These are not exhaustive lists, just what has been taken by past CMEs - look around and make the most of what MIT has to offer! You can also take classes at other universities in Boston - a few people this year took classes at Harvard (more on the cross-registration process further down).
It’s a good idea to check out what MIT students from previous years thought about a class by going to http://web.mit.edu/subjectevaluation/results.html.
A note on the difference between undergraduate and graduate classes. Graduate classes are not necessarily too difficult for undergraduates, and it is fairly common for undergrads to take grad classes, but you really have to be careful to choose one that is indeed do-able. Check the prereqs, talk to your academic advisor, and talk to former CMEs to make sure you’re making a good choice on your courses.
A trap that people have fallen into (by which I mean me) is thinking that MIT will be like Cambridge, in that if you don’t really understand something you’ll be able to go away and teach it to yourself and catch up just by putting the hours in outside of class. This is not possible at MIT. Courses are structured around instant examination, so you don’t have time to go away and teach yourself any large volume of stuff to keep up with the rest of the class. This means that classes are in general less demanding, but if you don’t have the prerequisites you’ll have a really rough time of it.
Course 2 - Mechanical Engineering Edit
Class & Lecturer | UG/G | Description |
2.007
Design and Manufacturing I | UG | This class is similar to the Integrated Design Project (IDP) from second year Engineering. You design and build an autonomous robot to run a miniature obstacle course or complete some objective. Engineering students probably won't gain much new experience from this. |
2.008
Design and Manufacturing II | UG | In this class you design and manufacture a small production run of yo-yos. You will learn about injection moulding in detail, CNC and manual machine tool operation, and a selection of different production processes. The 2.007 prerequisite is strongly enforced, but if you explain the Cambridge IDP (see above) they should let you take it. |
2.009
The Product Engineering Process David Wallace | UG | Quite possibly one of the most fun classes you will take at MIT. This leads you through the entire product design process from ideation, to works like/looks like models, and then a final prototype. Culminates in a large presentation from each group in the design show, often with 1000+ attendees. Excellent teamwork, manual fabrication, and presentation experience. This is a perfect substitute for the MET IIA Major Project. |
2.017
Design of Electromechanical Robotic Systems Franz Hover | UG | |
2.092/2.093
Finite Element Analysis of Solids and Fluids I K.J. Bathe | UG/G | Introduction to the finite element method, taught by a celebrity in the FEM world. Pitched at the right level for Cambridge students having done part IB. Grads and undergrads taught together, but those taking the grad version do an extra project. Two midterms. |
2.25
Fluid Mechanics G. McKinley, P. Sclavounos | G | This is pitched for grads who did not necessarily do fluids at undergrad level, so the content is easy enough for undergrads to follow. Can get quite mathematical. Focuses on general fluids rather than aero, and often dips into ocean engineering. Two midterms and one final exam. |
2.29
Numerical Fluid Mechanics P. Lermusiaux | G | Covers finite difference and finite volume methods in great detail, and talks a little about finite elements. Covers some general mathematical methods in computational engineering. Very mathematical, heavy on linear algebra, problem sets are long, but the content is really interesting if you’re into CFD. It covers the content much more rigorously than 16.90. Two midterms, and one individual final project. The professor is super chill, so it’s hard material but you should have a good time doing it. |
2.70
Precision Product Design Alex Slocum | U/G |
Course 6 - Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Edit
Talk to Ramji Venkataramanan, the CME advisor for Information Engineering, as he’s really helpful. Also talk to other students when you get to MIT.
Also take a look at https://hkn.mit.edu/new_ug/ - a course evaluation website specific to course 6. You will need MIT certificates to access it.
