Frequently Asked Questions

General Program Questions
What is the MDP?
How long is the program?
Is every project a design project?
If I have questions or comments about the program, whom should I contact?
  
Proposing a Project
Who may propose a project for the MDP?
What are the requirements for an MDP project?
How do I submit my project?
  
Eligibility
Who is eligible to apply to the MDP?
Do I need to have prior research experience?
Is there a minimum GPA to apply to the program?
  
Application
How do I apply for the MDP and what are the deadlines?
How do I write the Personal Statement?
How do I choose my design project?
Can I work on more than one design project?
  
Program Acceptance and Preparation
When will I know the status of my application?
How will I be assigned to a project team?
What happens after I am accepted into the program?
How and when does my team develop the project's itemized budget?
  
Participating in the Program
How will I work with my faculty mentors?
Can I get academic credit for my research?
How will I work with my faculty mentor?
How research expenses paid?
What will the seminars and workshops be like?
Where can my team present our research?
Who owns the intellectual property rights to my research?
  
  
General Program Questions
  
What is the MDP?
The Multidisciplinary Design Program (MDP) at Calit2 provides an opportunity for UCI undergraduate and graduate students to engage in multidisciplinary design projects, working in five-member teams mentored by at least two faculty members from different schools. Applicants have the opportunity to choose between a number of innovative and creative projects in a variety of fields.

How long is the program?
The MDP takes place during the school year. Students submit their applications; based on these, faculty co-mentors assemble their design teams near the end of the Fall quarter and meet with them to develop a project budget. Student teams spend the Winter and Spring quarters working on their projects.

Is every project a design project?
While actual design is encouraged for most MDP projects, the term is used flexibly. Rather, projects emphasize creativity, novelty and innovation.

If I have questions or comments about the program, whom should I contact?
We welcome any questions or feedback about the program. Please complete the form on the Contact Us page, and a program administrator will follow up with you to address your inquiry. 
  
  
Proposing a Project
   
Who may propose a project for the MDP? 
Undergraduates, graduate students and faculty are all eligible to propose a project for possible inclusion in the MDP.

What are the requirements for an MDP project? 
Projects must have two or more faculty mentors from at least two different schools and must be multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary in nature. While actual design projects are encouraged, projects should emphasize creativity, novelty and innovation.

How do I submit my project? 
Please see the Application page for complete submission guidelines and instructions.
  
  
Eligibility 
   
Who is eligible to apply to the MDP? 
Applicants should be highly motivated and high-achieving UCI undergraduate or graduate students in any discipline. Eligibility does not depend on nationality or citizenship.

Do I need to have prior research experience?
Previous research experience is not required.

Is there a minimum GPA to apply to the program?
GPA is one of many factors considered in selecting the participants, but there is no minimum GPA to apply. All applicants should be in good academic standing and able to demonstrate high levels of academic achievement. 
  
  
Application
  
How do I apply for the MDP and what are the deadlines?
Submit the MDP application online. The online application allows you to complete a personal profile, upload a personal statement, select and rank the projects you are most interested in, and register two individuals who have agreed to be your references. You must also provide permission for us to review your transcript. All applications must be submitted by the application deadline.

How do I write the Personal Statement?
As part of completing the online application, you will be asked to upload a personal statement in MS Word or PDF format. The personal statement is an important component of the application, and should tell us who you are, why you want to pursue this research, and what impact you expect this experience to have on your future career. The personal statement should elaborate on the MDP design projects you have selected, why you chose them, your experience relevant to the projects, and how the projects will help you meet your long-term education and career goals. You may include any other relevant experience or related coursework that you feel has helped prepare you for this program. Your personal statement should be 2-3 pages, double-spaced. 

How do I choose my design project?
As part of completing the online application, you will be asked to select and rank five projects that interest you the most. To help you choose your top five projects, read the project overviews, along with information on related faculty, facilities, prerequisites and publications. Every effort will be made for selected participants to work on one of their selected projects.

Can I work on more than one design project?
No. Your time will be spent immersed in one project throughout the program. You will be able to learn about other projects by interacting with other students and listening to their presentations and discussions in seminars. 
  
  
Program Acceptance and Preparation
  
When will I know the status of my application?
Notifications will begin during winter break and will continue through early January. All applicants will be notified of the status of their application within that time. 

How will I be assigned to a project team? 
Based on students' applications and their selected projects, faculty co-mentors will select the members of their design teams.  

What happens after I am accepted into the program?
After being accepted as an MDP participant, your faculty co-mentors will contact you to address any questions you may have, and invite your team to an initial meeting to discuss the project goals and budget. 

How and when does my team develop the project's itemized budget? 
The itemized budget is an important first step in beginning your design project. After your initial meeting, your team, along with your faculty co-mentors, will develop the budget.

  
  
Participating in the Program
  
How will I work with my faculty mentors?
Your faculty mentors will provide training and guidance for your team, including assistance in developing an itemized budget for your project. You will also meet to discuss your progress, to ask questions, and for guidance regarding your graduate school, career, and research goals.

Can I get academic credit for my research?
Yes. Academic credit is arranged through your co-mentors. You will receive credit through courses with one or both of your faculty co-mentors serving as the instructor(s) of record.

How are research expenses paid?
Calit2 will provide 2/3 of the funded amount. The research team is responsible for identifying sources for the remaining funding. Possible funding sources include UROP grants, faculty grants budgets, and students' personal funds.

What will the seminars and workshops be like?
Seminars will be held throughout the year, and attendance is required. Each will feature presentations by MDP faculty, often from different fields. We intend for the seminars to provide breadth to complement the depth of your work experience. MDP participants will also participate in workshops on project management, team building, and conflict resolution.

Where can my team present our research?
All MDP teams are required to present their projects at the UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium in May. Teams may also have the opportunity to present at additional demonstration events sponsored by Calit2.

Who owns the intellectual property rights to my research?
If the idea for the project comes from both mentor(s) and student(s), then the intellectual property (IP) is owned by the university.  If the idea is solely based on students' work without faculty input (even a student enrolled in their mentor's class), the IP belongs to the students. If undergraduates come up with the idea and demonstrate it without using university resources, the IP does not belong to university.