MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

Lowell Institute School


The Lowell Institute School (LIS) was established at MIT in 1903 to provide evening instruction in technical subjects for residents of the Boston area. Today the School continues this tradition by offering subjects in the areas of modern technology which are not readily available at other evening institutions. Entry-level courses require an adequate high school preparation, and the more advanced instruction is geared to the practicing technician who has an Associate degree or equivalent experience.

Programs of study range from single subjects designed to broaden job skill levels to comprehensive study of new technological areas in preparation for employment in a new field. There is a strong emphasis on practical aspects and development of careful experimental technique combined with sufficient theory to provide an adequate foundation of understanding. Certificates are awarded to those who satisfactorily complete a course. In addition, students who complete a program of courses may earn a Certificate in Electronics Technology, Computer Technology, or Engineering Drawing.


During 1994-95, LIS offered 40 different courses in analog and digital electronics, microprocessors, computer literacy, computer aided drafting and circuit board design, engineering drawing, computer networking, and computer programming in BASIC, C, UNIX, and X-Windows. In addition to refresher courses in mathematics, calculus was included in the curriculum.

New courses were introduced in QuarkXPress, CorelDRAW, Visual Basic programming, advanced computer networking, engineering materials and processes, field programmable gate array design, and SMD concepts for printed circuit design.

A summer program was continued this year to respond to the heavy demand for computer instruction. Two hundred thirty five students enrolled in courses in AutoCAD, CorelDRAW, computer literacy, computer networking, Mathcad, the IBM disk operating system, and programming in BASIC, Visual Basic, C, UNIX, and X-Window environments.


LIS admitted a total of 1120 students to its courses in 1994-95. Of those enrolled, 180 were MIT employees and 232 were women, with 80 percent of the students enrolled completing the course requirements. Nineteen completed the eight-course Certificate Program: five in Electronics Technology, six in Engineering Drawing, and eight in Computer Technology. Twenty-one percent of the students were women desiring to enter or to improve their positions in technical fields. The instructing staff of 40 includes one black, three Asians, and three women.


The past academic year has seen LIS continue its program of unique courses which no other Boston area school can match. The high percentage of students who successfully complete their courses indicates that both the subjects offered and the level of instruction are well matched to their needs.

Bruce D. Wedlock

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95