Master of Science in Building Technology
The Master of Science in Building Technology (SMBT) provides a focus for graduate students interested in the development and application of advanced technology for buildings. Students in this program take relevant subjects in basic engineering disciplines along with subjects which apply these topics to buildings. The program accepts students with undergraduate degrees in a variety of engineering disciplines, in the physical sciences, or in architecture with a suitable background in technology. Students also come to the program with diverse job experiences, from the design of space-conditioning equipment for buildings to the Peace Corps. All share both a keen interest in buildings and a thorough education in mathematics, physics and other technical subjects.
Each student admitted to the SMBT program will take part in a research project. A major contribution to the student's education in this program comes from the experience gained carrying out research and design on the fundamentals of new technologies and their application to buildings. The research project will normally be on a subject under current investigation by an interdepartmental team of faculty and students from the Departments of Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering or by an individual faculty member. This research is used to fulfill the thesis requirement for the degree. The research projects, sponsored by industry and the government, give the students exposure to practitioners dealing with important issues in the building field.
Admissions for SMBT
Candidates compete for the few places available each year in the Department of Architecture's Master of Science in Building Technology (SMBT) program. Admission is based on a careful examination of the applicant's previous academic record, including relevant samples of completed academic and research work; a statement of purpose; and letters of recommendation. The applicant should demonstrate superior intellectual achievement and the ability to initiate and complete independent academic work in the Building Technology area. Successful candidates will have previous degrees in engineering or a closely related discipline.
Admissions Requirements (all applicants)
The Application Deadline is December 31 at midnight for all applications. Application material must be submitted by the deadline. Late applications will not be reviewed. It is the responsibility of the applicant to be sure that the application is completed. Applications will be reviewed using the information provided by applicants. Please do not call or email to check if official test scores have arrived. We will contact you if we do not receive them.
Three letters of recommendation. Letters from instructors are preferred unless you have been working for several years, in which case supervisors may be included. The application can be submitted with fewer than three letters, but be sure to remind your instructors to complete their letters. Applications still missing two or more letters when review begins will not be reviewed. Review the instructions for letter submission in the "Letters Status" section of the application system. Applicants will send prepared emails to the recommenders containing a secure link to the recommendation form. We prefer that letters be submitted through the online application, and not a third-party letter distributor.
Transcripts for all relevant degrees, official or unofficial, must be uploaded to the application system. PDFs must be clearly readable and oriented correctly on the screen. Only those applicants who are accepted for admission will be required to send a hard copy of an official, sealed transcript (with English translation) from each school attended. Please do not have official copies sent to our office unless you are admitted. Certificate and community college transcripts do not need to be sent unless the courses are not also listed on your primary college transcripts. Non-English transcripts must be translated into English, and if necessary, signed by a licensed notary and accompanied by the original version.
In addition to transcripts, applicants should complete the Subjects Taken section with any relevant course work. If you have taken studios, indicate this on the Test Scores/Experience/Electronic Portfolio section.
IELTS or TOEFL Score.
Applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit either an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score (Academic test) or a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), regardless of citizenship or residency in the U.S. while attending other educational institutions. No exceptions are made. The admissions committee regards English proficiency as crucial for success in all degree programs. In order to meet the admissions deadline, it is recommended that candidates take the IELTS or TOEFL on the earliest possible date.
Applicants must request that an official copy of their test results be sent directly to MIT by IELTS International or Educational Testing Service. IELTS and TOEFL Scores must be no older than two years as of the date of application. To avoid delays, please use the following codes when having your TOEFL scores sent to MIT:
- Institutional Code: 3514
- Department Code: 12
The minimum score required for MArch candidates is 7 and the minimum TOEFL score is 600 (250 for computer-based test, 100 for Internet-based test). While either test score is accepted, the IELTS score is preferred.
All students whose first language is not English are required to take the English Evaluation Test (EET) prior to registration at MIT. Even students who satisfy the IELTS/TOEFL requirement for admission may be required to take specialized subjects in English as a Second Language (ESL), depending on their EET results. These subjects do not count toward the required degree credits.
