Murphy Scholars enjoy the benefits of one-on-one advising from some of the top minds in their field.Murphy Scholars enjoy the benefits of one-on-one advising from some of the top minds in their field.
As a Murphy Scholar, you’ll learn how to ask the right questions and create smart solutions.As a Murphy Scholar, you’ll learn how to ask the right questions and create smart solutions.
Murphy Scholars design and execute a project of their own choosing.Murphy Scholars design and execute a project of their own choosing.

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Murphy Institute

The Murphy Institute enables a group of McCormick's best undergraduates to engage in self-directed activities of interest to them, with support from faculty advisers. These activities might include on-campus research, involvement with design projects, entrepreneurship, or engagement in off-campus scholarly work.

A Murphy Institute Scholar may follow an existing curriculum or design his or her own curriculum through McCormick’s Integrated Engineering Studies degree program.

Participation in the Murphy Institute is by invitation only.

Major Project

Murphy Institute Scholars define and pursue a research or design project during their four years at Northwestern. Each Murphy Institute Scholar receives an award that is intended to cover supplemental expenses. Project possibilities include:

  • laboratory research
  • design
  • entrepreneurial activities
  • public policy

View samples of recent projects

Advising

Murphy Scholars are advised by an interdisciplinary team of Faculty Fellows, which is assembled with the interests of the students in mind.

Some members of the advising team may be from other Northwestern schools, from outside the University, or from Northwestern's alumni base.

Seminars

Murphy Scholars take part in an interdisciplinary seminar series called Engineering Dialog, which is organized and presented by Murphy Institute Faculty Fellows and Scholars.

Presentations cover diverse topics and change with each quarter. For example:

  • Professor David Kelso described fighting disease in Africa with engineering solutions.
  • Professor Elizabeth Gerber, along with Murphy Scholar Nana Ohene Adu, discussed their roles in Design for America.
  • Professor Hani Mahmassani talked about solutions for traffic gridlock.

Courses

Murphy Scholars follow the course curriculum of their chosen major or design a curriculum based on their interests.

In the Engineering First® curriculum, Scholars enroll in a special section of Design Thinking and Communication that incorporates concepts from Engineering Analysis.

To supplement their studies, some Murphy Scholars also pursue a second major or a certificate.

Extracurricular Activities

Murphy Scholars are involved in a wide variety of activities on campus and throughout the community, often taking leadership roles in their organizations.

Learn more about student groups and personal development opportunities at McCormick.

Becoming a Murphy Scholar

Participation in the Murphy Institute is by invitation only. Students are invited to serve as Murphy Institute Scholars on the basis of their Northwestern applications.


Project Samples

Photo of Programming with a Purpose

Programming with a Purpose

Alex Hollenbeck

Alex’s project teaches coding to students by matching their own particular level of skill with issues from real open-source projects.

Learn more about this project

Photo of Organic Photovoltaic Fabrication

Organic Photovoltaic Fabrication

Laura Pettersen

In her project, Laura developed a way to increase the external quantum efficiency of an organic photovoltaic material—a solar cell that is made from organic materials rather than silicon.

Learn more about this project

Photo of Volunteer Engagement in the Age of Analytics:  A Case Study with the American Red Cross Greater Chicago Region

Volunteer Engagement in the Age of Analytics: A Case Study with the American Red Cross Greater Chicago Region

Tessa Swanson

Tessa's team analyzed the Red Cross Volunteer system to help them maximize the use of—and experience for—volunteers responding to local disasters, such as house fires.

Learn more about this project

Photo of Dynamic Display of Bioactivity for Regenerative Medicine

Dynamic Display of Bioactivity for Regenerative Medicine

Ellen Zhuang

Ellen’s study advances the understanding of—and tools available for—regenerative medicine by providing a scaffold that has the dynamic nature of extracellular matrices.

Learn more about this project