Frequently Asked Questions

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Admissions Details

Admissions Details

How long will the decision take?
After you submit your application, our admissions team will confirm when we have received all required materials. If you have not received confirmation within one to two weeks of submitting your application, please feel free to email us at Admission decisions typically take up to four weeks, at which time we will notify you of the decision.

What should I include in my portfolio?
Our portfolio requirements vary depending on the program to which you are applying. You’ll find details for what should be included in 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 or IELTS scores?
If you received your undergraduate degree from an institution where the primary language of instruction was not English, you are required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores.  All scores should be sent directly to IIT by the testing service. Please request that your scores be sent to institution code 1318. No department code is required.

The minimum TOEFL score accepted is 100. The minimum IELTS total score accepted is 7.5. TOEFL and IELTS scores more than two years old at the time your application is reviewed will not be accepted, new scores will be required.

Is prior work experience mandatory?

  • For MDes, two to four years is typical, but not required.
  • For MDM, eight to ten years is typical and a minimum of five years is required.
  • Pro-bono, freelance projects, and full-time internships will be considered.

Does the Master of Design have STEM eligibility?
Yes, as of fall 2018, the Master of Design is considered STEM eligible. The Master of Design Methods and the PhD programs are not. See the US government’s website for more information about STEM programs.

How diverse is ID?
ID believes that diverse perspectives, cultures, and backgrounds are essential to an innovative and vibrant learning environment. We pride ourselves on our historically even gender balance, as well as a globally diverse student body reflecting a wide range of work experiences. 

It is now past the final application submission date, can I still apply?
Yes, space permitting and depending on the program, you can still apply after the normal deadlines. Please email our staff at to inquire about late applications.

I have been admitted, how do I secure my spot in the program?
You will need to submit a $500 tuition deposit and complete an intent to enroll form through the application portal to confirm your intent to join our program. We cannot hold a place for you if you do not send a deposit.


Will I need to complete a thesis project if I’m in a master’s program?
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 eight to ten 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 three.

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.


How much will it cost to attend?
Tuition varies for each program. Please consult program information pages for details.
Master of Design
Master of Design + MBA
Master of Design Methods

Do you have scholarships?
Yes, we offer a limited number of fellowships and scholarships. All admitted students are considered for a fellowship, with early applications considered first. No separate application is needed. You will find more financial aid information on our Fellowships + Financial Aid page.

What percentage of students 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 and/or scholarship to cover a portion of tuition costs.

How do I apply for a fellowship?
As a newly-admitted student you are automatically considered based on your admission materials. No separate application is needed.

When will I be notified of an award?
We will notify you of an awarded scholarship at time of admission. Fellowships are communicated via email approximately four weeks after after the admission decision. Only those who have been awarded a fellowship will receive notification of an award.

Do you award fellowships or scholarship based on need?
At this time, we award all fellowships based on merit. Past, present, and likely future accomplishments are considered.

If I am admitted and do not receive a fellowship or scholarship, can I apply once I begin the program?
We only award fellowships and scholarships on the entering semester for newly admitted students to the program.

How much money will I be awarded?
Specific amounts will vary. In the past, our fellowships have provided from 25% up to 100% of tuition.

Can I pick which fellowship I want to apply for?
To maximize the impact of awards, our fellowship committee decides which fellowships are distributed to whom.

Do all your programs award fellowships?
Our fellowships are available only for newly admitted Master of Design, Master of Design + MBA, and PhD students.

If I defer my admission, will I still receive my fellowship when I enter the program?
Fellowships cannot be transferred from semester to semester. If you are unable to attend in the semester in which you were awarded a fellowship, you will be considered again for a fellowship for the semester in which you enroll. However, due to the competitive nature of the program, we cannot guarantee a fellowship will be available to you at that time.


I do not have a design background. Can I still attend?
Yes, we accept many students without a formal design education. Most often these students take one additional semester of Foundation courses or a customized set of bridge courses. Our faculty makes these decisions based on careful review of application materials.

My test scores are not great, what are my chances of getting in?
We carefully review all applications. While we have minimum standards, we are looking for students who we believe will excel in our program, and we understand that important qualities are not captured in a test score.

How many students are enrolled in the MDes program?
Every year is different and individual lengths of stay vary, therefore the total number of enrolled students ranges from 80-120 each year.

What percentage of applicants are accepted for the MDes program?
It depends on the year. Each program is competitive and we make sure there is a good fit between the school and the goals of the applicant.

Join our Graduate Program

Get complete information on application requirements.

Application Deadlines

Spring 2020 admission
November 1, 2019

Fall 2020 admission
January 17, 2020 (early round)
February 28, 2020 (final round)

Late applications may be considered, please contact us
Admission to the MDes program with Foundation is offered for the fall semester only. Your application must be completed by 5pm (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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Visit our FAQ page for more information. If you have additional questions regarding our application process or requirements, please send an email to or call us at 312-595-4900.