MIT-SUTD’s seven-year education collaboration a success

23 Jun 2017
  • Current and future SUTD students will continue to benefit from the curriculum that MIT developed with SUTD
  • Two cohorts have graduated, with more than 90% of students obtaining employment within six months of their final exams
  • Collaboration between SUTD and MIT will continue through the SUTD-MIT International Design Centre

The Singapore University of Technology and Design’s (SUTD) education collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will come to completion on 30 June 2017, marking the first phase of SUTD’s development. SUTD was established with the support of the Singapore Government in collaboration with MIT, with the aim of creating a leading university in design, engineering, technology and architecture. The collaboration that began in January of 2010 has been a major success. Significant milestones of the collaboration include:

  • A unique and rigorous curriculum – over 90 percent of SUTD’s undergraduate courses were developed by MIT and implemented by SUTD. The Introduction to Design course, which exposes first-year students to both architecture and engineering, was one of the many courses tailor-made for SUTD’s unique pedagogy.

  • SUTD faculty participated in teaching and research programmes at MIT – some 30% of SUTD faculty attended a semester- or year-long MIT Teach-the-Teachers programme where they worked with research and curriculum development mentors at MIT.

  • SUTD and MIT students benefit from exchange programmes – over 270 SUTD students have attended educational programmes at MIT and, as part of these student programmes, MIT has sent more than 100 student interns to Singapore and SUTD. For example, through the 10-week Global Leadership Programme at MIT, SUTD students worked with MIT students on large design projects. SUTD students also attended a three-week Winter programme at MIT, where they attended classes and participated in activities as part of MIT’s Independent Activity Period. The MIT-SUTD Dual Masters Programme has graduated 28 students.

Mr Lee Tzu Yang, Chairman of the SUTD Board of Trustees, said: “The collaboration between SUTD and MIT has been very fruitful. Together, we have created a unique environment to nurture the next generation of technically grounded leaders and innovators. Design and technology skills are especially relevant to solving today’s most challenging issues and building a better world for tomorrow. We are very proud of what we have achieved together, and I am grateful for the help and support that MIT has given us in our fledgling years.”
MIT Provost Martin Schmidt said: “We are very proud of what we have accomplished with our colleagues at SUTD and in the Singapore Government. In a short period of time, we have together established a strong and innovative university. We expect that SUTD will continue to be an important educational resource for the people of Singapore, and the greater educational and research community around the world. We look forward to continuing the very productive relationship between MIT and Singapore in research, innovation and entrepreneurship, including at the CREATE research campus and at the SUTD-MIT International Design Centre.”
To date, SUTD has matriculated six cohorts of undergraduate students and has established itself as a university of choice with high admission standards and rigorous pedagogy. The popularity of SUTD’s hands-on, design-focused education is evident from the 16% year-on-year increase in number of applications since its inception.
SUTD graduates are sought after by employers. Two SUTD cohorts have since graduated, with more than 90% obtaining employment within six months of completing their final examinations. SUTD graduates have also earned higher mean gross monthly starting salaries than their peers, as reported in the 2015 and 2016 national annual graduate employment surveys. SUTD’s Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Architecture degree programmes have also received professional recognition, having obtained full accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Board and the Board of Architects respectively.
Mr Philip Ng, founding Chairman of SUTD’s Board of Trustees and current member, said: “Without a doubt, the legacy that MIT leaves has helped to set high standards for SUTD’s curriculum and pedagogy. The strong foundation laid by founding President Thomas Magnanti, drawing from his experience in MIT, and the knowledge-sharing between SUTD and MIT will ensure that SUTD continues to provide world-class education in Asia.”
Prof Magnanti said: “The collaboration with MIT has been a major success. As such, SUTD is now capable of providing unique education programmes independently. Every student who comes through our doors will continue to receive a world-class education through a curriculum developed by MIT. Of course, the completion of this collaboration does not preclude us from continuing to work with individual MIT professors.