Paul Penfield, Jr., Master of Engineering: A New MIT Degree, 1993 Winter Meeting of the National Society of Professional Engineers, Kailua-Kona, HI; January 23-30, 1993.

Master of Engineering: A New MIT Degree

Paul Penfield, Jr.


The Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT is developing a new professional curriculum for students entering MIT in Fall 1993 or later. The majority of department undergraduates will be given the option of continuing for a fifth year of study and receiving the M.Eng. (Master of Engineering) degree along with a bachelor's degree.

For many years our students have known that, in order to excel at engineering practice, they needed a master's degree. Well over half got one, often right away, and sometimes from MIT. However, until now we have not offered a graduate program aimed at engineering practice. Admission to the MIT EECS department as a graduate student has been competitive, and the basis of the decision has been whether the student can do a doctoral thesis. For those who want to practice engineering, this is the wrong criterion, and the doctoral program is probably the wrong program.

The new M.Eng. curriculum is a structured, seamless, five-year program. Students will be admitted to the fifth year of study with a minimum of formality, on the basis of whether or not they can handle the graduate courses (which will remain as difficult as they are today). They will be informed of their "master's-only" admission at the end of the junior year, when they can still be flexible in arranging their programs.

The new M.Eng. degree is considered to be the one most suitable for an engineering career. A doctor's degree following the M.Eng. is ideal for those going into research or a faculty position. The bachelor's degrees will continue to be suitable for many entry-level engineering positions, for further study in another field, or for graduate school elsewhere.

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Created: Jan 6, 1993  |  Modified: Dec 31, 1998
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