Graduate Programs

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Degree Requirements

See an overview of SA+P Groups and chart of all Degree Programs

Details below for each graduate program’s degree requirements:

  • MArch
  • SMArchS
  • SMACT
  • SMBT
  • PhD- Building Technology
  • PhD- Computation
  • PhD- History and Theory of Architecture; and the History and Theory of Art

MArch

See MArch program overview

MArch Curriculum Chart

Residency

Those who are admitted to MArch require 3½ academic years of residency to fulfill the degree requirements.

Faculty Advising

A faculty advisor with a design background will be assigned to each MArch student before the first term of registration. The advisor will monitor the student’s progress through completion of the degree. 

Subjects and Credit Units

The MArch is awarded upon satisfactory completion of an approved program of 282 graduate units and an acceptable 24-unit thesis for 306 total graduate credits.

Subjects required for the 3½-year program include the following:

  • Six architectural design studios (3 core studios and 3 research studios)
  • Geometric Disciplines and Architectural Skills I (4.105)
  • One Computation restricted elective (4.117, 4.511, 4.521, or 4.567) 
  • Three Building Technology subjects (4.464, 4.462, and 4.463)
  • Architectural Assemblies (4.123)
  • Precedents in Critical Practice (4.210)
  • Professional Practice (4.222)
  • Architecture from 1750 to the Present (4.645)
  • One History, Theory and Criticism restricted elective (4.607, 4.612, 4.621, 4.647, 4.241, or 4.652)
  • One History, Theory and Criticism elective
  • One Computation/Media Lab elective (4.5xx or MAS.xxx)
  • Urban Design elective (11.xxx)
  • ACT elective (4.3xx)
  • Three open elective subjects (or 24 total credits)
  • Preparation for MArch Thesis (4.189)
  • Graduate Design Thesis (4.ThG)

Credit for Previous Academic Work

MArch students who have successfully completed the equivalent of one or more required architecture subjects outside MIT (or within MIT as undergraduates) may be given advanced credit for those subjects by submitting a petition for curriculum adjustment with as much relevant material as possible (including a transcript, syllabi, reading lists, problem sets, paper assignments, or portfolios). Petitions are submitted to arch@mit.edu before the first day of class each term and are then reviewed by the MArch Program Committee by the end of the first month of term. The Committee is composed of one faculty member from each of the four discipline groups. Depending on the subject for which MIT credit is requested, students may substitute an elective in the discipline group or substitute a free elective. All requests must be resolved by the beginning of the penultimate semester.

Alternate Course Petitions

MArch students may submit a petition for an alternate course to be considered for required coursework (i.e., all non-Open Electives). Submit as much relevant material as possible (syllabi, reading lists, problem sets, paper assignments, or portfolios) to arch@mit.edu before the first day of class each term. Please indicate the course title, number, credit units, and for which required course you are requesting the alternate course be substituted. These requests are then reviewed by the MArch Program Committee by the end of the first month of term. The Committee is composed of one faculty member from each of the four discipline groups. All requests must be resolved by the beginning of the penultimate semester.

English Proficiency Requirement

An Institute-wide 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 International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or 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 helpful to students who need to develop the skills necessary to write a thesis.

Jumpstart  

MIT Architecture's Jumpstart is designed to prepare incoming MArch students for the rigors of the first design studio and to develop basic skills. The course is intended for students with little architectural studio experience but is also open to others who would benefit from introductory exposure to unfamiliar software. Jumpstart is created for our MArch student community by our MArch student community. This experience is taught through exercises that have been handed down from year to year and taught by our esteemed teaching fellows (recent graduates).

Policy on Incomplete Subjects and Thesis Semester

MArch students may have no more than one incomplete in a required subject when they register for thesis (4.THG). This incomplete can be no older than one term (received the term prior to thesis registration).

Students who have incompletes from several subjects or incompletes from earlier terms will be denied registration until those subjects are finished and graded. This policy applies to incompletes in subjects required by the degree curriculum or necessary for units toward the degree. 

Academic Audits

A chart indicating progress through the academic requirements will be maintained as part of each student’s file. The administrator of master’s degree programs will distribute this audit to students and to faculty advisors each term.

Thesis Preparation and Thesis

An MArch thesis at MIT operates as an independent thesis project, interrogating the discipline of architecture. The thesis is developed by the student and is supported by a committee of readers and an advisor. In the next-to-last term of registration (the semester prior to thesis), students enroll in Preparation for MArch Thesis (4.189). This course guides students towards declaring a thesis statement as well as forming the thesis committee. The result of this 9-unit subject is a thesis proposal.

The MArch thesis committee is composed of three members. The thesis advisor must be a permanent member of the Department of Architecture faculty with an architecture design background. The second and third members (also known as readers) may be any member of the MIT faculty or research staff, an outside professional, or a faculty member from another institution. Download the Thesis Committee Guidelines here.

Thesis co-advising is permitted as long as one of the advisors is a permanent member of the Department of Architecture faculty with an architecture design background. The other advisor may be any member of the MIT faculty or research staff, an outside professional, or a faculty member from another institution.

MArch students are required to register for 24 units of thesis (4.THG) the final term. 

The thesis proposal, including a thesis proposal form signed by all the thesis committee members, is due the first week of the term in which the student registers for thesis.

The MArch Thesis Review Schedule includes deadlines for proposal review, public mid-review, penultimate review, final review, and final thesis document.

The MArch degree is awarded after all the degree requirements have been met and the approved, archival-ready thesis has been submitted to the Department of Architecture by the Institute deadline for master’s theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

SMArchS

SMArchS degree requirement chart

 

The SMArchS degree may be pursued in one of six areas:

Architectural Design
Architecture and Urbanism
Building Technology
Design and Computation
History, Theory and Criticism
Aga Khan Program in Islamic Architecture

 

With one of these areas as an intellectual home, students are encouraged to explore connections in their research across these areas, and beyond to other programs and departments throughout MIT. See the SMArchS degree requirement chart for information on the degree requirements for each of the six areas.

SMArchS Urbanism

Residency

The minimum required residency for students enrolled in the SMArchS program is two full academic years, to be completed in four consecutive semesters of enrollment.

Faculty Advising

A faculty advisor from the Department of Architecture is assigned to each SMArchS student 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. The advisor monitors the student's progress through completion of the degree.

Subjects and Credit Units

The SMArchS degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of an approved program of at least 96 graduate units, and an acceptable thesis. 

Students, with their advisors, construct individual programs of study focused on their particular interests. Subjects that must be taken include:

  • 4.221, Architecture Studies Colloquium (1st term) 
  • One or two core subjects in methods from the list below depending on the student’s area of study (1st and/or 2nd semester):
    • Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture: 4.619 Historiography of Islamic Architecture and 4.621 Orientalism and Representation
    • Architectural Design: 4.130 Architecture Design Theory and Methodologies
    • Architecture and Urbanism: 4.228 Contemporary Urbanism Proseminar: Theory and Representation, and 4.163J Urban Design Studio
    • Building Technology: 4.481, Building Technology Seminar
    • Computation: 4.580, Inquiry into Computation and Design
    • History, Theory and Criticism: 4.661, Theory and Method in the Study of Architecture and Art (HTC students are required to take this subject both fall terms of their residency) 
  • Six subjects within the student’s area of interest; in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, one additional required subject is 4.612 Islamic Architecture and the Environment; in Architecture and Urbanism, two of the subjects must be 4.241J Theory of City Form and one approved option design studio
  • 4.s14 SMArchS Architectural Design Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.286 SMArchS Urbanism Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.587 SMArchS Computation Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.686 SMArchS AKPIA Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.688 HTC Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.288 Preparation for SMArchS Thesis for SMArchS AD only (2nd term)
  • 4.288, Preparation for SMArchS Thesis; SMArchS AD students register for 4.ThG Graduate Thesis (3rd term) 
  • 4.THG, Graduate Thesis (final term)

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 International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or 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 be necessary for students who need to develop the language skills suitable for a written thesis.

Policy on Incomplete Subjects and Thesis Semester

SMArchS students may have no more than one incomplete in a required subject when they register for thesis (4.THG). This incomplete can be no older than one term (received the term prior to thesis registration).

Students who have incompletes from several subjects or incompletes from earlier terms will be denied registration until those subjects are finished and graded. This policy applies to incompletes in subjects required by the degree curriculum or needed for units toward the degree. 

SMArchS Thesis Preparation and Thesis Schedule

Thesis Preparation

Students enroll in Preparation for SMArchS Thesis (4.288) their third term of registration.

