home > Programs > Master of Science

Innovative Leadership

The System Design & Management (SDM) Master’s program offers early and mid-career professionals an innovative and customizable curriculum of advanced engineering and management skills. Drawing on MIT’s rigorous academics and real-time connections to industry, our fellows learn to use systems thinking to understand the technical, managerial, and societal components of large-scale, complex challenges.

Our multidisciplinary program allows fellows to see the world and relationships in new ways. Through rigorous classroom assignments and projects, fellows gain an inclusive and holistic view and graduate ready to take on leadership roles.

Flexible degree options allow you to study on MIT campus or remotely.
Read about degree options
Build critical connections within a diverse, global cohort.
Visit the class profile
Core & Curriculum

The SDM Master’s program is composed of a core course sequence, paired with a customizable curriculum of depth, foundation, and elective courses. Working closely with the program’s academic advisors, fellows are able to tailor the program to support individual professional goals, exploring MIT’s vast range of academic offerings and take courses at nearby universities such as Harvard Business School.

Our individualized approach allows fellows to maximize their investment in an MIT education. Fellows build on their educational background and work experience by selecting a custom slate of electives that supplements SDM’s required courses in systems thinking, product design, and systems engineering.

" As a pilot and manager of pilots, training and flying is what I have to do on a daily basis. So championing artificial intelligence projects and researching operations management while I’m in school is an entirely different world for me. "

Nick Hanley, SDM '19
Thesis and Project Requirements

The SDM thesis provides an opportunity for fellows to apply knowledge from academic courses to address research opportunities or real-world challenges and gain experience demonstrating true intellectual leadership. Fellows work under the guidance of faculty in the MIT School of Engineering or the MIT Sloan School of Management, addressing complex problems in which both technical and management issues are important and interdependent.

Fellows are challenged to apply their knowledge to problems of substantial size and significance. Many employer-sponsored students have been able to show immediate value to their organizations based on thesis work.

Customizable Course Loads
Our curriculum is designed to be highly customizable, allowing fellows to focus on skills sets that will most benefit them upon graduation. All fellows are required to take a balance of courses in advanced engineering and management skills to build on knowledge and experience gained in the integrated core course. Fellows can choose from a variety of approved courses at the MIT School of Engineering and the MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as courses offered at nearby schools such as Harvard Business School.
Depth Course: Human Systems Engineering
Provides a fundamental understanding of human factors that must be taken into account in the design and engineering of complex aviation, space, and medical systems. Focuses primarily on derivation of human engineering design criteria from sensory, motor, and cognitive sources. Includes principles of displays, controls and ergonomics, manual control, the nature of human error, basic experimental design, and human-computer interaction in supervisory control settings.