Minor Requirement for the Doctorate

The Minor Requirement is designed to encourage the development of intellectual breadth at an advanced level. A Minor Requirement must be discussed with and approved by a student’s research supervisor. The proposed program submitted via DocuSign (pdf for reference) must then be approved by the Departmental Committee on Graduate Students Chair. A program of study should be approved before it is embarked on, and therefore should be proposed early in a student’s doctoral program. Changes in a program must be approved through a “revised” minor proposal form to the Chair of the Departmental Committee on Graduate Studies. The student’s research supervisor must sign and approve the revised minor proposal form.

Academic Minor Option

The selected courses for the minor may or may not be related to the thesis research area.

The subjects taken to satisfy the Minor Requirement must be at an advanced level. It is recommended that two graduate level courses be taken (24 units). Minor Programs composed of one graduate level and one advanced undergraduate level course (24 units), or three advanced undergraduate courses (33 units), that were not used to obtain a bachelors or masters degree, may also be acceptable. An exception is a minor in a beginning language sequence where two 9 unit G subjects would most likely be approved.

Proposals for a Minor Program

Students must submit a form outlining the proposed Minor Program to the Departmental Committee on Graduate Students for approval. Blank copies are available in the DMSE Academic Office, Room 6-107. Students must include:

  • attached copies of the catalogue descriptions of all subjects included in the petition
  • an endorsement of the proposal by the student’s research supervisor stating the program is coherent

DMSE Students Enrolled in the Program in Polymers and Soft Matter (PPSM)

As an alternative to the above procedure, PPSM students may complete the Minor Requirement by:

  • taking subject 3.20, Materials at Equilibrium, and subject 3.21, Kinetic Processes in Materials;
  • taking one other graduate subject of at least 9 units that is not related to polymeric materials for academic credit; and
  • The proposed program should be submitted via DocuSign (pdf for reference) listing the subjects to be taken to fulfill the Minor requirement. The written request will need to have the catalogue description of the third subject.

Subjects Taken Outside MIT

Students with demonstrated professional competence (for instance, a graduate degree) in a field separate from materials science and engineering may petition the DCGS to use that experience to satisfy the Minor Requirement. Units and subject level requirement are the same as for subjects taken within MIT.

Teaching Minor Option

The Teaching Minor will comprise a comparable load and academic credit to the existing Minor Requirement, i.e., 24 units are “recommended.”

The process of approval of a Teaching Minor will be the same as that for the existing Minor Requirement. In particular, the proposed minor will require the thesis advisor’s approval and endorsement.

It is to the Department’s students’ advantage to have graduate student Teaching Assistants who are knowledgeable and not overburdened with taking other classes. Hence, only students who have passed their oral doctoral examinations may elect to satisfy the Minor Requirement with a Teaching Minor. (Therefore students generally begin a Teaching Minor in Year 3 of graduate study and not before. They designate their Teaching Minor in Spring Semester of the second year of graduate study in DMSE.)

Students who have elected the Teaching Minor option will be designated Teaching Interns during the semesters in which they are earning academic credit toward the Teaching Minor requirement.

In order to complete a Teaching Minor, a student must serve as a Teaching Intern for two semesters and earn 24 units of academic credit (total) for 3.691-3.699, "Teaching Materials Science and Engineering." In addition, students pursuing a Teaching Minor must take subject 3.69 "Teaching Fellows Seminar," concurrently while serving as a Teaching Assistant. 3.69 is to be offered each fall semester and will provide instruction on how to teach lectures and recitations effectively, how to prepare a syllabus, writing assignments and examinations, grading, how to resolve complaints, etc. Where possible the seminar will make use of existing MIT resources on teaching such as MIT's Teaching and Learning Laboratory and programs that have been developed by other departments for TA orientation and training.

Students who complete the requirements for a DMSE Teaching Minor will have satisfied DMSE’s Minor Requirement.