Degree Requirements

Minimum of 92 subject units + thesis:

  • 38 units of core
  • 24 units of fundamental subjects in management and engineering (12 units each)
  • 30 or more units of elective subjects, must be balanced (±3) engineering:management
  • 24 units of thesis

Credits toward the degree are earned in graded classes. Pass/D/Fail courses will not be counted towards requirements.


The three-semester core course provides an integrated view of architecting, engineering, and managing the development of complex systems. Students in both the System Design & Management (SDM) master’s and certificate programs attend these classes together, so there are ample opportunities for enrichment from classmates, all experienced professionals from diverse industries. These synergistic cohort interactions are a hallmark of SDM.


The SDM program is designed to teach principles, concepts, processes, and tools for system design and management. The SDM thesis provides an opportunity for students to interpret the knowledge acquired through the SDM core and other courses and apply that knowledge to problems of substantial size and significance. By taking on challenges in which both technical and management issues are important and interdependent, SDM students gain experience demonstrating true intellectual leadership.

SDM theses are:

  • Conducted under the guidance of faculty in the MIT School of Engineering and the MIT Sloan School of Management; and
  • Researched in consultation with supervisors at students’ workplaces. Many employer-sponsored students have been able to show immediate value to their organizations based on thesis work.
All information is accurate as of April 25, 2016, and is subject to change.