By Week 7, students finalize selecting a thesis advisor. The result of this 9-unit subject is a well-formulated thesis proposal and a department-scheduled presentation of the thesis proposal at the end of the term. By Week 14, students must submit a signed copy of the thesis proposal form and thesis proposal to the degree administrator for master's programs in the headquarters of the Department of Architecture. Once the SMArch Committee has approved the thesis proposals in consultation with the thesis advisor, students are permitted to register for thesis the following semester. Any student who is not able to produce an acceptable thesis proposal by the end of the term will be given until the end of IAP to produce a thesis proposal. If the proposal is still not acceptable, the student will be required to retake Preparation for SMArchS Thesis (4.288) their fourth term of registration.

The SMArchS thesis committee is composed of at least two and no more than three members. The thesis advisor must be permanent member of the Department of Architecture faculty. The first reader must be a permanent faculty member of the Department of Architecture or a related department at MIT. The third member (second reader) may be any member of the MIT faculty or research staff, an outside professional or a faculty member from another institution.

Co-thesis supervision is permitted as long as one of the advisors in a permanent member of the Department of Architecture faculty. The other advisor may be any member of the MIT faculty or research staff, an outside professional or a faculty member from another institution.

Thesis

SMArchS students who have an approved thesis proposal are required to register for 36 units of thesis (4.THG) in their fourth and final term.

During Week 7 (before Spring Vacation), each discipline area will schedule the thesis review for its students. At the review, students will submit a draft or prototype or complete conceptual design of the thesis to his/her thesis committee, and reviewers from across the discipline areas will attend the reviews. If a student's progress is not satisfactory, the student will not be permitted to present at the final review.

During Week 11, SMArchS students will submit one copy of the thesis book to their thesis committees and meet with their thesis committees to formally defend the thesis.

NOTE: The Week 11 defense is a penultimate review. Presenting at the final review is seen as a privilege, not a right. Faculty is under no compunction to pass inadequate work. If a student's work is found wanting, s/he will not be allowed to present at the public final review. The committee may decide not to pass the thesis, or alternatively, pass it only after the student undertakes additional work to meet targets set by the committee, on a date agreed on by the latter. An extension beyond the academic year will only be granted in response to a written petition by the student concerned. The petition must be addressed to the SMArchS committee, upon which the committee will reach a decision in consultation with the thesis advisor.

By Week 14, students will submit two copies of the final approved, archival-ready thesis to the headquarters of the Department of Architecture by the Institute deadline for master's theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Consult the SMArchS Degree Administrator to confirm the thesis submission deadline. Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

The SMArchS thesis final presentations are scheduled by the Department during the last week of the term (Week 15). These presentations, also known as final reviews, are made to the Department of Architecture community, faculty, students, and invited external reviewers. A copy of each thesis book submitted during Week 14 will be available at the reviews.

The SMArchS degree is awarded after all the degree requirements have been met, and after two copies of the approved, archival-ready thesis have been submitted to the headquarters of the Department of Architecture by the Institute deadline for master's theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Consult the SMArchS Degree Administrator to confirm the thesis submission deadline. Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

SMArchS Design

Residency

The minimum required residency for students enrolled in the SMArchS program is two full academic years, to be completed in four consecutive semesters of enrollment.

Faculty Advising

A faculty advisor from the Department of Architecture is assigned to each SMArchS student 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. The advisor monitors the student's progress through completion of the degree.

Subjects and Credit Units

The SMArchS degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of an approved program of at least 96 graduate units, and an acceptable thesis. 

Students, with their advisors, construct individual programs of study focused on their particular interests. Subjects that must be taken include:

  • 4.221, Architecture Studies Colloquium (1st term) 
  • One or two core subjects in methods from the list below depending on the student’s area of study (1st and/or 2nd semester):
    • Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture: 4.619 Historiography of Islamic Architecture and 4.621 Orientalism and Representation
    • Architectural Design: 4.130 Architecture Design Theory and Methodologies
    • Architecture and Urbanism: 4.228 Contemporary Urbanism Proseminar: Theory and Representation, and 4.163J Urban Design Studio
    • Building Technology: 4.481, Building Technology Seminar
    • Computation: 4.580, Inquiry into Computation and Design
    • History, Theory and Criticism: 4.661, Theory and Method in the Study of Architecture and Art (HTC students are required to take this subject both fall terms of their residency) 
  • Six subjects within the student’s area of interest; in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, one additional required subject is 4.612 Islamic Architecture and the Environment; in Architecture and Urbanism, two of the subjects must be 4.241J Theory of City Form and one approved option design studio
  • 4.s14 SMArchS Architectural Design Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.286 SMArchS Urbanism Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.587 SMArchS Computation Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.686 SMArchS AKPIA Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.688 HTC Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.288 Preparation for SMArchS Thesis for SMArchS AD only (2nd term)
  • 4.288, Preparation for SMArchS Thesis; SMArchS AD students register for 4.ThG Graduate Thesis (3rd term) 
  • 4.THG, Graduate Thesis (final term)

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 International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or 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 be necessary for students who need to develop the language skills suitable for a written thesis.

Policy on Incomplete Subjects and Thesis Semester

SMArchS students may have no more than one incomplete in a required subject when they register for thesis (4.THG). This incomplete can be no older than one term (received the term prior to thesis registration).

Students who have incompletes from several subjects or incompletes from earlier terms will be denied registration until those subjects are finished and graded. This policy applies to incompletes in subjects required by the degree curriculum or needed for units toward the degree. 

SMArchS Thesis Preparation and Thesis Schedule

Thesis Preparation

Students enroll in Preparation for SMArchS Thesis (4.288) their third term of registration.

By Week 7, students finalize selecting a thesis advisor. The result of this 9-unit subject is a well-formulated thesis proposal and a department-scheduled presentation of the thesis proposal at the end of the term. By Week 14, students must submit a signed copy of the thesis proposal form and thesis proposal to the degree administrator for master's programs in the headquarters of the Department of Architecture. Once the SMArch Committee has approved the thesis proposals in consultation with the thesis advisor, students are permitted to register for thesis the following semester. Any student who is not able to produce an acceptable thesis proposal by the end of the term will be given until the end of IAP to produce a thesis proposal. If the proposal is still not acceptable, the student will be required to retake Preparation for SMArchS Thesis (4.288) their fourth term of registration.

The SMArchS thesis committee is composed of at least two and no more than three members. The thesis advisor must be permanent member of the Department of Architecture faculty. The first reader must be a permanent faculty member of the Department of Architecture or a related department at MIT. The third member (second reader) may be any member of the MIT faculty or research staff, an outside professional or a faculty member from another institution.

Co-thesis supervision is permitted as long as one of the advisors in a permanent member of the Department of Architecture faculty. The other advisor may be any member of the MIT faculty or research staff, an outside professional or a faculty member from another institution.

Thesis

SMArchS students who have an approved thesis proposal are required to register for 36 units of thesis (4.THG) in their fourth and final term.

During Week 7 (before Spring Vacation), each discipline area will schedule the thesis review for its students. At the review, students will submit a draft or prototype or complete conceptual design of the thesis to his/her thesis committee, and reviewers from across the discipline areas will attend the reviews. If a student's progress is not satisfactory, the student will not be permitted to present at the final review.

During Week 11, SMArchS students will submit one copy of the thesis book to their thesis committees and meet with their thesis committees to formally defend the thesis.

NOTE: The Week 11 defense is a penultimate review. Presenting at the final review is seen as a privilege, not a right. Faculty is under no compunction to pass inadequate work. If a student's work is found wanting, s/he will not be allowed to present at the public final review. The committee may decide not to pass the thesis, or alternatively, pass it only after the student undertakes additional work to meet targets set by the committee, on a date agreed on by the latter. An extension beyond the academic year will only be granted in response to a written petition by the student concerned. The petition must be addressed to the SMArchS committee, upon which the committee will reach a decision in consultation with the thesis advisor.

By Week 14, students will submit two copies of the final approved, archival-ready thesis to the headquarters of the Department of Architecture by the Institute deadline for master's theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Consult the SMArchS Degree Administrator to confirm the thesis submission deadline. Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

The SMArchS thesis final presentations are scheduled by the Department during the last week of the term (Week 15). These presentations, also known as final reviews, are made to the Department of Architecture community, faculty, students, and invited external reviewers. A copy of each thesis book submitted during Week 14 will be available at the reviews.

The SMArchS degree is awarded after all the degree requirements have been met, and after two copies of the approved, archival-ready thesis have been submitted to the headquarters of the Department of Architecture by the Institute deadline for master's theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Consult the SMArchS Degree Administrator to confirm the thesis submission deadline. Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.


