At its founding in 1861, MIT was an educational innovation, a community of hands-on problem solvers in love with fundamental science and eager to make the world a better place.
The Institute is an independent, coeducational, privately endowed university, organized into five Schools (architecture and planning; engineering; humanities, arts, and social sciences; management; and science).
MIT’s spirit of interdisciplinary exploration has fueled many scientific breakthroughs and technological advances. A few examples: the first chemical synthesis of penicillin and vitamin A. The development of radar and creation of inertial guidance systems. The invention of magnetic core memory, which enabled the development of digital computers. Major contributions to the Human Genome Project. The discovery of quarks. The invention of the electronic spreadsheet and of encryption systems that enable e-commerce. The creation of GPS. Pioneering 3D printing. The concept of the expanding universe.
Research and education areas include digital learning; nanotechnology; sustainable energy, the environment, climate adaptation, and global water and food security; Big Data, cybersecurity, robotics, and artificial intelligence; human health, including cancer, HIV, autism, Alzheimer’s, and dyslexia; biological engineering and CRISPR technology; poverty alleviation; advanced manufacturing; and innovation and entrepreneurship.
The mission of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.
MIT's 168-acre (68.0 ha) campus in the city of Cambridge spans approximately a mile along the north side of the Charles River basin. The campus is divided roughly in half by Massachusetts Avenue, with most dormitories and student life facilities to the west and most academic buildings to the east.
The Kendall MBTA Red Line station is located on the northeastern edge of the campus, in Kendall Square. The Cambridge neighborhoods surrounding MIT are a mixture of high tech companies occupying both modern office and rehabilitated industrial buildings, as well as socio-economically diverse residential neighborhoods.
MIT's on-campus nuclear reactor is one of the most powerful university-based nuclear reactors in the United States. Other notable campus facilities include a pressurized wind tunnel for testing aerodynamic research and a towing tank for testing ship and ocean structure designs.
Undergraduates are guaranteed four-year housing in one of MIT's 10 undergraduate dormitories. Those living on campus can receive support and mentoring from live-in graduate student tutors, resident advisors, and faculty housemasters.
The university historically pioneered research and training collaborations between academia, industry and government.
MIT's proximity to Harvard University has led to a substantial number of research collaborations such as the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and the Broad Institute. In addition, students at the two schools can cross-register for credits toward their own school's degrees without any additional fees. A cross-registration program between MIT and Wellesley College has also existed since 1969, and in 2002 the Cambridge–MIT Institute launched an undergraduate exchange program between MIT and the University of Cambridge. MIT has more modest cross-registration programs with Boston University, Brandeis University, Tufts University, Massachusetts College of Art and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The MIT library system consists of five subject libraries: Barker (Engineering), Dewey (Economics), Hayden (Humanities and Science), Lewis (Music), and Rotch (Arts and Architecture). There are also various specialized libraries and archives. The libraries contain more than 2.9 million printed volumes, 2.4 million microforms, 49,000 print or electronic journal subscriptions, and 670 reference databases.
The MIT Museum was founded in 1971 and collects, preserves, and exhibits artifacts significant to the culture and history of MIT.
MIT has over 500 recognized student activity groups, including a campus radio station, The Tech student newspaper, an annual entrepreneurship competition, and weekly screenings of popular films by the Lecture Series Committee. Less traditional activities include the "world's largest open-shelf collection of science fiction" in English, a model railroad club, and a vibrant folk dance scene.
MIT sponsors many varsity sports and has one of the three broadest NCAA Division III athletic programs. MIT participates in the NCAA's Division III, the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference, the New England Football Conference, NCAA's Division I Eastern Association of Women's Rowing Colleges (EAWRC) for women's crew, and the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) for Men's Water Polo. Men's crew competes outside the NCAA in the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges (EARC).