MIT Technology and Policy Program

TPP SM Curriculum

The TPP curriculum was designed for completion over the course of two years. Thesis research and writing must count for at least 24 units of the student’s final-year course load. This requirement makes graduating in less than two years very difficult, unless a student has already started thesis research through an MIT program that might be applicable to TPP.

The following is the suggested course track for TPP students.

1st Year – Fall

  • IDS.412 Science, Technology & Public Policy (12 units)
  • 15.011 Economic Analysis for Business Decisions (9 units) or
  • 14.003 Microeconomic Theory and Public Policy (12 units)
  • IDS.910 Leadership Development Seminar (3 units)

1st Year – Spring

  • IDS.411 Concepts and Research in Technology & Policy (6 units)
  • IDS.435 Law, Technology and Public Policy (12 units)
  • IDS.410 Modelling/Assessment for Policy (9 units)
  • Engineering Systems Concentration Elective (9-12 units)

Summer

TPP does not have a requirement for completion of a summer internship or summer courses. However, many students use the summer as an opportunity to intern full-time for an agency/organization of their choice related to technology policy. Each year, TPP funds a limited number of students who find positions as unpaid interns, most often with federal agencies on policymaking in DC. These students are required to complete the Internship Seminar course, ESD.811, the fall semester following their summer internship, in which they share experiences with TPP classmates.

Many students remain at MIT for the summer to work as full time Research Assistants for their advisor. Depending on a student’s advisor, this summer work might be required to guarantee funding for the academic year, and students should check with their specific advisor about summer work expectations.

2nd Year – Fall

  • Thesis (12 units)
  • Engineering Systems Concentration Elective (9-12 units)

2nd Year – Spring

  • IDS.440 Research Seminar (3 units)
  • Thesis (12 units)
  • Engineering Systems Concentration Elective (9-12 units)

Core Courses

  • IDS.411 Concepts and Research in Technology & Policy (6 units)
  • IDS.910 Leadership Development Seminar (3 units)
  • IDS.449 Internship Seminar (3 units – OPTIONAL)
  • IDS.440 Research Seminar (3 units)
  • IDS.410 Modelling/Assessment for Policy (9 units)

Framework Courses

  • 15.011 Economic Analysis for Business Decisions (9 units) or
  • 14.003 Microeconomc Theory and Public Policy (12 units)
  • IDS.435  Law, Technology, and Public Policy (12 units)
  • IDS.412 Science, Technology, and Public Policy (12 units)

Thesis

The TPP thesis is a major professional work that builds upon the student’s concentration. It integrates the technology and policy of an issue, placing the technical problem in context and providing leadership regarding what can and ought to be done.

Thesis work normally spreads over two semesters. The student prepares a thesis proposal in the first semester, submitting it for review by the TPP Thesis Committee no later than the start of the student’s final semester at MIT, during which the student does the intensive work on the thesis.

Engineering Systems Concentration (30 units)

Each student is also required to take a coherent sequence of three graduate-level subjects in technology and policy/social sciences, each valued at a minimum of 9 units. Students are generally free to choose policy courses that best integrate with their individual programs. However, the engineering systems concentration requires approval from both the student’s research supervisor and the TPP administration.

Student concentration areas can range from typical engineering disciplines such as Telecom Networks, Transportation and the Environment, and Materials Engineering to more creative and unique concentration areas such as Electric Energy in Developing Nations, Biotechnology, and Technology Education. Most graduate level subjects offered at MIT can fulfill an engineering systems concentration, given permission of the student’s supervisor and the TPP administration. For a full listing of MIT course offerings, please review the MIT Course Bulletin.


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