Professional Education Has a Long History at MIT

The MIT Professional Education office, established under the School of Engineering in 2002, builds on decades of MIT’s outreach to science and engineering professionals.

MIT first began offering summer study in 1898, primarily as an extension of regular courses and a preparation for incoming students. In 1949, MIT established a Summer Session Office to expand special summer offerings specifically for industries such as textiles, spectroscopy, and petroleum engineering. Over the years, MIT’s summer focus has turned toward professional education. Today’s Short Programs draws more than 1500 students a year to short courses spanning a wide array of topics from innovation and entrepreneurship to biotechnology, information technologies, data modeling and systems engineering.

The School for Advanced Study opened in 1956 “to give formal recognition to the importance of postdoctoral studies in advancing science and technology,” according to a February 1957Technology Review article. The appointment of the school’s first fellow, Edwin H. Land, president of Polaroid Corporation, clarified a second goal, “to provide a means for the informal association of visiting scholars from all over the world with the MIT faculty,” the Institute Gazette reported in May 1956. The first class of certificate students entered the Center for Advanced Engineering Studies (CAES) in 1964-65. Today, the Advanced Study Program draws over a hundred professionals to the MIT campus each year to study with MIT faculty and students.