Frequently Asked Questions

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Question Categories: General | Courses & Credits | Minor | Projects | Events | Forms

General Questions

The Multidisciplinary Design Program was founded in 2008 to give Engineering students more hands-on, real-world design experience. Eight years later, we provide design credit to over 800+ students annually and have expanded beyond Engineering to include 11 total schools and colleges (e.g. Ross School of Business, Stamps School of Art & Design, School of Kinesiology, LS&A, School of Information, etc).
The first step is to connect to a project team. You can either apply for a Partner Sponsored Project or Faculty Research Team through MDP (application process occurs each year in October), or join a design-based student organization and complete the credit proposal process.
Any Undergraduate or Graduate student currently enrolled at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor is welcome to join a project team. Though all projects are engineering-based, there are important components of each project that can be very successfully completed by non-engineers, including User Interface/User Design, Statistical Analysis, Historical Research, Marketing and Finance, etc.
Please check out our contact us page for more information.

Courses & Credits

This is how your MDP project(s) will appear on your academic transcript. Unlike a traditional lecture or discussion course, there is no set time to appear in a classroom. Instead, you have team meetings, design sessions, individual work, meetings with sponsors or professors, etc. that utilize your time. "All-hands" team meetings with faculty and mentors are determined once your team is set and staffed. Visit for more detailed information
For each 1 credit hour you enroll in, you are expected to spend 3 – 4 hours on the project. So for 3 hours of credit, you must be spending 9 – 12 hours per week. Partner sponsored and Research Teams have a credit expectation that will be outlined in your project offer letter.
Our design credits are based on the other courses you have taken in your major. These indicate the skills and knowledge you will bring to your design work. In general, we recommend that you have taken at least one course in your major/subject area at a particular level before earning design credit at that level. For example: having taken ME 350 before earning ENGR 355 credit.
Each MDP Course (Project) meets a time that is mutually identified by all student members and their Faculty mentor, with help from MDP Staff. Meeting ("Class") times are not pre-set for Sponsored/Corporate projects. The meeting times will be identified by analyzing you, your teammates' and your Faculty Mentor's availability. Only core, required courses for your individual major(s) will be accommodated. Due to the complexity of course schedules, your MDP class meeting time is not guaranteed to accommodate elective, optional courses.
Students on faculty research teams are graded based on their participation and contributions within the lab. Grades are issued by Faculty who lead the lab teams. The first semester of participation always earns a "Y" grade, and a letter grade is earned in the second semester. The letter grade replaces the previous "Y" and the letter grade applies to all credit hours earned in the first two semesters of participation. P/F or S/US grades are not allowed on MDP teams. Students on sponsored projects (Industry, etc) earn a "Y" grade in the WI term, and a letter grade in the FA term. The letter grade replaces the Winter term's "Y" and the letter grade applies to all credit hours earned in the two semesters of participation. P/F or S/US grades are not allowed on MDP teams. Grades are determined by the faculty mentor for the team, such as participation, progress and final delivery of the work (60%) and centrally-graded items from MDP, including three design reviews and final presentation at Design Expo (40%)


