MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000


The Technology, Management, and Policy Program (TMP) is an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program directed at producing world-class researchers striving to improve methods used in defining and implementing policies for the intelligent use of technology. The program was established in 1992 and became a part of the Engineering Systems Division in 1998. The students within the program are motivated by their recognition of specific problems at the boundaries between technological development and social and industrial policy. The goals of the TMP program are to supply an academically rigorous environment within which these students, under the guidance of MIT faculty, work to extend the nature and purview of the tools needed to understand and address these issues.

The common vision of the program participants is that a dual competency in a technical area and in management and policy is the basis for the effective design of large-scale systems. The research efforts within the program are leading to the development of a new paradigm for the planning and design of engineering systems—a paradigm that blends technical expertise with competence in economics, management, and policy to achieve a better adaptation of technology to societal goals.

Students are not directly admitted to the program; rather, they are first admitted to the Master’s program in Technology and Policy. Upon their arrival at MIT, these potential TMP students then prepare a case for admission to the TMP program, which requires that they construct an appropriate research question, assemble a cadre of MIT faculty committed to that effort, and develop a proposed curriculum that will assure that the student will be equipped to address this question in a manner consistent with the highest academic standards of the fields represented. This admission case is then reviewed by the TMP admissions committee, composed of faculty drawn from the MIT Schools of Engineering, Management, and Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

Although the majority of the students in the program initially came to MIT solely for the S.M. in TPP, there has been an upsurge in applicants who have specifically targeted admission to TMP over the past three years. The program currently admits about five students each year, and students take approximately five years to complete their degrees. There currently are 25 students enrolled in the TMP program, and four TMP Ph.D.s were awarded this year. These graduates have joined their colleagues in careers in industry, academia, and the government.

With the installation of Professor Dan Hastings as the new director for TPP, and the inclusion of TPP into the ESD family of educational programs, a TMP faculty committee, with members drawn from ESD, the Sloan School and HASS, has begun to meet to work to more completely define the mission of the TMP program, particularly vis-a’- vis the emerging plans for an ESD Ph.D. program. Furthermore, several policy changes, particularly regarding the composition of TMP thesis committees and the representation of core TMP faculty upon those committees, have been instituted.

Daniel Hastings

MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000