Academics

Location
Cambridge, MA
Undergrads
4,480
Tuition
$42,050
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews

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5 College Senior

Academics: It's MIT. You're surrounded by some of the smartest people in the world. It's great.

5 College Senior

Academics: The academics are brutally difficult, but very rewarding.

1 person found this useful Report
4 Recent Alumnus

Academics: Professors tend to be very well-qualified, if not overly qualified. Many of the best are here at MIT (especially in linguistics). While some people complain about the GIRs (General Institute Requirements) which include physics (Newtonian and electricity and magnetism), biology, chemistry, and calculus, I think it's very useful to have a grounding in these basic fields so you can communicate with other academics and understand their fields. The humanities requirement is also something to complain about, but I think there's value in it. Naturally, MIT's workload is massive, to the point where people will cry about their homework (I have, one very long night that lasted until 7am). We have a joke (which apparently is used elsewhere as well): sleep, social life, and grades, pick two. Despite the workload, people are not very competitive since we're all basically screwed. The only way to do MIT is to help each other survive, hence the extremely collaborative academic environment. Popular study areas are the libraries, but personally, I always hung out in my fraternity or at my dorm in the common areas.

2 people found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Academics: Every major gets the best faculty, the best classes, and the best resources available in the world.

1 person found this useful Report
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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 10th
    Best Registration Process
  • 11th
    Best Use of Teaching Assistants
  • 11th
    Most Available Classes
  • 12th
    Smartest Professors
  • 15th
    Professors Most Interested in Classes

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Sun Kim
Hometown
Duluth, GA
Major
Mechanical Engineering
View all previous student authors

The academics at MIT are top notch. Classes are designed so you learn as much as possible, but learning at MIT doesn’t mean just memorizing a formula and plugging in numbers. Exams at MIT are designed to test your knowledge and understanding of the formulas, how to derive them, and how to apply them in all sorts of ways. Classes teach you how to think. However, not all classes are taught well. Some professors are more interested in their research than teaching, and and some TAs aren’t good at teaching. Most introductory classes are taught as a combination of lectures by professors and recitations by TAs. In large classes, however, students are allowed to change their recitations. Take advantage of this! Some TAs explain things better, some are easier graders, some are more available outside of class, and some are regular, normal people. Try to go to as many different recitations as you can at the beginning of the term to find out which TA suits you best. The extra time you spend looking for a good recitation will save you hours of struggling later in the semester.

Classes are rigorous, but academic opportunities outside the classroom are endless. One of the best academic programs at MIT is the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). As an undergraduate, you have the chance to work for professors who are legendary in their fields. Get involved with a UROP by letting professors know you’re interested. Given the studious culture of MIT, expect to do a lot of work. Not all your time, however, will be devoted to classes. You will want to get involved in extracurricular activities and research opportunities. Despite the heavy workload, the things you can accomplish within and beyond the classroom at MIT are miles above anything you could do anywhere else. This is what sets MIT apart as one of the best academic institutions in the country.

Facts & Statistics

Student-Faculty Ratio
8:1
Full-Time Instructional Faculty
1,198
Part-Time Instructional Faculty
259
Total FT Faculty
5,157
Faculty with Terminal Degree
88%
Average Faculty Salary
$134,572
Full-Time Retention Rate
98%
Graduation Rate
93%
Programs/Majors Offered
48
Academic/Career Counseling?
Yes
Remedial Services?
No
Class Sizes
  • Fewer than 20 Students: 65%
  • 20 to 49 Students: 22%
  • 50 or More Students: 13%
Instructional Programs
Occupational: No
Academic: Yes
Continuing Professional: No
Recreational/Avocational: No
Adult Basic Remedial: No
Secondary (High School): No
Special Credit Opportunities
Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: Yes
Dual Credit: No
Life Experience Credits: No
Undergraduate Schools/Divisions
  • School of Architecture and Planning
  • School of Engineering
  • School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
  • School of Science
  • Sloan School of Management
  • Whitaker College of Health Sciences and Technology
Degrees Awarded
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Doctorate - Research/scholarship
  • Master's degree
Most Popular Majors
  • Business/Commerce, General: 11%
  • Computer Science: 5%
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering: 3%
  • Mechanical Engineering: 5%
Special Study Options
  • Study abroad
  • Teacher certification (below the postsecondary level)
Best Places to Study
  • Barker Engineering Library
  • Floor lounges in dormitories
  • Hayden Humanities and Science Library
  • Lewis Music Library
  • Reading Room on fifth floor of the Stratton Student Center
Tips to Succeed
  • Do a Pre-Orientation Program. The people who do these always end up knowing the campus better, and having a built-in group of friends before orientation even starts. You're just a step ahead if you decide to do this. In fact, FLP (Freshman Leadership Program) is one of the largest, most popular programs at MIT.
  • Don't believe everything you hear. Sometimes a rumor about a class, professor, or friend is nothing more than that, a rumor.
  • Meet as many people as possible during orientation. The campus is really vibrant and friendly up until the first round of tests during the third and fourth weeks.
  • Realize that you might not be the best/smartest anymore. You're actually being compared to people who are just as smart-if not smarter-than you are. Don't be disappointed, be content that you are truly in a group of your peers.
  • Sometimes, you can't do all the work that you are assigned Learn to prioritize. Better yet, learn to deal.
  • Start your work as early as possible.There's nothing worse than having to pull a last minute all-nighter before something is due. By doing your work in little increments, you'll actually end up with more free time. And studying for tests will be easier because you've been working at it frequently.
  • Work in groups. Sure, you'll get more glory if you do everything by yourself, but you also might end up in a padded room.
Did You Know?
  • Eleven current faculty members have been awarded the Nobel Prize in subjects such as physics, physiology of medicine, economics, and chemistry.
  • Every January, MIT holds its Independent Activities Period (IAP) when students can stay on campus for four weeks to take part in activities that are not offered during the regular school year. IAP features workshops, independent research projects, field trips, and lecture series based on subjects ranging from figure skating and vegetarian cooking, to neuroanatomy and robot design.
  • Adjusting to MIT is a shock. Because of this, MIT gives you a cushion by not assigning first-semester freshmen grades on their transcripts. They simply get a "pass," or the transcript never shows that they took the class. Freshmen used to be on the Pass/No Record system both semesters, but MIT recently changed the system. Pass/No Record only applies to the first term of freshman year now. During this time, it's important that you realize right away that a C- in a class is going to look the same on your transcript as an A+. What's more, a percentage of first-semester students fail at least one class. It's not something to stress about. In other words, don't sweat your work too much first semester. Try to enjoy the city and its people because you wont' have much time to when you actually start getting graded.

Student Polls

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?    Based on 25 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • The academic advisers are helpful.
  • It is easy to get the classes you want.
  • Grading is generally consistent and fair.
  • There are a variety of interesting courses to take.
  • Students are encouraged to explore a wide range of courses and topics.
  • My Gen-Ed requirements are worthwhile and meaningful.
  • The workload is easy to manage.
  • There are plenty of good online course options.
  • Teaching assistants (TAs) are used effectively.
  • The course scheduling/registration process is efficient and student-friendly.
  • Classrooms/labs are up-to-date and incorporate new technologies effectively.

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements regarding the professors at this school?    Based on 22 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • Professors are approachable and helpful when needed
  • Professors are engaging and easy to understand.
  • Professors are experts in their field.
  • Professors are passionate about the topics they teach.
  • Professors care about their students' success.
  • Professors put a lot of effort into teaching their classes.
  • Professors use teaching assistants (TAs) effectively.

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