Organization Studies is grounded in the disciplines of behavioral social science, particularly sociology, psychology, anthropology, and political science. Students without background in any of these areas need to become grounded in some part of these fields during their graduate study.
Sociology courses are available at MIT in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), Urban Studies; some psychology is available in Brain and Cognitive Sciences; some anthropology in STS. Political Science has its own department. Many students, however, do their discipline work through courses in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Additional program information:
(All required courses must be passed with a B or better)
Microeconomics at the Master's level (15.011 or equivalent)
One advanced methods course, e.g.
Be creative, there are many options available. Speak with your advisor on the background needed for these courses.
15.341, 15.342, and 15.347 meet the MIT Sloan requirements for a Behavioral Science Minor.
15.075 Applied Statistics (or equivalent)
At least one semester of T.A. is required, recommended for late (3rd, 4th year) in graduate career. Often necessary to meet work requirements of financial aid. All students are urged to do a T.A. in 15.301 or 15.310, which are the courses where they are in full charge of a section.
Students are responsible for some aspect of a basic social science discipline in order to anchor their studies. Without any previous social science experience this might mean three formal discipline courses or reading courses or some combination of the two. Participation in professional colloquia and meetings (e.g., American Psychological Association, American Sociological Association) could also be used. Students should arrange their disciplinary program jointly with their advisors.
Students may take this seminar every year of their graduate career (for credit); they are expected to take it at least once, probably in their second-year, and it is suggested that they would benefit later as well.
Advanced Statistics - Since 15.348 has quantitative content, other advanced courses are recommended but not required, e.g.:
Research investigation of your own choosing and design.
To explore a topic area of interest, apply methodological skills, and possibly lead to a dissertation proposal.
Hand in by June 30 as part of your Generals process. (Try to collect data during January of first year, or, more likely, during the summer between the first and second-year. Try to produce a rough draft during January of your second-year and expect to circulate the paper through the faculty a few times before it is ready for submission.)
General Examinations in OSG are offered in January, May, and September. Normally students will complete their Generals by September of their third year, but permission to extend until January is possible under special circumstances and students who are well prepared may take them in May of their second-year.
Students preparing for Generals have a Generals Committee consisting of the Advisor for their Second-Year Paper as chair, and two other faculty. It is the responsibility of the Advisor of the Second-Year Paper to enlist other faculty, in consultation with the student.
The General Examination consists of the following parts:
Students may consult with others while they are setting their questions. But once the writing of answers has begun, the work is to be strictly individual, with no consultation with faculty or other students.
If you have questions about this, skim a few theses and consult your advisor.
Ideally, proposals should be written early in the third year and the dissertation should be completed by June in the fourth year. According to this ideal schedule you would most likely be on the job market and putting in some hours at MIT Sloan in a T.A. while you are writing your dissertation. This is often not feasible, especially if the dissertation involves obtaining access to organizations and extensive field work. Individual arrangements are made in these cases, and see also the section on job search.
Initially you will be assigned an advisor who will act as your liaison. That person remains until you choose someone to be the advisor of your Second-Year Paper. This person is also the chair of your Generals Committee. Together you will select two other faculty members for your committee.
After you have passed Generals, you select a chairperson for your dissertation who remains your advisor for the rest of your time. Again you jointly select two to three other members, one of whom should be from outside OSG. Your first year advisor, paper advisor, and dissertation chair may be the same person or may all differ.
Financial Aid is set by the BPS PhD Committee, within the limits set by the MIT Sloan PhD Committee. It includes some combination of self-financing, fellowship, and a work component in the form of an R.A. or T.A. T.A.s and R.A.s are funded for nine months, with the distribution of work negotiated between student and faculty (e.g., whether to work in January). Summer funding depends on a student's individual negotiation with faculty who have access to research funds. Fellowship support, if awarded, can be anywhere from one to four years. Students whose degrees take longer than four years may apply for a leave of absence or go on non-resident status. Sharon Cayley has the details on these options.
Second-year students run the OSG colloquium, which meets Fridays from 1 p.m – 2:30 p.m., in consultation with the faculty. There is an informal lunch preceding the colloquia. All students and all faculty are expected to attend.
Each student is allowed up to $1000 to cover conference expenses (exclusive of food) and/or research expenses during their graduate study. This is a total, not an annual budget.
At the end of each year, students will have a feedback meeting with their advisor and one other faculty member. In preparation for this meeting students will submit a statement reflecting their own evaluation of the progress of their doctoral work. (See next page.) This statement will be an evolving document to chart a student's professional development.
Please use this as an opportunity to step back and reflect on where you have been, where you are, and where you are going.
The journey through graduate school has many twists and turns. Formal course work represents only part of the process. Equally important is each student's overall competence as a professional, in terms of research, teaching, and relevant professional development activities. The faculty wants to ensure that each student is receiving a broad academic base in areas pertinent to organization studies.
The key purpose for writing a professional development statement is to give you an opportunity to articulate and refine your academic goals. It provides a means to reflect individually on progress, thus far, toward the PhD The statement should include (but need not be restricted to) responses to the following questions:
The professional development statements will be an important input to the annual process by which the faculty discuss PhD student progress. The OSG faculty will be meeting soon, after which there will be an individual feedback session with each student and two of the faculty, typically your advisor and one other faculty member.
Please also indicate if you want any particular faculty participating in your feedback session or if you have particular questions you want feedback on.
In order to make sure that all feedback sessions can take place before people disappear for the summer, please submit your statements by May 1.
It is very important to recognize that planning is critical to your job search, and should begin early. For example, it is important to have presentations at conferences and publications under your belt while still a graduate student. Faculty find it much easier to recommend students if they have a record of professional achievements. Writing papers, making presentations, and getting into print all require planning; such planning may affect schedules and financial aid. Students should consider applying for dissertation fellowships to free up their time or going non-resident if required for fieldwork.
Timing for entry into the job market is very important and should be discussed with the advisor. The application process is intensive and interferes with the dissertation. Going on the job market too early can be frustrating and wasteful, despite the financial implications of another year in school. It is often advisable to wait to enter the job market until the dissertation is almost done and to find support through R.A.s or post-docs.