McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University

Welcome Fall 2014 New Students

Congratulations on your admission to Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science! The McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science is very excited to have you as the newest members of our community.

As we prepare to roll out the purple carpet for you this fall, please familiarize yourself with our undergraduate website and this new student page, to prepare yourself for a strong start as an MEAS student. You’ll hear from us directly throughout the summer via email. However, if you have additional questions or concerns, please e-mail the First Year Advisors in the Undergraduate Engineering Office at or call us at 847-491-7379.

Undergraduate Engineering Office 

The Undergraduate Engineering Office serves as an invaluable resource for information and assistance regarding courses, registration, majors, study abroad, your degree progress, and more. Your primary contact in the office will be the McCormick advisor assigned to you this summer.  Please familiarize yourself with this office and its staff:

Undergraduates studying in Ford

First Year Advising Office

Emma DeCosta - chemical engineering, environmental engineering, and materials science students

Richard Freeman - electrical engineering, computer engineering, computer science, and civil engineering students

Ken Gentry - biomedical engineering

Janice Mejia - industrial engineering, applied math, and manufacturing and design students

Ford 1.200
2133 Sheridan Rd.
Evanston, IL

Undergraduate Engineering Office

While your primary contact in McCormick will by your first year advisor, you may need to go to the undergrduate engineering office for a variety of things, including declaring your major, petitioning for course credit, transfering a course, or learning more about a student group. 

Stephen Carr, associate dean of undergraduate education

Joseph Holtgreive, assistant dean, counseling and personal development

Ellen Worsdall, assistant dean, diversity and student life

Betty Modlin, administrative assistant

Amanda Stasinski, coordinator of student involvement

Heather Bacon, assistant director of freshman and sophomore advising and student development

Emily Venezia, scheduling assistant

Technological Institute, L268–69
2145 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208-3100

McCormick Dossier

The McCormick Dossier is your most important tool in planning for fall quarter.  In it, you will be able to change your major (if desired), begin planning your fall schedule, and complete required placement exams.  Dossier is divided into three sections.  Each section must be completed by July 11.  After you have submitted all parts of the dossier, your advisor will contact you.  All students will hear from their advisor by August 5.

You should login to the Dossier using your Net ID and Password.

Dossier Part 1 - General Information

The general information section of Dossier allows you to:

  • Confirm, change, and/or explore majors (it's okay if you are undecided)
  • Indicate your interest in learning more about co-op, dual degree, and study abroad options
  • Self-report AP/IB scores (if applicable)
  • Submit documentation for any college level coursework taken prior to matriculation at Northwestern (if applicable)
  • Explore career goals
  • Reflect on your learning methods

There are many questions in this section of the Dossier that ask you to reflect on your previous learning experiences.  Please take a moment to think about these questions before responding.  The answers to these questions will help your advisor to know and understand you better.

Dossier Part 2 - Fall Quarter Study Plan

The study plan will review typical freshmen course schedules.  It will then allow you to build your initial fall schedule.  You will review and confirm your fall schedule with your advisor.

Dossier Part 3 - Placement Exams

The McCormick math placement is located within Dossier.  There also is a link to the ALEKS exam in Dossier.  Placement exams are described in more detail below.

Math Placement Exam

The Office of Undergraduate Engineering takes your preparation in calculus very seriously and has developed this exam as a resource for determining where you should start in the calculus sequence. Mathematics is a cornerstone in the foundation of engineering coursework. Incoming first-year McCormick students (even those with AP or IB credit) should take this exam. The exam is non-binding so it will not hurt anyone to take it.

The exam consists of a total of 41 multiple-choice questions divided into three areas: Differential Calculus, Integral Calculus and Advanced Calculus.  You will have 65 minutes to complete each section. The Differential and Integral Calculus sections are required.  The Advanced Calculus section is optional and used to determine placement in the honors math sequence.  Calculators are only to be used for basic math functions. Any student with a documented disability needing accommodations should first contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities.

The exam is online only through the McCormick Dossier and will be available starting Monday, June 2, and will remain available through 11:55 p.m. on Friday, July 11.

First Year Curriculum

Northwestern works on the quarter system, three quarters per year; each quarter students typically take 4 classes/credits, along with a 0 credit freshmen seminar.  While course plans will vary from student to student based on major, interests, and other factors, there is a standard set of sequences that McCormick freshmen begin in the first year:

  • Mathematics - Three of the courses will be in mathematics, one per quarter, all in calculus or differential equations. Where you begin in the math sequence (Math 220, 224, 230, 234) is determined by AP/IB exam scores and your results on the McCormick Math Placement Exam.
  • Science - At least two courses should be in basic science. Most students begin with Chemistry 101 or 171, unless they have tested out with AP/IB credit.
  • Engineering Analysis - Three of the courses will be the first three quarters of the Engineering Analysis (GEN_ENG 205-1, 2, 3) sequence. These three courses cover material in linear algebra, mechanics, physics, and computer proficiency.
  • Design Thinking and Communication - Two of the courses will be the Design Thinking and Communication (DTC) sequence. This two-quarter sequence is dedicated to learning the design process and will focus on clear and effective writing; to register for a quarter you will need 0.5 credits of DSGN, and 0.5 credits of ENGL separately. Either Fall or Winter quarter you will need to take DTC I (DSGN 106-1 & ENG 106-1); Spring quarter you will take DTC II (DSGN 106-2 & ENG 106-2).
  • First-Year Experience - Each quarter you will enroll in a zero credit seminar, “PRDV 396-0 Special Topics in Personal Development: MEAS First-Year Experience.” This course will help your transition to college; give you a place to discuss academic, social, or other issues with peers; and provide information on the resources available at Northwestern.
  • The remaining courses are typically science requirements and elective choices.

