The History of MIT

An illustration of the main building of MIT as seen from the Charles River.

An illustrated postcard by Mason Bros. & Co., featuring MIT from the banks of the Charles River. This postcard is part of the MIT Museum collections. (Courtesy of the MIT Museum. This image is in the public domain.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2016



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

To study MIT is to study the modern world. In 2016, MIT celebrated the 100th anniversary of the move from Boston to Cambridge; therefore, this course examines the history of the Institute through the lens of the history of science and technology, and vice-versa. It is about discovery, exploration, adventure, learning, creative thinking, and the synthesis of big ideas. Additionally, this course is about the importance of the research university, what it has been in the past and what it will be in the future. The course includes guest lecturers and field trips to the Institute Archives and the MIT Museum.

The most important prerequisite for this class is curiosity, a desire to think deeply about MIT, and a willingness to communicate your thoughts and ideas. The ultimate aim is to fascinate you as much as to help you improve your skills synthesizing information from diverse sources about science, technology, and culture.

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Related Content

Deborah Douglas. STS.050 The History of MIT. Spring 2016. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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