Consideration will be given to applicants who are ready to tackle the world’s most complex challenges and:

  1. have at least two years of professional experience in engineering, design, business, government, or other fields;
  2. hold a degree in design, engineering, sciences, social sciences, or a related field; and
  3. have demonstrated technical literacy (see below) and multidisciplinary design interests.  Applicants must be prepared to submit a portfolio/set of project descriptions.

Applicants should have a broad set of interests and be ready to embrace studies in a fast-paced, interdisciplinary setting that relies heavily on collaboration.  In addition to a portfolio, applicants will be required to submit a brief essay that describes their interest in addressing complex human problems, their particular domain of interest, and how they will utilize this degree to achieve their goals.

Technical literacy might include mathematical skills at the level of calculus, statistics and experience in coding applications and using advanced computer simulation tools. For students without sufficient experience, a small number of electives and/or online courses can be used to “top up” their technical background. All students are required to participate in a preterm workshop that focuses on skills and software central to the Collaborative Design Engineering Studio.

The design portfolio should provide a representative number of examples of the candidate’s work, design, and/or research, which are most relevant to the MDE program. Examples may be professional or academic and may encompass designed, researched, and/or actualized work. Projects may include, but are not limited to, buildings, products, mechanical systems, electronic systems, organizational systems, and recommendations regarding processes. It is understood that portfolios will vary widely in content based on the educational background and work experience of individual applicants. Demonstration of technical literacy and innovation is desirable. Projects should be submitted in PDF format and include a description of the project as well as supporting documentation, which may include images or a video (videos must be uploaded separately from the PDF). Applicants may include a list of additional relevant projects. Please see admission instructions for more details on portfolio submittal.

The application of every applicant will be evaluated by a joint committee of GSD and SEAS faculty, who will evaluate and determine the suitability of applicants based on their demonstrated capabilities, statements of purpose, and design portfolios, with consideration toward creating a well-balanced cohort.

Note: While the Master in Design Engineering is a collaborative degree program between the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), the admissions process is administered by the GSD. 

To learn more about admissions and how to apply

See also:

Frequently Asked Questions regarding admissions

Frequently Asked Questions specific to the MDE program