Student Prizes and Awards

McCormick believes in rewarding its undergraduates and graduating seniors who perform exceptionally well. As such, prizes and honors based on academic performance are given on a quarterly and annual basis to deserving students.

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Undergraduate Awards

Dean's List

Each quarter, students who took a full-time course load (three or more units of credit) and received a grade point average of 3.75 or higher are recognized for outstanding academic achievement. These students are sent an Honors certificate. For those students with a perfect 4.0 grade point average in a quarter, the certificate notes High Honors.


McCormick students may apply for a wide range of fellowships for undergraduates. Some fellowships provide funding to attend graduate school; others allow you to study or to conduct research overseas to gain practical experience in your field of study.

Visit the Office of Fellowships for further information and guidance on how to apply and be successful in the application process.

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Awards for Graduating Seniors

Each of the awards below is presented to students at the McCormick convocation ceremony.

Latin Honors

At graduation, a select group of students are awarded Latin Honors. Degrees with Latin Honors are awarded as follows:

  • Summa Cum Laude: the top five percent of McCormick graduates
  • Magna Cum Laude: the next eight percent of graduates
  • Cum Laude: the next 12 percent of graduates

Gotaas Award

In order to encourage exemplary engineering research, the Harold B. Gotaas Award is presented to a senior who has demonstrated excellence in research as an undergraduate. The award is bestowed in memory of Dr. Gotaas, a former Dean of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. Dr. Harold B. Gotaas earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Iowa State University and his doctorate from Harvard. Dr. Gotaas was selected Dean of Northwestern University Engineering in 1957. The Harold B. Gotaas Award is available to graduating McCormick seniors only, and is awarded as a part of Northwestern University's Commencement Ceremonies. The winner will be announced at a senior send-off event. Details of the requirements and deadline of the paper are announced each fall. The 2017 application form is available at this link.

Alumni Award

The McCormick Alumni Award is made to the graduating senior who has demonstrated outstanding service to the McCormick School of Engineering, to Northwestern University, and to the community, and who also has worthy scholastic achievement. Nominations are accepted each spring from members of the graduating class.

Eshbach Award

The Ovid W. Eshbach Award was established in 1948 by the first graduating class of what was then the Technological Institute and was named in honor of the first dean of the institute. The Eshbach Award is given for overall excellence in scholarship and leadership.

Each spring, nominations are accepted from the graduating class on who they feel most closely typifies the ideal engineering student.

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Mickelson Prize

The Mickelson Prize for Innovation and Creativity is awarded for the best innovative or creative-integrative ‘Capstone’ project required (or acceptable) for an undergraduate degree from McCormick. It recognizes superlative work accomplished by a McCormick senior – and includes all close collaborators. The Mickelson Prize is announced at the Graduation Convocation. Cash awards for the prize are made as follows:

  • First Place: $4,000 to the student(s)
  • Second Place: $2,500 to the student(s)
  • Third Place: $1,500 to the student(s)
  • Honorable Mention may be given to other highly meritorious entries.

Basis for Recognition

  • The work must be insightful, innovative, or creative.
  • The integrative and multidisciplinary character of the work should be highlighted. Emphasis should be given to the potential for the work to translate into one or more technologies.
  • Human-centered design work will be favored by the judges. Research whose outcome can be shown to open a path to useful technologies is also in a similar spirit and relevant to this competition.
  • At least some of the work must have led to academic credit for the applicant(s).
  • Account will be made for the number of participating students in relation to the quality and magnitude of the work product.
  • Applicants must make clear what portion (or the entirety) of the submitted work is the result of their own efforts.

Submitting an Application

Students will submit their work online as a PDF document. The submission must comply with the form included in the competition announcement.