Undergraduate Study
Honors & Combined Degrees
Murphy Scholars Program

The Murphy Scholars Program supports McCormick undergraduates in their pursuit of innovative, impactful, self-directed projects of interest to them, with support from faculty advisers. These projects center on diverse activities which can include on-campus research, design projects, entrepreneurship, interdisciplinary ventures, or off-campus scholarly work.

Murphy Scholars receive dedicated support including:

  • Weekly seminars to meet and network with field-leading researchers and innovators across Northwestern
  • A transdisciplinary peer community of Murphy Scholars
  • Faculty Fellows who serve as supplementary advisers
  • Access to dedicated funds to support independent projects

Students must apply to the program in winter of their first year, and all majors are eligible.

Murphy Project

Participants in the Murphy Scholars Program define and pursue an independent project during their four years at Northwestern. A key goal of Murphy Scholars program activities is to support students in the identification and refinement of their project idea. This includes exposing students to areas of research and other scholarly activities at Northwestern that are available for student involvement. Example of project types include the following:

  • laboratory research
  • design
  • entrepreneurial activities
  • public policy
  • interdisciplinary ventures (e.g., work at the interface of engineering and art, the humanities, or the law)


Murphy Scholars are advised by an interdisciplinary team of Faculty Fellows, who work with scholars over the course of their time at Northwestern. Fellows serve as supplementary advisers on matters including career development, Murphy Project identification and pursuit, and other matters of student interest.

In addition to the Faculty Fellows, each student identifies a faculty mentor for their individual project to obtain additional support and domain-specific expertise and guidance.


Murphy Scholars take part in an interdisciplinary seminar series called Engineering Dialog, which is organized and presented by Faculty Fellows and Scholars from the program.

Presentations cover diverse topics and change with each quarter.

Coursework and Degrees

Students in the Murphy Scholars Program may follow an existing undergraduate curriculum or design their own curriculum through McCormick’s Integrated Engineering Studies degree program.

To supplement their studies, some Murphy Scholars also pursue a minor, a second major, or a certificate.

Extracurricular Activities

Murphy Scholars are involved in a wide variety of activities on campus and throughout the community, often taking leadership roles in their organizations.

Learn more about student groups and personal development opportunities at McCormick.

How to Apply


First year students from all McCormick majors are invited to apply for admission into the program in winter quarter of each year, with appointments starting in spring of that year. No prior research experience is required.

Application Deadline

March 15, 2024, at 11:59 p.m.

Application and Selection Process

The application and selection process is designed to identify students who will most benefit from participation in the program. There are no hard qualifications, and we employ a holistic review process to evaluate each application individually. We strive to recruit, build, and support a cohort of Scholars that reflects the diversity of interests, majors, and identities that comprise the Northwestern Engineering community.

Application Components

All components should be combined in a SINGLE application pdf document.

  1. Cover Page: Basic personal information (First Name, Last Name, email, major)
  2. Unofficial Northwestern transcript
  3. Personal Statement (1 page total): All applicants are encouraged to review materials on the Murphy Scholars website prior to writing this statement. In your statement, please address each of the following prompts:
    1. What is your motivation for joining the Murphy Scholars Program? How do you envision the specific activities, resources, and networks associated with the program benefitting you during your time at Northwestern and beyond? How do you plan to contribute to the community of Murphy Scholars?
    2. Describe any plans or interests that could guide your development of a Murphy Project. This can be as general or specific as you like, noting that helping you develop a firmer idea of a project is a goal of the program. Your idea may or may be included in the list of topics listed on the Murphy Scholars website.
    3. What has been your interaction with the Murphy Scholars to date? Have you attended any Murphy Symposia or information sessions or spoken with a Murphy Scholar about the program? This prompt is intended to help us contextualize your overall statement.

Application Portal

Access the application submission form to apply by March 15, 2024, at 11:59 p.m.

Apply to the Murphy Scholars Program

Please direct questions to Seda Ogrenci, Director of the Murphy Scholars Program.