No. We have over 400 students earning credit and about 150 declared in the Multidisciplinary Design minor.
The MD minor requires 4 key experiences and enrollment looks different for every student. Below are some of the most frequently used courses:
  • Introductory Design-Build-Test Course: ENGR 100 (design-based sections only), ENGR 255, ME 250 or 350, UC 280 (design-based sections only), etc.
  • Connections Course: any course at the university that meets the following requirements: 3 credits, on campus, taken for a grade, not required for your major
  • Multi-Term Project Course: ENGR 355/455, AERO 390/490, ME 390/490, etc.
  • Mentorship/Leadership Course: ENGR 456 (all students in the minor must take ENGR 456.
The following courses have most commonly been used to fulfill the DBT (Design, Build, Test) Experience in the MDP minor:
  • ENGR 100 (DBT sections only)
  • AEROSP 205
  • AEROSP 280
  • EECS 183
  • MECHENG 250, 350
  • BME 350
  • ARTDES 120
  • ARTDES 130
The DBT requirement can also be fulfilled through an additional semester on your multi-term project team.
Some examples of Connections Courses:  
Project Team Student’s Major Connections Course
M-Fly Team Aerospace Engineering ENTR 599.018 Interpersonal Skills: Leveling up to Leadership
Stryker Diagnostic Team Art & Design IOE 548: Integrated Product Development
Solar Car Team Chemical Engineering MO 302: Positively Leading People & Organizations
Woven Wind Team Electrical Engineering UP 357: Architecture, Sustainability and the City
Pillar Project Team Computer Science Engineering SI 422: Needs Assessment and Usability Evaluation
General Motors Project Team Business Administration ES 395: Entrepreneurial Management
  If you are interested in having a course counted as your connections course requirement then please fill out this petition form.


Both Faculty Research Project and UROP offer a variety of excellent research opportunities. One key difference is that Faculty Research Project teams feature first year through graduate students while UROP is open to first- and second-year students.
The MDP Minor with the Global Health Design (GHD) Specialization is offered in collaboration with the Global Health Design Initiative (GHDI) and provides students with an opportunity to address global health challenges through clinical immersion and design. See this website for more information.

For each project you applied for, the Sponsors and Faculty receive a packet with your resume, personal qualifications/interest statement, and a link to your online video interview if you completed one for their team (optional)

Sponsors/Faculty do NOT know how you ranked their project. We keep your rankings confidential!

After ranking is complete, we will run the matching algorithm.

The matching algorithm fills each available position in a stepwise manner by matching students’ project preferences with the faculty and sponsor rankings (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. ). This algorithm ensures that any offer you receive is the best possible match that you can make given the matching algorithm (the algorithm is a variant of the Roth-Shapley matching that is used for Medical School residency matching and is designed to maximize satisfaction across all parties)

Factors considered in matching students to teams:

  • Your individual list of ranked projects
  • The Faculty/Sponsors' ranks of applicants for their positions
  • The preferences of all other students who were ranked above you by the Sponsor

  1. Create a well-written Resume. Visit the ECRC for resume advice!
  2. Read about the projects online before you attend Project Preview Night or the Project Opportunity Fair (you do not need to attend both).
  3. Attend Project Preview Night or the Project Opportunity fair, speak with the Sponsors and show your enthusiasm for the projects you are interested in. Bring copies of your resume to leave with each sponsor.  You do not need to dress up!  Casual attire is expected. If you are unable to attend the recruitment events to meet the sponsors & faculty in person, you are highly encouraged to complete the online video interview for each project you apply to.
  4. Complete the online application, be careful and check that your responses are spelled correctly and written well. Selecting more project areas on each project will increase your visibility to the faculty or sponsor. Select all for which you have proficiency or interest
  5. Optional: You can record a brief video (using a phone/app or laptop camera)  to introduce yourself and state why you are interested in joining the project team.  This is highly recommended, particularly if you are unable to attend the Project Preview Night or Project Opportunity fair. Click here for full list of all projects & direct video interview links.

Student offers will be sent out between October 28th and December 7th. It is not possible for every student who applies to receive an offer to join a team: the projects are competitive. If a student declines an offer, then the next student on the waitlist is selected.

Complete the online application in full by the due date, and complete the online video interview (linked within the application) for your top choice project(s). Applying early does not improve your chance of securing a spot on a team.


The Michigan Engineering Design Expo showcases the achievements of our students in engineering design and prototyping, and demonstrates applications of their studies that solve real-life problems. These opportunities enhance our undergraduate engineering experience and give students the edge they need to be successful professionals in today’s demanding marketplace. For questions about Design Expo 2018, please visit Design Expo FAQ.


For more information about IP/NDA forms, please visit IP/NDA Forms.
For more information about project agreements, please visit project agreements.
For more information about purchasing, please visit purchasing.

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