The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that has been listed among the best universities in the world. Established in 1861, the school was first located in Boston – hence it’s informal nickname, “Boston Tech”, – but was moved to its current location in 1916. Set on a 168 acre campus, the architecture throughout the campus showcases an array of styles, ranging from neoclassical to modernist, brutalist, and deconstructivist. MIT is known for its dedication to educational innovation and has been made up of a community of hands-on problem solvers since its beginning. MIT became heavily involved in military research during World War II and by the end of the War, was the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor. Throughout both WWII and the Cold War, researches at MIT worked on computers, radar, and inertial guidance.
Accredited since 1929 through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, MIT is made up of five schools of study – School of Architecture and Planning; School of Engineering; School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; Sloan School of Management; and School of Science. Through these schools, several distinct degrees are offered (each with their own set of majors, emphases and concentrations), including a Bachelor of Science; Master of Architecture; Master of Business Administration; Master in City Planning; Master of Engineering; Master of Finance; Master of Science; Engineer (each degree designates the field in which it is awarded); Doctor of Philosophy; and Doctor of Science.
Guided by the spirit of innovation and interdisciplinary exploration, in 2012, together with Harvard University, MIT’s Office of Digital Learning (ODL) launched edX, a not-for-profit platform that allows universities to leverage learning technologies. MIT offers massive open online courses (MOOCs) on the edX platform for the purpose of reaching students from all around the globe.
MIT has a student population of more than 11,000, over 4,000 of which are undergraduates. Undergrads are guaranteed housing for all four-years of study in one of MIT’s 12 undergraduate dormitories. Benefits gained from living on campus include mentoring from live-in graduate student tutors, resident advisors, and faculty housemasters. Housing assignments are based on students’ preferences, enabling a diverse social atmosphere to be sustained throughout different parts of MIT’s campus. MIT’s student housing also includes dormitories for single graduate students and apartment buildings for married student families.
A strong entrepreneurial culture exists on MIT’s campus and it is estimated that the combined revenues of companies founded by MIT alumni would rank as the eleventh-largest economy in the world. But MIT is not known only for its seriousness of purpose, or its entrepreneurial environment; MIT’s culture also possesses its own unique sense of humor, expressed primarily through “hacking”. MIT hacks are elaborate, but harmless practical jokes perpetrated anonymously on campus, around Cambridge, and in the greater community and executed in incredibly clever, creative, and difficult ways. While such hacks are not officially sanctioned, they are nonetheless appreciated for their technical prowess and humorous digs made at rival institutions.