Class & Lecturer | UG/G | Description |
6.004
Computation Structure | UG | Examines the interface between hardware and software. Starts with digital circuits and moves on to assembly programming, caches, virtual memory, basic OS etc. The final project is to design a processor. Slightly lower workload than most MIT classes. |
6.005
Software Engineering | UG | Note that I think they are getting rid of 6.005 at some point. Look into 6.009 or 6.031 as replacements. |
6.006
Intro to Algorithms | UG | Definitely worth taking especially if you are looking at a career in software. Helps a lot with internship interviews. |
6.008
Intro to Inference | UG | An introduction to probabilistic inference. Contains some theoretical psets as well as labs applying the skills into programming tasks (e.g. an email spam filter). The class is well taught with very good lecture notes. Significant overlap with 6.041/6.431. |
6.011
Signals, Systems and Inference | UG | |
6.012
Microelectronic Devices and Circuits | UG | The first half of this class is about semiconductor physics and then it moves on to transistor circuits. More theoretical than most MIT classes. There is a circuit design project towards the end of the semester which is quite interesting but can be quite intense for a couple of weeks. |
6.033
Computer Systems | UG | |
6.034
Artificial Intelligence | UG | |
6.036
Intro to Machine Learning | UG | Overview of machine learning techniques. Contains some applied projects and the material is very interesting. However the lectures aren’t great and the class can be a little disorganised. Classes are huge, but lecturers are mostly poor |
6.041/6.431
Probability | UG/G | The class to get a taste of probability. But a bit fundamental. 18.600 is a similar course, which touch a bit more practical problems at the end. Workload consists of weekly psets which start off fairly easy and get a little bit harder. |
6.046
Design and Analysis of Algorithms | UG | Follow up to 6.006 |
6.111
Digital Electronics Lab | UG | |
6.141
Robotics: Science and Systems | UG | |
6.334
Power Electronics | G | |
6.437
Inference and Information | G | Very theoretical class about probability theories. If you really enjoy abstraction of probability theories, you may enjoy this class. The problem sets are hard. If you want to do machine learning, this course definitely sets the tone. |
6.438
Algorithms for Inference | G | Inference algorithm class. The lecturer (Prof Wornell) is great. |
6.864
Advanced Natural Language Processing | G | Disorganised and incomprehensive lectures. If you want to do NLP, you’d better try some machine learning/inference courses, sign up for this one as a listener to get a taste, then go back to Cambridge and do a summer/final yr project. NLP group here isn’t for beginners.
BUT, if you already know about NLP, then contact the group here and do a UROP. |
6.867
Machine Learning | G | Not really recommended. If you know nothing about ML, you may learn a lot. Otherwise, I would suggest inference courses like 6.008, 6.437, 6.438. |
Course 6 classes covered by CUED part 1 Edit
6.01, 6.02, 6.002, 6.003 (mostly), 6.004 (only the start), 6.007, 6.041 (only the start), 6.042 (partly)
Course 10 - Chemical Engineering Edit
Course 14 - Economics Edit
Class & Lecturer | UG/G | Description |
14.01
Principles of Microeconomics J. Gruber | UG | Good class. Covers basic microeconomics in a more mathematical way than in Cambridge 2nd year. Doesn’t try to cover too much either. Lower workload than technical classes. Two midterms and one final exam. (sometimes 3 midterms and no final, as in Spring 2016) |
Course 15 - Management Edit
Class & Lecturer | UG/G | Description |
15.025/15.0251
Game Theory for Strategic Advantage A. Bonatti | G/UG | Game theory taught from a practical point of view, mostly using case studies. Not particularly mathematical. Involves completing assignments and a final group project in which you analyse a game of your choice. There appears to be no difference between the grad and undergrad courses (they’re taught together), so you might as well sign up for the grad version. You might be required to go to study.net and pay $26 to download some cases; just get one of you to do it and then share the PDFs around. |
15.282 EnActing Leadership: Management through the works of Shakespeare
C Kelly | G | Act out a Shakespeare play along with a bunch of MBAs and learn about leadership along the way |
15.390
New Enterprises W. Aulet, C. Catalini | G | Interesting class on entrepreneurship, mostly grad/MBA students but not particularly difficult. |
Course 16 - Aeronautics & Astronautics Edit
If you’re majoring in course 16, definitely talk to Prof Steven Barrett for help picking classes. Aero students are in the unfortunate position that it is hard to find classes that are pitched at the right level for CMEs. For example, 16.100 is necessary since it covers some content from 3A1 but it is quite easy in general. 16.50 is interesting but repeats information from the IB aerothermal elective, and the next step up 16.511 is very difficult without having done 16.50 first. You should consider taking 2.25 for a more rigorous mathematical treatment of fluids, and 2.29 if your computational curiosity cannot be satiated with 16.90.
