Master of Science in Art Culture and Technology

The Master of Science in Art, Culture and Technology is a studio program within the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology. Students challenge traditional genres and push the limits imposed by gallery and museum contexts. Exploring experimental media and expanded definitions of site is encouraged.

Study is organized and directed by a select group of internationally recognized artists. Students learn through project critiques and seminars, complemented by readings and discussion in contemporary theory and criticism.

Central to the curriculum is the potential for links with programs in architecture, urbanism, technology and media studies. Related areas of research include: the dialogue between art and architecture; critical approaches to public art; demarcations between public and private space; anti-monuments and new instruments of collective memory; prosthesis and extended body; nomadic design tactics; new interfaces between visual art and landscape; and performance and sound works.


Admissions Information for SMACT

Candidates compete for the six places available each year in the Department of Architecture's Master of Science in Art, Culture and Technology (SMACT) program. Admission is based on a careful examination of the applicant's previous artistic and academic record, including relevant samples of completed work, a statement of purpose and letters of recommendation. The applicant should demonstrate superior achievement and the ability to initiate and complete independent academic work in the visual arts.

Deadline and Submission

Online Application

Application Fee



Statement of Objectives

English Proficiency Requirement

The minimum IELTS score required for SMACT candidates is 7 and the minimum TOEFL score is 600 (250 for computer-based test, 100 for Internet-based test). While either test score is accepted, the IELTS score is preferred.

Graduate Record Examination

The Graduate Record Examination is not required of SMACT candidates.


ACT applicants are required to submit a portfolio of their work. The portfolio should include evidence of recent creative work, whether personal, academic or professional. Work done collaboratively should be identified as such, and the applicant’s role in the project needs to be clearly defined.

Please be aware that all applicant portfolios will be reviewed using computer monitors. Double-check your files to make sure they open before submitting. Submit the portfolio material in the formats indicated below.

The portfolio must include project documentation, images, or time-based media (or a combination of these):

  • Project Documentation and/or images: submit one multi-page PDF document (maximum 10 pages). Please include captions/descriptions where necessary such as title, artist, year, material, and/or project description for each image.
  • Time-based media for a maximum of seven minutes total. Video should be submitted as high quality QuickTime .mov files. Audio should be submitted as high quality .mp3 or .aiff files

The portfolio may also include the following optional items, which are considered as secondary material, and will be reviewed if time permits.

  • Writing samples are optional, but welcome, and should be limited to five pages and submitted as a PDF.
  • URLs to web page(s) with additional information about your artistic practice may also be submitted.


Although not required, an interview is recommended for applicants to the SMACT program.

Decisions and Notifications



Degree Requirements for SMACT


The minimum required residency for students enrolled in the SMACT program is two academic years. SMACT students do not register for summer term.

Faculty Advising

A faculty advisor from the Art, Culture and Technology Program is assigned to each SMACT student at matriculation. The advisor will consult on the student's initial plan of study and on each subsequent term's choice of subjects. This individual should be a faculty member with whom the student is in close contact; changes in advisor may be made to make this possible. The advisor monitors the student's progress through completion of the degree.

Subjects and Credit Units

A minimum of 156 units of coursework is required, not including thesis. Of these units, 111 must be H-level graduate credits. Subjects to be taken:

  • 4.390 Art, Culture and Technology Studio is taken each term
  • Four advanced ACT subjects
  • Four elective subjects. One must be an art or architecture history class. One must be in Comparative Media Studies (CMS), Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), or another theoretically informed graduate level class. The other two electives will be graduate level classes that support the student's research and field of study
  • 4.388, SMACT Thesis Preparation, taken during second term
  • 4.389 SMACT Thesis Tutorial, taken during fourth term
  • 4.THG, Thesis (registration for thesis), taken during fourth term

Art, Culture and Technology Studio

Art, Culture and Technology Studio (4.390) is restricted to SMACT degree students and serves as the center of the curriculum. It is coordinated by an ACT faculty member and involves the participation of all faculty currently advising SMACT candidates. Students are expected to participate in all class meetings and present project development regularly. Attendance at the ACT Lecture Series and other ACT events is expected. Project work is related to the evolving thesis project. Participation in ACT Studio midterm and final reviews is required.

SMACT Thesis

Artistic research, development and execution of projects are central to the studies and culminate in a thesis. The thesis is twofold: a realized project and a written thesis book.

  • First term: students will explore thesis methods and topics
  • Second term: students take 4.388 SMACT Thesis Preparation. Thesis Preparation will develop a proposal for the written thesis. A ten-page thesis proposal is the final project of this class.
  • Third term: students will submit a twenty-page thesis draft, select their thesis committee, and submit a SMACT Thesis Proposal Completion form by the end of their third term. These must be submitted to the ACT administrative offices, for distribution to the ACT faculty.
  • Fourth term: 4.389 SMACT Thesis Tutorial is taken in the fourth term to support the writing of the thesis book. Students will also register for 24 units of thesis (4.THG). The final thesis is the result of this term. Two copies of the signed and approved, archival-ready thesis must be submitted to headquarters of the Department of Architecture by the Institute deadline for master's theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Students must adhere to the Specification for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

Thesis Comittee:
The thesis committee is composed of a minimum of two members: a thesis supervisor and a reader. The thesis supervisor must be a permanent faculty member of the Art, Culture and Technology program. The reader may be any permanent MIT faculty member. A third member of the committee (a second reader) is optional and may be from within or outside of the MIT Community.

Policy on Incomplete Subjects

SMACT students may have no more than one incomplete in a required subject when they register for thesis (4.THG). This incomplete can be no more than one term old (received the semester prior to thesis registration).

Students who have incompletes from several subjects or incompletes from earlier terms will be denied registration until those subjects are finished and graded. This policy applies to incompletes in subjects required by the specific degree curriculum or needed for units toward the degree

English Proficiency Requirement

All students whose first language is not English are required to take the English Evaluation Test (EET) prior to registration at MIT. Even students who satisfy the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or TOEFL requirement for admission may be required to take specialized subjects in English as a Second Language (ESL), depending on their EET results. These subjects do not count toward the required units but will prove valuable in helping students develop the skills necessary to comfortably write a thesis.