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No matter which option you choose, over the course of the program every SDM fellow will experience working on teams and projects with students both on campus and at a distance, replicating today’s reality of geographically disparate teams in the workplace.

Master’s Degree Options

As MIT’s first degree-granting distance education program, we offer three different options for you to gain an education in Systems and Design Management.


On-campus students typically finish the program in 16 months — or as little as 12 months with faculty approval — with the option to extend their experience through opportunities including internships or becoming a Teaching or Research Assistant.

Local Commuter

Local commuter students typically finish the program in 21-24 months, taking one to two courses per semester, attending classes on campus. Per semester tuition for part-time local commuters is lower to reflect the lower course load.


Distance learners typically finish the program in 21-24 months, completing their first year of the program at a distance, and spending a minimum of one semester on campus, full time. Distance learners will also spend an additional semester on thesis work.

Immersion at MIT

We believe being immersed in the MIT campus and community is a critical component of any MIT degree. This is why all SDM master’s students are required to spend one full-time, 13-week semester as a resident on campus during either the spring or fall semesters. Certificate students attend 14 professional seminar days on the MIT campus.

Typically students choose to fulfill their residency requirement during their second year, dedicating the other second-year semester to thesis research and development which can be done at a distance.

SDM’s Distance Experience*

SDM fellows will learn and work in distributed teams within the first-year course sequence, enhancing their skills in innovating, collaborating and leading across organizational boundaries and international time zones to complete successful projects on budget and on time.

Through the use of synchronous course delivery, SDM can connect multiple distance sites to the MIT classroom, providing distance students and certificate students the opportunity to participate fully in real time in each class.

In the integrated core course — Foundations of System Design and Management — assignments are designed to replicate the reality of geographically disparate teams in today’s workplace.

Delivered live via interactive video class sessions, the course assigns multiple teaching assistants (TAs) who will act as your main contacts for grading, feedback and chat assistance for asking questions in class, as necessary.

* MIT is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). More information can be found at http://stateauthorization.mit.edu.