• ID student creating an interactive physical prototype.

  • ID student coding an interactive software interface.

  • ID student making a physical model.

  • ID faculty and student working on an installation prototype.

  • ID student working in the shop.

  • ID student workspaces. 

  • ID students in the photo studio.

  • ID faculty giving a desktop crit.

  • A student receives feedback during a critique.

  • Student groups participating in a prototyping exercise.

Student life at ID

Our students come from various backgrounds, careers, and industries (one of the most global institutions of its kind) and through side-by-side collaboration, leave as a tight knit group. Working in teams on real-world problems in classes and workshops is just one side to student life at ID. Students also engage in activities that connect them with professional design and business communities.

Student-led conferences

Over a decade ago, ID students created a platform to engage the broader design community. Their annual Design Research Conference (DRC) bought together professionals advancing the role of design research in innovation.

In 2014, ID students re-imagined the conference and re-launched DRC as BarnRaise. This hands-on, maker-oriented, meet-up, engages hundreds of designers and community organizers to work on real problems facing our communities. This conference reboot has inspired other universities to follow the same event model.

Studio Visit Series (SVS)

Local design consultancies and other organizations open up their space to students and alumni allowing them to get a sneak peek behind the scenes. Tours, presentations, and networking are all part of the experience. Past visits have included firms such as Fjord, Doblin, and IA Collaborative.

Student organizations

Led by a new crop of students each year, our Student Advisory Board has several committees devoted to bringing resources, social activities, networking opportunities, sustainability and more to our community.

IDSAB Co-Chairs

Two co-chairs facilitate the relationship between students and ID administration. They also manage the other student groups.


Sponsors a series internal events and activities to make student life more engaging.


Helps connect students with the larger Chicago community.


Responsible for fun. They host the legendary International Festival and pub nights throughout the year.


Paving the way to a more environmentally responsible school.


Provides a supportive environment and helps orient potential and new students


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

To learn more about what’s it like to be a student at ID contact: