Information about ESD's PhD programs and the process for admission thereto can be found at http://esd.mit.edu/academic.html.
The Technology, Management and Policy (TMP) track is a specialized Ph.D. offered within the Engineering Systems Division (ESD).
The TMP doctoral track is a focused Ph.D. for which engineers receive an education in and conduct integrative original, fundamental, generalizable research on engineering systems with an emphasis on the societal implications on the system and of the system.
This degree rests upon the fact that, while Engineering Systems provide a powerful framework for the study and treatment of complex engineered systems, there is a need for engineering systems PhDs whose domain of expertise includes not only engineering systems, but also the social systems giving rise to and being influenced by them. There is a need not only for the kind of synthesis within engineering that ESD represents, but also a synthesis across the engineering and social science disciplines. TMP enables practitioners to contribute to our understanding of the interplay between engineered and social systems, and to develop new insights into the ways in which these two domains influence the development of our technical and social infrastructure.
The conceptual model for the degree is shown in the following figure. The family of intellectual concerns at the core of engineering systems, engineering science, is represented by the ellipse at the center of the diagram. This intellectual core is surrounded by a larger domain, labeled engineering systems, implying that, while the study of engineering systems depends upon a core of engineering science, the study is also concerned with issues that lie outside that intellectual domain. Moreover, these engineering systems have interactions with and are influenced by elements that are the intellectual province of the worlds of social science. Within this conceptual schema, the domain of the TMP track is then at the boundary of the engineering systems and social science domain and is concerned with the flows across the boundary.
This framework, while locating TMP as lying between the disciplinary spheres of engineering and social science, does not address what it means to be at this frontier -- or, more specifically, what is meant by the notion of "policy" at this frontier. The view of policy within TMP is based upon the norms of those working to "get something done" at this frontier, and can be defined as a plan or course of action of a formal institution taking explicit account of the technical, social and institutional contexts and their interrelationships supported through the application of appropriate and open analyses to successfully influence, guide and determine decisions, action, and other matters.
This positioning of TMP within this conceptual framework suggests the elements that comprise the intellectual agenda of the program. First, it suggests that the core elements of education and research in this field are drawn from both engineering systems and the social sciences. Second, it emphasizes that the recipients of the degree have studied an engineering system (i.e., a system constructed by human beings and involving substantial technology) as a central aspect of their inquiry. Third, it emphasizes that the students must make fundamental and generalizable contributions to the state of the art of understanding of the system. Finally, it suggests the domain of the degree lies in the implications of policy and institutions on the system and of the system.