 

SMArchS BT

Residency

The minimum required residency for students enrolled in the SMArchS program is two full academic years, to be completed in four consecutive semesters of enrollment.

Faculty Advising

A faculty advisor from the Department of Architecture is assigned to each SMArchS student 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. The advisor monitors the student's progress through completion of the degree.

Subjects and Credit Units

The SMArchS degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of an approved program of at least 96 graduate units, and an acceptable thesis. 

Students, with their advisors, construct individual programs of study focused on their particular interests. Subjects that must be taken include:

  • 4.221, Architecture Studies Colloquium (1st term) 
  • One or two core subjects in methods from the list below depending on the student’s area of study (1st and/or 2nd semester):
    • Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture: 4.619 Historiography of Islamic Architecture and 4.621 Orientalism and Representation
    • Architectural Design: 4.130 Architecture Design Theory and Methodologies
    • Architecture and Urbanism: 4.228 Contemporary Urbanism Proseminar: Theory and Representation, and 4.163J Urban Design Studio
    • Building Technology: 4.481, Building Technology Seminar
    • Computation: 4.580, Inquiry into Computation and Design
    • History, Theory and Criticism: 4.661, Theory and Method in the Study of Architecture and Art (HTC students are required to take this subject both fall terms of their residency) 
  • Six subjects within the student’s area of interest; in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, one additional required subject is 4.612 Islamic Architecture and the Environment; in Architecture and Urbanism, two of the subjects must be 4.241J Theory of City Form and one approved option design studio
  • 4.s14 SMArchS Architectural Design Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.286 SMArchS Urbanism Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.587 SMArchS Computation Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.686 SMArchS AKPIA Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.688 HTC Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.288 Preparation for SMArchS Thesis for SMArchS AD only (2nd term)
  • 4.288, Preparation for SMArchS Thesis; SMArchS AD students register for 4.ThG Graduate Thesis (3rd term) 
  • 4.THG, Graduate Thesis (final term)

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 International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or 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 be necessary for students who need to develop the language skills suitable for a written thesis.

Policy on Incomplete Subjects and Thesis Semester

SMArchS students may have no more than one incomplete in a required subject when they register for thesis (4.THG). This incomplete can be no older than one term (received the term prior to thesis registration).

Students who have incompletes from several subjects or incompletes from earlier terms will be denied registration until those subjects are finished and graded. This policy applies to incompletes in subjects required by the degree curriculum or needed for units toward the degree. 

SMArchS Thesis Preparation and Thesis Schedule

Thesis Preparation

Students enroll in Preparation for SMArchS Thesis (4.288) their third term of registration.

By Week 7, students finalize selecting a thesis advisor. The result of this 9-unit subject is a well-formulated thesis proposal and a department-scheduled presentation of the thesis proposal at the end of the term. By Week 14, students must submit a signed copy of the thesis proposal form and thesis proposal to the degree administrator for master's programs in the headquarters of the Department of Architecture. Once the SMArch Committee has approved the thesis proposals in consultation with the thesis advisor, students are permitted to register for thesis the following semester. Any student who is not able to produce an acceptable thesis proposal by the end of the term will be given until the end of IAP to produce a thesis proposal. If the proposal is still not acceptable, the student will be required to retake Preparation for SMArchS Thesis (4.288) their fourth term of registration.

The SMArchS thesis committee is composed of at least two and no more than three members. The thesis advisor must be permanent member of the Department of Architecture faculty. The first reader must be a permanent faculty member of the Department of Architecture or a related department at MIT. The third member (second reader) may be any member of the MIT faculty or research staff, an outside professional or a faculty member from another institution.

Co-thesis supervision is permitted as long as one of the advisors in a permanent member of the Department of Architecture faculty. The other advisor may be any member of the MIT faculty or research staff, an outside professional or a faculty member from another institution.

Thesis

SMArchS students who have an approved thesis proposal are required to register for 36 units of thesis (4.THG) in their fourth and final term.

During Week 7 (before Spring Vacation), each discipline area will schedule the thesis review for its students. At the review, students will submit a draft or prototype or complete conceptual design of the thesis to his/her thesis committee, and reviewers from across the discipline areas will attend the reviews. If a student's progress is not satisfactory, the student will not be permitted to present at the final review.

During Week 11, SMArchS students will submit one copy of the thesis book to their thesis committees and meet with their thesis committees to formally defend the thesis.

NOTE: The Week 11 defense is a penultimate review. Presenting at the final review is seen as a privilege, not a right. Faculty is under no compunction to pass inadequate work. If a student's work is found wanting, s/he will not be allowed to present at the public final review. The committee may decide not to pass the thesis, or alternatively, pass it only after the student undertakes additional work to meet targets set by the committee, on a date agreed on by the latter. An extension beyond the academic year will only be granted in response to a written petition by the student concerned. The petition must be addressed to the SMArchS committee, upon which the committee will reach a decision in consultation with the thesis advisor.

By Week 14, students will submit two copies of the final approved, archival-ready thesis to the headquarters of the Department of Architecture by the Institute deadline for master's theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Consult the SMArchS Degree Administrator to confirm the thesis submission deadline. Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

The SMArchS thesis final presentations are scheduled by the Department during the last week of the term (Week 15). These presentations, also known as final reviews, are made to the Department of Architecture community, faculty, students, and invited external reviewers. A copy of each thesis book submitted during Week 14 will be available at the reviews.

The SMArchS degree is awarded after all the degree requirements have been met, and after two copies of the approved, archival-ready thesis have been submitted to the headquarters of the Department of Architecture by the Institute deadline for master's theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Consult the SMArchS Degree Administrator to confirm the thesis submission deadline. Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

 

SMArchS Computation

Residency

The minimum required residency for students enrolled in the SMArchS program is two full academic years, to be completed in four consecutive semesters of enrollment.

Faculty Advising

A faculty advisor from the Department of Architecture is assigned to each SMArchS student 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. The advisor monitors the student's progress through completion of the degree.

Subjects and Credit Units

The SMArchS degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of an approved program of at least 96 graduate units, and an acceptable thesis. 

Students, with their advisors, construct individual programs of study focused on their particular interests. Subjects that must be taken include:

  • 4.221, Architecture Studies Colloquium (1st term) 
  • One or two core subjects in methods from the list below depending on the student’s area of study (1st and/or 2nd semester):
    • Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture: 4.619 Historiography of Islamic Architecture and 4.621 Orientalism and Representation
    • Architectural Design: 4.130 Architecture Design Theory and Methodologies
    • Architecture and Urbanism: 4.228 Contemporary Urbanism Proseminar: Theory and Representation, and 4.163J Urban Design Studio
    • Building Technology: 4.481, Building Technology Seminar
    • Computation: 4.580, Inquiry into Computation and Design
    • History, Theory and Criticism: 4.661, Theory and Method in the Study of Architecture and Art (HTC students are required to take this subject both fall terms of their residency) 
  • Six subjects within the student’s area of interest; in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, one additional required subject is 4.612 Islamic Architecture and the Environment; in Architecture and Urbanism, two of the subjects must be 4.241J Theory of City Form and one approved option design studio
  • 4.s14 SMArchS Architectural Design Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.286 SMArchS Urbanism Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.587 SMArchS Computation Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.686 SMArchS AKPIA Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.688 HTC Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.288 Preparation for SMArchS Thesis for SMArchS AD only (2nd term)
  • 4.288, Preparation for SMArchS Thesis; SMArchS AD students register for 4.ThG Graduate Thesis (3rd term) 
  • 4.THG, Graduate Thesis (final term)

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 International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or 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 be necessary for students who need to develop the language skills suitable for a written thesis.

Policy on Incomplete Subjects and Thesis Semester

SMArchS students may have no more than one incomplete in a required subject when they register for thesis (4.THG). This incomplete can be no older than one term (received the term prior to thesis registration).

Students who have incompletes from several subjects or incompletes from earlier terms will be denied registration until those subjects are finished and graded. This policy applies to incompletes in subjects required by the degree curriculum or needed for units toward the degree. 

SMArchS Thesis Preparation and Thesis Schedule

Thesis Preparation

Students enroll in Preparation for SMArchS Thesis (4.288) their third term of registration.