Curriculum Vitae, uploaded to the system.
A portfolio of work, uploaded to the application. See program-specific instructions for portfolio requirements.
An Essay of one or two pages must be uploaded to the application system. Indicate why you are applying, and describe your qualifications for the degree.
A non-refundable Application Fee of $75 USD. You will need to submit a credit card number on the Architecture Graduate Application to process this fee. If you have a financial hardship, you may apply for an Application Fee Waiver: http://gradadmissions.mit.edu/feewaiver
Submission of completed application form by the application deadline.
You may apply to two different programs within the Department of Architecture. If you are considering two programs, discuss your plans with our admissions staff to save yourself unnecessary fees. The link to apply is: http://gradapply.mit.edu/architecture/apply.
Graduate Record Examination
Applicants are required to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. In order to meet the admissions deadline, it is recommended that candidates take the GRE on the earliest possible test date. Test scores must be no more than five years old. To avoid delays, please use the following codes when having your scores sent to MIT:
- Institution Code is 3514
- Department Code is 4401
Research papers or a portfolio of the applicant's work (maximum of 30 pages) may be uploaded to the Architecture Graduate Application to aid the admissions committee but are not required.
Because of the small size of the program, interviews with faculty are recommended, but not required. It is advantageous for applicants to meet with the Building Technology faculty member doing research most closely aligned with the research interests of the applicant. Faculty schedules vary, so it is best to contact the Building Technology office several weeks prior to an intended visit.
Arrangements can also be made to sit in on final reviews (mid-May) or attend an Open House (mid-November).
Decisions and Notifications
Applicants will be notified by mail of the Department's decision by April 1. Decisions cannot be given by telephone.
Degree requirements for SMBT
The minimum required residency for students enrolled in the SMBT program is three terms, one of which may be a summer term. However, many take two academic years to complete all the requirements.
Each student in Building Technology is assigned a faculty advisor at matriculation. The advisor weighs in on the student's initial plan of study and on each subsequent term's choice of subjects. This individual should be a faculty member with whom the student is in close contact; changes can be made to make this possible. The advisor monitors the student's progress through completion of the degree.
A Report of Completed SMBT Requirements is kept by the degree administrator in the headquarters of the Department of Architecture. It is the student's responsibility to work with the thesis advisor to keep this report updated and on file.
Subjects and Credit Units
A minimum of 66 units of graduate-level coursework is required. Credit received for thesis (4.THG) registration does not count toward this minimum.
Subjects to be taken include:
- 4.481, Building Technology Seminar, taken in the fall of the first year of registration. It is expected that the thesis proposal will be a product of this subject.
- 2 subjects in a single field of specialization (major), chosen from thermal science, structures, materials, controls, lighting and systems analysis.
- 1 subject from another field of specialization (minor) in Building Technology. Other fields may also be accepted for specialization with advisor approval.
- 1 subject in applied mathematics.
- Thesis registration, 4.THG, is allowed only if the thesis proposal has been approved and the Report of Completed SMBT Requirements has been submitted.
A thesis is required for the SMBT degree. The topic is selected from a subject currently being investigated by the faculty, and research is carried out under the direct supervision of a faculty member in the program. This faculty member will be the student's advisor and must approve the thesis proposal prior to thesis registration. Thesis readers are optional.
The SMBT is awarded after two copies of the defended, approved, archival-ready thesis have been submitted to Department of Architecture headquarters by the Institute deadline for master's theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Students must adhere to the Specification for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.
English Proficiency Requirement
All students whose first language is not English are required to take the English Evaluation Test (EET) prior to registration at MIT. Even students who satisfy the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) requirement for admission may be required to take specialized subjects in English as a Second Language (ESL), depending on their EET results. These subjects do not count toward the required units but will prove valuable in helping students develop the skills necessary to comfortably write a thesis.