Customized Education

A System Design & Management (SDM) education offers a customizable curriculum and flexible matriculation options.

SDM is designed so that fellows can:

  • explore MIT’s vast range of academic offerings;
  • take courses at nearby colleges such as Harvard Business School; and
  • design individualized programs that maximize their investment in an MIT education.

To achieve this, each SDM fellow works closely with the program director to tailor the program to support his or her professional goals. Together they develop a custom slate of electives that supplements SDM’s required courses in systems thinking, product design, and systems engineering while building upon the student’s educational background and work experience.

SDM matriculation options

High credit load option

  • Students earn a degree in 16 months (12 months feasible; 16 months most common and recommended)
  • Students complete all degree requirements, including the thesis, within this time
  • Limits options for research assistantships and teaching assistantships due to high course load requirements
  • Internships are possible with the 16-month duration, but not permitted with the 12-month duration

Low credit load option or mixed low/high credit semesters (includes commuter and RA/TA options)

  • Students earn a degree in 16 to 21 months
  • Students continue working and meeting family commitments 
  • Students limited to no more than 36 credits per semester
  • All courses are taken on-campus except the first year integrative core, which can be taken either on-campus or at a distance (online)
  • Offers opportunities to combine research assistantships and teaching assistantships with program of study
  • Offers opportunities to immediately apply material learned in class to the challenges facing their organizations.

Distance option

  • Students earn a degree in 21 months
  • Students attend the first-year integrative core course online, at a distance; typically while continuing to work full-time
  • Students come on campus for one high credit load semester (either spring or fall) during their second year to complete foundational and elective courses
  • The thesis is completed at a distance, either spring or fall (complementary term to the on-campus semester) also during the second year

SDM students in all options must attend:

  • A two-week on-campus August orientation session; and
  • Three to six one-week seminars held on campus around the middle of each term

All information is accurate as of April 25, 2019, and is subject to change.