By Week 7, students finalize selecting a thesis advisor. The result of this 9-unit subject is a well-formulated thesis proposal and a department-scheduled presentation of the thesis proposal at the end of the term. By Week 14, students must submit a signed copy of the thesis proposal form and thesis proposal to the degree administrator for master's programs in the headquarters of the Department of Architecture. Once the SMArch Committee has approved the thesis proposals in consultation with the thesis advisor, students are permitted to register for thesis the following semester. Any student who is not able to produce an acceptable thesis proposal by the end of the term will be given until the end of IAP to produce a thesis proposal. If the proposal is still not acceptable, the student will be required to retake Preparation for SMArchS Thesis (4.288) their fourth term of registration.

The SMArchS thesis committee is composed of at least two and no more than three members. The thesis advisor must be permanent member of the Department of Architecture faculty. The first reader must be a permanent faculty member of the Department of Architecture or a related department at MIT. The third member (second reader) may be any member of the MIT faculty or research staff, an outside professional or a faculty member from another institution.

Co-thesis supervision is permitted as long as one of the advisors in a permanent member of the Department of Architecture faculty. The other advisor may be any member of the MIT faculty or research staff, an outside professional or a faculty member from another institution.

Thesis

SMArchS students who have an approved thesis proposal are required to register for 36 units of thesis (4.THG) in their fourth and final term.

During Week 7 (before Spring Vacation), each discipline area will schedule the thesis review for its students. At the review, students will submit a draft or prototype or complete conceptual design of the thesis to his/her thesis committee, and reviewers from across the discipline areas will attend the reviews. If a student's progress is not satisfactory, the student will not be permitted to present at the final review.

During Week 11, SMArchS students will submit one copy of the thesis book to their thesis committees and meet with their thesis committees to formally defend the thesis.

NOTE: The Week 11 defense is a penultimate review. Presenting at the final review is seen as a privilege, not a right. Faculty is under no compunction to pass inadequate work. If a student's work is found wanting, s/he will not be allowed to present at the public final review. The committee may decide not to pass the thesis, or alternatively, pass it only after the student undertakes additional work to meet targets set by the committee, on a date agreed on by the latter. An extension beyond the academic year will only be granted in response to a written petition by the student concerned. The petition must be addressed to the SMArchS committee, upon which the committee will reach a decision in consultation with the thesis advisor.

By Week 14, students will submit two copies of the final approved, archival-ready thesis to the headquarters of the Department of Architecture by the Institute deadline for master's theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Consult the SMArchS Degree Administrator to confirm the thesis submission deadline. Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

The SMArchS thesis final presentations are scheduled by the Department during the last week of the term (Week 15). These presentations, also known as final reviews, are made to the Department of Architecture community, faculty, students, and invited external reviewers. A copy of each thesis book submitted during Week 14 will be available at the reviews.

The SMArchS degree is awarded after all the degree requirements have been met, and after two copies of the approved, archival-ready thesis have been submitted to the headquarters of the Department of Architecture by the Institute deadline for master's theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Consult the SMArchS Degree Administrator to confirm the thesis submission deadline. Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

 

SMArchS HTC / AKPIA

Residency

The minimum required residency for students enrolled in the SMArchS program is two full academic years, to be completed in four consecutive semesters of enrollment.

Faculty Advising

A faculty advisor from the Department of Architecture is assigned to each SMArchS student 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. The advisor monitors the student's progress through completion of the degree.

Subjects and Credit Units

The SMArchS degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of an approved program of at least 96 graduate units, and an acceptable thesis. 

Students, with their advisors, construct individual programs of study focused on their particular interests. Subjects that must be taken include:

  • 4.221, Architecture Studies Colloquium (1st term) 
  • One or two core subjects in methods from the list below depending on the student’s area of study (1st and/or 2nd semester):
    • Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture: 4.619 Historiography of Islamic Architecture and 4.621 Orientalism and Representation
    • Architectural Design: 4.130 Architecture Design Theory and Methodologies
    • Architecture and Urbanism: 4.228 Contemporary Urbanism Proseminar: Theory and Representation, and 4.163J Urban Design Studio
    • Building Technology: 4.481, Building Technology Seminar
    • Computation: 4.580, Inquiry into Computation and Design
    • History, Theory and Criticism: 4.661, Theory and Method in the Study of Architecture and Art (HTC students are required to take this subject both fall terms of their residency) 
  • Six subjects within the student’s area of interest; in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, one additional required subject is 4.612 Islamic Architecture and the Environment; in Architecture and Urbanism, two of the subjects must be 4.241J Theory of City Form and one approved option design studio
  • 4.s14 SMArchS Architectural Design Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.286 SMArchS Urbanism Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.587 SMArchS Computation Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.686 SMArchS AKPIA Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.688 HTC Pre-Thesis Preparation, 4.288 Preparation for SMArchS Thesis for SMArchS AD only (2nd term)
  • 4.288, Preparation for SMArchS Thesis; SMArchS AD students register for 4.ThG Graduate Thesis (3rd term) 
  • 4.THG, Graduate Thesis (final term)

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 International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or 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 be necessary for students who need to develop the language skills suitable for a written thesis.

Policy on Incomplete Subjects and Thesis Semester

SMArchS students may have no more than one incomplete in a required subject when they register for thesis (4.THG). This incomplete can be no older than one term (received the term prior to thesis registration).

Students who have incompletes from several subjects or incompletes from earlier terms will be denied registration until those subjects are finished and graded. This policy applies to incompletes in subjects required by the degree curriculum or needed for units toward the degree. 

SMArchS Thesis Preparation and Thesis Schedule

Thesis Preparation

Students enroll in Preparation for SMArchS Thesis (4.288) their third term of registration.

By Week 7, students finalize selecting a thesis advisor. The result of this 9-unit subject is a well-formulated thesis proposal and a department-scheduled presentation of the thesis proposal at the end of the term. By Week 14, students must submit a signed copy of the thesis proposal form and thesis proposal to the degree administrator for master's programs in the headquarters of the Department of Architecture. Once the SMArch Committee has approved the thesis proposals in consultation with the thesis advisor, students are permitted to register for thesis the following semester. Any student who is not able to produce an acceptable thesis proposal by the end of the term will be given until the end of IAP to produce a thesis proposal. If the proposal is still not acceptable, the student will be required to retake Preparation for SMArchS Thesis (4.288) their fourth term of registration.

The SMArchS thesis committee is composed of at least two and no more than three members. The thesis advisor must be permanent member of the Department of Architecture faculty. The first reader must be a permanent faculty member of the Department of Architecture or a related department at MIT. The third member (second reader) may be any member of the MIT faculty or research staff, an outside professional or a faculty member from another institution.

Co-thesis supervision is permitted as long as one of the advisors in a permanent member of the Department of Architecture faculty. The other advisor may be any member of the MIT faculty or research staff, an outside professional or a faculty member from another institution.

Thesis

SMArchS students who have an approved thesis proposal are required to register for 36 units of thesis (4.THG) in their fourth and final term.

During Week 7 (before Spring Vacation), each discipline area will schedule the thesis review for its students. At the review, students will submit a draft or prototype or complete conceptual design of the thesis to his/her thesis committee, and reviewers from across the discipline areas will attend the reviews. If a student's progress is not satisfactory, the student will not be permitted to present at the final review.

During Week 11, SMArchS students will submit one copy of the thesis book to their thesis committees and meet with their thesis committees to formally defend the thesis.

NOTE: The Week 11 defense is a penultimate review. Presenting at the final review is seen as a privilege, not a right. Faculty is under no compunction to pass inadequate work. If a student's work is found wanting, s/he will not be allowed to present at the public final review. The committee may decide not to pass the thesis, or alternatively, pass it only after the student undertakes additional work to meet targets set by the committee, on a date agreed on by the latter. An extension beyond the academic year will only be granted in response to a written petition by the student concerned. The petition must be addressed to the SMArchS committee, upon which the committee will reach a decision in consultation with the thesis advisor.

By Week 14, students will submit two copies of the final approved, archival-ready thesis to the headquarters of the Department of Architecture by the Institute deadline for master's theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Consult the SMArchS Degree Administrator to confirm the thesis submission deadline. Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

The SMArchS thesis final presentations are scheduled by the Department during the last week of the term (Week 15). These presentations, also known as final reviews, are made to the Department of Architecture community, faculty, students, and invited external reviewers. A copy of each thesis book submitted during Week 14 will be available at the reviews.

The SMArchS degree is awarded after all the degree requirements have been met, and after two copies of the approved, archival-ready thesis have been submitted to the headquarters of the Department of Architecture by the Institute deadline for master's theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Consult the SMArchS Degree Administrator to confirm the thesis submission deadline. Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

SMACT

See SMACT program overview

SMACT Degree Requirements

Residency

The minimum required residency for students enrolled in the SMACT program is two academic years. SMACT students do not register for summer term.

