MIT Technology and Policy Program

TPP SM Curriculum

In addition to coursework in subjects such as policy making, law, quantitative methods, and economics, TPP students conduct research in departments, labs, and centers across MIT, developing a dual competency in a technical concentration and in policy analysis.

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.

Overall Curriculum

Core integrative   Methods and Frameworks   Technical Concentration   Development
  • Concepts and Research in Technology & Policy
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Thesis Research (IDS.THG)
  • Science, Technology and Public Policy (IDS.412)
  • Microeconomics
  • Restricted Elective
  • 30+ units of graduate subjects
  • Coherent area of study
  • Aligned with research area
  • TPP Research Seminar
  • Training Modules
    • Communication
    • Leadership
  • Optional Internship

The following sections give brief descriptions of the distinctive elements of the TPP curriculum. Additional details can be found through the MIT Course Bulletin.

Thesis (IDS.THG)

The TPP thesis is a major professional work that builds upon the student’s technical 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.

The majority of thesis work typically spans the two semesters of a student’s final year. 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 intensive work on their thesis.

Restricted Elective

The core restricted elective provides an opportunity both to deepen policy knowledge and to gain exposure to perspectives outside one’s own research area. Students will select a course from a list of pre-approved subjects that emphasizes the study and analysis of policy outside of a student’s main research domain.

Technical Concentration

Each student is required to take a coherent sequence of three graduate-level subjects in technology and policy/social sciences. 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.

The technical concentration is highly flexible and allows students to choose relevant courses that align with their interests and research. Furthermore, TPP students are able to cross-register and take courses at Harvard’s graduate schools. A student’s technical concentration requires approval from both the student’s research supervisor and the TPP administration.

TPP Research Seminar

TPP holds a weekly research seminar that is open to the TPP community. Every student is required to make at least one seminar presentation while enrolled in TPP with scheduling preference given to continuing students or any student expecting to graduate during the current academic year. 

Training Modules

During the academic year, TPP will offer short class modules in leadership and communication, which all students must have completed before graduation. The timing of these modules will be announced during the Fall term. TPP strongly recommends that all students set aside the last week of the January intersession, Independent Activities Period (IAP), when TPP typically arranges for these modules to be held. 

Degree Requirements

Complete degree requirement information can be found through the MIT Course Bulletin.

MIT Technology and Policy Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307