This chart is intended as a guide to give you a sense of courses you are likely to take freshman year.  Specifics and special concerns will be discussed with your advisor.

Suggested First Year Course Pattern:

Fall     Winter Spring
Math (Calculus) Math (Calculus) Math (Calculus)                            
Science (Chem) Science (Chem) Elective or Science (Chem)*
GEN_ENG 205-1 GEN_ENG 205-2 GEN_ENG 205-3
DSGN 106-1 (.5 credit) DSGN 105-1 (.5 credit) DSGN 106-2 (.5 credit)
ENGLISH 106-1 (.5 credit) or Elective# ENGLISH 106-1 (.5 credit) or Elective# ENGLISH  106-2 (.5 credit)

#You will take Design Thinking and Communication 1 (DSNG 105-1 and ENGLISH 106-1) in the Fall OR Winter

*Should be the third quarter of chemistry if majoring in Chemical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, or Materials Science & Engineering

Summer Mailings

McCormick will send out monthly emails regarding important events before fall! A list of archived mailings is included here:

Computing at Northwestern

Northwestern Information Technologies (NUIT)

NUIT serves as Northwestern's central information technology organization, providing support for computers, telephones, multimedia equipment, and the networks that connect them.

Computer Recommendations

What sort of personal computer do you need in the campus environment? What should you consider when purchasing a new system? See Northwestern University's computer recommendations.

MATLAB Software

First year McCormick students will use a mathematical software programming package called MATLAB as part of the Engineering Analysis (EA) course sequence. You should purchase this software by August 1st.

Download the MATLAB software for a reduced price here.

McCormick Google Hangout

McCormick will host an interactive Google Hangout in June and July, answering questions about your first year engineering schedule, advising, Wildcat Welcome events, math placement exam information, details on transfer credits and AP/IB score results, and much more. Watch your Northwestern email for more information on this online session!

Helpful Links 

Freshman Checklist

Checkbox June 2 - July 11
Complete the McCormick Dossier

The MEAS online dossier is your most important tool for planning the fall quarter.  In it, you will record information on your major interests and previous coursework and test scores.  The Dossier will also allow you to complete your fall sudy plan and take the math placement exam.

You must complete all three sections of Dossier:

  • Dossier Part 1 - General Information
  • Dossier Part 2 - Fall Quarter Study Plan
  • Dossier Part 3 - Placement Exams

June 2 - July 11

Take Math Placement Exam
This online exam will help us to ensure that you're in the right math class given your background in the subject.  To complete the test, log into Dossier.

June 2 - July 11

Complete the ALEKS exam

Math skills assessment required for many Math and Chemistry coureses.  You can access the exam between June 1 and August 1 by logging in with your Net ID and password at


June and/or July

Attend a Google Hangout
McCormick will host two Google Hangouts.  The first will be held at the end of June and the other will be held in early July.  The live hangout sessions are an opportunity to learn more about McCormick and have your questions answered in real time. Check back for more information on the date and time of the Google Hangouts. 

June 2 -
July 11

Send Transfer Credit Info

Review the Credit Transfer Process guidelines and upload relavant materials to Dossier or send them to Dean Holtgreive.



Contact Peer Advisor

By mid-July, you should have heard from your peer advisor (PA), an upperclassman who will lead you through Wildcat Welcome. Be sure to keep in touch with your PA and get to know them before school starts to get your questions answered.


August 1

Complete other relevant
placement or assessment

These might include Chemistry or language placement or assessment exams.  Contact the department for more information.  You can also find additional information on other placement and assessment exams at


This summer

Submit all AP/IB Scores

Send your official score report to:

     Office of the Registrar
     Northwestern University
     633 Clark Street
     Evanston, IL 60208

Be sure to bring a copy of the report with you to campus this fall. 


This Summer

Join the McCormick Class of 2018 Facebook Group

Join the McCormick Class of 2018 Facebook Group to start meeting your future classmates and stay up to date on McCormick before you arrive on campus.


This summer

Visit the McCormick 2018 website

Bookmark this page to stay updated on the latest news for the Class of 2018.

Important Dates

Dossier Due
Friday, July 11

Freshman Advising
Wednesday, Sept. 17- Thursday Sept. 18

New Student Registration
Friday, Sept. 19

Related Links

Northwestern Office of Financial Aid

Co-op/Office of Career Development

Segal Design Institute

Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Student Groups

Explore our viewbook

Contact Us

Stephen H. Carr

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Engineering

McCormick Office of Undergraduate Engineering


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