Faculty Advising

A faculty advisor from the Art, Culture and Technology Program is assigned to each SMACT student at matriculation. The advisor will consult 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 in advisor may be made to make this possible. The advisor monitors the student's progress through completion of the degree.

Subjects and Credit Units

A minimum of 135 units of graduate-level coursework is required, not including thesis. Subjects to be taken:

  • 4.390 Art, Culture and Technology Studio is taken each of the four terms of enrollment in the program 
  • Two ACT graduate subjects, one of which must be taken with an ACT core faculty member
  • Two elective subjects that support student's area of study
  • 4.387, SMACT Theory & Criticism Colloquium, taken during first term
  • 4.388, SMACT Thesis Preparation, taken during second term
  • 4.389 SMACT Thesis Tutorial, taken during third term
  • 4.THG, Thesis (registration for thesis), taken during fourth term

Art, Culture and Technology Studio

Art, Culture and Technology Studio (4.390) is restricted to SMACT degree students and serves as the core of the curriculum. It is coordinated by an ACT faculty member and involves the participation of all faculty currently advising SMACT candidates. Students are expected to participate in all class meetings. Attendance at the ACT Lecture Series and other ACT events is expected.

SMACT Thesis

For requirements, timeline, and updates, please visit the ArchThesis Website.

SMBT

See SMBT program overview

SMBT Requirements form

Residency

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.

Faculty Advising

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 form 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.

Thesis

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.

PhD Building Technology

See BT/PhD program overview

BT/PhD Requirements

It is the student's responsibility to fill out the appropriate section of the Report of Completed BT/PhD Requirements upon completion of the requirements listed below. This document is submitted to the degree administrator and kept in the student's official departmental file. The degree administrator informs the MIT registrar when the degree requirements have been fulfilled.

Qualifying Paper

The qualifying paper, which often emerges from the Building Technology Seminar (4.481), should demonstrate the student's potential for work at a high standard of scholarship. The paper must be completed and accepted by the dissertation committee before a student can continue to the general examination. Insufficiencies in the qualifying paper may require remedial subject work on the part of the student.

Dissertation Proposal

The PhD dissertation is a major work that makes an original scholarly contribution to the field of investigation. Most BT/PhD dissertation research will be a portion of a sponsored research project. The dissertation is the main focus of the doctoral program and the primary indicator of a PhD student's ability to carry out significant independent research. The Building Technology dissertation must result in advances in the state of the art that are worthy of publication in a respected technical journal in the field.

Approval of the dissertation topic is gained through a proposal submitted to the dissertation committee no later than the end of the second term of registration. Once the proposal has been approved, the student may register for Graduate Thesis (4.THG).

Coursework: Major and Minor Fields

Coursework is selected in consultation with the faculty advisor. A normal registration load is 36 units, which would be a combination of specific subjects and research. Though the core group of subjects will be within the department, students are encouraged to take outside subjects. Building Technology Seminar (4.481) is the only specific subject required for the degree and is taken during the student's first term. Typically a student's program will include at least five graduate subjects in the major field and three in the minor field. Preparation for Building Technology PhD Thesis (4.489) is used as registration for research until the dissertation proposal has been approved. After that point, Graduate Thesis (4.THG) is used as registration for research.

General Examination

The purpose of the qualifying examination is to determine whether the student possesses the attributes of a doctoral candidate: mastery of the disciplines of importance to building technology and ingenuity and skill in identifying and solving unfamiliar problems. The examination consists of two parts. (1) A demonstration of mastery in three areas through coursework and (2) a presentation of research as explained below.

Subject Area Mastery
Allowable subjects are listed in Discipline areas for the Building Technology PhD General Exam / Record of subject mastery. To pass the subject area mastery portion of the doctoral general exam, students must earn three As and one B (or four As) in at least four subjects chosen across three of the seven areas from Table 1. Substitutions of subjects not included in the table will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will require approval from all BT faculty.

Research Presentation
The research presentation exam will take place over 120 minutes, and should include a 45 minute formal presentation by the doctoral student, followed by 45-60 minutes of questions and discussion with all BT faculty. The research presented should be ongoing research or recently completed research carried out in Building Technology. The presentation should put the work in context, present research findings and propose future work. It will be evaluated both for intellectual content and for clarity of communication. The discussion portion of the exam led by BT faculty may cover both the presented work specifically as well as a broader range of related topics to gauge the student's familiarity with their research content.

Logistics
Examinations are offered in January (last week of IAP) and May (the week after final exams). Students must obtain permission of their advisor to take the exam. In case a student is working on a multidisciplinary research topic with a significant component falling outside the expertise of any BT faculty, an expert (ideally MIT faculty) representing the topic area should participate in the general exam. The advisor will invite this expert in consultation with the student. All students must complete the coursework and research presentation portions of the exam by the end of their fourth semester in the PhD program. Advisors of PhD students will submit to the BT faculty the proposed plan for coursework completion for each of their advisees at least three months before the research presentation. Students who do not pass may be invited to retake certain subjects or repeat the research presentation, or they may be asked to terminate their enrollment in the PhD program.

Dissertation Defense

A dissertation committee of three or more people, generally assembled in the first semester of registration, supervises research and writing of the dissertation. The student's advisor is always a member of the dissertation committee and typically serves as its chair. The chair must be a member of the Building Technology faculty. In special circumstances, one of the three members of the dissertation committee may be selected from outside the Department of Architecture. The student is responsible for arranging meetings with the committee at least once each term.

A final draft of the completed dissertation must be delivered to each committee member one month prior to the scheduled defense. The dissertation is presented orally in an open meeting of the faculty of the department; at least three faculty members must be present. After the presentation, the dissertation is either accepted or rejected.

The PhD is awarded after two copies of the defended, approved, archival-ready dissertation have been submitted to the Department of Architecture at its headquarters. The copies must be submitted by the Institute deadline for doctoral theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

Nonresident Research Status

Students are expected to carry out thesis research while in residence at the Institute. It is rare that a PhD candidate in BT will need to apply for nonresident status. However, should a student who has completed all requirements except for the dissertation need to continue thesis research in years beyond the awarded funding, he or she may opt to apply for nonresident research status with the permission of the dissertation advisor.

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 International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test of English as a Foreign Language 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 but will prove valuable in helping students develop the skills necessary to comfortably write a dissertation. It is expected that required ESL subjects will be taken within the first year of the student’s program.

PhD Computation

See Computation/PhD program overview

Computation/PhD Requirements

It is the student's responsibility to fill out the appropriate section of the Report of Completed Computation/PhD Requirements upon completion of the requirements listed below. This document is submitted to the degree administrator and kept in the student's official departmental file. The degree administrator informs the MIT registrar that the degree requirements have been fulfilled.

Subject Work

PhD Students are expected to complete at 144 units of subject work while in residency at MIT. This is usually accomplished over two years by enrolling in an average of 36 units per term, which equals three or four subjects per term. In those special cases where the student is awarded advanced standing at admission, the unit requirement is lowered accordingly. The only specific subject requirement is 4.581 Proseminar in Computation. All other subjects are selected in consultation with the faculty advisor and may be taken both in and out of the Department of Architecture. Registration in 4.THG, Graduate Thesis, does not count toward the 144-unit requirement.

PhD students in Computation are expected to enroll in 4.581, Proseminar in Computation, during their first year in residence. The Proseminar is meant to provide a rigorous grounding in the field with a focus on specific research topics related to architecture and design practice.

Major and Minor Fields

Major and minor fields must be approved by the student's advisory committee, which is selected with the assistance of the advisor in the first year of enrollment. Normally, the minor field requirement will be satisfied by outstanding performance in three related subjects (not less than 27 units). The major field requirement is satisfied upon successful completion of the general examination.

General Examination

The general examination is given after required subject work is completed and is taken no later than the third year of residency. The general examination is meant to show broad and detailed competence in the student's major field of concentration and supporting areas of study. The content and format of the general examination are decided by the student's advisory committee in consultation with the student. The committee evaluates the examination upon completion and may 1) accept the examination, 2) ask for further evidence of competence, or 3) determine that the examination has not been passed. In the event that the general examination is not passed, the committee may allow the student to repeat the examination or may recommend that the student withdraw from the PhD program.

Dissertation Proposal

The PhD dissertation is a major work that makes an original scholarly contribution. It is the main focus of the doctoral program in Design and Computation, and it serves as the primary indicator of a PhD student's ability to carry out significant independent research.

