Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need a design degree to apply?
No. For students who do not have a design background, we offer a 3-year MDes option in both Graphic Design and Industrial Design.

Do I need to have an undergraduate design degree to apply for the 2-year MDes?
No. Any student who can meet the 2-year MDes portfolio requirements can apply to the 2-year program.

Can I attend part-time?
Our program is not structured for part-time study. Our students plan to take no less than 16 credits (4 classes) each semester while enrolled.

Do you have evening or weekend classes?

Can the graduate application fee or international credential fee be waived?
Fee waivers are available in only a few limited instances as explained on the Graduate Admissions website. Unfortunately, application fee waivers are not granted for financial hardship, and no fee waivers are granted for the international credential fee.

When will I know if I have been accepted?
Students who meet the January 15th deadline should receive an admission update by the end of March.

How do I apply for School of Design funding?
All applicants are considered for any available School of Design funding allotted for incoming students when reviewed for acceptance. 

What other funding is available through UIC?
Typically, students seek additional funding from UIC in the form of graduate assistantships and/or graduate hourly positions on campus. Most of our students are able to obtain on-campus employment during their graduate studies. Many of these positions are graduate assistantships, which cover the cost of tuition and some fees.

Do you offer teaching assistantships?
Yes. During the final year of study, all students are considered for limited and highly competitive teaching assistantships in the School of Design’s Design Foundation program. 

How do I apply for UIC assistantships outside the School of Design?
While the University offers centralized student employment services, the recruitment and hiring process for teaching or research assistants and other positions in non-academic departments is often conducted through individual departments. Seeking and securing employment necessarily will be a hybrid experience and will, at times, feel intimidating, but the potential rewards are worth the effort. Some students even find that their experiences in other departments inform research related to what becomes a thesis project. The easiest place to start looking for positions is the UIC Job Board and via Handshake, UIC’s Student Employment hub. 

Additionally, it may be of use to reach out to any of UIC’s academic and/or social and cultural Student Support offices you are connected to or may identify with to see if they know of any assistantships around campus that haven’t been posted online yet. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the linked page because the list is broken up into various sections.

Are your graduate programs STEM-designated?
No. Currently, neither of our MDes degrees are STEM-designated programs and do not qualify international graduates for extended OPT.

If your question is not answered on this page, please fill out our Request for Information form.