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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology began two days before the start of the American Civil War on April 10, 1861, with the first classes held in 1865. The idea for the institute began as the dream of William Barton Rogers, a professor of philosophy at the College of William and Mary. He saw the school as a polytechnic institute and began a campaign to build the school as early as 1846. Initially, the school was known as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston Society of Natural History.

From the beginning, the school focused on learning by doing, integrating professional and liberal arts education at the undergraduate level as well as the use of laboratories in the instruction of students. The school struggled to remain open almost from the beginning as the Civil War delayed its start. The Panic of 1873 and the Long Depression both caused enrollment to dwindle and there was discussion of closing the school. The school struggled with fundraising due to the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard. Wealthy benefactors preferred donating to an established school over a young, unknown school.

During World War I, a pilot training program for the United States Navy was established and a former student, Jerome Clarke Hunsaker, convinced the Secretary of the Navy to establish the training program at MIT. Eventually, almost 4,000 pilots graduated from the program, qualifying them for preliminary flight training. During World War II, government-sponsored research at the school helped improve its financial standing as well. After the war, enrollment grew as soldiers returned and took advantage of the GI Bill.

Today, the institute is an independent, coeducational university. There are over 11,000 students enrolled at the institute.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Accreditation Details

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Accreditation indicates that the school meets criteria as set forth by the accrediting agency so that employers, parents and students know that graduates are well prepared for the career they have chosen. In addition, programs at the school are accredited by the following institutions:

  • ABET
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Computer Science Accreditation Board
  • National Architectural Accrediting Board
  • Planning Accreditation Board

Information on additional accreditations may be found by contacting each department at MIT.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Application Requirements

Applicants who have not earned college credit after high school graduation are considered freshmen at the institute. Students must complete an application and submit information on activities they participated in during their high school career. Essays are required as are official high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Students must also provide letters of recommendation. An interview is also required. Some programs may require additional admissions documentation such as portfolios or auditions.

Students who have completed two or more terms at an accredited college or university may transfer into the institute. Students must provide three evaluations from college instructors, one from a math or science instructor and two from instructors of the students' choosing. Official high school transcripts as well as transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be provided. Students must provide SAT or ACT scores regardless of how many college credits they have earned.

Graduate applicants must submit an online application with the required fee. Students must provide letters of recommendation, a statement of objectives, official GRE test scores, transcripts from all colleges and universities attended as well as a resume. Each department has their own requirements for admission. Students should contact a graduate admissions counselor before applying.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition at the institute is $41,547 per year for full-time undergraduate study. Graduate tuition varies among programs but averages $48,452 per year. Grants, scholarships, loans and work-study are some of the types of aid available. Up to 33 percent of students at the school attend tuition-free while 56 percent of students receive need-based scholarships. The average scholarship is $38,871. Up to 91 percent of all students at MIT receive some type of financial aid. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to qualify for any assistance. Students must also complete the CSS PROFILE Application in order to qualify for scholarship money through the school.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Degree Program(s) Available

Political Science

The institute offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in Political Science. The undergraduate program includes hands-on learning experiences which emphasize how politics affects various cultures, beliefs and legislation. Students gain an understanding of political theory, public policy and international relations. Classes focus on current events so that students are able to apply classroom learning to real-world examples.

The Master of Science in Political Science at the institute helps students develop insights into society and government in modern times. Students develop an understanding of public policy and what makes them effective. The program is designed for students who wish to build research proficiency and includes in-depth instruction in American Politics, comparative politics, international relations, political economy and more.

The PhD in Political Science is for students who wish to explore the ways that government and society functions in order to improve their methodology. Students develop strong research skills in many areas related to politics through a broad range of courses. Students are encouraged to take courses in other discipline as well in order to gain a well-rounded understanding of politics and culture.

The institute was one of the first institutes of higher learning to start an LBGT student group. Originally known as the Student Homophile League which began in 1969, the program is known as GaMIT today. GaMIT identifies issues facing LBGT students at the school and makes recommendations to provide support to those students. The recommendations are made in cooperation with other student groups at the school such as the Black Student's Union, Institute Community and Equity Officer and Division of Student Life. The group provides resources to students to encourage diversity and acceptance for all who attend the institute. They operate the Rainbow Lounge, a meeting space and support network for LBGT activities, including group meetings, discussions and guest speakers. The group also provides resources to report hate crimes and harassment incidents.

MIT offers a wide range of programs beyond subjects related strictly to technology and many of these are offered with flexible schedules that allow working adults to achieve their higher education goals.

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