Class & Lecturer | UG/G | Description |
16.06 Principles of Automatic Control | UG | Goes in to detail about practical root locus design and bode plots etc. Involves fun project stabilising a rotor. Midterm and a final. |
16.07 Dynamics | UG | Starts off with very easy mechanics which you will have covered in part I engineering in Cambridge. Then moves on to orbital mechanics and slightly more complicated dynamics. There is a more difficult dynamics course in course 2 for those wanting a challenge. Weekly concept quizzes + final |
16.100
Aerodynamics E. Greitzer | UG | People specialising in aero must take this. Covers the fundamentals of aircraft aerodynamics. The pace is quite slow, and this is an ‘easy’ class. One oral midterm, one written midterm, and one group project. |
16.110
Flight Vehicle Aerodynamics M. Drela | G | Can be taken alongside 16.100 without too much difficulty, although ostensibly you need it as a prereq. Teaches almost exclusively using inviscid theory. Covers wings and aircraft dynamics. Interesting, although I felt it descended a bit into applying formulas without really understanding them by the end |
16.30
Feedback Control Systems S. Karaman | UG | |
16.323
Principles of Optimal Control S. R. Hall, J. P. How | G | |
16.50
Aerospace Propulsion S. Barrett | UG | Covers the fundamentals of jet and rocket engines. The jet engines portion is largely a rehash of the IB aerothermal elective, and is also based on the same book (Jet Propulsion, N. Cumpsty). The rocket engines portion is all new content. Taught by Prof Barrett, a former CUED graduate, so this class is most similar to Cambridge in terms of the style of the work. Includes a class field trip tp Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut. Two midterms and one final. |
16.511
Aircraft Engines and Gas Turbines Z. Spakovszky | G | Unless they flip the class order and put 16.50 in the fall term and 16.511 in the spring term, don’t bother doing this. Unless you’ve already taught yourself everything there is to know about turbomachinery, engine matching and compressible flow you won’t be able to do this course, as I learned the hard way. |
16.512
Rocket Propulsion P. Lozano | G | Same as 16.511 - too much prerequisite knowledge for us unfortunately. |
16.82
Flight Vehicle Engineering R. Hansman, M. Drela, W. Hoburg | UG | Average to poor. |
16.90
Computational Methods in Aerospace Engineering R. Radovitzky, D. Darmofal | UG | Introduction to computational methods. Covers mainly the finite difference, finite volume and finite element methods. Also touches on probabilistic methods. This is a relatively easy and slow paced class. Time to brush up on your MATLAB. Three projects, one midterm and one final. Might be worth looking at 2.29 if you want something a bit harder. |
16.S198
Compressible Internal Flow E. Greitzer | G | Your only real exposure to compressible flow - necessary to replace 3A3. Talks about using a 1D approximation to analyse internal flows (e.g. in con-di nozzles) and deals with shockwaves. Not very mathematical; it’s more about conceptual understanding. Lasts half a semester. Two short quizzes, one final oral exam and one group project. |
16.S199
Analytical High Speed Aerodynamics W. Harris | G | Not recommended. Builds up from subsonic to hypersonic flow from an analytical mathematical viewpoint. Not really worth going to since it all about maths and the concepts are far too hard to follow for undergrads. Lasts half a semester. |
Recommended classes in other majors:
2.092 - Finite Element Analysis of Solids and Fluids I
2.25 - Fluid Mechanics
2.29 - Numerical Fluid Mechanics
The combination of 16.100, 16.110 and 2.25 has a lot of overlapping content. You can view this as making your life easier, or you might want to pick something else to broaden your horizons.
Course 18 - Mathematics Edit
Cross Registration Edit
MIT lets you cross-register (ie. take courses) at some different universities, so if you want to get out of MIT for a bit then think about cross registering at Harvard, Wellesley, or MassArt. If you want to do a science/ engineering course at Harvard then you might have some trouble getting it validated to put towards your technical requirements, but if you do it to try something different (humanities, arts, business) then it just counts towards your total units. MIT also offers Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) classes which can be really good!
Useful things to note:
- Check when the semester starts at the other college! Harvard starts one week before MIT. This makes it very easy to miss the first class, which isn’t necessarily a deal breaker but can be a bit stressful if you don’t already know this. It is better to take a Harvard class in the fall than in the spring: Finals line up better and if you take it in the spring you'll miss spring break as well as part of IAP.
- Add/drop dates are different. MIT lets you add and drop classes really late into semester, which is great for us. Harvard does not! This mean if you drop a class at Harvard after their drop date but before the MIT drop date then it shows up as a fail on your Harvard transcript, but not on your MIT transcript, which is probably all you really care about.
- Do your research before getting to MIT. The first week after arrival is hectic, and you definitely won’t have time to look through the huge numbers of classes offered at Harvard before their semester begins.
- Check out http://web.mit.edu/registrar/reg/xreg/ for all the details on what you have to do. Navigating the Harvard course website is pretty confusing, it might be worth talking to an MIT student who’s done it before to get some help.