The dissertation committee comprises a minimum of three members — one thesis advisor, who also serves as the dissertation committee chair, and two readers. The chair must be a permanent member of the Computation faculty and the student's advisor. The first reader must be a permanent faculty member of MIT. The second reader may come from Computation or may be a faculty member appointed from outside the department or the Institute. Students may add more members in consultation with their advisor. The student is responsible for arranging meetings with the committee members on a regular basis.

Formal approval of the dissertation topic is gained through a proposal, which the student submits and defends to his or her dissertation committee prior to the completion of the sixth semester of registration. The proposal should contain these elements:

  • General statement of scope of the thesis
  • Significance of the thesis
  • Survey of existing research and literature with critical comments and an assessment of the extent to which this material will be utilized
  • Method of the thesis work
  • Outline or brief sketch of the thesis
  • Working bibliography
  • Resources for primary material
  • Plan of work, including a timetable

An oral examination in which the candidate meets with the dissertation committee to discuss the proposal marks the formal acceptance of the topic. The result of the defense can be that the thesis proposal is accepted, accepted with revisions or rejected.

Students will often register for Preparation for Computation PhD Thesis (4.589) in the term leading up to their proposal defense. Once the proposal has been approved, the student may register for 4.THG, Graduate Thesis. The student may be asked to present his or her dissertation proposal in the class Research Seminar in Computation (4.582).

Dissertation Defense

Students are advised to meet with committee members to obtain comments and guidance throughout the writing phase of the project. Regular contact with committee members during the process of drafting the thesis can ensure a student's readiness for thesis defense. The final draft should be submitted to committee members at least one month prior to the defense. The defense should be scheduled at least two weeks prior to the published Institute PhD thesis deadline.

The dissertation is defended by oral presentation in front of the dissertation committee. At least three faculty members must be present. If a member of the committee is not able to attend, he or she must contact the committee chair with comments and questions. That member must also inform the committee chair of a vote.

The result of the defense can be that the thesis is accepted, accepted with revisions or rejected. If the thesis is accepted with revisions, the student makes the necessary changes to the document and submits them within an agreed time frame to all or some of the committee members. If rejected, the student must re-defend according to a timetable agreed upon at the defense.

The PhD is awarded after two copies of the defended, approved, archival-ready dissertation have been submitted to the Department of Architecture at its headquarters. The copies must be submitted by the Institute deadline for doctoral theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

Nonresident Research Status

Students are expected to carry out thesis research while in residence at MIT. It is rare that a PhD candidate in Design and Computation will need to apply for nonresident status. However, should a student who has completed all requirements except for the dissertation need to continue thesis research in years beyond the awarded funding, he or she may opt to apply for nonresident research status with the permission of the dissertation advisor.

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 International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or 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 degree credits but will prove valuable in helping students develop the skills necessary to write a dissertation.

PhD HTC

See HTC/ PhD program overview

Coursework

PhD students complete 204 units (not including registration in 4.THG) during their residency at MIT. This is usually accomplished over the first three years of residency by enrolling in an average of 36 units per term, the equivalent of three subjects. The breakdown of required subjects is as follows:

  • 4.661, Methods Seminar, is taken each fall term for first two years—2 x 12 = 24 units
  • Nine subjects completed by the end of the second year: lecture, seminar and/or independent study—9 x 12 = 108 units
  • 4.684 Preparation for HTC Major Exam = 27 units; taken in the 5th semester
  • 4.685 Preparation for HTC Minor Exam = 15 units; taken in the 4th semester
  • 4.689 Preparation for HTC PhD Thesis = 27 units; taken in the 6th semester

Independent study subjects may be taken with advisor approval after the first year of residency. No more than one independent study project may be taken per term, and no more than 12 units may be devoted to any one research project. Registration for an independent study project requires completion of a departmental Independent Study Project form, this constitutes a contract for the deadlines and deliverables for the subject and the definition of supervisory involvement.

Advancement to Candidacy

A student is advanced to doctoral candidacy upon completion of the following “hurdles,” which should be completed by the end of the third year 

  • General exam: major field—register for 4.684 (27 credit units)
  • General exam: minor field—register for 4.685 (15 credit units)
  • Language requirement
  • Dissertation proposal—register for 4.689 (15 credit units)

Students are responsible for planning their hurdles in consultation with their advisor in a timely manner, in order to complete degree requirements by the end of semester 6 or the third year. The planner is submitted in the fall of the second year, with updates as needed. The sequence of hurdles completion is determined by the student in consultation with his/her advisor. All pre-thesis requirements* must be completed and approved by the end of the third year. Failure to complete pre-thesis requirements by the end of the third year (term 7) may result in recommended or required withdrawal from the program. When the Dissertation Proposal/Prospectus is filed, with all other hurdles completed, the student may enroll in “Thesis,” 4.THG.

Copies of each hurdle are submitted to HTC Staff for filing and completion.
The HTC faculty meet at the end of each semester to review student progress in general and advance students to ABD candidacy status. . The degree administrator communicates with the Registrar when degree requirements have been fulfilled, and allows the Institute to certify candidacy.

General Examination: Major and Minor Fields

The fields of examination are set by mutual agreement between the student and their advisor. The purpose is to demonstrate the breadth and depth of the student's critical awareness of the discipline in which he or she works. Most universities, research institutions and other potential employers require assurance that a graduate has areas of competency beyond his or her specialization.

It is strongly recommended that work on the minor exam be completed in three months.The minor exam may cover a different time period from the major exam, or it may have a theoretical focus that complements the historical focus of the major exam, or it may cover in depth a topic within the broader field covered in the major exam. The minor exam may be a three-hour written test, or it may consist of preparing materials for a subject: specifically, a detailed syllabus, a bibliography, an introductory lecture and at least one other lecture. Register for 15 credit units of 4.685 the term in which the minor is completed (the fourth term). 

It is strongly recommended that work on the major exam be completed in three months.The major exam is a three-hour written test covering a historically broad area of interest that includes components of history, historiography and theory. Preparation for the exam will focus on four or five themes agreed upon in advance. Register for 27 credit units of 4.684 during the term in which the major is completed (the fifth term).

Although it is possible for one professor to supervise both exams, such an arrangement limits the student's collaboration with the faculty. With approval, a faculty member outside HTC may administer one of the exams. In this case, an HTC faculty member will also read the exam and submit the grade.

Topics and examiners for the Major and Minor exams should be finalized no later than the fourth semester. 

Language Requirement

It is recommended that students complete their language requirement by the end of the fourth semester. Because of the foundational role French and German have played in the discipline of art and architectural history and theory, successful study or testing in these two languages constitutes the usual fulfillment of this requirement. For students working on topics for which there is another primary language, a substitution may be approved by the advisor. The MIT Global Studies and Languages department administers graduate language examinations.

The language exam can only be waived under the following circumstances:

  • The student is a native speaker of the language needed
  • Two years (or four semesters) of university courses have been completed for a language not administered by the language department, and a “B” or better average grade was maintained

Credits accumulated from language subjects taken to fulfill this requirement cannot be used toward the 204 credits of coursework required for the degree.

Dissertation Proposal

A dissertation advisor should be selected by the end of the fourth semester. During the sixth semester, the Dissertation Topic will be presented to students and faculty colleagues. It is estimated that the writing and revision of the proposal should take no more than four months. 

Following the Thesis Topic Presentation in the sixth semester, an appropriate dissertation committee should be proposed by the student and approved in principle by the advisor. (The committee may be changed with the approval of the advisor up to the eighth semester.) The dissertation committee comprises a minimum of three members; two must be MIT Department of Architecture faculty members, and the chair a member of the HTC faculty (and the student's main advisor). The third member may come from HTC or appointed from outside the department or outside the Institute. Students may add additional members in consultation with their advisor. 

The dissertation proposal should be drafted and defended by the end of the sixth semester. Formal approval of the dissertation topic is gained through a proposal, which the student submits and defends to his or her dissertation committee prior to the end of the sixth semester of registration. The student is strongly advised to have an informal meeting of the committee some weeks prior to the formal defense, to reach a consensus that the thesis topic is of the right scale and the prospectus itself is ready to be defended. Register for 15 credit units of 4.689 the term in which the dissertation proposal is submitted.

A dissertation proposal (also called a prospectus) should contain the following elements:

  • General thesis statement
  • Scope, significance or “stakes” of the thesis
  • Survey of existing research and literature with critical comments and an assessment of the extent to which this material will be utilized
  • Method of the thesis work 
  • Outline or brief sketch of the dissertation, e.g. summaries of proposed chapters
  • Working bibliography
  • Resources for primary material
  • Archives and proof of access; IRB approval if required
  • Plan of work, and may include a timetable

The formal defense of the prospectus consists of an oral examination in which the candidate meets with the dissertation committee; the committee decides whether the prospectus is approved as is, requires further revision, or does not pass the defense.

