the integration of three key areas, we provide opportunities for students to develop superior technical skills and complementary creative thinking as they become whole-brain engineers:
The entry point to whole-brain thinking, design connects the technical skills of engineering with the creativity needed to correctly frame and solve the problem. This design knowledge sets McCormick students apart from their peers at other schools and in the workplace after they graduate.
Entrepreneurship is strongly encouraged in all areas at Northwestern. The Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation provides course offerings, funding, and guidance to students looking to nurture and develop their innovative ideas.
With resources such as the Center for Leadership, McCormick students gain the skills and ability to rally support around an objective, manage team dynamics, and maximize collaboration.
Just as whole-brain engineering results from the combination of analytical left-brain skills and creative right-brain thinking, many seemingly disconnected factors intersect at McCormick to create a unified experience unlike that at any other engineering school.
More than 1,600 undergraduates study at McCormick, with approximately 400 incoming freshmen every year. All engineering students and faculty members participate in classes, collaborate on projects, conduct research, and share knowledge and experience in one physical location. This closeness brings people with diverse thinking and skills together on a daily basis where ideas can be exchanged, insights gained, perspectives broadened, and life-long professional and personal relationships formed.
Northwestern University, known for its emphasis on collaboration, promotes partnerships among disciplines – and this is where new discoveries and innovations often occur. In fact, the majority of science and engineering departments are clustered closely together on campus.
However, our whole-brain approach takes us even further afield. McCormick actively collaborates with nearly every school at Northwestern, and our faculty and students often extend their research projects initiatives around the world.
As an undergraduate, you’ll collaborate with students from a range of disciplines and schools through opportunities such as our innovative Engineering First® curriculum for first-year students, NUvention courses, coursework and projects at the Segal Design Institute, and more.
From the very start of your freshman year at McCormick, you’ll experience firsthand what it feels like to be a practicing engineer. In our groundbreaking Engineering First® program, you’ll work with actual clients through the Design Thinking & Communication (DTC) courses, solve problems, deliver tangible results, and make a positive impact on another person’s life—all within your first year.
In addition, our Social Science / Humanities Theme Requirement ensures you become a well-rounded engineer by developing an area of competency in the humanities. You choose your theme’s focus based on your own interests.
Students at McCormick receive a wealth of support and guidance in all areas from the start of their academic careers to graduation and beyond.
The McCormick Advising System provides guidance to first-year engineering students and serves as a continual resource through their years of study. Departmental faculty advisers continue to support upperclass students in their respective fields and majors.
The Office of Personal Development is just one of several resources that empowers students to take ownership of their learning and connect their personal goals with available courses and activities.
With opportunities such as the Cooperative Engineering Education Program (Co-op) that gives students hands-on work experience, the McCormick Office of Career Development (MCD) provides programs and services that offer career advice and integrated learning.
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, 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 undergraduates frequently play active roles on faculty-led research teams.
As a McCormick student, you’ll soon realize how our dual mission—creating new knowledge through research and engaging and educating our students — directly affects your life and future in very real and practical ways.
You’ll see how the scope and quality of our faculty’s research energize the classroom with new ideas across the full spectrum of engineering disciplines, and how their passion for their work inspires you with new possibilities in your chosen field. It may even draw you into the research lab to work side by side.
As early as your first year, you’ll have opportunities to participate in innovative research with our faculty members. It’s common for our students to be part of a team that publishes notable research results and connects science to solutions that affect people’s lives.
Situated along the north shore of spectacular Lake Michigan, Northwestern’s Evanston campus is just 12 miles north of downtown Chicago, a quick ride on public transportation. Our location provides easy access to a wide array of cultural activities including sports, music, art, and restaurants, as well as nearly unparalleled access to major corporations, research centers, organizations for study, internships, co-op positions, and other valuable career opportunities.