MIT launches MITx MicroMasters in principles of manufacturing

MIT announced the launch of the Institute’s third MITx MicroMasters program, in principles of manufacturing. The new program brings an advanced manufacturing curriculum to the MITx platform for the first time and enables learners worldwide to advance their careers by mastering the fundamental skills needed for global manufacturing excellence and competitiveness.

New manufacturing firms are growing at their fastest rate since 1993, as technology revolutionizes the field. The MITx Principles of Manufacturing MicroMasters program focuses on broad-based concepts that underlie all manufacturing environments, putting graduates of this program in a position to leverage the industry’s fast-paced growth. The graduate-level program enables engineers, product designers, and technology developers to advance their careers in a broad range of engineering capacities, including manufacturing, supply chain management, design, and product development.  

“Throughout an entire undergraduate degree program, the conventional engineering curriculum teaches students that everything is certain, and results are exact, ignoring inherent uncertainty,” said David Hardt, a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. “All too often, people fail to get products, and even companies, across what’s known as the valley of death, which is the gap between small-volume and full-scale production. Their efforts fail because they haven’t been given the fundamental skill set for managing uncertainties associated with production rate, quality, and cost. And, that’s exactly what we do in this new program.”  

Noting the continued evolution of technologies, instability of supply chains, and introduction of new production processes, Hardt said that manufacturing technologies “change so quickly that unless students master the cohesive set of fundamentals that underlie production, they won’t know how to handle many of the unexpected challenges that arise.”

By maintaining a technology-agnostic curriculum and embracing the fundamental principles that govern manufacturing, the MITx Principles of Manufacturing MicroMasters curriculum will maintain its relevance in this constantly changing environment.

The new MicroMasters program traces its roots back to the Master of Engineering in Advanced Manufacturing and Design, originally established at MIT in 2001 through the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology. This master’s program provides a launchpad for graduates to become innovative future leaders in established manufacturing firms and new entrepreneurial ventures. The MITx Principles of Manufacturing MicroMasters program leverages this curriculum.

The MITx Principles of Manufacturing MicroMasters curriculum consists of eight online courses, which span the fields of process control, manufacturing systems, engineering management, and supply chain planning and design. Each course runs for eight weeks, and students who complete the entire curriculum and earn their MicroMasters credential will be eligible to apply to the Master of Engineering in Advanced Manufacturing and Design degree program on campus at MIT.

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) will also offer a pathway to its Master of Science in Professional Studies that awards credit to learners who successfully complete the MITxPrinciples of Manufacturing MicroMasters credential and are then admitted to RIT. The RIT MS in Professional Studies is an innovative open curriculum environment that enables students to create a customized degree path that meets their educational or career objectives. RIT has been working with MITx since early 2017, and offers a similar pathway to holders of the MITx Supply Chain Management MicroMasters credential.