When the approved proposal is filed with the HTC administrator in acknowledgment of successful completion, the dissertation topic and proposal are approved, advancing the student to candidacy. At this point, the student registers for 4.THG, Graduate Thesis. 

Dissertation Defense

Regular contact with committee members during the process of drafting the thesis can ensure a student's readiness for the final thesis defense. Students are advised to meet with committee members to obtain comments and guidance throughout the writing phase of the project. The final draft should be submitted to committee members no later than one month prior to the defense. The defense cannot be scheduled any later than two weeks prior to the published Institute PhD thesis deadline.

The dissertation is defended in the presence of the full dissertation committee. If a member of the committee is not able to attend or participate by virtual means, he or she must contact the committee chair with comments and questions. That member should also inform the committee chair of a vote.

The result of the defense is either accepted, accepted with revisions or rejected. If the thesis is accepted with revisions, the student makes necessary changes to the document and submits them within an agreed time frame to committee members, as determined at the defense meeting. If rejected, the student will re-defend to the committee in a timely manner.  Students are strongly advised to set a defense date three months in advance of the deadline to allow for revisions by the committee.

The PhD is awarded upon submission of the defended, approved, archival-ready dissertation to the Department of Architecture, via the PhD Academic Administrator. The final dissertation is submitted by the Institute deadline for doctoral theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. The final document conforms with Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

Thesis Research in Absentia

Acceptance into the program is granted with the presumption that students will remain in residence at the Institute during their degree. However, on occasion, work outside the Institute may be essential to gather archival or other materials. Students who have completed all requirements apart from the dissertation may apply to take one or occasionally two semesters in absentia. A proposal for thesis in absentia, which outlines work to be accomplished, should be delivered to the director and administrator in HTC no later than the drop date of the semester prior to the one in which the student plans to be away. The student should consult with the Academic Programs Manager in Headquarters as well as HTC staff for a review of the financial and academic implications of TIA status. The HTC faculty, the Department, and the dean of the graduate school grant approval. Students must return to regular registration status for the final term the dissertation is submitted for their degree. However, the dissertation draft may be submitted to the student’s primary advisor and committee members at any time during the TIA period. Similarly, the defense may be scheduled at any time (as long as the committee has at least 4 weeks to read the full and final draft). Regular registration status is required in order to file the final archival copy for the degree. Students are required to apply for the degree in Websis during the term prior to degree completion.

Thesis

Graduate Thesis

The thesis comprises an original investigation, including a written report in English, on a subject approved by the Department of Architecture in advance. The Institute requires that each graduate student research and write an individual thesis and submit final copies to the Institute as a permanent record. In order for a degree to be awarded, the department must receive the thesis in accordance with the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the MIT Libraries Institute Archives. Please refer to archthesis.mit.edu for timelines, specifications, and other useful information.

Thesis work in all master's degree programs in the Department of Architecture extends over two to three terms. Thesis work in doctoral programs extends over four to six terms. Registration for thesis and pre-thesis subjects differs by degree program.

The thesis process begins with one or more terms of thesis preparation and ends with one or more terms of thesis. Thesis registration (4.THG) for all programs begins once the thesis supervisor and/or committee have approved the thesis proposal. An integral element to a successful thesis lies in choosing an appropriate thesis committee. The Thesis Committee Guidelines document addresses the composition of a thesis committee for each degree program.

The objective of registering for thesis preparation is to produce an acceptable thesis proposal. Students in every degree program register for the thesis preparation subject(s) specific to their program.

Thesis Preparation

MArch Program

  • 4.189, Preparation for MArch Thesis, graded A-F, 9 units, taken the penultimate semester of the program.

SMArchS Program

  • 4.288, Preparation for SMArchS Thesis, graded P/D/F, 9 units (6 units for those in Design & Computation) is taken the third semester of the program. Students in Architecture & Urbanism and Design, and Computation will have separate classes; students in all other areas take 4.288 as an independent study subject graded by the thesis advisor.
  • 4.s14, SMArchS Architectural Design Pre-Thesis Preparation, graded P/D/F, 6 units, taken in the second semester of the program for students in the AD area.
  • 4.587, SMArchS Computation Pre-Thesis Preparation, graded P/D/F, 6 units, taken in the second semester of the program for students in the Design and Computation area.
  • 4.686 SMArchS AKPIA Pre-Thesis Preparation, graded P/D/F, 3 units, taken in the second semester of the program for students in the AKPIA area.
  • 4.687 SMArchS HTC Pre-Thesis Preparation, graded P/D/F, 3 units, taken in the second semester of the program for students in the HTC area.

SMACT Program

  • 4.388, Preparation for SMACT Thesis, graded A-F, 9 units, taken in the second semester of the program. Thesis Preparation will develop a proposal for the written thesis. A ten-page thesis proposal is the final project of this class.
  • 4.389, SMACT Thesis Tutorial, graded A-F, 9 units, taken in the fourth semester to support the writing of the thesis book.
  • SMACT students will submit a twenty-page thesis outline, select their thesis committee, and submit a SMACT Thesis Proposal Completion form by the end of their third term. These must be submitted to the ACT administrative offices for distribution to ACT faculty, by May 1.

SMBT Program

  • 4.481, Building Technology Seminar, graded P/D/F, 3 units. All SMBT students are required to register for 4.481 during the first term of the program. The thesis proposal is expected to be a product of this seminar, but the student may register for 4.488 to complete the proposal.
  • 4.488, Preparation for SMBT Thesis, graded P/D/F, variable units. 4.488 is an independent study subject graded by the thesis advisor and taken the second term of the program, if necessary to complete the thesis proposal.

Dissertation and Doctoral Programs

  • 4.481, Building Technology Seminar, graded P/D/F, 3 H-level units. All BT/PhD students must register for 4.481 during the first term of the program. The thesis proposal is expected to be a product of this seminar, but the student may register for 4.489 to complete the proposal.
  • 4.489, Preparation for Building Technology PhD Thesis, graded P/D/F, variable units. This is an independent study subject graded by the thesis advisor and taken the second and third term of the program, if necessary to complete the thesis proposal.
  • 4.589, Preparation for Design and Computation PhD Thesis, graded P/D/F, variable units. An optional independent study subject graded by the thesis advisor and generally taken after coursework is completed. 4.589 is taken as preparation for the general examination and/or the dissertation proposal.
  • 4.683, Preparation for HTC Qualifying Paper, graded P/D/F, variable units. Required of HTC PhD students as a prerequisite for work on the doctoral dissertation. The qualifying paper is a scholarly article fit to be published in a peer-reviewed journal that is the result of research in the history, theory and criticism of architecture and art. Topic may not be in the area of the proposed thesis. Work is done in consultation with HTC faculty, in accordance with the HTC PhD Degree Program Guidelines.
  • 4.684, Preparation for HTC Major Exam, graded P/D/F, variable units. This is required of HTC PhD students as a prerequisite for work on the doctoral dissertation. The Major Exam covers a historically broad area of interest and includes components of history, historiography, and theory. Preparation for the exam will focus on four or five themes agreed upon in advance by the student and the examiner, and are defined by their area of teaching interest. Work is done in consultation with HTC faculty, in accordance with the HTC PhD Degree Program Guidelines.
  • 4.685, Preparation for HTC Minor Exam, graded P/D/F, variable units. This is required of HTC PhD students as a prerequisite for work on the doctoral dissertation. The Minor Exam focuses on a specific area of specialization through which the student might develop their particular zone of expertise. Work is done in consultation with HTC faculty, in accordance with the HTC PhD Degree Program Guidelines.
  • 4.689, Preparation for History, Theory and Criticism PhD Thesis, graded P/D/F, variable units. This is required of HTC PhD students as a prerequisite for work on the doctoral dissertation. Prior to candidacy, doctoral students are required to write and orally defend a proposal laying out the scope of their thesis, its significance, a survey of existing research and literature, the methods of research to be adopted, a bibliography and plan of work. Work is done in consultation with HTC faculty, in accordance with the HTC PhD Degree Program Guidelines. Students in this program do not register for thesis (4.THG) until all requirements except thesis have been completed.

Thesis Registration—4.THG

Once the thesis proposal is approved and the degree administrators have been notified, students register for thesis and continue to do so each term until graduation. Students who do not have an approved thesis proposal may not register for thesis. The number of units varies by degree program (upon submission of the thesis, 12 units of the grade awarded for 4.THG are entered into the student's cumulative grade point average).

