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MIT Sloan launches three new undergraduate majors and minors

New offerings will debut in fall 2016

January 10, 2016

2016-undergrad

Professor Stephen Graves working with Course 15 undergraduates

MIT Sloan undergraduate education, commonly known as Course 15, is about to undergo extensive restructuring for the first time in decades.

Starting this fall, Course 15 will offer three new majors—management, business analytics, and finance—and corresponding minors. Students in the classes of 2017 and 2018 can declare one of these new majors, or continue with the current management science major. Students in the classes of 2019 and beyond will choose one of the new majors.

The Course 15 redesign began nearly four years ago when a group of MIT Sloan faculty formed an undergraduate education task force to look at ways of strengthening the program and enhancing the school’s connection to undergraduate education at MIT, said Scott Alessandro, director of the Sloan undergraduate education office.

The task force uncovered that many MIT students didn’t understand what management science was and were unaware that they could take almost any Course 15 class, including graduate classes, Alessandro said. Aside from the core courses for master’s programs, there are very few courses that are restricted to certain populations.

“The restructuring of our undergraduate degrees creates alignment with our graduate program portfolio, which builds on MIT Sloan’s excellence in management, finance, and business analytics,” said Jake Cohen, senior associate dean for Sloan undergraduate and master’s programs.

Finance and business analytics/operations research have been two of the most popular concentrations chosen by Course 15 students, said James Orlin, a professor of operations research and chair of the Sloan Undergraduate Education Committee.

“The new undergraduate majors in business analytics and finance will provide undergraduates more depth in these two areas, while still maintaining a large degree of flexibility,” Orlin said. “Industry is committed to increasing use of analytics over the next decades. Students in business analytics will be in great demand in the job market.”

The students who major in business analytics, which will be known as 15-2, will learn a wide range of methodologies for data analysis and problem-solving.

The school’s finance courses have long been some of the most popular electives for undergraduates, including majors and non-majors said Paul Asquith, a finance professor and member of the Sloan Undergraduate Education Committee. The new finance major, known as 15-3, will provide many options for students.

“The 15-3 major allows students who want to work in either investment management, sales and trading, investment banking, or corporate finance, to obtain a broad background and to signal potential employers of their interest. The structural design for 15-3 also created two new laboratory courses in finance that allow students the opportunity to get hands-on experience similar to that they would obtain during summer internships at financial firms,” Asquith said.

The new management major, known as 15-1, will also offer students variety, as it comprises two parts—a set of courses providing a broad management education and a flexible concentration that allows students to study a particular business area in-depth. For students who double major, as many Course 15 undergraduates do, the concentration of MIT Sloan subjects can be chosen to complement the second major, Orlin said.

Alessandro said he expects the number of Course 15 majors and minors to increase, and just as importantly he also anticipates that the revitalized program will encourage all MIT undergraduates to consider taking one or more classes at Sloan.

For more information on the new majors, contact the MIT Sloan Undergraduate Education office at ugeducation@sloan.mit.edu.