Admissions Details

How long will the decision take?
Admission decisions will be shared approximately four weeks after all materials have been submitted and confirmed. The admissions team will confirm when all materials have been received. If you have not received confirmation within 1-2 weeks of submitting your application, please feel free to check-in by emailing

What should I include in my portfolio?
You’ll find details for what should be included on the portfolio section of the application information page.

Do I need to submit both GRE and GMAT?
We will accept either the GRE or the GMAT. The GRE minimum is 310 and GMAT minimum is 600.

Who needs to submit TOEFL scores?
Anyone who received their undergraduate degree from a non-English speaking university is required to submit TOEFL scores.

Is prior work experience mandatory?
For MDES 2-4 years is typical, but not required. For MDM 8-10 years is typical and a minimum of 5 years is required. Pro-bono, freelance projects, and full-time internships will be considered.

Is the Master of Design a STEM degree?
Yes, as of Fall 2018, the Master of Design is considered a STEM degree. (The Master of Design Methods and the PhD program are not.) See the U.S. government’s website for more information about STEM programs.

What is the diversity of MDes/MDM student body in terms of age, education, and work background?
Please see the specific program page for a description of the typical student body.
Master of Design
Master of Design + MBA
Master of Design Methods

It is now past the final application submission date, can I still apply?
Yes, space permitting, it is possible to be admitted after the final round of applications. Please contact admissions or call 312-595-4906 to inquire about late applications.

I have been admitted ( yeah! ), how do I secure my spot in the program?
A $500 tuition deposit and completed intent to enroll form demonstrates your acceptance of our offer of admission to the program. We cannot hold a place for you if you do not send a deposit. Please submit your deposit online.


Do students complete thesis projects?
Not as a single capstone project. Instead, we use our workshops as opportunities for integration and application of our theories and methods. Students typically accumulate 8-10 workshops (some with outside corporate sponsorships) over the course of four semesters.

What is the class experience like?
All of our classes, seminars, and workshops, are active experiences. We use a combination of lectures, discussions, short exercises, and bigger projects to explore the content of a course and learn how to apply its teachings to design work. Depending on the size and nature of a course, some are team based while others focus on individual learning. Most classes have an average size of 15 students; more popular classes can get as big as 25, and some are as small as 3 students.

Can I work on an idea I want to take to market?
We encourage students to follow their passion and some students have been able to bring concepts worked on in class to commercialization. However we believe that our program is best suited to those interested in building a range of professional skills and the deep theoretical knowledge necessary for a successful career in design. Entrepreneurial pursuits are just one aspect of this education.


Do you have scholarships?
IIT Institute of Design offers a limited number of fellowships. These are awarded based on merit. All admitted students are considered for a fellowship with early applications considered first. No separate application is needed (except for Victor and Debbie Lo Fellowship).  More financial aid information can be found on our Fellowships + Financial Aid page.

What is the percentage of students who receive fellowships?
Fellowships are extremely competitive and the total amounts available are directly influenced by the generous donations of our community. Typically 20% of applicants receive a fellowship to cover a portion of tuition costs. More about fellowships can be found here.

How much will it cost to attend?
Tuition information for each program can be found at:
Master of Design
Master of Design + MBA
Master of Design Methods


I do not have a design background. Can I still attend?
IIT Institute of Design accepts many students without a formal design education. Most often these students take two semesters of design Foundation. Decisions will be made by the faculty upon review of application materials.

My test scores are not great, what are the chances of getting in?
All applications are reviewed in full. While we have minimum standards, we are looking for students that will excel in our program which is not always captured in a test score.

How many students are enrolled in the MDes program?
Every year is different. We strive to ensure the most balanced student body and individual lengths of stay vary, therefore the total number of enrolled students can range from 80-120 each year.

What is the percentage of applicants who are accepted for the MDes program?
It depends on the year. Each program is competitive and we spend as much time making sure the incoming class is balanced as we do making sure there is a good fit between the school and the goals of the applicant. Approximately 70-75% of applicants are admitted into the MDes program each year.

Application Deadlines

Spring 2019 admission
September 21, 2018 (early round)
November 2, 2018 (final round)

Late applications may be considered, please contact us.

Fall 2019 admission
January 18, 2019 (early round)
March 1, 2019 (final round)

Admission to the MDes program with Foundation is offered for the fall semester only. Your application must be completed by 5 p.m. (CST/Chicago time) on the due date to be considered for that round. You will receive an email confirmation when all of your materials have been received. Admission decisions will be communicated roughly four weeks after this confirmation.

More information

Have a question you don’t see listed here? Feel free to drop us a line and we’ll get right back to you.