MArch students Register for 24 units of 4.THG. Except for architectural design studio, other subjects needed to complete the degree requirements may be taken simultaneously. The e/signed Thesis Proposal form is due by 8:59am the first Friday of a student's final term. Several reviews of student work lead to the final thesis.

  •  Proposal Review—Week 2
  •  Mid-Review—Week 7
  •  Penultimate Review—Week 10
  •  Final Review—Week 15

SMArchS students register for 36 units of 4.THG in their fourth and final term. All subjects needed to complete the degree (except architecture design studio) may be taken simultaneously. The e/signed SMArchS Thesis Proposal form is due to arch@mit.edu by 8:59am the Drop Date of a student's penultimate term. The penultimate semester, a Preliminary Thesis Review is held during Reading Period. These Preliminary Reviews serve as an opportunity for SMArchs students to present a summary of their proposed Thesis Projects in a forum where thesis ideas can gain exposure and feedback from faculty and peers. The final semester, three major reviews of the student's thesis work are held with the advisor(s) and all readers — the first, in Week 7, is scheduled by the discipline area, the second is scheduled by the student with the entire thesis committee for a formal thesis defense in Week 11, and the public final review in Week 14. The department degree administrator schedules final reviews during Reading Period.

SMBT students register for 4.THG upon approval of the thesis proposal and continue to do so each term until graduation. Units will vary according to the number of other subjects being taken. A normal course load for a term is not more than 48 credit units. SMBT students are expected to schedule a Content Review directly with the thesis advisor to take place near the end of the final term. At this point the thesis should be substantially complete; the Content Review marks the point at which the student may turn to production of the final thesis.

SMACT students register for 24 units of 4.THG in their fourth and final term. Thesis is taken in conjunction with 4.390, Art, Culture, and Technology Studio, which is taken each term, and 4.389, SMACT Thesis Tutorial, which is taken the final two terms. Thesis reviews are scheduled within the forum of 4.390, which is restricted to SMACT students.

PhD students register for 48 units of 4.THG for terms in which they are resident and not taking other subjects. Students who have been granted nonresident status register for 36 units of 4.THG only (nonresident status is not permitted in the term during which the thesis is submitted). Regular meetings with members of the dissertation committee to review thesis progress is expected and left to the student to schedule. At the conclusion of the thesis, PhD students are required to hold an oral defense of their dissertation. This defense is scheduled directly with the thesis committee, and the date is reported to the degree administrator.

Policy on Incompletes and Thesis Semester

MArch, SMArchS, and SMACT students entering thesis term may have no more than one incomplete in a subject required for the degree, and that incomplete can be no older than the term previous to thesis. Students with several incompletes and/or incompletes from terms further back will be denied registration until those subjects are completed and graded. This policy applies to subjects required by curriculum or needed for units toward the degree.

Policy on Credit and Thesis

MArch students must have their curriculum credits in order by the end of the thesis prep. No substitutions or petitions for credit will be accepted or processed during the thesis term.

Thesis for Dual Degrees

Thesis research for dual degrees must be done under the supervision of an approved member of one of the two participating departments, with the other department providing a co-advisor or thesis reader. Students expecting to receive two advanced degrees must submit all thesis materials to the department in which they register during their final semester and are bound by the thesis specifications and deadlines of that department.

Thesis Guidelines and Deadlines

The Thesis Committee Guidelines document addresses the composition of a thesis committee for each degree program. The thesis committee must be established and approved before thesis registration is permitted.

  • Specifications for Thesis Preparation is published by the MIT Libraries Institute Archives to assist students in the preparation of the thesis document. The Institute is committed to the preservation of the student’s thesis because it is both a requirement of the MIT degree and a record of original research. The library also publishes a guide for following copyright law, which students should review carefully to make certain they remain in compliance and the thesis is acceptable by the MIT Archives.
  • The department upholds the requirements of the Institute specifications. In addition, the Department of Architecture requires that each thesis contain a page listing the names and titles of each member of the thesis committee. This page is to be inserted between the title page and the abstract. Students should review the thesis checklist before submitting the thesis to the Department.
  • At the beginning of the final thesis term, all students must file an online Application for Advanced Degree at MIT via WebSIS. The deadline is the end of the first week of term.
  • Graduate Policies and Procedures can be found on a website provided by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE). This document offers additional information on the thesis process, including joint theses; restrictions on thesis publication; patent protection, privacy and security; intellectual property policy; and thesis holds.
  • The deadline for submitting the approved, archival copies of the thesis is set by the Institute and can be found on the MIT Academic Calendar. Only minor errors in formatting and proofing will be subject to change after this date and only at the discretion of the department administrators.

All theses are submitted to the department degree administrators:

Nonresident Doctoral Research

A doctoral student who has completed all requirements except for the dissertation may apply for nonresident thesis research status. Students granted this status pay approximately 5% of regular tuition for the first three terms of nonresident status and 15% for the following three terms. Students are limited to six terms of nonresident status.

Application

Permission to become a nonresident doctoral candidate must be sought from the Dean of Graduate Students. The request form is submitted to the Office of the Dean of Graduate Education (ODGE) at least one month before the start of term (a fee is assessed for late requests). The student’s thesis advisor and the department’s graduate officer must approve the application prior to submission. 

Approval can be granted for two successive regular terms in the same academic year (for example, Fall 2016 and Spring 2017, but not Spring 2017 and Fall 2018). Registration as a nonresident student is not required during the summer. Students must reapply each year for additional terms of nonresident status up to a maximum of six terms. Students must return to regular status to defend and submit their doctoral dissertation.

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for non-resident thesis research status, students must be 

  • registered in a doctoral program,
  • in residence as a regular graduate student for at least four regular terms,
  • have completed all degree requirements except for the dissertation and have submitted required paperwork to the Degree Administrator,
  • and have an approved thesis proposal.

Privileges of a Nonresident Student

Nonresident students are considered full-time students. They may retain their MIT IDs and are permitted access to the libraries and athletic facilities. They continue to have the same student health plan options as resident students, although, students are financially responsible for their own health insurance.

However, nonresident students are NOT eligible to

  • use offices, laboratories, design studios or computer facilities in the Department unless specifically approved;
  • reside in student housing;
  • serve as graduate resident tutors; 
  • nor accept employment of any kind at MIT. 

For the first three semesters of nonresident status, a student may receive fellowship support from MIT for an amount up to 5% of the cost of tuition per semester. In subsequent terms of nonresident status, students are not eligible to receive financial support from any MIT department, lab, or cost center. This includes fellowships, research or teaching assistantships as well as any work-study programs.

Although nonresident students are responsible for payment of tuition and appropriate fees, U.S. citizens or Permanent Resident students may apply for federal and alternative loans. Current loans may be adjusted because tuition will be decreased to nonresident levels. Questions regarding loans should be addressed to Student Financial Services.

Thesis Research in Absentia

Thesis research is ordinarily done in residence at the Institute. However, on occasion, work away from the Institute may be essential for such tasks as gathering data. Students with compelling educational reasons to do so may therefore apply to take one or two semesters in absentia. 

A proposal for thesis research to be done in absentia must be approved by both the faculty of the specific PhD degree program, the Department's graduate officer, and the Dean of the Graduate School. 

Criteria for thesis in absentia include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Evidence that this opportunity will provide continuing intellectual growth.
  • Evidence of completion of required coursework and all degree requirements except the thesis.
  • The thesis must continue to be supervised by an Institute faculty member or by a senior academic staff member approved by the Department.
  • The student must be registered as a regular student during the final term.
  • The student must devote full time to thesis research while absent from MIT.

Students approved for thesis in absentia will continue to be registered as full-time students and receive tuition plus their normal fellowship stipends.

Proposal

The proposal needs to include the following and submitted to the Department's PhD degree administrator:

  • Name
  • MIT ID
  • Current address
  • Current phone
  • Current e-mail
  • Degree program
  • Completion date of general exams
  • Completion date of thesis proposal and working title for thesis
  • Proposed terms in absentia
  • Expected degree date
  • Reasons for requesting thesis research in absentia—the opportunity for continued intellectual growth must be evident
  • Thesis advisor’s name and title 
  • Thesis advisor’s signature of approval
  • Degree program director’s signature of approval
  • Graduate officer’s signature of approval
  • A copy of the signed thesis proposal 

The approved and signed thesis proposal must be attached to the research-in-absentia proposal before the latter is submitted to the Department and, subsequently, the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE).