The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts along the bank of the Charles River Basin. MIT has five schools and has a strong emphasis on scientific and technological research. However, in the past 80 years, MIT’s educational disciplines have expanded beyond the physical sciences and engineering into fields like economics, philosophy, linguistics, political science, and management.
Founded by William Barton Rogers in 1861, MIT followed the European university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. The university was one of the pioneers in research and training collaborations between the academy, industry, and government.
Collaborative arrangements with industrialists like Alfred P. Sloan and Thomas Edison led the school to establish an Office of Corporate Relations and an Industrial Liaison Program in the 1930s and 1940s. These programs now permit over 800 companies to license research and consult with Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty and researchers. Undergraduates are required to complete an extensive core curriculum called the General Institute Requirements.
The science requirement, generally completed during freshman year as prerequisites for classes in science and engineering majors, comprises two semesters of physics classes covering classical mechanics and electricity and magnetism, two semesters of math covering single variable calculus and multivariable calculus, one semester of chemistry, and one semester of biology. Undergraduates are also required to take a laboratory class in their major, eight Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences classes (at least three in a concentration and another four unrelated subjects).
MIT eases freshmen into their undergraduate experience by grading all first semester courses on a pass/no entry basis. Second semester classes are scored with letter grades, but anything below a C is not reported on the student’s transcript. After that … well, MIT’s classes have a reputation for being very intense. But there is no doubt that the university’s students receive a world-class education. The university guarantees housing for all four years and freshmen are required to live on campus.
Undergraduates participate in research through something called UROP – the Institute’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. By the time they graduate, about 85 percent of Massachusetts Institute of Technology students will have collaborated on and helped produce real, ground breaking research. In fact, many undergraduates find their names appearing in published papers. A few even earn patents.