Undergraduate Education at MIT

MIT is committed to providing students with an education, grounded in science and technology, that:

  • Inspires a passion for learning
  • Encourages students to explore through undergraduate research and experiential learning
  • Recognizes the importance of making intellectual connections and discoveries outside the classroom
  • Prepares students to meet the challenges of a global economy and global society
  • Strengthens respect for diverse cultures, experience, and knowledge
  • Values and encourages the role of mentors and advisors
  • Facilitates the development of leadership skills

Through their educational experience, MIT students develop a personal and intellectual identity that empowers them to serve as the next generation of creative thinkers and leaders in our global society.

The Undergraduate Curriculum

At the core of this intellectual and personal development is the MIT Faculty. As teachers and mentors, both inside and outside the classroom, the faculty encourage creative thinking, critical thinking and learning through problem solving. At the same time, the structure and targeted learning outcomes of the MIT undergraduate curriculum shape the undergraduate experience.

General Institute Requirements

  • Science Requirement: Equips every undergraduate with a broad understanding of the most important concepts in modern science and technology
  • Laboratory Requirement: Provides each undergraduate, at an early stage of his or her educational experience, the opportunity to set up and carry out experiments including planning the design, selecting the measurement technique, and determining the procedure for validation of data
  • Restricted Electives in Science and Technology (REST) Requirement: Deepens the educational foundation in basic science and enables students to explore other areas of potential interest
  • Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) Requirement: Fosters intellectual diversity through exposure to the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts
  • Communication Requirement: Cultivates the ability to write prose that is clear, organized, and eloquent, and the ability to marshal facts and ideas into convincing written and oral presentations
  • Physical Education Requirement: Provides students with the instruction and skills necessary to lead healthy, active lifestyles and to foster both personal growth and a sense of community through physical activity

Major Course of Study

Each student selects a major, to develop mastery of factual and conceptual underpinnings of a chosen field, while gaining an appreciation for exploration and discovery in the field.

Optional Minor(s) and Optional Double Major

Students who opt to complete a minor, or a double major, can pursue their unique multidisciplinary interests, preparing them to face real-world problems whose solutions draw on multiple disciplines.

Learning Outside the Classroom

An MIT education does not stop in the classroom. Undergraduates are challenged to apply their knowledge, inventiveness, and resourcefulness in educational experiences that complement classroom learning. Students are "learning by doing," which has been a fundamental part of  MIT's educational mission since its founding. These experiences include:

  • Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP): Students collaborate with faculty and graduate students on cutting edge research
  • Public Service: Students broaden their awareness and give back to the local and global community through volunteering and international development projects
  • Global Educational Experiences: Through study abroad, internships, international development, and research abroad, students learn to understand and value cultural differences and how to communicate within and adapt to a culture other than their own
  • Internships: Students are exposed to different ways of thinking and solving problems. At the same time, they broaden their technical skills and develop important business skills
  • Project and Field Experience: Students apply classroom knowledge and creative energy to solve real-world problems through unique opportunities such as the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team, Development through Dialogue, Design & Dissemination (D-Lab), and many more
  • Leadership Development: Through formal and informal leadership development opportunities, students practice and develop critical leadership skills

Enhancements to Undergraduate Education

In collaboration with the faculty and other key units at MIT, the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education (DUE) is leading the effort to improve the quality and clarity of the undergraduate experience.

Some of DUE's major initiatives include:

  • Making a global experience an essential part of an MIT education by expanding current opportunities, developing new opportunities and removing barriers for student participation
  • Enhancing student learning through educational innovation, by supporting experimental subjects that incorporate pedagogical and curricular innovations such as first-year focus subjects, project-based learning and design subjects, and interdisciplinary offerings
  • Implementing assessment and evaluation studies of new educational approaches to ensure educational goals are being met
  • Shaping the direction of MIT’s online learning strategy
  • Partnering with faculty to ensure a high-quality “common experience” through the GIRs, while expanding other learning opportunities
  • Evaluating current and proposed one-on-one and community-based academic support programs to augment student academic success across all cohorts
  • Improving teaching through programs and services that foster teaching skills among TAs and faculty, and disseminate best practices and innovations in learning
  • Strengthening and expanding the opportunities for faculty mentoring, advising, and engagement with students outside the classroom
  • Implementing programs and initiatives that help create a supportive environment for students and build their self-confidence. This includes identifying and implementing strategies to help students thrive at MIT
  • Developing initiatives that increase student engagement in experiential learning outside the classroom and help cultivate confident, well-rounded graduates with strong communication skills and leadership experience
  • Partnering with Information Systems & Technology to modernize the Student Information System to support the community’s needs and improve the educational experience
  • Renovating classrooms to enable ongoing curricular improvement and innovation
Freeman-MIT Education